Tool of the day: Picky eating and food
For many of us, we have a big agenda when it comes to our kids and food. It's primal. Their survival is in our hands and food plays a big part in that.
If mealtime though is stressful in your house, it's important to disrupt this pattern before it gets out of control.
Typically, we attempt to feed our kids at least 5 times a day - 3 meals and 2 snacks. They often learn that this is 5 times a day where they have our undivided attention.
And WHEN they display picky eating power plays they get lots and lots of our attention.
Kids want our undivided attention. They don't care if it's positive or negative. All attention is attention in their minds.
And here's the thing...you truly have no control over your child's refusal to eat food.
All you can really control is your mind when it comes to their eating. I have seen parent after parent accidentally create food issues with their little ones because they don't know how to manage their own mind around it.
I'm not a nutritionist. You may know FAR more about nutrition than I do in fact. What I do know is how to not have unnecessary power struggles with your kiddos in regard to food.
I think that many people, especially women people have layered and complicated relationships with food in their own lives.
Therefore, it's very important to address your own food issues rather than unconsciously passing them onto your kids by caring too much about the amount or type of food they ingest.
Also understand that tastebuds change every 7 years and kids from the age of 2-10ish typically have a very bland palate. If you have a kid that loves sushi and Indian food then you have the exception, not the norm (unless your Indian or Asian:).
Here is my parenting food manifesto:
Set realistic expectations. Offer choices. Prepare food with love. Eat meals together and make the "breaking bread" ritual a fun and beautiful thing. Refuse to argue about broccoli intake. Limit sugar but don't be crazy. When some kid brings cupcakes to preschool for their bday don't call the school and complain. Let your kid enjoy a cupcake or a cookie for crying out loud. Don't make your kids' menu at home look like the ridiculous choices on the kid's menu at restaurants - chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and hotdogs only. Feed your kids real food AND be realistic if the spices don't appeal to them -use simple salt and pepper on their piece of chicken and don't add sauce to their brown rice. Offer cut up fresh fruits and veggies at every meal. Don't allow pantry surfing between meals. Throw some apple slices and bars in your purse for hangry moments on the go. Plan a little. Prepare a little. Be a pack leader without turning into a control freak when it comes to food. Strive for balance.
The bottom line re: food battles is to mostly kick it old school and use common sense. Don't be extreme and if you find yourself being overly controlling or nutso, seek support for your own food issues.
Listen to this audio: