Are you tired of eating at McDonald's? Do you wish your children would rather eat your nutritious cooking than mac and cheese from a blue box? Follow these steps to create a completely different kind of monster:
1. Relax a little, especially when they're young. The best thing we did was allow the kids to choose what was for dinner, once a week. We rotated it so that each child would have their own turn, and for the first year or so they always chose ramen noodles or mac and cheese. Miraculously, most of our food arguments ended.
Before then, the dinner conversation went something like this.
Kids: I don't like this.
Me: You know, outside this house I'm known as a good cook.
Kids: You are a good cook.
Me: Then why won't you eat what I make?
2. Involve them in the garden. Let them discover for themselves the difference between a vine-ripened tomato and one from the grocery store.
3. Find creative ways to encourage the children to eat the harvest. Creativity is OK. You can tell them you don't have food for groceries during harvest season, if you're desperate.
4. Introduce new foods in slow, gentle ways. For us, it was a Greek restaurant that offered cheese sandwiches on pita bread.
Kids: We love Greek food!
Parents: Yes, you do!
5. Involve them in cooking. When they want to try something really strange, let them.
6. You are now ready to try the Indian Oven and the Vietnamese noodle place.
From there it pretty much evolves on its own. But your next lesson will be reminding them to be gracious if their friends want to go to McDonald's.