059: How to Get Your Kids to Eat, Part One

042303 02aWhat’s your experience with your young kids and food?

Do they eat what seems like a balanced meal sometimes – and then other times reject anything and everything you put in front of them?

Have you ever felt judged about your kid’s eating, either by friends or relatives – or maybe by the pediatrician?

This month on We Turned Out Okay, we’ll dig into food and kids, and hopefully by the end of March you’ll have some more clarity on what can seem like a super-cloudy subject!

We’ve got three great interviews with guests you’re going to love – I couldn’t help but include one extra conversation about food, weeknight chaos, and families, coming up in the middle of the month – and two Your Child Explained episodes, where we try to see everything from the perspective of our kids. And finally, two Just-You-and-Me episodes to bookend the month of March!

Today, we start off with the disaster that was our approach to food during our first years as parents, and what I did to fix that.

When our oldest, now 15, visited the pediatrician for his three-year-old annual visit, the doctor had two questions for me: “what does Max eat every day, and what is his exercise level?”

… I had nothin’. How could I tell her that Max’s four food groups at that time were 1) Cheez–Its, 2) Macaroni and Cheese, 3) Actual Cheese, and 4) The Occasional Banana? How could I tell her that his exercise level was nil?

That day, I realized that it wasn’t just Max going down this terrible path; Ben and I were eating terribly, and not getting proper exercise as well!

It was time to start making some changes.

First, I started cooking again; I experimented with muffins, figured out a recipe that Max loved, that was decently healthy – at least, better than what I could find in the store – and most importantly that kept him actually full until lunchtime.

Grab that recipe – and check out the show notes for this episode – by clicking here or going to weturnedoutokay.com/059!

I made those muffins every week or so for years, they are that good! Because of the chronic illness I “acquired” 4 1/2 years ago, I haven’t made them at all in recent years. Until one day in the fall of 2015, I finally felt able – it was such fun to see the reactions of the kids as they first smelled them baking and then tasted them for the first time in years! (My recipe for Maple Oat Muffins is down at the end of these show notes for you to try 🙂

Those muffins were the start of many years of small, positive changes – not just Max’s health but the health of our whole family has improved as a result!

Key Links:

The book that paved the way for nearly all our healthy changes: The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

My friend Heather Kempskie, formerly of baystateparent magazine, came on the show twice last summer to talk about family adventures: click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/020 to hear about the buildup to Heather and her family’s first RV trip, and click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/027 for the trip postmortem!

The book I’m writing for you, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, will be free for three short days when it first launches in Amazon, hopefully April 3! To get notified right away when it launches – so you can grab it for free – and to get your fridge-worthy anti-tantrum, printable infographic, click here or go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com.

Maple Oat Muffins

1) preheat oven to 350°; grease 12 muffin cups or drop liners into them

2) in mixing bowl, cream together: 4 Tablespoons softened butter (one half stick) and 1/2 cup sugar

3) in a smaller bowl, combine: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt

4) mix dry ingredients into creamed mixture; add 1 1/2 cup whole, organic, rolled oats

5) add 1/2 cup milk (we use 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk with great results) and 1/2 cup maple syrup; mix until just combined – over mixing can cause the muffins to be tough

6) divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups; fill each cup about three quarters full, and keep any extra batter for a second round

7) bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until, when you press lightly on the top of a muffin, it springs back

8) enjoy!