We met Andrea Bublitz and her phenomenal family at our recent Blue Star Families Community Dinner at Hanscom Air Force Base. With two very young children at the table, family dinners for the Bublitzes can be an exercise in patience and creativity!
Matthew and Andrea Bublitz, 3-year-old William and 2-year-old Hank, from Waltham, MA.
To make one meal each night, rather than giving in to “short order cook syndrome” and making separate meals for the grownups and kids. Andrea says:
“Many times I will make a meal only to have the kids refuse it, which sends me back into the kitchen to make another meal that they will eat. It’s exhausting making two meals every night!”
Feeding kids, especially toddlers and preschoolers, can be a daunting task as their palates are still developing and many young children are going through developmental stages that cause them to reject a number of foods. In the Bublitz house, the biggest issue is getting William and Hank to accept vegetables — a familiar difficulty for many families! As a result of the boys’ fickle palates, Andrea often finds herself struggling to find healthy meal options that the whole family can enjoy together.
The Bublitzes are incorporating a smart new strategy into mealtimes by incorporating kid-approved side dishes into a larger meal that may include other foods William and Hank haven’t yet warmed to. For example, Andrea and Matthew may enjoy grilled chicken and vegetables, but adding oven-baked fries to the plate makes the boys more willing to come to the table. Putting familiar foods next to new choices also often leads kids to try the other items on the plate, especially when they see the adults at the table leading by example.
Andrea also notes that she’s found ways to mix vegetables into the boys’ favorite meals at other times of day. One tip that William and Hank especially like is adding sauteed spinach to scrambled eggs at breakfast time.
Get more strategies for helping selective eaters try new foods
Eggs! The whole family enjoys eating eggs, so the Bublitzes incorporate them into many meals, including everything from simple hard-boiled or scrambled eggs to a dinner quiche.
Try some of our favorite eggs-for-dinner recipes:
After connecting with The Family Dinner Project, Andrea says they’ve started incorporating more choice into their family dinner routines. “I learned that it is normal for kids to want to be in control of their food, or to have a choice. So now I’ve started offering two choices of veggies at dinner, and I will ask my 3-year-old to choose which one he will eat. Instead of trying to force him to eat the one veggie I prepared, he now can choose between a couple of options. Sometimes he only takes a bite or two, but I consider that a success!”
Read more real-life family dinner challenges from parents of preschoolers, and get our expert advice
The Best Part:
For Andrea and Matthew, watching William and Hank develop the social skills and manners that are important to their family is a big positive outcome of regular family dinners. (And we have to agree that a preschooler who remembers to ask “May I be excused from the table?” is pretty darned cute! Nice work, Bublitzes!)
Do you have your own Family Dinner Project to share with us? We’d love to hear from you and consider featuring your family! Contact us.