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The Easiest Way to Find Out What Food Kids Will Eat!
Finding out what food kids will eat can sometimes feel like pulling teeth! But, it doesn’t have to be that hard, even for picky eaters.
Just think about how you usually try to figure out what everyone in your home wants to eat.
You probably try to find out minutes before you have to start cooking, or before you should have food on the table, for your kids, or family!
You may simply ask everyone:
“What do you want for dinner?”
“Will you eat (insert meal or snack here)?”
“You like (insert meal or snack here), right?”
And, there’s nothing wrong with outright asking what your kids or spouse wants to eat. The timing is what’s the issue!
When you ask someone what they like to eat when they are hungry and waiting for food to be ready, you’re going to get a completely different answer than when asking someone when they aren’t all that hungry.
It’s just like going to the store hungry vs. not hungry. Your choices are not going to foster good health. Your body/brain will go into instinct mode almost, and help you find whatever has the most calories, fats, carbs, or protein. All because it thinks you’re starving and isn’t sure when the next meal is going to be.
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The Easiest Way to Find Out What Food Your Kids Actually Like
So, yes, simply asking your kids is the easiest way to find out what food kids will eat; but, you have to consider the timing of when you ask them.
What About Toddlers?
If your child is really young, too young to verbally tell you or sign, then it may be a challenge, such as toddlers.
In this case, you could still try asking them if they like certain foods; you may get an answer. However, that answer may be ‘no’ when you’re asking them if like a food they love; simply because they like the word ‘no’.
With toddlers, it’s generally easier to figure out what they like, and don’t like, by watching if they eat the food when it’s served.
If they throw it off their tray or table every time you give it to them, even after you have them try a bite; good chance is that they don’t like it.
If they eat it all up, or even ask for more; they like it. And, everything in between will have a place on their plate, too, even if just once in awhile.
You know how to read your toddler better than I do; so use your mama instincts and write down their likes and dislikes based on their behavior.
Related Post: A Stupid-Simple Way to Get Toddlers to Eat Veggies
When to Ask Older Children What They Like to Eat
Let’s get back to older kids, now; you know, the ones who will actually be able to tell you what they like and dislike, if you would simply ask!
But, the thing is, you can’t ask them when they’re hungry, or tired, playing, or doing their homework. We don’t often realize it, but kids are very busy people; whether they are 3 years old or 13!
You need to catch them at a time when they aren’t busy and entice them to answer your questions about what they like, and don’t like, to eat.
Most kids love to eat, even my picky eater 6 year today would NOT stop eating; it was just one thing after another with barely any breaks in between! Kids going through growth spurts is an excellent reason to have an arsenal of foods they like in the home, and even more reason to find out what that food should be.
How to Ask Children What Food They Like to Eat
Just like knowing when to ask your child what they like to eat, it’s also important how you ask them.
You have to use the right tone, the right questions, and not sound like it’s a chore for you to ask them.
You have to ask them in a way that shows you genuinely care what they like and don’t like to eat.
Help them believe that what they tell you will actually be take into consideration when you make them meals and snacks through out the day and each week.
You need to treat them with respect, and make them feel that their opinion matters. Otherwise, it may feel like pulling teeth trying to get them to tell you anything at all.
You know your child best, and how they react when you talk to them in certain tone. So, feel it out and ask them in a way that makes sense for them.
If that means being goofy with them to get serious answers, then be goofy.
If that means to ask them while they are drawing, so they can draw out what they like and then tell you; so be it! (My girls will do this and it’s so cute!)
Just, make sure you can get serious answers out of them; that way you can take what they tell you into consideration when making meals and snacks.
You may also want to ask about each meal of the day separate, same with snacks.
But, I’m Not Going to Remember What They Tell Me…
You NEED to write it down!!
If you have more than just yourself to feed during the day, you need to write down the foods that others in your home like and dislike. And honestly, you should probably write down the foods for yourself, as well.
Writing down what everyone likes and doesn’t like, while you’re asking them, will make them feel even more important; more sure that you’re paying attention to them and will take their opinion seriously. This will, in turn, encourage them to give you more serious answers!
You could grab a notebook, or any piece of paper you can find for this.
Or, you could download the templates below!!
Writing down what everyone likes and dislikes is vital to feeding our families what they will actually eat, and not hearing complaints about what we made everyone!
What Makes These Braindump Sheets Worth Downloading?
With these templates, you can record, not only what each person likes and dislikes, but also what they won’t eat if given, and what they will eat on occasion!
More specifically, the four main boxes are titled:
- Loves These (Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, or Snacks)
- Will Eat These (Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, or Snacks)
- Dislikes These (Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, or Snacks)
- Will NOT Eat These (Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, or Snacks)
Automatically putting your childs, your own, or other members for your family’s, meal or snack ideas on a scale from favorite to refusing to eat. So you know what their favorites are, what they simply like, what they don’t like (but you could put in front of them to try again), and what they will not eat if given.
Having their ideas separated out like this will help you when deciding on what to make for each meal or snack. And, to help you make mealtime easier, as you’ll now know which foods are a losing battle and will be complained about and which ones will be appreciated!
There’s also a place to record their habits for specific meal times and snacks!
Why Record Eating Habits?
It’s important to, not only know what your child, or family, will or will not eat, but also their habits when it comes to eating.
Some habits you could record are:
- if they eat a lot at a certain meal/snack time, or barely eat anything at all
- if they like warm or cold breakfasts most days
- if they like eating first thing when waking up, or prefers to wait a little while before eating
- where they will be eating the meal (such as at home, school, or work)
- if they need to eat a meal or snack by a certain time to avoid them being hangry
These habits will also help make mealtime, or snacks, go over smoother. And, make your life easier!
Knowing where each person will be at each meal is also super important to write down. That way you can plan meals and snacks that pack up easily when they won’t be home, and more complex (or messy) meals for when they’ll be home.
And, whether you believe it or not, what and when we eat affects our mood.
No one likes being around hangry people,especially when it’s kids. Some kids will start to misbehave, pretty horribly, when they start to get hungry. And, you’ve probably been moody when you didn’t get food in your stomach on time, too, at least at some point before!
So, knowing what time each person needs to eat by will help you determine when to set mealtimes and when to give out snacks.
The Easiest Way to Find Out What Foods Kids Will Eat is to Simply Ask Them!
Now that you know the easiest way to find out what food your kids, or family, will actually eat, along with when and how to ask them; be sure you actually do it!
Ask them when they aren’t hungry or busy, and take this task seriously (bring the worksheets above with a pen or pencil); don’t treat it as a chore.
You could make a game out of it!
Make your child feel important because their opinion of what they like and dislike is important.
Just remember to write everything down, otherwise the time you took to do this will be lost. Asking them a second time so close to the first time, won’t be as easy or as fun.
And, worse yet, if you forget that they told you they will not eat a certain side dish, and you serve it to them every night of the week; they’ll feel like you weren’t listening to them!
If you need more help with mealtime, or making healthier meals that your family will still eat, and not simply knowing what food kids will eat; then I encourage you to sign up for this 5 Day Bootcamp to simplify mealtime with kids!