|As the parents of two school aged children, my wife and I often find mealtimes to be incredibly stressful. If the food that we're attempting to serve is new or healthy, we are greeted with the resistance of a small army.
Our oldest son will sometimes take the "tactful" approach, "Dad, I know you worked hard on this, but it smells." Our younger son, who is far less sophisticated than his older brother, will simply pick up the offending new food and fling it off the table into the waiting mouth of the dog. Fortunately for us, the dog seems to genuinely enjoy our cooking.
Our kids' resistance to new foods has driven us to extremes.
We've tried pleading, cajoling, and the ever famous phrase, "It's good for you-just eat it!"
We have tried decorating and disguising - "Hey what's this pea doing in my meatloaf?"
As you may have already guessed, none of these techniques worked.
The boys on the other hand prefer the glitz of fast food. If it looks familiar, comes in a box, and has a toy, then by golly this is their version of gourmet dining. Unfortunately, for their growing bodies, the toy seems to possess a higher nutritional value than the rest of the meal.
It took us some time, but we finally found a better way. If a child can take part in assembling or cooking a meal, they are far more likely to eat it. I will warn you in advance that cooking with children is not for the squeamish. Expect a mess and some frustration, but the end result is well worth it. Who knows, the kids may actually eat something new and the family comes away with some quality time spent together.
Here are some books to help you get started (and are available for sale through our affiliation with amazon.com):
This Is the Way We Eat Our Lunch
A book About Children Around the World
By Edith Baer
The Kid's Multicultural Cookbook
Food and Fun Around the World
By Deanna F. Cook
The Children's Step-by-Step Cookbook
Clear Instructions-Bright Illustrations
By Angela Wilkes
Disney's Family Cookbook
Clear Instructions-Beautiful Illustrations
Also includes Recipes for Craft Materials
By Deanna F. Cook
More columns by Dr. Janousky > Index