Do you, like so many parents, cringe when you put dinner in front of your child? Do you brace yourself for the war ahead? Are you convinced your child would starve if you didn’t cave and pop open the can of Chef Boyardee?

My kids, 5 and 6 years old, eat better than most adults. I can’t take all of the credit, but I will share some of the things that have helped me a long the way.

My first suggestion may seem a little too obvious, but what are you serving their food on? At our house, my kids have always had a special plate and bowl set that was only theirs. It usually centers around what they are into at the time. My youngest has been using her princess plate for years and I mean every single day. We also have a very “fancy” vegetable plate. Since it is a “veggie” tray, we can only use it when we want to eat vegetables. They also love to use a toothpick or chop sticks. It’s not always appropriate, but I can almost promise you that if you give a child toothpick to eat with, he will not question what it is he’s eating. Kids love novelty.

Do you have an anti-green eater? There are two ways to combat this. The first is to cook with lots of color. Use red bell peppers or put mandarin oranges in a spinach salad. I have found that the more color there is, the less likely they are to notice the green. Colorful food always tastes better too, for kids and adults. Another trick is to make green desserts – key lime pie, pistachio pudding, or colored rice crispy treats. This is a good way to point out that not all green things are yucky.

I also suggest a last snack call at least 3 hours prior to dinner. Having them good and hungry certainly helps.

I hope these tips help you with your meal time battles. For more tips and lots of kid friendly recipes, visit me at www.menufortheweek.com.

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