Six ways to insure kids eat dinner whether there's dessert or not

Aug 22, 2010 by

Are you using dessert to get your kids to eat meals?

It’s not normal for a child not to want to eat dinner.  If they don’t, something’s gone wrong.  They can and should be hungry for real food at dinner time. If they’re not, maybe they’re not feeling well.

More likely, either they aren’t hungry because they’ve had untimely access to food or they are ignoring their hunger and refusing to eat because of some other reason. Maybe they want to jerk their parents around, or maybe they’ve dug in their heels about the dinner that’s served because you’ve forced them to eat it in the past. Maybe they’ve been pushed to eat so…

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Leveraging Dessert to Get Kids to Eat Dinner Every Night

Aug 6, 2010 by

“We have no problem with my kids eating their dinner,” my friend Ashley told me. “Every night I make dessert. I don’t mind doing it. We all enjoy having it. The kids know that if they don’t eat their dinner they won’t get any dessert, so every night they eat their dinner and they get dessert. We have no fights about it.”

Several other moms told me they have dessert all the time, too, for that very reason: it’s one of the key tools in their toolbox to make their kids eat meals.

Recently, a mom asked me this question: “Our problem is that we like to have ice cream (our junk food of choice) in the summertime…

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Six sample consequences for children's disagreeable dinner table behavior that will eliminate misbehavior as well as food refusal

Jul 28, 2010 by

1.  Don’t let them finish their dinner if they won’t cooperate and follow your rules at the table. Screaming, whining, complaining, whatever it is your children are doing that you don’t want to send them out into the cold cruel world in the habit of doing, make getting food dependent on doing things your way.  Be unemotional about it. Absence makes the stomach grow fonder. The desperation will shift from you to them.  While in the immediate, this consequence means they eat less, in the long-term they will eat more. Hunger turns eating suddenly into something kids want to do.  While pushing food creates resistance, pulling it away increases desire. As Elaine Gibson writes in “Useless Power Struggles,” “We can’t make children eat, but we can make them wish they had.”

2.   Send them to their room, along with number one.

3.    Make them eat alone at…

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Cold Culture Eating: Why eating at the table together isn’t happening for some American kids, and Seven Tips to Warming Up the Culture at Your Table

Jun 21, 2010 by

A recent “Zits” comic shows Jeremy pointing his cell phone at the steaming dish his mom is holding, while she asks him, “Do you think Pierce would like to stay for dinner?”

We then see Jeremy sending the photo to Pierce, who responds to the photo–and to the invitation–with “EWW!”

“No,” Jeremy replies. “ Pierce hates meatloaf.”

We had a similar experience when my daughter’s friend was hanging around right before dinner one night. To my invitation to join us at the table, her answer was, “What is it?”

She needed a description of all offerings, then decided she could eat one of the three available. So she joined us.

Many times, children have come to our table and thought nothing of openly turning up their little noses at everything that was served. Expressing distaste at what’s been served is clearly…

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Dinner Table Lessons from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Apr 30, 2010 by

“Have you seen Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution?” the moms I coach in getting their kids to eat have been asking me. I finally pulled it up on the web and watched every episode all at once this week.

If I were in Oliver’s place, there are a couple of things I would have done differently (and many not as well), but I admire what he’s done. The more this kind of thing is broadcast, the better, I figure. Oliver encourages us to provide kids with better food. He appeals to our emotions about its importance, and shows us how it’s possible and enjoyable to cook and eat better food. We also see kids perfectly able to enjoy real, from-scratch food.

One of the best moments of the show for us parents to see is when Oliver demonstrates the…

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Better behavior through better eating? The high price of cheap food

Feb 17, 2010 by

Sure it costs more to feed your children real food than processed junk. But what price might you be paying to feed your kids cheaply? How about lack of focus, bad behavior, poor school performance, even violence or crime?

“Can we cut crime by changing cafeteria menus?” is the question Christina Pirello answers in the Huffington Post this week.

Pirello tells about several instances that prove that feeding people better can result in dramatic improvements in their behavior. From schools to prisons, garbage in means garbage out, but healthier eating can clearly net measurably better behavior. School performance was also shown to improve with better eating.

Being treated with respect, being deemed worthy of decent food, might contribute to better behavior, I believe. But clear results tied strictly to nutrition were also found in a study with placebos.

A better diet dramatically transformed student behavior in a Wisconsin school. In over…

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