Are you placating a picky eater?

I have an important question for you. Do you ask your child what she wants to eat at meal times?

Child strong arming parent for lollipop

If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. You might feel that you have to offer the kinds of foods she wants because otherwise she’ll be undernourished and walk around feeling hungry all day – or week. Well, I’m here to tell you that kind of thinking is like a sweater full price at Neiman’s. I’m not buying it. And you shouldn’t either.

While doling out choices seems like a good idea in the moment, the reality is that this action feeds your child’s mind the belief that it’s OK to grimace over her grub. And it’s really not. If you’re serving up non-stop rounds of mac ’n cheese, pizza and chicken nuggets, day after day, you and your child are on a never-ending merry-go-round of questioning and catering.

So chomp on this food fact for a second. Your child will still grow on empty calories. But the reality is that it’s only with good nutrition (protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy and vegetables) that she has a fighting chance at a disease- and infection-free life. So it’s really important to break the cycle as early as possible, and turn your picky eater into a passionate one.

mom serving soup to daughter

Here’s how: With eSatter’s Division of Responsibility (DOR) method, you get to decide what, where and when you offer food, and your child gets to choose how much or little of it he eats. The idea here is that if parents do their job with feeding, children will do their job with eating. See how nicely that works?

Let me unpack that for you. If you start preparing healthy foods without catering to likes and dislikes, you will ultimately raise children with a delicious appetite for eating a variety of foods. Your child will ultimately grow up wanting to experience different tastes and textures. And in doing so, she’ll get a body designed specifically for her. What could be healthier than that?

Do you have a picky eater? Tell me about your picky eater in the comments. Have you gotten to a place where you just ask what your kiddos want for dinner to avoid the headache?

Bust Out of Bread Boredom

child bored and disgusted with bread

What if I told you that shutting out the sandwich is actually a good thing? The truth is bread – in all its fluffiness and yumminess – is processed by the body like sugar. Yup. sugar. Those yummy little whole grains are pulverized into flour to make bread. And, flour is essentially sugar to the body. Top that with many chemicals and preservatives laden in the commercially processed varieties and you’ve got yourself a pretty toxic, sugary meal.

So while packing a PB + J sandwich in your kiddo’s lunch may seem like a convenient option on a busy weekday morning, think again. The reality is that by doling out daily sandwiches, you’re actually serving up a hearty dose of sugar to your sweet kid. And we both know what that looks like come 3 p.m.

But there’s a better way, healthy mama, and it looks like this: leftovers. Your kiddo is sure to gobble up last night’s turkey dinner tomorrow – providing you add a new twist: simply chop up some bite-sized pieces and mix with olive oil mayo and slivers of celery. Add it to a kid-friendly thermos like Foogo and don’t forget the fork!kids lunch no bread

Other well-traveled options that have a knack for getting noticed include mini meatballs covered in tomato sauce or roasted turkey roll-ups with a little cranberry sauce or chopped apple inside. Yum.

And when the weather turns chilly, I turn my attention to soup. I make a batch in the crockpot, ladle some in a thermos the night before and then freeze the rest for another time. Super. Easy.

So move the sandwich out of the spotlight and into the wings when it comes to lunch time this week. Remember to make sure all the little supporting cast – carrots, fruit, yogurt with granola – are in place. And then wait and see who gets a standing ovation. My guess is you, healthy mama!

What’s your biggest challenge with busting out of bread boredom? Tell us in the comments. And, stay tuned this week on Facebook for more ideas to Bust Out of the Bread Boredom!

Pl. Eeeeeeeeeese. With a Cherry on Top?

Child whining

How many times has your toddler burst into a beg-whine only to have you, well, begging for some wine? Whining of any kind can grate on a mama’s nerves, but it’s the persistent whine after you’ve said no to a sweet treat that can really send the mellowest mama into orbit. Not that I’ve been there.

The good news is you are not Barbie, which means you actually can put your foot down! The bad news is if you dig in your heels too much – or in the wrong way – talk of sweets will turn sour in seconds.

You see, when it comes to dessert and sweets, you have to be a clever cupcake. And by doing so, I mean you have to change your thinking a bit if you grew up with adults who:

  • Offered something sweet as a reward for achievements: good grades, a home run in baseball or a clean room.
  • Doled out dessert only after all the food on your plate was tucked in your tummy.
  • Created the idea that sweets only coincide with celebration.

cupcakes

The problem with these three examples is that each, in its own way, leads to picky or emotional eating: I got an award at school today; I deserve to have something yummy. I don’t like green beans; why can’t I still have dessert? I got picked last for kick ball; at least some ice cream will make me feel a little better.

Not. Good.

So do your kids a double-scoop favor and don’t give sweets so much power. Instead, level the playing field and offer the cookie with the meal. It just may mean the difference between a child who appreciates a treat and one who relies on one. Plus, this kind of thinking is bound to leave an impression on your kid for when he’s raising his own little ankle biter. And that, healthy mama, is one syrupy sweet thought.

Did you grow up getting sweet foods as a reward? Are you ready to demote the sweets in your family? Tell us in the comments about your experience with sweets and what you plan to do with your family.