Chef Boyardee Healthy Eating

This is a sponsored post from Chef Boyardee and BlogHer.

Once our little guy started eating table foods, one of the things that concerned me the most was whether or not he was going to be a picky eater. Since I was raised in a you-eat-what-you’re-served household, I was bound and determined to do the same. But what if he balked? What if he wouldn’t eat his vegetables? What if I turned into a short-order cook?

Needless to say, these prospects did not fill me with joy.

But as it turned out, I need not have worried. Sure, we had a rough go of it a time or two when grown-up food textures were just too much for his two- or three-year old palate. For the most part, though, we’ve fared remarkably well with very, very few food-related battles. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers (after all, there’s only one child in this house, and he’s of a super good-natured variety), but there are two things in particular that worked for us: 1) Try every single food on your plate (every single meal) and 2) You eat what’s prepared for you. As much as I love to cook for my family, I’d drive myself crazy trying to take requests from a seven year-old every single night (not to mention that our weekly menu would consist of little more than chicken tenders, pizza and cheeseburgers).

As a result of our two really simple mealtime rules, we have a child who will eat almost anything for supper. I think the key is to start early with the expectation of eating well-rounded, healthy meals and to be consistent with that expectation. We definitely have ongoing challenges in terms of our parenting, but thankfully mealtime isn’t one of them. This mama is very grateful for that.

But whether your kids eat well or not, it seems like every phase of a child’s life requires putting together a whole new parenting puzzle. Right now, for example, our little guy is doing a great job getting his homework done in the afternoons, but keeping his room clean is another thing entirely. We’ve finally reached a point where he keeps it tidy enough to keep the peace, but I can’t seem to figure out how to help him be organized. Maybe it’s one of those qualities that you either have or you don’t (and truth be told, I struggle with the organization, too), but I know his life will be so much easier down the road if we can cultivate some good habits now. I just can’t seem to figure out how to get those good habits off the ground.

I’m learning to take my victories where I can find them. Today, for example, has been a pretty good day as far as his room is concerned.

I can live with a few pillows in the floor and a bed that hasn’t been made up yet. I just don’t fare so well when the floor looks like a lake of books and action figures.

So what about you? Care to share your parenting secrets? If you’d like to be entered to win a $200 Visa gift card courtesy of BlogHer, tell us one of your best parenting tips in the comments. How do you teach your kids to be organized? How do you manage homework? How do you get them to eat well? How do you handle bedtime? Chime in on one or all of these topics – I can’t wait to read your suggestions!

Be sure to check out the exclusive offers page – you’ll find other bloggers there with even more chances to win.

For great tips from moms just like us, sharing experiences, ideas and advice on how to get kids to eat better, visit Club Mum. Club Mum is the perfect resource for moms to learn helpful hints on a variety of topics, which can be applied to their own family. Club Mum is also on Facebook with daily tips, recipes, articles, questions and a terrific and active community!


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  1. What has always worked for me with picky eaters is to make the presentation of food FUN! You can create faces or mix different kinds and textures of food as you lay them out and especially ask the kids to help. Sometimes they will be willing to try something new if they have helped with the preparation or the presentation!

  2. Present everything cut with cookies cutters – they think everything is fun that way and lettuce wraps are also fun in our house

  3. I am 71 so remembering how and what I did when my children were little is all kinda vague, sometimes I can’t remember what I did yesterday. lolo But thank you for the giveaway. I have a great grand baby on the way and she/he is the first. Will check out Club Mum for some tips.

  4. april yedinak says:

    My biggest parenting tip is to use a less is more approach to just about everything. Buy less, donate more and store what you can not part with in the non living areas of your home. The less you have to clean up, the easier it is to stay neat and organized. I have felt this way since the kids were born. For instance, my daughter’s hated having their curly hair yanked, pulled and styled everyday so I cut it off and kept it short until they were willing and able to style it themselves. The bedrooms were more of a problem until we had a fire and lost almost everything and once I truly experienced the ease and calm of a clutter free life, I haven’t gone back. We only keep books on hand for homeschool and a couple of favs, we keep toys to a minimum (if it doesn’t get played with, it gets donated) and I resist the urge to stock up on clothes. A kid needs a few pairs of pants, about 8 shirts (long and short sleeved) a sweater, a light jacket, a heavier coat and one nice dress outfit. This has been a huge laundry helper, too. No more mountains of 20 loads.


  6. 2ND ENTRY TWEET!/kytah00/status/13698877156753409

  7. My kids are still very little, but I have started rewarding them as often as I can for doing work (above and beyond). That helps reinforce that they get “paid” when they work, a value I want them to understand even at a young age. :)

  8. My kids when they were little, were very much different. One of them loved school but not the homework and the other didn’t like school, but I never had to ask if she got her work done, she just did it. I always found the kids are a one on one situation and and you have to take each one and go with the flow of what works with them.

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  9. Tweeted here too

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  10. Lately I’ve noticed that my sons will behave better if they are given more responsibilities. They like to help out and be praised for a job well done.

  11. tweeted-

  12. Homework is always done after school. Always have fruits and vegetables available. I’ve been very lucky, have almost never had a problem getting the kids to go to bed.

  13. Thuong Pham says:

    Bedtime is not bad at my house. We are used to sleeping early because kids have school early in the morning. They read before sleeping, or I read to the little one. Then turn of the lights and lay there. Sometime they don’t sleep until an hour later, but at least they’re in bed!

  14. Patti Morfeld says:

    I have employed the one bite rule and we have started using chopsticks at the table which has let my 10 year old son think he is really sophisticated!

  15. I’ve quickly learned that with my one-year-old instead of telling him no a hundred times and waiting for him to obey, I simply say no once and when his behavior continues, I re-direct it. I hope that makes sense.

  16. The chore chart with money earned at the end of the week for work done has been really good for our oldest son. The idea was part of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace series. Weekly earnings are divided among spending money, savings, and giving money. If he doesn’t complete his checklist of chores every day, he doesn’t make as much money. His work ethic has improved dramatically. ;)

  17. I have a 4 & 5 year old &i have a book of everything that needs to get done before school. Pictures of them brushing teeth, combing hair, eating bfast, putting on shoes etc. We review every day before school & it saves me from the chaos that can overwhelm me on any given day!

  18. 1. Buy a Love & Logic book. Read it, do it.

    2. It really isn’t true about holding babies too much. Hold your littles every chance you can.

  19. My daughter was a very picky eater. My biggest requirement was that she try everything once. I gave her mini-goals that were age appropriate. For instance, she really disliked any type of meat. I’d ask her to eat three bites of meat when she was three years old, four bites at four years old, etc. She is now 19-years-old and a pretty good eater. There are just a few things she doesn’t care for, but she’s willing to try new foods and does it cheerfully.

  20. I do a lot of praying! I have a 15 year old who does not have the tidy gene. Her daddy doesn’t have it and his mama doesn’t have it. I fought her for years and finally realized I was wasting precious time fighting with my baby. So, we’ve agreed it’s her room, her stuff. She must keep it free from moldy food, wet towels and give it a deep cleaning once a month. Deep cleaning means CLEANING everything and organizing the closet. And she must keep the door closed when there is company coming. I would really hate for all of my friends to see my failures as her mother. ha!

  21. If you puree “yucky” foods, they don’t always notice them!

  22. Julia Wurst says:

    When I have kids I hope to learn some secrets. I appreciate my mom always spending time with me and making everything fun. She was only serious when she needed to be.

  23. J. Johnson says:

    I’ve learned to pick my battles. When my son was three, all I could get him to eat was beans and hot dogs for dinner, and oatmeal for breakfast. That’s it. When the doctor said it was okay for him to eat just that for a while, I stopped stressing. One month later, he got tired of eating the same thing, and expanded his horizons. But it didn’t hurt him for one month to eat the same thing.

  24. I have a child with Asperger’s and I felt like I was constantly fussing at him about how to brush his teeth properly and how to clean his room, etc.

    So, I made lists. I typed up a chart for teeth brushing, room cleaning, etc. and laminated them. They are each hanging on the wall in the appropriate places… so he can use them for the how to’s and order. I am no longer fussing and showing him how. It’s saved us both a little sanity.

  25. We are going to start giving our kids lots of new
    homemade foods right from the very beginning to get them
    used to new flavors and textures

  26. My daughter is still a baby, but I plan on using a chore chart for cleaning. Also, if she ends up being a picky eater, she’ll be required to at least take a thank you bite of everything.

  27. I have to get up an hour before I need to wake anyone up, husband included, then I do not feel rushed and my non-morning crew and I do not have “words”:) It works for me!

  28. Lisa Foster says:

    I found organization and routine was the key to limiting stress. I always planned my meals a week in advance and cooked at least one thing we could “make-over” for another meal–like one night pot roast and the next roast beef sandwiches. We also choose our clothes the night before and ironed if necessary.

  29. Lisa Foster says:
  30. Kelly Sites says:

    We have a checklist on the fridge. Our kids do all of their jobs from the list daily. The list includes:
    Making their beds, taking vitamins, feeding the pets, a chore around the house each day, brushing their teeth, piano practice, and any other daily job I need to include. They know that until those things are all finished, and their school work is done….they have no free time. It works well for us.

  31. Carolyn Fodel says:

    We find homework easier to tackle right after school. Our kids know to come in and sit right down to finish it. It makes life so much easier!

  32. Jenny Goldsby says:

    I try not to pass my OCD tendencies onto my children. I pick my battles and the home has become much more calm since i looked inward.

  33. Our parenting philosophy is:

    Consistently teach your kids the truth of God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:7). Discipline them when they do wrong (Proverbs 23:13-14). And don’t provoke them to anger (Colossians 3:21).

    Everything else falls into the “whatever works” category. :-)

  34. I used to stress out because one of my kids doesn’t like vegetables, but now I just encourage lots of fruit, even fruit salads (with a dollop of whipped cream) with supper. Another unrelated tip: limit video game/computer time. They don’t need to be in front of those things for hours. We generally limit to an hour per day, with more on weekends and on snow days.

  35. this is parenting. Pick your fights. If they want to wear socks that don’t match it’s ok. Other wise your on their back ALL the time for one thing or another.Give them some breathing room.But the most important thing is that GOD is the center of your family.

  36. Homework is usually done after school (after a snack and hearing about her day). I struggle with the picky eater thing…gonna try your 2 tips!

  37. as for the food , what worked with my monkey was to keep a camera close to the table, and get him to pose for photos while eating. I know it sounds silly, but it really worked . I could get him to put any vegetable in his mouth, and smile while doing it.
    As for cleaning the rooms, I help. It makes it easier for everyone. Every now and then the monkey will want to do it all alone, and he will actually do a great job. The ladybug is not old enough yet to do that, but she will work with me if I am in there.
    We really try to get homework done as early in the day as possible. Monkey’s afternoon care usually has a time for it, and if there is any extra, we sit at the table together. Even though ladybug is two, she feels the need to do homework also, so I keep a box of art supplies close by, and she sits at the table and works, too.

  38. My rule, I guess, is to apologize for being rude or short with my kids. I will not use this as an excuse to accept their behavior (or misbehavior), but if I’ve handled a situation poorly, I am willing to own it…I can say “I’m sorry that I (yelled, rolled my eyes, or made a snarky comment), but I’m frustrated because….”

    This doesn’t mean that they are in a consequence-free situation, but I am hoping that I am teaching them that they/we can get through a tough time and hopefully move on.

    Merry Christmas Boomama Peeps!!

  39. Tammy Elrod says:

    Homeschooling avoids many of the problems, like homework (all work is done at home!). The room cleaning is a challenge for my son (the 2 girls are neatniks) and we peridically go through and just stand over him giving direction on what to put where or encourage him to throw away. I figure if he can live with it, I can. He knows he has to clean up when we have company. The best thing for us has been homeschooling and a parent at home with the kids. We are a close tightknit family (even as I say this my kids are fussing and fighting) and we do most things together! Stay involved with your kids, that’s the best tip of all.

  40. our mealtime rules are the same as yours! I am not a short-order cook! I always explain when we’re trying something new that I want their feedback to know if this is something they’d like to eat again (not that they get the last say, but I do really want their feedback).

  41. I tried not to make a big deal out of mealtime. Eventually they learn to eat what they need. Try to fix something healthy that they like and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  42. It seems to me that one of the most important things, consistency, is what I struggle with most. My little guys need to know what to expect–they are so much happier and willing to do what’s required when the expectations are clear and consistent. But I’m very much still learning!

  43. For organization, we try to keep toys to a minimum and have designated spots for anything that comes into the house. This can be hard with such generous grandparents, but we try.

  44. Leslie Mackey says:

    We have a little “Jar” chore/behavior system at our house. Basically, if someone does nice things, helps out, eats a healthy meal, does homework, etc…they get a few coins from the “Mama” jar. If someone makes a bad choice, starts an argument, or refuses to try something at meal time, he/she takes a few coins from his/her jar and gives them to the “mama” jar. When there is a great opportunity, we take the money in the “mama” jar and go to a movie, get ice cream, etc. It’s worked for a few months! :)

  45. I’m no expert, but we did ask for advice from Godly people we trusted and put to use lots of things they told us. One of my fave tidbits is to weave Jesus into every conversation you can. “It’s raining today, so let’s use an umbrella! God made the rain to water His plants – let’s enjoy it!”

  46. I got my kids to eat vegetables-like peas- by saying we were having a taste test. Which did they prefer-canned or frozen?

  47. I try to pick my battles. Also, I am always up, showered, dressed and ready to go before I wake up my daughters (on my days off- on the days I work getting the girls ready is Daddy’s job since I leave at 5am!). It makes for much calmer mornings which makes for much calmer days.

  48. In our house what I make for dinner is what we have for dinner. If you don’t like it, I am not making you something different. BUT, you can have a bowl of cereal. You pour it, eat it, clean it up. It’s a compromise that works well on those nights they just can’t handle my food. :)

  49. I work a half-day ahead of schedule. If we have somewhere to go in the morning, I lay out clothes the night before. If a lunch needs to be packed, I do it the night before, too. If we have an evening outing planned, I stock the diaper bag in the afternoon and put it by the door. That way if we get running behind or something unexpected delays us, we already have things prepared to get us back on track.

  50. My simple hard and fast rule– CLEAN AS YOU GO!!!! I dislike clutter and I can’t stand rooms that look like the toy fairy threw up, so my kids know to put away what they’re finished playing with before they pick up a different toy. It makes life SO MUCH EASIER!! (and less cluttered. :-) )

  51. My sons are now 22 and 25, both are incredible and accomplished young men. My parenting tip is simple: Raise your children with kindness. They only have the wisdom of their years, so don’t expect them to think and reason the way that you do. By using kindness in all things you not only raise patient, understanding children (mine never threw a fit, and have yet to be disrespectful toward me) but they learn to react with the same attitude toward others. Kindness doesn’t mean a lack of discipline or consequences. Parenting is teaching in its most intimate form, and children will do as you do, not necessarily as you say. Modeling good behavior is so important. The time truly flies by and you don’t want to waste it being frazzled or angry. Laugh with your children, play with your children, love them. Don’t ignore them to text on your phone, or promise them “later” and forget it. Making mud pies or coloring together is valuable time – load the dishwasher later, it’s not the end of the world. They’ll be grown before you know it. My oldest is in med school and my youngest will graduate summa cum laude from college this spring. I’m so proud of them and have no regrets about how they were parented. I treasure all of the memories we made together. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

  52. My big kids do their homework immediately when they get home from school, no questions asked. They are also required to pick up their room before they go to bed every night. It’s not spotless by any means, but it keeps it from getting out of control. We recognize that we have 4 kids with 4 very different personalities and needs, so they can’t all be parented alike. But parenting just isn’t easy! Fun and rewarding, but hard!

  53. I agree with Lisa. When I get up and get ready, get the house “straightened” (aka just not a war zone), I can handle him, and myself, much better throughout the day!

  54. Catherine Hunter says:

    I have learned to allow my children to “manage” their own homework and studying. I suggest communicating to your children your expectations, then allow them to map out their own plan for success. Your children will be prepared as school becomes more demanding and will be confident with their study skills.

  55. Designated place for everything for good organization – begin early and be consistent.

  56. My kids are older – 10 yo twins and a 15 year old. My fun parenting tip works great when trying to help the kids keep their room straight and their things kept out of the living room. We pick up during commercials of their favorite shows. It is amazing how much they get done when hurrying to make it back to the television before the show starts again! By the end of 1 half hour program, everything looks great and no one feels like they had to spend a lot of time cleaning.

  57. I try to laugh every day with my kids…it’s what keeps us all sane!

  58. My best parenting secret? Be more stubborn than they are.

  59. I got my daughter to eat her veggies by letting her feed herself! Sure she’s 15 months old and it was a gigantic mess, but now she loves it!

  60. In the morning, beds must be made and when they get home from school they get 20 minutets of “me” time where they can eat snack and after that “homework” time until dinner or they finish and after that it’s bathtime, straighten room and bedtime
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  61. tweet
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  62. definitely picking the battles helps a lot

  63. Linda Picazzo says:

    Sticker charts have worked good for us. We potty trained our little girl by making a sticker chart and when she filled up the chart she would get a prize. It worked like magic!

  64. Beckie Sommerville says:

    Well…I have 4 kids ages 5-9. Yes, they are all very close in age thank you for noticing. The best advice I have on parenting is do all you can to build a heart connection with your kids. I also love Love and Logic and especially a book called Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk.

    As far as food I have always served a variety of foods and veggies and they have all found their favorites. I have the best salad eaters around!

  65. we do homework after they get from school.but first they get 20 eat a snack.then after dinner they know they have a free nite for tv,or video games,and that they clean there room 20 min.before great around here.

  66. Beckie Sommerville says:

    I could not get the URL to copy so I just copied my whole tweet!! Here you go!

    beckieville Beckie Sommerville
    I just entered a great giveaway at! Go Enter!

  67. Susan Smith says:

    Each of our children know they need to keep their room clean and the chores they need to to. We encourage our children to try new foods especially vegetables.

  68. Susan Smith says:
  69. I have one of the pickiest eaters on the planet – and he wasn’t always this way. He has definitely grown into it. I’ll definitely check out the Club Mum site. As for what we do that works – we’re big on natural consequences in this house. We try to keep our cool and be very matter of fact about our belief that your behavior is a choice and if you make bad choices there will be consequences for those decisions.

  70. My son is just 6-months-old so I don’t have any tricks for picky eaters or helping him stay organized, but one thing I do try to do to help me stay organized is taking care of his things right away. When we walk in the door I put the diaper bag in its designated spot so it’s not cluttering up the hallway, and when I get him out of bed I straighten out his blanket and put his pacifier where I can see it so that things are ready to go when I need them!

  71. I made sure to introduce my boys to lots of different kinds of foods and always made them taste it without making a big deal out of it. Now they both will eat just about anything — it’s cool to see them also starting to cook and plan meals for themselves and even ask for cookbooks for Christmas!

  72. Heather L says:

    We have only a few hard and fast rules at our house, but I definitely notice if they happened to have fallen by the wayside: Homework is done before ANYTHING optional in the evenings, and you must at least TRY everything on your plate–you don’t have to love it or finish it, but you have to try it (& if you don’t like it, I’m not cooking anything else). Otherwise, as we move into the not-so-little-anymore years we’re doing a lot of learning on the fly.

  73. We make sure any homework is done right after school, backpack is packed and ready by the door the night before, and I get up early enough to get myself ready before waking up my child. He is still young and needs lots of prompting in the mornings.

  74. We teach our kids that eating right and getting enough sleep will help them to stay healthy. And they are old enough to understand that and want to make healthy choices on their own now.

  75. Not being a parent, I will remeber what my grandparents, who raised me, did with both my aunt and me. We always knew what was expected of us, we didn’t have to guess. There was never anything we could not ask about. We were corrected, but gently. I did get a well deserved spanking when I was 12, but mostly a look was all it took!

  76. Bedtime rolls smoothly with a set routine every night that includes prayers, books and snuggles.

  77. My son is 3.5 months… I have nothing brilliant to add to this conversation!

  78. I grew up in an “eat what’s in front of you” household too, and I’m so glad, because now I have a huge appreciation for a really wide variety of food!

    One of the best tips I’ve ever heard is to have the kids help prepare it themselves. If your child is up there helping you mix spinach into the spaghetti sauce, they will be much more likely to eat it, because they are not personally attached to it.

  79. To make sure homework is done right and quickly (so that we’re not STILL working on spelling words at 8:30 at night) I have my daughter do her homework as soon as she walks in the door from school. No snack; no TV, until it’s done. It works for us. She’s done in about 30 or 45 minutes instead of lollygagging all night long.

  80. Amy Martin says:

    I always make them eat what is cooked. They have to try at least two bites, if it’s something new. I don’t make anything special just for the kids. They eat what we eat!

  81. Melissa B. says:

    I don’t have kids, but I do have a lot of younger step-siblings. When the youngest had trouble eating their food, I would make a game of it. Broccoli? Those are trees! As a giant, it’s your obligation to eat them!

  82. We always do homework first thing when they come home from school or activities, no matter what. Otherwise it is endless nagging to get it done. They don’t even complain about it any more.

  83. the bigger she gets the more i realize being organized is not a natural trait in this family, so we’re having stop everything and take time to do it. at least in small doses!

  84. Kim Johnson says:

    I always tried to follow this rule- Say what you mean and mean what you say! It goes a long way with kids.


  85. I taught my kids to be organized by using bins and other sorting methods from an early age so they would learn toys have a “home”. Same with their clothes and other items – everything has a place. It has not been 100% successful all the time but it certainly is better than the chaos that could be,

  86. With four kids, it’s hard to stay organized! They are required to put away their toys after playing with them and I try to periodically go through all the toys, papers, etc. and purge. Of course, I have to do this when they are not around, otherwise they want to keep everything!

  87. I don’t have children, but I think what matters so much is sitting down at the table as a family. I realize that’s not possible every night, particularly as the children get older, but if it’s made a priority and other activities are kept at a minimum, there’s a sense of family and some great memories that just can’t exist otherwise.

  88. I don’t have too many original parenting tips. I think the best thing I can do as a mom is to love my children unconditionally, the way Christ loves us and pray for them constantly. The longer I go on this parenting journey, the more I realize how little I know and how much I need to learn!

  89. Keeping kids organized! Oy! The one tip I have that has REALLY worked for us is no tv during the school week. It has given us SOOO much extra time. Plus I don’t feel guilty if they watch “too” much on Saturday morning while I read my book. ;) Find your victories where you can people

  90. It is sometimes hard to get my daughter to eat her meals. I picked up learning chopsticks at the store that are connected at the top. She loves using them & it actually gets her to eat the food on her plate! It’s also fun to watch her and see her get so excited when she picks something up with them!

  91. My children like having screen time, be it computer, TV, or Wii. But to be able to have screen time they must be caught up on their chores, be finished with school, and be caught up on their room-cleaning time for the week.

  92. my pediatrician said to give the kids vitamins and not to sweat what they won’t eat. worked for me.

  93. We label all of Jackjack’s dresser drawers so he knows where stuff belongs. There’s a picture and the corresponding word for everything (even undies!).

  94. My children are 20 and 17 years old, so my best parenting tip is to enjoy your children while they are young and not to get to busy with life that it suddenly passes you by. It goes by oh so fast!

  95. right now I’m lucky. My child doesn’t get homework at school -1st grade, so she asks for me to give it to her. Hope we can keep this excitement going!

  96. I tried to keep a sense of humor while my daughter was young – bedtime was the hardest as she was a night owl. There was n TV after dinner, she could read till she fell asleep – it worked most of the time :)