5 Moments When Ketchup Was The Mealtime Hero You & Your Kid Needed

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As a new mom, I went through a phase where I thought I could never possibly settle for feeding my sweet little baby anything other than organic, local, wholesome foods. This meant I spent hour after hour, day after day, pureeing my own baby food, then promptly posting on social media about all of the healthy choices I was making for my son.

Now, as a mom of two kids under the age of five, I'd like to formally apologize to my social media friends, because that is so not my life now. As my firstborn grew and developed preferences of his own, I realized that it was near-impossible to get him on board with every meal I put in front of him. And as he and his brother keep growing and are exposed to different tastes and treats outside of our home, getting them to finish their dinners continues to be a challenge.

My mealtime mindset has evolved to include doing my best and improvising when necessary. As a result, I consider myself to be a sorcerer of sauces, and a divine goddess of dips and dressings, including Simply HEINZ Ketchup — my go-to option thanks to seven simple ingredients that I actually recognize, and a taste my kids love. There have been so many times that something as simple as the great taste of ketchup has been the mealtime hero that my family needed, and Romper has partnered with Simply HEINZ Ketchup to round up just a few of the classics, like:

1When The Dinner Party Host Serves Shephard’s Pie, And Your Kids Were Expecting Actual Pie

Allison Gore/Romper

We’ve all been there — in someone else’s home with our kids when the hosts have so graciously prepared a beautiful meal… that your children don’t recognize. For me, it was my boss’ house, and the meal being served that sent me into a cold sweat was shepherd’s pie. My kids had heard that pie was on the menu, and well, this wasn’t exactly the apple pie à la mode they had been craving. In a pinch, I told them this was “dinner pie,” and that the ketchup was the icing on top. Thankfully, my quick thinking worked like a charm, and they both cleaned their plates. Whew!

2When Dipping Starts Trending Among Their Toddler Friends

Allison Gore/Romper

I remember my son coming home from a classmate’s birthday party and asking me why we didn’t have any sweet ’n' sour sauce in the house. I was baffled, wondering how he even knew what that was, let alone took a liking to it within the course of the last two hours. Then he started naming his friends who liked to dip their food. The list was long, and he wanted to be in that dipping club. So, we stocked up on Simply HEINZ Ketchup, made with natural ingredients such as red ripe tomatoes and real cane sugar.

3When Red Becomes Their Favorite Color, And It Must Appear On Every. Plate. Ever.

Allison Gore/Romper

The first color my son could identify was red, so it was no surprise when it became his favorite. He started wanting all red everything, from clothing, to shoes, to toys and beyond. When he started requesting that something red appear on his plate at mealtime, strawberries, tomatoes, and of course ketchup became regulars on my in-house kid's menu.

4When They Decide To Say "No" To All Proteins

Allison Gore/Romper

This isn't just my kids, right? It's no secret that protein is essential for strength, growth, and overall health — but little ones don’t particularly care about any of that when they’re hangry and just want something that tastes good. I’ve leaned on ketchup more times than I can count to dress up eggs, turkey burgers, meatloaf, and more. It brightens up their plate, and puts my mind at ease knowing my kid is actually getting a balanced meal.

5When You Let Them Do The Squeezing

Allison Gore/Romper

Squeezing the ketchup bottle is a simple pleasure we adults take for granted, but kids definitely don’t. Try it, and you'll see what I mean. There’s something so satisfying about swirling some of the good stuff on your plate, and undeniably silly about the sounds it very often makes. My kids love having the freedom to serve themselves, and I'm all for getting them excited about meal time together.

This post is sponsored by Simply HEINZ Ketchup.