Post written by Herlinda Guiterrez
“I don’t like that!”
How many times have you heard that phrase as you’re trying to feed your kids something new? Trust me, I get it. Growing up, I remember hating veggies. My mom would try to get me to eat them, but I’d always cry and refuse. Especially if they were cooked carrots. I wasn’t interested in vegetables until I was about 19. It’s not like I magically loved them one morning, I had to taste them over and over again before I started acquiring a taste for them. I had read somewhere online that in order to start liking a new food, you need to try it anywhere from 7-14 times before you’ll start to be okay with the new taste. Being a mom of two, I didn’t want my kids to hate veggies like I did. Alexia, who is nine, has never given me much trouble with vegetables. I like to call her my adventurous eater. She’ll try anything new and even if she doesn’t like it right away, she’ll try it every time she sees it, in case she might have changed her mind. I didn’t get the same luck with Dominic, my three year old. He’ll lick melted chocolate off the floor, but he refuses to eat most new foods. He does this thing, where he loves to try a food and then he’ll say, “mmmm, it’s yummy,” as he throws it away in the trash. (Who’s he kidding?) Making sure both of my kids are getting a good balance of fruits and veggies into their meals makes me feel amazing as a mom. Even if they don’t finish them every time. I like to focus on creating meals that are filling, tasty and that look good on the plate. Who doesn’t eat with their eyes first? I know I sure do. If foods are colorful, Alexia and Dominic are more open to trying what’s in front of them. With each meal, I try to include something they like and something healthy, even if they don’t like the healthy part. I do this to expose them to that food over and over again and I try to get creative and prepare it in different ways.
They may not always like it, but I want to show them that trying the same foods in different ways can taste better than the last time they tried them. I’m not at my creative peak 100% of time. Sometimes I’ll even let them have a Lunchables, but I’ll add some veggies and fruit to it. When I need some inspiration, I hop on Pinterest or Youtube and search for “bento box lunch ideas” or “kid lunch ideas.” There are so many ways to be creative with food, just have some fun with it! When there’s time for it, I ask Alexia or Dominic to help me with making the lunches and picking out some of the ingredients. I notice that when they’re involved, they’re more likely to try the new foods because they’re proud to eat something they made with their own hands. Experimenting with different fruits and veggies doesn’t have to feel like another chore. Get your kids involved, let your creativity flow and allow room for weird combos. I mean, Dominic likes to dip french fries in chocolate milk. Weird, I know. But, you might just discover your kid’s favorite meals that way.
Turkey sandwich with spinach, and a bit of mayo on half a roll.
Sweet bell pepper slices
Strawberries & grapes
Lunchables: Crackers, turkey & cookies
Strawberries cut into stars
Banana rolled up in a wheat tortilla with nutella
Pomegranate served on a lettuce leaf
Sweet bell peppers
1/2 Turkey, spinach and mayo sandwich on whole wheat bread
quesadilla made with shredded mozzarella and corn tortilla
1/2 mini bagel with peanut butter
1/2 Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Chicken breast, spinach and yellow bell pepper wrap
Strawberries and honeydew Mellon
Strawberry yogurt with strawberry slices
You can purchase bento boxes at amazon.com