Ragú Asks: Mealtime Battles

Considering how often I write about food, it’s obvious that it’s important to us! I pride myself on feeding my family well and introducing them to new things on a daily basis. It’s not always easy to get my kids on board, however. If it were up to Maya, my 7-year-old, we’d eat white rice and french fries at every meal. Maura, on the other hand, is obsessed with tofu these days. Sometimes I do some crazy things to get the girls to eat…

  • Become a ketchup artist. I draw things on their plates with it. Maura asks, “You drew that heart because you love me?” Of course! And she cleans her plate, practically licking every last bit of ketchup (and everything else) off of it.
  • A healthy competition doesn’t hurt. “Hmm… I wonder who’s going to finish their broccoli first? Will either of you beat your daddy? No, probably not.” This works 99% of the time. But I’m sure they’ll catch on soon. 😉 Cut their food into little pieces first, so they don’t choke as their gobbling it all down!
  • Revert back to babyhood. “Zoooooooooom, here comes an airplane! Open wide!” as I give them a mouthful of veggies. I get lots of giggles… and they fall for it!
  • Make dinner different. I’ll let the girls eat with chopsticks, put everything on a skewer, or let them poke it themselves with toothpicks. The fun factor helps them forget that they’re eating healthy.
  • Lay a guilt trip on them. “There are little kids out there somewhere who don’t have anything to eat and would LOVE this eggplant parmesan that I spent 2 hours preparing. You are so lucky to have a roof over your head and hot food on your plate.” This usually works, but I often end up feeling more guilty than they do!

Come to think of it, those techniques don’t seem that crazy. I’m sure some of you out there have better stories! One thing I don’t do is bribe the girls with dessert. While we do have a treat after dinner every now and then, I don’t think sweets should be given as a reward. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Ragú Asks

What crazy things do you do to get your kids to eat well? Let them dine dressed in a tutu and rain boots, or serve spaghetti in the bathtub? Ragú wants to know! They’re asking parents to share their stories on Facebook.com/Ragusauce. Some of the stories are hilarious! Just watch this video LOL:


Enter to win a $50 American Express gift card by leaving a comment below. Tell me how you, as a parent, get your kids to eat well. Do you do anything weird or crazy? I won’t tell!

For extra entries:

  • Subscribe to my feed by reader or email (or let me know if you already do). 1 entry
  • Tweet about this giveaway up to once  a day using the Tweet button below, or copy this: #Giveaway! Share your crazy dinner stories 4 chance to win $50 Amex GC at #TDB! http://thedomesticbuzz.com/?p=16005 #MomstheWord– 1 entry per day
  • Like The Domestic Buzz on Facebook. 1 entry

Entry period ends Saturday, March 31st, 2012. US entries only, one person per household. Leave a separate comment per entry and a valid email address. Winner, chosen at random, has 3 days to claim their prize.

Disclosure: This post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador in the Ragú® Mom’s the Word on Dinner Program. Visit www.facebook.com/ragusauce to join the conversation.

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  1. Mami2jcn says

    Usually what works around here is saying “No Dessert” unless they eat their dinner.

  2. Jessie C. says

    The wackiest thing I’ve ever done to get kids to eat- sneak beans into smoothies and homemade popsicles

  3. says

    My youngest grandson stopped eating. Out of nowhere he decided he was done and wasn’t going to eat anything ever again. THEN he discovered Ketchup! Regardless of what the kid eats it has to have ketchup on it!

  4. lala r says

    layering spinach into lasagna just to make him eat vegetables
    amramazon280 at yahoo dot com

  5. Janet W. says

    When my grandson starts to get antsy at the table, he will get down and ride his bike around the kitchen and stop for a bite at the table. It’s like a drive-thru. He enjoys it and he continues eating.

  6. April V says

    I just make them eat all their dinner before they can have dessert, and that usually works!

  7. Christine W says

    Nothing too crazy…I used to do the airplane thing when my son was younger. Thanks for the chance!

  8. Danielle E. says

    We don’t do anything too extreme sometimes we use cheese sauce on things they really don’t want to eat or mix them in with something they really like for example add veggies to spaghetti sauce

  9. Tabathia B says

    Well I have imitated tom cruise and slide across the kitchen floor singing in my pj’s
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  10. Rochelle says

    I usually let them know about a yummy treat before they eat dinner. A treat is usually a fruit or dessert they love. I show it to them and say, “You’ll get this after you eat this much of your dinner.” It works most of the time :). Thanks!

  11. Christina says

    Thankfully, so far, I haven’t had to do anything too weird or crazy to get my kids to eat a healthy & well balanced diet. We’ve been lucky and for the most part they all like just about everything. My son isn’t crazy over most veggies so I do tend to hide veggies in things when possible. My youngest called all kinds of fruit “cookies” so anytime she asked for a cookie she would get a banana or apple or melon. She loves fruit still, she’s quite the “fruit monster”.

  12. Teh Doll says

    i have recently found out that if i let my little guy help make the food he will eat it.. it usually ends up with a big mess. but he is so happy with himself that he chows down..


  13. Natalie U says

    the classic bribe of dessert or playing outside with friends once they eat but I always try not to force
    pedidentalasst at yahoo dot com

  14. Vickie Couturier says

    I try to camophage most things I know they wont try,,,sometimes it works sometime it doesnt

  15. Ashley C says

    I don’t do anything crazy yet, I know what my son will eat and what he won’t eat so I don’t force him.


  16. Gina M Maddox says

    I try to set an example and talk about how good the food is to entice him. Thanks for the chance to win!
    gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  17. Gina M Maddox says


    gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  18. rebecca shockley says

    Sometimes I have to get creative and mix some foods together so they don’t see the actual veggie, but they eat it with no problem, the craziest thing I have ever done to get them to eat was suck a spaghetti noodle up my nose, Yuck!

  19. Jennifer B says

    We make a game out of it, or I find if I let her help me in the kitchen she is more willing to try new foods. The games we play are waitress and restaurant

  20. Kathy Rambousek says

    Not too crazy here. I’ve really only done the choo choo train pulling into the statio and the airplane going into the hanger games

  21. Ashley Hatten says

    My son is very picky so needless to say I have to cook 2 separate meals for him. Never done anything crazy to get him to eat though. Thanks!

  22. Cari Schroeder says

    I like to create pictures with foods. It’s too colorful to just pile on a plate.

  23. Stacey B says

    Getting my son to eat is a difficult task. I will usually threaten to take away an activity he likes if he doesn’t eat his food. IE, play station, batman toys, etc

  24. says

    Honestly, I don’t do anything to get my son to eat. He can either eat, or not. He not choose not to and then eat junk food though.

  25. Julie Lynn Bickham says

    I just have dipping sauce if they don’t like a certain meat or veggie and it usually works!

  26. Lisa Garner says

    I get my daughter to eat better by having her eat on her favorite cat plate.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  27. Krys R says

    My son is grown now, but I never had a problem getting him to eat. He has always loved his food, and been open to a wide variety of foods.

  28. Kimberly M. says

    I get the kids to eat by making the food look like things they like–like animals, transformers, etc. Or we make things together and they think it’s cool that they helped so they want to eat what THEY made.

  29. Lorri S says

    I don’t have kids but have made faces and such to get my nieces and nephews to eat

  30. Kelly Nicholson says

    Enter to win a $50 American Express gift card by leaving a comment below. Tell me how you, as a parent, get your kids to eat well.

    not a parent,but i was sent to my room hungry..im still hungry

  31. Kelly Nicholson says

    Subscribe to my feed by reader or email (or let me know if you already do). 1 entry

    kelly n

  32. Ann Fantom says

    We allow our daughter to put ketchup on EVERYTHING. I don’t how she eats some of the things, but it gets her to eat her vegetables.

  33. rebeka deleon says

    i had veggies inside of things i make. like making zucchini chocolate chip muffins. my son at six of them! lol

  34. Candie L says

    My kids simply know they do not get a snack if they do not eat their supper. Usually the treat outdoes the food they do not like. Thank you

  35. Vee says

    I don’t have kids but I like feeding my 2 year old nephew. I do the classic spoon as airplane trick and make him laugh and congratulate him :)

  36. Cynthia C says

    When my kids were small I played the airplane game. I also made healthy dips for their veggies.

  37. Tari Lawson says

    I encourage my kids to try new foods. I have them take 2 bites before deciding if they like it or not. I find they normally don’t like it on the first bite but by the second one they think it isn’t to bad and will eat more.

  38. Debbie C says

    I’ve lied about what veggies I may have pureed and added to things like spaghetti sauce.


  39. Debbie C says

    @chrisdeglen tweeted:



  40. ferriz says

    i sneak veggies into everything. ive also told my nephew that jackfruit is pork. little lies dont hurt, right?

  41. EMMA L HORTON says


  42. Barbara M says

    I once told the kids that brussel sprouts were a fruit – not a good thing to do.
    Thank you.
    barbara dot montyj at gmail dot com

  43. Samantha C. says

    We have a strict try it first rule here. I try to serve healthy foods, but once in a while, I just want them to eat something!

  44. Eileen Burke says

    I usually try to serve healthy food, I don’t do anything weird or crazy to get them to eat, but they aren’t getting anything else so if they’re hungry, they’ll eat.

  45. kathleen says

    I sneak veggies into other foods like mashed potatoes and muffins

    kport207 at gmail dot com

  46. SYLVIE W says

    I involved them in the cooking process and they, naturally, want to eat their handwork.

  47. Christina Sparks says

    i make mashed cauliflower and the kids don’t know the difference that it is not mashed potatoes

  48. ewhatley says

    They won’t eat veggies so I hide pureed veggies in every ground meat dish, including hamburgers, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, etc.

  49. Suzanne K says

    My daughter ate well, if slowly, so about the strangest thing I did was cut things into funny shapes.

  50. Emily Robison says

    I don’t do anything crazy but I try to make dinner comfortable and fun. I just try to make the dinner table a place where we can talk and have fun.

  51. Kathy McCrae says

    Apart from the airplane/choochoo train when infants, I introduced the tough foods from the beginning (lima beans, spinach, broccoli, peas,etc)- Way before they learned that those are ‘yucky’.

  52. Belinda Shaw says

    I make the food fun by cutting up hot dogs and calling them worms. they love to eat them.

  53. amy delong says

    nothing crazy and their are some things they just will not eat!

  54. clynsg says

    I never really had to do anything special to get them to eat–they did that very well on their own!

  55. julie says

    I sneak veggies in when I can and let her know if she eats all of them she can have an ice cream cone:)

    jmatek AT wi DOT rr DOT com

  56. Leslie S. says

    Now I do not have to do anything crazy but I did with my oldest.She was a picky eater so we used food coloring in foods she really refused to eat.Each color was associated with a character she liked(blue was blues clues,orange was bear in the big blue house,ect).It worked and within 6 months she was eating those same foods without the coloring.Thanks!

  57. Tiffany Salvia says

    I sing crazy songs to get my son to eat well! lol It doesn’t always work though!

  58. Debra F says

    I’m embarrassed to say that I have bribed my kids with candy or dessert in order to get them to eat their dinner.

  59. Sunnie says

    My kids eat pretty good actually, they like lots of fruits and vegetables. I make them take a bite of it and if they dont like it, they dont have to eat it.

  60. Sara M. says

    I love cooking & I’m really passionate about food. I make all of our meals by hand every day, so I make sure they eat nutritious, natural, healthy foods. Lots of fruit, veggies, whole grains, & lean meats. I introduce them to different foods & cuisines on a regular basis so they’re not limited or bored =)

  61. Geoff K says

    I’ve done my share of silly songs and embarrassing skits to get the kids to eat their least favorite foods!

  62. says

    To get my child to eat well, I add a little bit of appropriate spices or herbs to food to make it more savory and for nutritional value, even when she was eating baby food. I just do the same for the adults and my 3 year old. She liked Medium Salsa like Daddy, and I don’t like that much spice!

  63. Patricia Wojnar Crowley says

    I don’t do anything crazy…but I don’t make anything special for picky children either! :)

  64. says

    I’ve found that the more you involve kids in meal planning and prep the more likely they are to at least try new things.

  65. brian e. says

    Thanks for the giveaway…we used to puree steamed vegetables & add to marinara sauce to get our kids to eat vegetables !

    senorpiero [at] yahoo [dot] com

  66. Nancy says

    We shop together at the farmer’s market and cook together, so more new fruits and veggies are willingly tried. As to crazy, I have made pictures on plates with food to encourage a picky eater.

  67. Bonnie says

    Hide whatever it is in my “secret” corner of the fridge…they think it must be good if I’m trying to “save” it for the adults.