Mother’s Day is the one day a year where I can reasonably expect to get help in the yard from my family without (too much) complaint. This year I plotted to get the most effective use of my eight year old’s time before he declared himself ‘boo-oooored,’ though the rain thwarted some of my plans. This got me thinking about what’s worked in the past for keeping my stubborn mules interested in food:
- Get your kids involved in planting. The best way I’ve found (so far) to get my kids to try to eat something is to enlist their help in planting seeds and managing the plants. Even if they out and out refuse to eat a pea or tomato from the store, they’ll snitch straight off a plant.
- Look for recipes that will keep their interest. One year, the Easter bunny brought my picky eater a kid’s cookbook, and we picked a recipe from the book for our low-key meal (I’ll bet you’ve never had chili cheese dogs for a religious holiday). He helped make the meal, we talked about from-scratch cooking vs. processed, and he’s been more involved in meal planning ever since. We’re also in love with ‘Chicks and Salsa‘ by Aaron Reynolds, a book that’s part picture book and part recipe. Both of my kids enjoy reading the silly story about the escapades of farm animals inspired by cooking shows, and the Hog Wild Nachos recipe (what the farm animals create over the course of the story) is GOOD. Like, it’s what we serve on Super Bowl Sunday good.
- Throw in some creativity. I recently schlepped the kids to the Union Project, a local community space with a ceramics studio in the basement, for a Garden Marker Party. It took the kids a while to warm up to the process, but in addition to my traditional peas and carrots signs, we also have princesses guarding the weeds and a warning against alien ‘abducshun.’