It’s dinner time. The broccoli is steamed and the beets are arranged in perfect bite size. Pausing for a moment, you sheepishly add a little mac and cheese onto the Thomas the Tank Engine plate. It’s not your first dinner choice, but you know he will eat it. You set it down and your lil’ one goes straight for… you …know…what.
Macaroni and cheese.
He eats it all and doesn’t touch the veggies.
Try as you may to spoon feed him a few broccoli bites, his lil’ mouth goes into lock down and he squirms and squeals and wiggles. You sigh, and think, “what will it take to win this battle?” Who is best to ask?
Your trustworthy sitter has seen it all. She is the expert on making your child happy; she has babysat every age, experienced numerous personalities and has a boat-load of sneaky ways to distract and excite your child at the dinner table.
With your lil’ one in mind, we are proud to share our top 10 Green Ploys:
Ploy #1: Try naming a difficult food after one of your child’s favorite fictional characters. Veggie stew becomes “Dora the Explorer super soup” or Lentils become “Tinker Bell’s special elixir.” After no time, they end up asking you if they can have “Dora Soup” for dinner!
-Lauren L. sitter with LLD for 6 months, babysitting for over 10 years
Ploy #2: One of the tricks I use for picky eaters is to purée the veggies. I usually stock up on the puréed veggies and freeze them in little bags. Then when I’m making pasta I put the puréed veggies straight into the pasta sauce and they never know they are getting more than a fare share of daily veggies.
-Paige W. sitter with LLD for 6 months, babysitting for over 15 years
Ploy #3: Often times if you put the food into cool shapes and sizes the kids will have fun eating it!
-Laurie K. sitter with LLD for 3 years, babysitting for over 15 years
Ploy #4: I take a bite or eat a similar meal, and then the child wants what I have. Also, kids are really perceptive about adults’ attitudes towards food- so, if I get really excited about what the child is eating, then the child really gets excited about what they’re eating. I’ve found this also works the other way – if the child really wants something they’re not allowed to have (like chocolate) I just say, “Oh that’s yucky!” and the child will usually agree with me!
-Shea K. sitter with LLD for 3 years, babysitting for over 12 years
Ploy #5: Use the iPad (with parent’s permission, of course!) during dinner or books during lunch and sneakily feed the child while he is otherwise engaged.
-Taylor B. sitter with LLD for 1 year, babysitting for over 5 years
Ploy #6: All the tricks are still not working. Easy enough. Blend the veggies and pour and freeze them into popsicle molds. I have never seen a child turn it down as it appears in the form of a fun treat! Carrots work especially well.
-Kristy K. sitter with LLD for 1 year, babysitting for over 7 years
Ploy #7: With older kids, I simply don’t give them an option. If there is some broccoli on the plate, they have to eat it – not necessarily all of it, but I usually do the standard “you have to at least try a few bites of your veggie before I’ll give you more of your favorite food on your plate.” The mom’s always amazed that I can get them to eat veggies!
-Mandy T. sitter with LLD for 6 months, babysitting for over 15 years
Ploy #8: For the boys, ask them if they want to be strong like Superman. Then tell them Superman got strong eating all of his food! For the girls, ask them to play tea party! Put on your princess crowns then ask them to help you find your favorite food. Make their plates colorful with fruits and veggies. They’ll want to taste everything!
-Rebecca W. sitter with LLD for 6 months, babysitting for over 10 years
Ploy #9: I divide the food into portions and say, “All you have to eat is this amount and then you’re finished!” The amount is usually a portion that I know is enough to get the nutritional value. Compromise pretty much works every time!
-Jessica W, sitter with LLD for 3 years, babysitting for over 15 years
Ploy #10: Hide the veggies in foods, or introduce them in fun, unique ways, like a cooking project where the kids can help!
-Courtney B. Sitter with LLD for 4 years, babysitting for over 10 years
Lindsay Bell is the co-founder of Lucky Lil’ Darlings (LLD), an elite family care solutions company providing corporate and family focused babysitting, parent-centric events and inspiring commentary on child care, kids and family focused products. Prior to launching LLD, Lindsay worked in communications for the Radio City Rockettes and as a Marketing Manager for boutique marketing and PR agencies in NYC. For more information on Lindsay and LLD visit www.luckylildarlings.com or follow Lindsay on Twitter @LindsayBellNYC
Lindsay’s headshot by: www.ladyappleton.com