The Secret to less Picky Eating
That’s a pretty bold statement.
But what if I told you that less picky eating is 100% available to you? That it’s doable. For every family. And that you don’t need to be stuck counting bites. ? Would you be in?
Because.. that’s exactly what i’m about to tell you.
Less picky eating - the simple way
…“I’m not eating that! You put veggies in it.“
…”I don’t like that green stuff!”
… “I’m hungry, Mom! What can I have for snack?”
Sound (exhaustingly) familiar?
..Sigh. “You will eat 4 bites.” And so the counting begins. Perhaps followed by “no cookie until you’ve eaten 4 bites!”
Yeah. That gets old. Fast.
If you’re anything like me, counting bites is the last thing you feel like doing after FINDING a recipe, BUYING the ingredients, and TAKING TIME to prepare the meal. Just.Eat.The.Food….
Ok. You have a great kid. Smart, friendly, likely silly at times, loveable… and he (or she) is not out to make mealtime a headache on purpose.
He doesn’t actually have a universal dislike of every veggie.
And most likely, he’d really love that taco pizza if he gave it a try… but he just won’t try it.
And here’s why.
The problem is, your picky eater wasn’t invited to join ‘the team’.
And just like you & I, no one likes decisions to be forced on them, and new food can be intimidating!
So- The secret to less picky eating is letting kids choose to eat the food themselves.
Now, I’m not saying you aren’t going to help influence their decisions… yes- you are. But helping them decide rather than deciding for them is where the magic happens. 🙂
How to help your child learn to choose healthy food
Why? Why bother taking the time to help your child choose to eat on their own?
I’m going to pick on bite counting for a second. Sometimes it works in the moment. The cauliflower is eaten. Nutrition into stomach. Life goes on… until the next meal.
It’s like building a house and showing up on day one to paint the walls. The house has no foundation, and no matter how much paint you put on those walls (I’m having navy blue living room walls!), until they have a foundation under them, your walls aren’t going to stand and be your living room. Navy blue or not.
“Eat your cauliflower. You have to eat 3 bites of your cauliflower!”
‘…’why should I bother? It’s white and probably tasteless and looks like a brain.‘
TIP! Over goes the house. Maybe the cauliflower is eaten, but there’s no lasting impact. Next cauliflower meal brings the same conflict.
If your goal is getting kids to eat what is served without a fight, or to not melt into fits of hysteria over beans on their plate, looking at the foundation (getting them to choose it and know why they are) is key!
And the VERY BEST PART is that you can start this process without your child on board at all. That’s what I love!
That’s the simple part. The little mind shift that can allow for a new approach. Now, I did say that SIMPLE doesn’t always = EASY.
But if you aren’t scared by not having ‘instant success so I can tick this off on my list of things to do’, this can change your dinner table for good. #byebitecounting
Here are the 2 principles I use as guidelines to teach my kids to willingly choose healthy foods, and to try new foods.
- Make healthy food normal & create a positive environment around adventurous eating
- For more on this see also: Get your kids to eat healthy food (happily)
- Teach the WHY of healthy eating in a way young kids can understand and can relate to. My favourite way is through kids stories. Use those imaginations!
- See my first published storybook, all about loving spinach & greens here: Flint the Dragon Learns to Fly
So instead of focusing on number of beans eaten today, watch for the small wins to start adding up.
Are your kids eating more new foods than they used to?
Are fruits and veggies being added to more meals and snacks?
Has your child chosen to add something healthy to his plate by himself?
We all know that sooner or later our kids will grow up & begin to decide what to eat without our ‘wise’ counsel.
Getting them onto ‘the team’ and choosing healthy foods themselves is an awesome gift to give them. And the peaceful meal times aren’t so bad either. 🙂
Your turn! Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
More in the picky eater series:
Part 3: Current post
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