How I Get My Daughter to Eat What I Eat

I’m happy to shout to the rooftops that I don’t have a picky eater (so far). It’s convenient to not make a separate “kid’s meal” at home. It’s better for my grocery budget to not have to buy so many different things. It’s easier to eat out when we can split an entrée. She is more willing to try new things when we go to a restaurant or someone’s house to eat.

This is what works for us. I had to do a great deal of trial and error to get here. Feel free to take, tweak, and reject any of the following. The worst thing you can do is not try!

  • The “stranger” the main dish is, the more familiar I make the sides.

Below, I gave her some pasta arabiatta I made. So, she got a bunch of oranges and a cookie to go with it.

  • Even if I know she won’t like it, I give her a couple bites, so she sees it.

I didn’t think she would eat much of the avocado toast here. I also didn’t really want to share too much of it (ha). So, she got her favorite to fill up with it: chicken fries and ketchup.

Even if she didn’t eat the avocado toast, I felt good about her seeing it, playing with it, talking about it being green, etc. I never want to get to a point where she is only seeing and experiencing what she is familiar with (same for myself!).

  • I stick to the old fashioned “ya get whatcha get” rule.

If she asks for something different than what I offer, I just say “Maybe we can have that tomorrow, but this is what we’re eating tonight.”

I don’t feel bad about it. I always give her multiple options and make sure at least one is something she has eaten many times before. I always offer her all the milk she wants before bed so she still gets a good night’s sleep.

  • I separate “scary” things.

I separate what is a main dish for me. Below, I separated a taco for her so that it wasn’t as intimidating.

  • Divide and conquer.

I know she won’t eat a snow crab, mango poke bowl. I do know she will eat the mango, rice, and wontons in it if they are all separated on her plate. So, I eat a poke bowl with less carbs and she is still eating something unique to her normal routine.

  • We split entrees at restaurants.

She gets to eat off the big plate she thinks is so cool and I don’t watch half a kid meal go to waste. It’s a win-win. If I order something very unfamiliar to her, I order her fries or something I know she will eat to go with it.

  • Arguably most importantly: Just have the freaking pizza nights.

The whole point of all of this is to make food not a big deal or a daily fight. I make sure I just order pizza or get fast food on the nights I feel like it. We turn on a movie and have a lazy night together.

Deon Sumer
Hi, I’m Deon! I grew up in Zachary, Louisiana. I am currently attending Southern University Law Center part-time, where I am also a teaching assistant, with the intention of practicing family law. I work full-time at the East Baton Rouge Law Office of the Public Defender as a secretary. I had my daughter, Evelyn, in the fall of 2018 and am engaged to an amazing, supportive man named Ryan. I love traveling and exploring new places. A plane ticket to anywhere with a rental car waiting for me is a solid vacation. I have a degree in mass communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in political science from LSU. I have a rescue dog at home and love helping with animal welfare efforts. My daughter’s first word was dog (or ‘gog’). I'm also always looking for ways to join the fight against Louisiana's domestic violence epidemic. I spend the majority of my free time gardening or wandering around our neighborhood with my family.


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