6 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Cooking Dinner

6 Biggest Mistakes When Cooking for Children

My husband grew up in a household where he was asked what he would like to eat for dinner. Of course he always picked something like chicken nuggets and fries.. Needless to say, my husband now is a bit of a brat, especially when it comes to food. He was used to getting exactly what he wanted, and now he is unwilling to try new foods. On the other hand, I grew up in a family where you ate what you were given. Mom decided what was on the menu and we couldn’t complain. I believe that is why I like to try all kind of food and I like most of it.

These days parents are making lots of mistakes when cooking for children. I found this amazing post about cooking for children on Quora and I had to share it with you. Here are the main mistakes parents do when cooking for children.

6 Biggest Mistakes When Cooking for Children

Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Cooking For Children

1. Not allowing your kids to help

Making dinner can be very stressful. Most of the time it’s a huge mess so you just want to keep your kids busy either with YouTube, playing outside or reading a book.
But try to do this next time – allow them to help! Kids love to be the part of the process. This will give kids a sense of control about their food and they will also be more likely to eat things that they help to prepare. They will also gain invaluable life skills by learning how to cook from an early age.

2. Forcing Kids to eat

Never, I mean never ever, force your kid to eat things he or she genuinely doesn’t like. Also, I am totally against insisting kids finish all of their food. If my daughter says she is full, I believe her. Of course, that also means no snacking before the next meal.

3. Not experimenting with food

Making kids try new food can be really hard but you have to remember that it may take a toddler a few dozen tries to discover that she or he likes some new food.

I found some great advice about experimenting with food. While you’re cooking do a “taste test” with your kids, where they decide which type of food they like better. Or try and cook something two ways and let them decide which way they  like it better. One simple thing also is: showing them what happens if you add more of some spice and then you let them taste it before and after. Kids love that kind of things!

4. Not offering a variety of food

When you’re kid is a picky eater, you will probably just give up and stop making new things for him or her.  Well, I believe that is a wrong way to go, even though it’s an easy route.
The better thing to do is to offer a variety of food. Of course, they don’t have to eat it all. Just try to get them to take a bite, but don’t force it. It’s ok if they don’t like it – the important thing is to try it.

5. Putting too much pressure on your kids and yourself

If you insist on serving a four course meal for dinner, it will just be overwhelming to a child. Instead, do a one dish meal that have several healthy elements.

Just prepare what you like to eat and don’t worry how much they eat! Mealtime doesn’t have to be a battlefield.

6. Treating kids like little restaurant customers.

When my daughter is spending time with my parents, I know she will be treated like a restaurant customer. They ask her what she wants, they give her another meal if she doesn’t like the previous. I go crazy because of this. In our home she tastes everything and eats what we eat!

My conclusion:
A parent decides what and when the child eats; the child decides whether to eat and how much.


  1. I have battled seriously picky toddlers over they years. They’re bigger now, and they still have likes and dislikes. I don’t typically make them eat what they hate. I do have to make them try a few bites of new food. and I mean that is truly a forced situation because they would pretty much never try anything new. Oy oy oy! As a new parent, that used to stress me out so much. I totally agree with what you are saying here.

  2. Great post! You are a very smart mama indeed. No restaurant style serving and cooking here. My kids have learned to eat it or just go hungry.

  3. The thing that gets me about feeding Peachy (she’s 14 months) is that she is not consistent in what she likes and doen’t like. One day she loves somethimg, the next day she won’t let me come near her with it. I give her new things all the time but I like to have something that I know she likes on the table. It’s impossible to do that when the things she likes keep changing on what appears to be a daily basis. #happynowlinkup

  4. Marina, all moms should read this post! It sounds like plain old common sense, but unfortunately that’s not too common! One other problem I see sometimes is that one of the parents is a picky eater and displays that in front of the child. Not good. But I know one young couple who both have a lot of issues with food but who are making every effort to not infect their children with those issues.

  5. Dinner can be an outright battle sometimes. The only times our kids get to choose what to eat is when we go out, or if it’s a leftover’s night. Thankfully, our oldest has figured it out and at least tries pretty much everything. The second is unfortunately quite stubborn. That child is willing to take a 24 hour hunger strike just to avoid eating something that has spinach/tomatoes/onions/flavor. Thanks for sharing your tips at the #happynowlinkup!


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