Image Map

Forget "My Plate," Use, "My Bowl," To Teach Kids to Be Better Eaters

20 November 2013

Perhaps you've seen the U.S. Government's new(er) guidelines for healthy eating? Forget the food pyramid, now it's all about "My Plate." Despite the fact that I'm not sure that I buy into the governments' definition of "healthy," and the fact that even my own definition of "healthy" for my family is constantly changing (even since I wrote this post on balanced eating!), no matter what was on the plate, it wouldn't work for my family since dinner is nearly always in a bowl!

I believe that one of the best ways to get your kids to eat vegetables, is not not serve them "vegetables." 

Just serve "food."

Just serve, "dinner," which just so happens to include, vegetables.

Most of the meals that I make are already "bowl friendly," such as soups or casseroles. But, even if they're not, for my littlest ones, I still toss everything in a bowl, mix it together and cover it with a sauce, if necessary. For example, we recently had chicken fajitas for dinner. For the youngest one (almost 2) I chopped the chicken and peppers, put them in a bowl and then covered them with salsa and guacamole.

If asked, my 4 year old would tell you that he doesn't like green peppers, and when we had fajitas, he passed on them.

However, if I make stuffed green pepper soup, he eats it happily without comment. I would venture a guess that most kids, many adults even, would eat the stuffing out of a stuffed pepper, leaving the pepper behind. The issue, and the argument, can be easily solved by making stuffed peppers into a "bowl friendly" soup.

 (FYI if my kids said they didn't want to eat the peppers, or the tomatoes, I would just tell them to pick around it… in my experience, that gets old pretty quickly, and eventually, they just eat the soup… maybe not that night, maybe not that month, maybe not even that year… but, eventually!)

You can also "scaffold," the meal by using less tomato (or blended tomato) and less green pepper the first few times you make it, and gradually adding more.

The best thing about this soup is that it is amazingly easy to make. It only has a few simple ingredients, and once you've made it a few times, you won't even need the recipe (except to double check and make sure that you're not forgetting something because it seems way too easy!)

Does "My Plate," work for you? What's your favorite "bowl friendly," meal?

This post is linked up to Allergy-Free Wednesdays.


  1. Clever! I love the idea of a meal just being "dinner" and no need to break it down. Veggies are just part of a package. Soups and other bowl friendly meals are a great way to get kids to eat a balanced meal. Unless you're like my nephew who won't eat anything out of a bowl haha!

    1. Thanks Davida! How old's your nephew? Sounds like my son at @2… if food wasn't served exactly as he wanted it with the right dishes and/ or utensils, he wouldn't eat!! I started a "bowl friendly," board on Pinterest… have any good "bowl friendly," meals from your site I could add?

  2. I've found that putting things in a wrap makes the things my picky eater would pick out suddenly delicious and edible. I can make our tacos (ground beef, onion, garlic, spices, corn) and put it in a wrap, and she'll eat everything. If I serve THE SAME mixture with tortilla chips to scoop, she'll fussily work through and pick out the onions...OK! Tortillas it is!

    1. What a great idea! It's amazing how presentation can make all the difference.


Please add your questions, comments, and suggestions so that we can all learn from each other!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...