Family Dinner Ideas 5MFM_feature

Published on November 15th, 2012 | by Janice Croze

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Sneaky Tips for Easy Dining With Kids on Pizza Night… or Any Night!


Can I admit something to you? Feeding my children can be the bane of my existence.

My older child, who is now ten, was never a picky eater. But, ever since my daughter arrived on the scene five years ago, trying to get healthy food into her, while having a peaceful meal, has been difficult to say the least.

But I have found a few (sneaky) tricks that help us all enjoy dinnertime.

1. Roll with the Tide

The fact is, my daughter doesn’t have the palette my son has. She has her favorite foods and doesn’t like to stray too far. So, I try to find foods that aren’t going to have her turning her head before she takes a taste.

But of course, we moms are concerned about keeping healthy eating a top priority. (One reason I have been an Annie’s customer for years.)

I can’t allow my daughter to live on cookies and milk. I want to teach my children healthy food choices as well as provide them with healthy meals they love.

So, I am thrilled that Annie’s has introduced a family-size, rising crust pizza made with organic flour and tomatoes, whole grains and 100% real cheese! I’m as excited to pop these pizzas in the oven as my five-year-old daughter. This is one meal that I don’t have ANY problem getting her to eat!

2. Serve Veggies First

A tip I learned from my mom is that hungry children, waiting for dinner to move from oven to table, will devour raw vegetables as if they were manna. I remember eating carrots faster than my mom could put them in the pot to cook. I loved that I got to eat them while they were crisp and crunchy — and got to skip her heaping cooked carrots on my dinner plate.

Ever since my son was old enough to chew a carrot, I’ve offered a veggie plate as a “first course.” So, while we wait for the timer to chime on our oven, my kids are eating their vegetables. After the veggie plate is done, I bring out the main course.

3. Make it Fun

I try to make healthy food fun. My kids’ favorite vegetable is broccoli. I know! Shocking, isn’t it? But once they were old enough to chomp down on a broccoli stalk, I started encouraging them to eat their broccoli by getting them to pretend they were dinosaurs eating the “trees.” Their eyes would light up and they would eagerly rip off the tops of the broccoli with their tiny little molars.

To this day, both of my kids will choose broccoli over almost any other vegetable — especially if I serve them raw with Ranch dressing.

4. Work Together

I try to get my kids involved with the choosing and preparing of dinner. Whether it is putting the pizza in the oven or selecting the veggies, some input from the kids can usually make dinner run more smoothly. It also creates opportunities for them to ask questions about related curiosities, like: “Where was pizza invented?” and “Why do carrots grow upside down?” And they are so proud to be a part of creating the final product that I think they actually appreciate eating it more.

Nights like tonight, when I pull out an Annie’s pizza from the freezer and announce it is “Pizza Night,” have us all cheering. And the relief I get from having my daughter happily eat her dinner with a smile, is as delicious to me as the pizza itself.

QUESTION: What are some of YOUR sneaky tips for easier dining with children?

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About the Author

is one half of 5 Minutes for Mom with her sister Susan. Their mission is to provide an essential, go-to site for moms that entertains and informs, while promoting the online mom community. They love bringing moms together and helping support each other.



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