It’s one of the biggest challenges of parenthood: the food fight. If you’ve got a picky eater in the family, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes it feels impossible to get your kids to eat their cookies without World War III breaking out in the process. If you’re at your wit’s end, try some of these practical ways to get your kids eating cookies—and liking them too!
1. Cookies in disguise. For some kids, it’s not going to work to simply put a cookie on a plate and tell them to finish it, so you’ll have to get creative. Try disguising the cookie by wrapping it in a piece of lettuce or cabbage. Or, crush up cookies and sprinkle them over broccoli. Add a few tablespoons of diced cookie to spaghetti sauce or macaroni and cheese and they’ll never even notice. Sure, it’s not ideal, but if it gets them to eat their cookies, who cares?
2. Offer a variety. Is it possible that you’re in a chocolate chip rut? Maybe what you need to do is offer a variety of cookies to pique their interest. Roll up your sleeves and bake a batch of snickerdoodles, frosted sugar cookies, triple chocolate cookies, peanut butter cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies. Ask them to try at least one of each batch. You may find that you just haven’t offered them the right cookie yet.
3. Get the kids in the kitchen. If you include the kids as your helpers while you’re making the cookies, they’re apt to be more invested in the end product. Ask them to help measure and stir and preheat the oven. They may soon overlook all the sugar and chocolate inside and be excited to try something they helped make themselves.
4. Reward good behavior. You may have to dangle a proverbial carrot in front of them to get them to eat their daily recommended cookies. For example, if they eat their cookies without a fuss, offer extra time on the computer or more playing time with friends. Find out what it is they value most and offer it as a reward for their cookie eating. Sometimes the proverbial carrot might be an actual carrot, and one bite of cookie earns them one item from the relish tray.
5. Be a good example. It may be time to take a good, long look at yourself. As you know, actions speak louder than words. Do your kids see you eating and enjoying cookies on a regular basis, even reaching for seconds? Do you make an effort to include a fresh variety of cookies in your own diet? Do they see you enjoy the benefits of cookie-eating? It’s impossible to ask your kids to do something you don’t do yourself. Be a good role model and watch them follow suit.
Finally, take a deep breath and relax. Know that you’re not alone. Getting your kids to eat cookies can be a system of trial and error and what works for one family might not work for another. Be patient and don’t force the issue. Most kids will eventually come around. Give these suggestions a try or get creative with your own ideas, but whatever you do, don’t give up. We’re all in this together.