I’m a cookbook author with 3 kids under 7. I discovered the best hack for avoiding power struggles over food was already in my kitchen.

Marnie Hanel and her three kids

Courtesy of Marnie Hanel

  • I’m a cookbook author, and I want my children to love food as much as I do.

  • I found out they try new foods more readily if I pack them in their lunch boxes.

  • Now I take lunch boxes everywhere, from cross-country vacations to Grandma’s house.

Everyone wants their kids to be adventurous eaters — but as a cookbook author, I really want my kids to love food.

It’s not about the bragging rights; it’s because food has been my way into so many of life’s joys, from exploring new cultures through travel to gathering friends at home.

So when my once open-minded son’s list of approved foods narrowed to fruit, fruit, and more fruit, I got nervous.

And yes, maybe I did wonder if this was karma coming back to bite me for having once boasted about his love of puréed beets.

Looking for a solution, I scoured the internet for advice and discovered that kids may need to see a new food 10 to 15 times before they’ll try it.

While that sounds fine in writing, it doesn’t work out great in real life, when the offended party might throw his plate on the floor and cry, causing you, the food-loving mom who’s just doing her best, to choke back tears.

The parent who can take rejection 10 to 15 times is made of stronger stuff than I am.

Luckily, an easier answer presented itself.

The answer was in our kitchen

One day I was packing my son’s bento-style lunch box for preschool and realized we’d run out of his preferred foods. So I improvised with what we had on hand, shredding some cheese, making some popcorn, and adding a couple cucumber slices, which I knew he’d never eat but at

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Mom of 3 Discovered Hack for Making Her Kids Eat: a Lunch Box

  • I’m a cookbook author, and I want my children to love food as much as I do.
  • I found out they try new foods more readily if I pack them in their lunch boxes.
  • Now I take lunch boxes everywhere, from cross-country vacations to Grandma’s house.

Everyone wants their kids to be adventurous eaters — but as a cookbook author, I really want my kids to love food.

It’s not about the bragging rights; it’s because food has been my way into so many of life’s joys, from exploring new cultures through travel to gathering friends at home.

So when my once open-minded son’s list of approved foods narrowed to fruit, fruit, and more fruit, I got nervous.

And yes, maybe I did wonder if this was karma coming back to bite me for having once boasted about his love of puréed beets.

Looking for a solution, I scoured the internet for advice and discovered that kids may need to see a new food 10 to 15 times before they’ll try it.

While that sounds fine in writing, it doesn’t work out great in real life, when the offended party might throw his plate on the floor and cry, causing you, the food-loving mom who’s just doing her best, to choke back tears.

The parent who can take rejection 10 to 15 times is made of stronger stuff than I am.

Luckily, an easier answer presented itself.

The answer was in our kitchen

One day I was packing my son’s bento-style lunch box for preschool and realized we’d run out of his preferred foods. So I improvised with what we had on hand, shredding some cheese, making some popcorn, and adding a couple cucumber slices, which I knew he’d never eat but at

Read the rest