Health Coach to Children of The World

A New Mom’s Survival Guide to Life with a Picky Eater


Written by: ALLIE HENDERSON
Audio Recording by: Christopher Sanchez

"Nutritional Bite" Audio for October 11, 2017 Click Here


Anyone who has ever been around a small child has likely witnessed a meltdown of sorts surrounding mealtime. Whether it’s refusing to eat anything but chicken nuggets or covering the floor around them in heaps of macaroni and cheese in protest, we can all agree that — at times — kids can be monsters for no reason at all other than to test your patience.

Other times, there’s a reason for it. Maybe they’re teething, need a nap or have an upset tummy. At my home, it’s a combination of food intolerances and flat-out picky eating.

In fact, to give you an idea of a normal night at our home, picture pure mayhem as a toddler throws food, utensils and cups on the floor at lightening speeds, all while a large dog runs frantically around and under the high chair to collect all edible items before you even have a chance to process what is happening.

Then, once you think the worst of it is over and said child indicates that they might actually want a bite of the pasta you prepared for them, you hand them the third, non-dog-drool-contaminated fork of the night — because they’re too independent to accept your help — only to repeat the above process all over again.

Every night.

Needless to say, mealtime with young kids can make even the most patient of parents question their existence at times, especially if your kid has been deemed a “picky eater.”

But there is hope. I promise. Or for my sake, that’s what I keep telling myself.

Tips and Tricks
As your pediatrician will likely tell you, most young kids — beginning around the age of 18 months — go through a phase of pickiness when it comes to the food set in front of them. In fact, it’s a great sign of independency because they are learning what their likes and dislikes are. On the other hand, for some it means mentally preparing for battle each night, well past toddlerhood.

If you live with a picky eater, try out some of the tips below:

Patient-and-Consistent


1. Be patient and consistent: It goes without saying, but according  
    to the American Academy of Pediatrics,
it can actually take up
    to 15 times of offering a food before your little one will deem it  
    worthy of
consuming. Try serving the food in question in
    different ways. For example, try steaming, roasting,
baking, or
    mashing sweet potatoes to give them different textures.


2. Let them help: Younger toddlers are still learning how to
    master the use of utensils and want to feed
themselves, while
    older toddlers might be more interested in helping prepare
    their meals with you.
Allowing them to feel independent and
    involved may trigger more willingness to eat and try new  
    foods.
Let your older kids help by letting them shred lettuce
    with their fingers or sprinkle cheese on their pasta. 


3. Start small: When introducing new foods, offer appropriately
    sized portions. Too much food can
overwhelm your child,
    especially when it’s something they’ve never tried before.
    Remember that a
serving size of carrots for you only means a
    couple of bites to them.


4. Don’t force it: There could be multiple reasons why your little
    one refuses to eat — teething, tiredness,
upset tummy — and
    sometimes they simply just don’t feel like eating, and that’s
    okay. Let them tell you
when they’re hungry or want more of
    something when they’re ready. According to MayoClinic.org,
    forcing
them to eat might only ignite or reinforce their power
    struggle over food.


5. Get creative: For those who struggle with getting their kids to
    eat veggies, go stealth mode and try the
age-old trick of
    cooking those items into some of the foods they do like. Add
    some zucchini to muffins or
pureed carrots into spaghetti
    sauce. 

Get-Creative


6. Don’t negotiate or use dessert as a reward: It’s easy to admit to
    defeat and figure something is better t
han nothing at all, but
    negotiating with your kids by saying, “If you take another bite
    of chicken, you can
have a cookie,” could actually make things
    harder in the long run. By leveraging dessert as a reward,

    you’re teaching them that dessert is the best type of food,
    hurting their willingness to try and make 
healthier choices.

7. Offer a variety: While you don’t want to be a short-order chef,
    try offering at least five different types of
foods during a meal.
    While peas may not be their thing, black beans and brown rice
    might. Use this as a
way to offer new foods alongside their
    favorites so you can be sure that they eat something.


8. Don’t stress if it’s not a balanced meal: There have been times
    when my son refuses to eat anything
other than a banana, and
    while it drives me insane, it’s better than nothing at all.
    Remember that some
days they’ll eat better than others, but
    when looking back on the week as a whole, it usually balances

    out.

9. Limit snacks and juice: While snacks are a necessity for
    growing bodies it’s easy for little bellies to fill up
on crackers
    and juice throughout the day. Try limiting the amount of
    snacks your child eats in between
meals and focus on offering
    ones that support growth, health and energy. They might be
    more willing to
eat something new at dinnertime because they
    actually have an appetite.

Limit-Snacks-e1469225951964


10. Set a good example: Kids often want to do what you’re doing,
      whether they’re physically able to or not,
so make sure you’re
      setting healthy examples and eating together as a family.



At the end of the day, just remember that you’re doing your best and that your kid does actually love and appreciate everything you do for them. It’s just one of the joyous moments that make up this journey we call parenthood. Spaghetti-stained walls and all.

For your Child's specific "Nutritional Game Plan" visit here.


As Always, From Me to You in Health & Happiness.

Optimal Cells, "Thee Children's Health Coach".

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