How To Get Your Kids To Eat Anything

Do your kids lunches sometimes come home only half eaten? Do you wonder how much of their own lunch they ate, how much they traded, and how much ended up in the trash? If you have been anywhere near Pinterest or a recent parenting magazine, you have probably noticed the bento craze sweeping the nation. Bento boxes usually have several small boxes that fit snugly in a larger box that holds it all together. It makes it easy to pack smaller portions of a variety of things, for a more well rounded meal. Because the bento pieces fit together so well, it’s easy to create “art” with the food and know it will still look that way when your kid opens it at lunchtime. We bought ours from laptoplunches.com. Yes, it cost a little more than some lunchboxes but it came with a recipe booklet, silverware, and an insulated carrier. Plus, it’s BPA, lead, phthalate, and PVC free. After a few months of not buying plastic baggies, it ends up being cheaper than a plain lunchbox or paper bags.

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Why would anyone go to so much trouble? Well, because I guarantee that your kids will be willing to try more foods if they look cute. Does yours take one look at something they have never tried and say “I don’t like that”? Mine too. Visual appeal is huge.

This?

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Or THIS!!?

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Start to finish, this took around 10 minutes active time since the starfish crackers were premade and frozen.

This weekend I’ll share some of the tools I use and tricks I have picked up for making a visually appealing, healthy lunch. I’ll also share some easy recipes that are a huge hit in our home. Since I started making “fun food”, my 4 yr. old has starting eating salad, olives, hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers, and many other things he would not have touched before.

The first tools I want to share are cutters. Cookie cutters aren’t just for cookies anymore! I had several in my kitchen already and have added to my collection over the last few months. Every time I go to a discount store like Ross or Marshalls, craft stores, or even Target and the grocery store, I keep my eyes open for cute cutters. They are usually around $2 – $5 so picking up one or two is not a big deal. If you’re an online shopper, you will find any cutter you could imagine at Cookie Cutter Company for very reasonable prices.

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They’re not just for sandwiches! Use cutters for tortillas, potatoes, homemade crackers, omelets, cheese slices, veggies and fruit, tofu, lunch meat, etc… They make anything fun!

School last week was all about letters and learning to spell and write names so I made baked tofu nuggets that spelled out his name. I packed it with alphabet pasta to continue the “theme”.

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Fun, yes? And so easy. I made the nuggets the day before and served the extras for dinner, packing the letters of his name in the container so it would be ready in the morning. The pasta was also leftover from a snack. The rest of the meal took around 5 minutes the morning of. How easy is that? Who wouldn’t love to open the lunchbox and see something like this? Serving someone fun food is like a hug. It takes a little extra time but is always worth it, in my opinion.

Not long ago, I read that the vegetable toddlers consume the most of is french fries. That is so sad and completely avoidable. Join the fun lunch revolution! Let’s raise some healthy eaters who try new things!

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Young Coconut Cocktail

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I must confess, I have a coconut problem. I can’t get enough coconut oil, milk, flakes, and water. It’s delicious and so good for you. It’s full of good fats, loaded with electrolytes, and will boost the metabolism. It also removes harmful free radicals to help prevent degenerative disease and premature aging. Need any more reasons to try it? Well, how about the most delicious drink ever? I’m not exaggerating. My husband’s response when he tasted it went like this “Mmmm. MMMMgulpMMMMM!!!” It’s that good.

The first step is opening a young Thai coconut. It takes a little practice and requires a good sharp knife. Obviously, this is not something you want your kids helping with.

First, place the coconut on a good heavy cutting board. Wood is ideal. Slice all around the top of the coconut, removing the white husk till you get down to the hard shell.

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Then, whack your knife around the top till you find a softer spot. You can either smack the knife into this spot or carefully stab the tip in. PLEASE be careful! Pry up the top just like a can. Pour the coconut water into a blender.

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Next, remove the meat. It can vary in color from a slightly purplish grey to pale yellow. The meat may be super soft like jelly or closer to very firm tofu. All are fine. Using the back side of a spoon, get under the edge of the meat and scoop into your blender being careful not to get any of the shell.

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Blend well. It will be pretty thick but so yummy. You could add water to thin it down but my family motto is Water Schmater. However you say that in Latin, I forget. Anyway, the ideal thinner would be spiced rum. Pour desired amount into the empty coconut shell, add the fresh coconut milk and stir. Add a straw and a tiny umbrella if you’re feeling fabulous. Cheers, Dahlings!!

Easy Spice Tin Labels

Today was my little guy’s second day at preschool. I can’t say that I accomplished much but I did finally finish labeling and hanging my spice tins. That’s something, right? I’m really happy with the way it turned out and it’s nice not to be digging through a basket to find what I need.

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First I mounted a metal sheet I found at Home Depot on the pantry door. I found the spice tins here… http://www.containerandpackaging.com/catalog/deep-metal-tins/79/#1,0&0&0&0&0&0&0&79&0&0&list&0&0,1 A little over $30 for 48 tins. Not bad!

Next, I purchased round Avery labels at an office supply store. The Avery website allows you to easily add text and graphics to your labels before you print at home. Simple!

Add small magnets to the back, also from Home Depot. All finished! Some crazy people might even alphabetize which will last for around 5 minutes now that the boy is home from school for the day.

What do you think?

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After that, I didn’t get a whole lot finished. We live in beautiful Los Angeles where the weather is almost always perfect. So nice, most people don’t even have air conditioning. But, there’s always a week every year when it is HOT!! Day 3 of 90 degrees and high humidity. Yuck. So, this is what the rest of my afternoon looked like.

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Not even a smidge of guilt, either. 🙂 Happy Thursday!