This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney. All opinions are entirely my own.
Meal times with kids is not for the weary. And feeding kids lunch has proven to be a battle for a TON of my friends and definitely for me! In case you find yourself struggling to get your kids eating your nutritiously prepared food, know that you’re in good company!
And now that my oldest is starting Kindergarten, I’ve been starting to worry how she’ll eat in that type of school setting. These 3 kids have been having lunch at our kitchen table ever since they were babies. So I pulled together a few of my favorite tips learned over the years that have helped minimize mealtime battles with these wild and busy kiddos….
- INVOLE THEM! I’ve done this especially when I was introducing a new food. They climb up on an adjustable stand their grandad built for them and they will cut, spread, mix, or stir to help with food preparation. I let them taste and nibble as we move along. The kids watch me snack on the foods which encourages their curiosity. This has helped tremendously in smothering the fears and hesitation to try new foods!
- DIP! Kids love to dip. When I was first introducing crunchy bell peppers to my oldest when she was little, I used hummus as a dip. She would’ve never given the bell peppers the time of day but since she loves to dip foods, she couldn’t resist! My 3.5 year old twin boy doesn’t enjoy apples. But if I add a dollop of peanut butter to his plate, he’ll snack on peanut butter apples all day long! (TIP: I also give them toothpicks instead of a fork when they seem to really struggle with trying a new food.)
- COME HUNGRY! It seems silly for me to even write this but I literally can’t let my kids snack within a couple hours of a meal. They will not eat their meal well if they’ve been having snacks or treats close to lunch or dinner. This includes calorie-dense drinks!
- OFFER VARIETY! This is one of my favorites. Offering a variety of textures and colors is so important. For my kids to eat their veggies, I offer that first. Sometimes if the main food takes a bit of prep and they want to eat NOW, I’ll offer them veggies at the table (sometimes it’s even just canned green beans or carrots!) while I finish making the lunch. They will always eat their veggies this way. They love foods with fun textures, like Disney Frozen® String Cheese found at HEB they can peel. The kids get pretty excited seeing their favorite characters from the movie on the package while they pull apart the cheese. They have calcium and protein to help keep their tummies full. It’ll be perfect for the lunchbox in a few weeks! I can’t believe we need to go lunchbox shopping already, kids grow way too fast! Right now you can save $0.75 on Disney Frozen String Cheese when you shop at Meijer, ShopRite, Giant, Tops Friendly Markets, HEB, or Wegmans. Find the coupon here!
I’ve found meal times can be really good moments of hanging out with the kids and listening to their spontaneous, off-the-wall stories and commentary. There’s nothing I love more than enjoying a delicious meal while having good conversations with the people I love. Family meals are a great time for that! Usually, I’d be cleaning things up or busy making my own food. During my last pregnancy, I started reminding myself to sit down with them and learn a little more about each kid during their lunch. And it was fun! Like, really fun. And now that our baby Avery has arrived I’ve needed to feed her while the 3 kids have their lunch and I really miss those intentional, sweet moments we created by slowing down and being present with each other during lunch. I’ll need to move around Avery’s nursing schedule but it seems like ‘back to school’ is a great time to start up that sweet tradition of getting-to-know-my-kids at meal time again.