6 Helpful Tips To Getting Kids To Eat At Dinnertime!


6 Tips to Get Kids Eating at Dinnertime

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A few months ago dinnertime was getting a little tense.  My guys were chatting, playing around at the table, and their food was getting cold.  This was happening more frequently than I would like making for a stressful meal, and frankly I like to relax while I am eating.

I decided that I needed to reevaluate how we were handling dinnertime and revisit some things we had done in the past while implementing some new ideas. Keep in mind this advice is coming from the school of being a parent, and through trial and error. These aren’t set in stone either and I’m sure I will have to change them up or remind myself to do them again.

Here are 6 tips that have managed to get my Kids To Eat At Dinnertime!

The Weekly Meal Plan –

Once a week we brainstorm as a family on dinner ideas. Basically what this comes down to is asking your children what they want to eat. To see how we create our Weekly Meal Plan, visit The Weekly Dinner List

Breakfast for Dinner 

I’m pretty sure there is not a rule that says you can’t make breakfast for dinner. My kids get so excited when I do this, plus it makes for an easy preparation during the school week. Eggs, bacon, and toast are so EASY to prepare!

Looking for breakfast recipes?  Visit my Pinterest board, FFM Pinterest Breakfast Ideas.

Disguise the Veggies

I like to make recipes with a meat, rice or noodles, and a vegetable. Since it is all mixed together and tastes similar, my kids seem to be more open to eating the entire meal. Check out this recipe where I hide a vegetable: Sausage, Asparagus, and Yellow Rice

Aspharagus and Rice

Salad Bar Night –

Speaking of veggies, my kids get really excited when they assemble their own salad. They tend to eat what they put on their plates. I make sure to keep their favorite dressings on hand as well. Check out one of our recent Salad Bar Nights here, Kids Size Salad Bar.

Get Kids in the Kitchen –

My guys love to cook and they love to brag to their Dad that they made the meal.  I don’t have any difficulty getting them to eat their meals on these occasions either. FYI, if you are going to do this remember Safety First. I keep a close eye on my guys when they are near a hot stove or oven. Here is a post where we created a meal together, We Made A Braided Spaghetti Loaf.

And if all else fails…

The 30 Minute Time Limit –

This is the toughest of the tips, but sometimes you have to get real with your kids.

My husband and I told our children one night that going forward they had 30 minutes to finish their meals. If they did not finish within that time, their meal went in the trash and not to ask for a snack later.  If this happened the next day, their food would go in the trash, and then they would lose their TV time the next day. If it continued, we would find another privilege to remove such as video games, play-time, etc.

This reality was pretty tough for this frugal mom to commit too since it meant throwing away food, but a mom has to do what a mom has to do. And guess what? That very first night, they finished their dinner. Apparently the threat of food going in the garbage and TV time going away was enough to get them focused and eating. And what is funny, is my son keeps asking us, “How much time do I have left?” This applies whether we are at home or eating out!

So how do you get your kids to eat at dinnertime?  I would love to hear your tips!

If you try out these ideas, let me know how it goes!



  1. These are good tips. I used to take my son to a Picky Eater class which didn’t go over well. Growing things in the garden and letting him picked them seemed to get us over the hump. I don’t know why, but if he picks it from the garden, he *wants* to eat it.

  2. These are some great tips that I can definitely use with my seven-year old who tends to be a picky eater.

  3. i am so glad that i dont have a picky eater on my hands. She is very good about eating what we make for dinner. AS a kid i was the opposite!

  4. wonderful tips… I have a picky eater and can use a lot of them to maybe get her to eat. Thanks for sharing…

  5. I like the 30 minute time limit. That seems like a good amount of time to eat with ease.

  6. I have five kids that all like different things. When we meal plan, each child gets to pick one favorite meal and a favorite dessert /snack for the week. We try to make each child’s meal of choice a special night for them by letting them choose a favorite toy or picked flowers as a centerpiece on the table. If they do not eat what the other siblings choose, then they lose their meal and dessert/ snack for the week or their chance to choose a meal for the following week If it’s after their turn. This has helped with our picky eaters.


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