In the At Home with Martin & Sylvia story "Eating Out," Martin and Sylvia encounter a French family in a local restaurant. They are not only delighted to make new friends, but they are fascinated with this family's approach to eating: all the food in the meal is tasted slowly in several courses.
But the most astonishing part: the French children enjoy all sorts of unique foods — from snails to mussels!
“In France the children try everything,” says Monique, the French mother. “Who knows — it might be your favorite food?”
With that, the children are inspired to try all of the foods on the table. And by the end of the story, Martin exclaims excitedly:
“I had lots of new things that I didn’t know I liked!"
What's the secret to getting your children to eat everything?
Today I invited my dear friend Margaret Connor to chat with me on video. Margaret is a nutritionist — but what strikes me most about her is that her kids eat a spectacularly broad range of foods.
I was excited to invite her to share some suggestions from her own home.
In this video, I asked Margaret to tell us the "dos" and "don'ts" for encouraging broad eating habits. Plus she gives her thoughts about storytelling and food!
Here's a little summary of what I learned from Margaret.
Margaret's Two Don'ts
- Don't try to change everything at once! Add in healthy foods a little at a time.
- Don't bribe your kids with dessert. It gives the message that the best reward for hard work is sugary sweets.
Margaret's Four Dos
- The 1-Bite Rule: Everyone takes a least one bite of every food. She calls it the "no thank you" bite.
- Set the ground rules, and stick to them.
- Try out new foods at snacktime — when kids are really hungry and may be willing to test out different things.
- Use dips — such as a favorite dressing — to encourage kids to try new foods.
Margaret's Ideas for Food and Storytelling
Turn mealtime into an engaging adventure by using stories to inspire eating. For example, Margaret researched the history of Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) — to learn that they were used by Native Americans for 1000's of years — and sharing that story inspired her children to try them. It pulls you out of "the battle" and into an engaging relationship around food.
Thanks for watching!
If you'd like more ideas from Margaret, visit her website at www.margaretconnor.com.
About the Author
Lisabeth Sewell has worn many hats at Sparkle over the years, from Sparkle Kitchen Blogger to Editorial Director to Doer of All Odd Jobs. Her primary role is as CEO.