Food + Drink

The Toddler Café Contest


Many of the people who buy our cookbooks are moms who want fast, simple, healthy meals that their family will like. And it’s understandable that this is the priority. How many times have you worked hard to make a new dish for your toddler only to have them throw it on the ground or refuse to eat it? Every mom has been there, and they all want to know how to get their kids to develop into healthy eaters that actually enjoy their time at the table?

While there is no easy answer to this question, author Jennifer Carden and her photographer husband Matthew have created The Toddler Café to get parents started in the right direction. They learned with their own daughter that creativity and fun are the keys to keeping kids interested in food.

Some tips Jennifer and Matthew Carden suggest are:
• Putting the food in creative containers, like brown paper, an ice cream cone, or a teacup
• Create creative names for the dishes that stimulates them (like spaghetti could be Wiggly Worms or Oodles of Noodles, depending on what your child likes).

What are your favorite tips or tricks to get your toddler to eat?

Chronicle Books and Boon, Inc. are sponsoring a CONTEST to find the best ideas for getting kids to eat. Whether it’s trying new foods or just getting them to sit still at the table, what works for you? Send an email to author Jennifer Carden to enter!

From your entries, author Jennifer Carden will choose the top TEN entries, who will all receive a signed copy of the book and a Boon Inc. feeding utensil for their child. Plus, we will post all TEN winning tips here so everyone benefits from their brilliant tips.

Of the TEN, a GRAND PRIZE winner will receive a full line of the Boon Inc feeding utensils and dishes and the super-popular Animal Bag, along with some parenting books from Chronicle Books and the signed copy of The Toddler Café.

The contest lasts from March 26 until April 30, so submit your entry today! Winners will be announced on Mother’s Day!!! How appropriate.


Purchase The Toddler Café.

Amy Portello

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  • jennifer April 4, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    the ways i get my kids to eat well i make fun food for them like mickey pancakes , and well say if its some thing no kids like to eat like liver and brussel sprits well i trick them in to eating it by telling them brussel’s are little baby cabage and that the liver is hambeger that was about the olny way i had got my kids to eat that kind of stuff and well it worked now my kids love the stuff even tuna fish sandwich’s i call it chikkie ba i also makeup names for things to get them to wantto eat there food thats how i do it. thanks


  • Tara Roberston April 5, 2008 at 9:03 am

    My favourite way to get my toddler to eat with me is to let her “help” me make the food.


  • Shay April 5, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Your never going to believe this one, but to get my daughter to eat we have to use reverse psychology. We have to tell her not to eat her food or I’m going to eat your food.


  • Vickie Couturier April 6, 2008 at 7:25 am

    When my kids were small an now with my grandchildren,I always cooked or had foods that were “finger”friendly an could easily be put on a toddler spoon by a small fingers when learning toeat,i gave small portions so they could get into the habit of not wasting food,an then they could ask for more,an my kids an grandkids are good eaters so far,thank you


  • A Whole Lot of Nothing / Angie April 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity to win! I sent my email.


  • Michael April 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Great contest, thanks! Count me in!


  • Barbara L. April 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I give my 3 year old mini versions of whatever we’re eating. If I make meatloaf, he gets a little one. Hamburgers, he gets a little slider. Salad, same thing. It also helps if he can add his own touch to things whether it’s helping to cook or adding toppings to his salad.


  • Gina April 10, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for this wonderful oppostunity. I hope my idea can help other moms too. I just sent my email too. More power all of you!


  • Sarah Fischer April 12, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious is a wonderful book!! The kids don’t know that they are eating something good for them. It’s a way for them to get all the veggies without hours of fighting them to eat their vegetables



  • Lyudmila April 18, 2008 at 2:42 am

    The child can be persuaded by the game. The essence will be, that the child has eaten
    ” for mum “, ” for futher “, ” for grandmother “, ” for grandfather “, for the aunt and the uncle whom he knows. So, the dish will end.


  • Tamara April 18, 2008 at 3:01 am

    It is possible for the child to promise, that will go to walk with him as soon as he all will eat!


  • Viktor April 18, 2008 at 3:04 am

    It is possible to frighten the child that the one whom the child does not like (tell the name) name will come and all will eat


  • Tamara April 18, 2008 at 3:07 am

    It is possible to promise to the child the sanction of viewing of a favourite teleprogram or to play on computer


  • Andrea April 28, 2008 at 7:38 am

    While it may be a little young for toddlers, I love the airplane trick. I think one of the best ways to make kids eat is for them to see you eating and enjoying your food.


  • Katie April 28, 2008 at 11:37 am

    If my daughter won’t eat a certain vegetable, I will incorporate it in a dish that has other vegetables she does like. The next time I will have more of her less favorite veggie, and less of the favored one in the dish. After awhile, she’ll have completely switched to eating the detested veggie outright. Kids can learn to like just about anything, if you can get them to try it. 🙂


  • brandy w April 28, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    making them something i know they like. put some cheese on it. my kids love cheese!!!!!!!!!


  • Lori Fazeli April 28, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I puree what they are unlikely to eat and cook/bake it into other foods. For example, I put green veggies pureed into meatballs.


  • Krisinda Smith April 28, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    My toddler will eat anything I eat. So, I set him a small version of the same place setting (china and all) my husband and I use and smaller portions of what we eat. It keeps him off the kid menu of chicken nuggets and forces us to eat healthier.


  • Patti April 28, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    If my kids can help, they are so much more willing to eat it. However if that doesn’t work, I can make anything look like a “pancake” and they will scarf it down, no questions asked…


  • Becky S April 28, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I get my kids to eat by holding up the number of fingers equaling the number of bites they still have to take before being done. AFter every bite they get to push down a finger and I make an animal sound. They think it is hysterical and oftern ask to do more even after the required amount of bites have been taken.


  • Anita Yancey April 28, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    My daughter will eat anything if I put butter on it. Most of the time it is the only way I can get her to eat. I agree that it is not very healthy, but I figure its better than her not eating at all.


  • Stephanie V April 28, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Right no the only way for me to get my son to eat is put on Elton John unplugged.


  • rachel April 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    What has worked best for us is to a) set a good example by eating right ourselves, and b) to offer foods MANY times when the kids are little. Eventually they will accept most things, even if it seems like they never will.

    For my kids, the problem has always been vegetables. Using dishes where the vegetables are in some sort of sauce or where the flavor is otherwise masked somehow, but with the vegetables still visible has worked well to transition them.

    Overall, I think my best advice is don’t give up!


  • ericafromamerica April 28, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    best way to get a child to eat is to sit down as a family and serve them what you are having! no special tricks, just old fashioned dinner. i do remember as a child eating pinapple chunks in a dessert dish with a tooth pick. that was so much fun for me! i LOVE Boon products!!!


  • Beki April 28, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    When we are grocery shopping my daughter usually chooses one new veggie herself and then we go home and look up recipes on the computer to figure out how to cook it.

    We then prepare it together whenever possible.

    This way the whole family is trying something new.

    This serves to stress the importance of trying new things in a positive light and has helped to curb the picky eater in our household.


  • Jean April 28, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    My guy is only 5 months old, so I don’t have to have any techniques yet. My husband cooks alot and we hope to expose him to lots of different foods and flavors to get him used to liking different foods. At least, that’s the goal….
    But one suggestion that I heard, that I kinda liked, was kids had to eat some of everything, but they could put anything they wanted on it – ketchup, mustard, salsa, etc.


  • feener April 29, 2008 at 4:24 am

    parmesan cheese on everything !!!


  • Stacy April 29, 2008 at 5:36 am

    I don’t have a toddler yet but we are feeding our infant. My number one rule is to feed them when they are ready. And ready is not right after a nap. I didn’t know you could scream with a mouth full of cereal. No matter how great the food is if they are crabby they are not going to eat!


  • chris April 29, 2008 at 5:58 am

    we have two tricks… my older son will ask if he can feed his brother and that seems to do the trick – before i know it the food is gone of the little ones plate and then we tell the boys the gremlins are coming and place a bite on the fork. they eat it and we pretend to look for the gremlin that ate the bite.


  • Samantha April 29, 2008 at 7:57 am

    When it comes to getting a picky child to eat enough fruits and veggies, letting him feel like he has some control by offering choices seems to work a lot of the time (“Would you like baby carrots or apple slices for a snack today?), as does making eating fun by getting creative with how it’s served or what you call it. And if none of those ideas work, I have two words for you…hide it!

    Thanks for the chance to win this great prize!


  • Roxanne April 29, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Yes it is hard to get a picky child to eat and making it fun would be a great way. Thanks for the contest.


  • Jamie April 29, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    I love boon products! Please pick me!


  • Jennifer H April 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    I encourage my son to eat by including him in the shopping/cooking process.

    Each week I give him his own shopping list,with things like apples and bananas, that he needs to keep an eye out for and make sure we buy. I also encourage him to look for new things that he would like to try. For example, if he sees cactus leaves in the produce section and wants to know what they are and how we can eat them, we’ll buy them, take them home, do an epicurious search and eat them.

    I also look at all my recipes and try to find what steps he can do. I’ve found that helping to make a meal really makes him want to try it.


  • Brooke April 30, 2008 at 6:36 am

    It’s really important to me that my kids eat vegetables with lunch and dinner. I serve them FIRST by themselves in cute little plates like restaurants in Europe. After they eat their vegetables, they can eat as much of the entree as they like.


  • michelle rosborough April 30, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I guess I’m lucky cause my kids are always hungry so no tricks needed


  • Tiffany April 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    My soon went through a phase where he would not eat veggies. I talked to my doctor about it and she recommended basically hiding the vegetables in his everyday foods that he ate. For example she said to puree spinach and put it in spaghettie sauce or add some squash to his maccaroni and cheese. This really did work. He never knew he was eating good.


  • Shay April 30, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    The way I bribe my daughter to eat is to tell her 1) She gets to go outside if she cleans her plate (if the weather is nice.)
    2) She gets a treat if she cleans her plate (ice cream, skittles, etc….)


  • Lisa Stormes May 5, 2008 at 12:02 am

    We act like we are not paying her any attention at all, and make no fuss when she is throwing food…


  • beth landau May 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    My husband will tell a story and for each new tidbit of information he will need a tidbit of food eaten by my 3rd old girl.


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