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44 Things We’ve Said to Our Kids to Get Them to Eat

by Liz Sagaser


February 15, 2014

44 Things We’ve Said to Our Kids to Get Them to Eat

I recently read 44 Things We’ve Said to Our Kids to Get Them to Eat on the verbal sparring we undertake in order to get our little people to eat something – anything – please?!? And it’s just too good not to share.

I still roll my eyes when I remember the pediatrician – not our regular doctor – who questioned what, and how much, we were feeding our 18 month old son. Truett was in the 30th percentile or so for weight and average height. This boy was – and still is – s-k-i-n-n-y. At the time he was drinking plenty of whole milk and there was nothing “habitual” about his eating habits. Sometimes he licked an empty spoon and proclaimed the meal finished, other times he ate more than either his father or me at mealtime. He is our second child, so this was not our first time at the family table. I shake my head that this woman was suggesting we might be underfeeding our child. Who still, by the way, has no butt whatsoever and a waist too small for any of his 3T pants, although they’re starting to be too short for our growing boy.

I must confess. That on more than one occasion, I have used items on this list in an attempt to help his pants fit proportionally. Especially numbers 27, 38, and, of course, 15. (I did avoid number 17, thanks to said pediatrician.)

Hello, Darling, I said, pretty please.

Mealtime mayhem is something every mom I know has struggled with at one time or another. Sometimes more food ends up on the walls or floor or in your child’s hair than down the hatch. (I just love those moments.) And by the way I heartily endorse getting a dog to accompany your children’s mealtimes. (We adopted our doxie mix, Skippy, ten months ago and our kitchen floors haven’t been this clean since B.C. (That’s Before Children.)

One thing I’ve learned over the course of my five + years of parenting experience is that the dinner table can be a nutritional battlefield, or it can be a peaceful meeting place at the end of the day. I’ve learned to give myself, and my little people, grace at mealtime. We  do our best to present nutritious options and hope they eat them, and I sleep just fine at night whether they’ve eaten the ideal blend of protein-veggies-fruits-dairy-whole grains or not, thank you very much. 

*I’d like to take a moment to brag on my children’s fondness for the following super foods: broccoli, blueberries, green beans, avocado, whole wheat bread, spinach, and plain water. Those kids are nothing if not well hydrated.

**Full disclosure: Today was a long day and my offspring enjoyed a dinner of Valentine candy in front of the television. Please don’t tell the aforementioned pediatrician, but as for me, I’m going to sleep just fine tonight.



 What is your best trick for getting a persnickety eater to eat something healthy (or anything at all)? Share your Mealtime Wisdom in the comments or confess to that time you gave them ice cream for breakfast. We promise, we won’t judge!

Related topics: review, liz, kids, family

Share your thoughts

We usually had a "two bites" rule at mealtime or they will see the food again for their bedtime snack. At one time, our son was really into stickers for rewards, so he could choose a sticker for eating his veggies. So one night, my husband was home for dinner and my son gave him a sticker for eating his veggies. My husband then left for a meeting, forgetting about the stickers on his suit...he received lots of laughs and pats on the back from his coworkers.


Last night we had a friend's bunny rabbit visiting us. At dinner, my husband convinced our five year old to take a bite of her broccoli by telling her that the bunny likes broccoli breath. So she took a bite and then went off to find the rabbit and breath on him! :)


we have one picky child and we have one that will eat everything. We try really hard to not make it a competition between the two girls. With our picky child, we encourage her to try new things either by putting in her mouth for 5 chews and then spitting out or even just by licking the food. She tried lettuce at school and liked it! (Probably because I want there) Right now, her favorite thing to eat is pumpkin bread and cottage cheese for breakfast and you better believe that I'm loading the pumpkin bread up with all kinds of whole wheat flour, flaxseed and less sugar by adding in more fruit (a peach, pear, banana) just so I can get more nutrition out off it.