Sneaking Nutrition into Kids’ Meals: Good or Bad Habit?

The other day I watched a TV commercial promoting a nutritional supplement drink. It starred a mom pushing it for her daughter, who wouldn’t “touch anything green”.

Those sorts of comments always stop me in my tracks. Is it optional for our kids to eat the healthy foods their bodies need? Is it a good habit to sneak nutrients into their meals? How far should we as moms go to make sure they eat what’s healthy for their growth and development?

I know and understand the dangers behind making kids eat everything on their plate.  Creating a power struggle or negative feelings about food can lead to all sorts of eating disorders and problems.  But I also know that most people — especially kids — have to see, smell and taste a new food multiple times before they are comfortable with it.

We have a “try bite” at our house. The kids need to at least try one bite of everything on their plate. If they don’t like it, fine – they can be done.

But in my experience, they’ll eventually learn to enjoy foods this way. Sure, some kids are born more adventurous eaters, but all can learn to be “good” eaters. We have to be persistent, though. I want my kids to know they’re eating healthy foods, because that helps them develop habits they will use throughout their life.

I am starting to see the persistence pay off.  Just last night, our 8 year old actually chose a fruit cup to go with his burger over French fries.  Baby steps!

Please comment and share:
How do you handle new foods at your family meals?
Do you agree or disagree with my view on not “hiding” nutrition? Just for fun — how do you think your kids would answer that question?

Stacey Seybold Hiller juggles much and still holds it together. Mom to four kids ages 8 – 15, she owns Dream Dinners in Indianapolis, IN. She has also been a pediatric speech language pathologist for 24 years and speaks nationally on the topic. Stacey blogs about family communication, eating, parenting and more.