I'll start with a few links for you.
First, Crafty Crow is holding a Funny Food Contest this week. Be creative with that food and see if it wins you a prize. Remember, kids love to see their food transform into something else. So getting them to eat nutritiously might be easier when it looks like this:Check out Junior Society for some more inspiring photos.
While at Crafty Crow I saw another mom's ingenious idea for presenting lunch in a different way: Muffin Tin Monday! I love it!
And last here is a post one of my college roommates made on her super healthy recipe blog: How to Get Your Kids to Eat their Veggies! Lots of good advice that I may put into action when I get out of Fiji and decide I can live without my junk food.
Now I'm out of links and have to add my own two cents. I've had good parenting moments and bad parenting moments in this area. Mostly the latter. I forget to feed him breakfast. I consent to a spoonful of peanut butter as lunch. I regularly reward good eating with dessert. I have even resorted to playing the animal game at the table in hopes of getting my child to eat (he was usually a tiger stalking his chicken prey...it gets embarrassing when people come over for dinner or when we are at a restraunt and he demands to hear "bock-bock-begock" coming from his fork. I would suggest you don't even start down that road.) So eating is not my strong point in parenting. I have learned a few things though.
1. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Boy life is better when we have a plan and stick to it. Every time we eat it is at an appointed time: breakfast 7:00, Snack 9:30, Lunch 11:30, etc. It eliminates the struggles over non-nutritious mid-meal snacks.
2. Pull up a chair. Meals are much smoother if I treat it like an activity. No, I don't mean making it into a game. By giving my whole attention to the process of eating WITH my son, he is able to focus on eating and doesn't get so distracted. Makes for wonderful memories as well as healthy tummies.
3. Example. I fail at this. I'm the one that eats a candy bar for breakfast or moves from one snack food to the other all afternoon in lieu of lunch. I've learned to control my eating, at least in front of him, so he can learn how to take care of his body.
And somehow, with all the things I've done wrong in the nutrition area, I know I've done at least one thing right when the little guy leans over at dinner and says, "Mom, can I mix my broccoli into my noodles to make the noodles taste better?"