I struggled with my oldest son Ethan being a picky eater for pretty much since they day he was born. We had unexpected circumstances when he was born as he ended up in NICU and he was bottle fed. Once we were home, I tried everything I could to get hime to latch to breast feed him, we even went to a lactation consultant and that didn’t even work. As a new mom, I had that mom guilt but I kept trying to feed him the milk I though he needed most. I ended up breastfeeding him for 3 months as a supplement to his bottle.
As we progressed into solids the battle continued. We couldn’t get him to try new foods. All he wanted was pretzels and surgery yogurt fruit pouches. As he being the first child, we did all the things that we were suggested to try: starve him out, make him sit at the table until he eats, etc. his stubbornness still wins every time.. However, we have gotten him to at least eat a few healthier options like, kale, carrots, some proteins, and a few fruits but even then he will give us a little fight.
As a side note: For a picky eater, we were told at his 4 year old check up that he was over weight and we needed to lay off the junk food… what junk food? What food? I was confused and annoyed. It wasn’t even our own doctor that told us this!
I recently took a nutrition certification course that had a whole section on eating for kids. It gave me a glimmer of hope that perhaps we can make eating a fun thing and not a constant world war iii. I’ve been implementing a couple things already I have learned and Ethan seems to be a little more susceptible to the idea of eating a little more.
I’ll be sharing with you some the ideas I learned that we will be working with Ethan with and perhaps will give you some ideas too!
1. Get them involved. Go to the grocery store and get them involved! Have them pick out a new healthy food to try. Get them excited to pick something out. Let them help you grab the groceries you need to get. Ethan loves to hold the list for me.
2. Have a fun reward tracker. I printed a fun food tracker for Ethan. I explained what her needs to to do throughout the week and he will earn a reward if he collects enough points by eating all the food groups and trying something new three times a week. He chose to go to his favorite trampoline park. A reward shouldn’t be food, but something that the child loves. Could be a coloring book, new crayons, a trip to their favorite place like a trampoline park, etc. but it should be a tangible, non food reward as we are working on staying healthy!
3. Let your child help in the kitchen. Make them feel involved in the process. Ethan loves being involved in the kitchen. Make it fun and reference back to the tracker throughout the day as you are in the kitchen prepping meals.
4. Lead by example. Your kids are watching your every step. They learn habits from us as their parents.
5. Prep their lunches. If they are in preschool or grade school, prepping and putting together lunches for them helps give them those boundaries for the day. Yes it can be easy to let them eat hot lunch or packing the same easy thing over and over, but they may not be getting a variety or the nutrients they really need to sustain them throughout the day . Through this program, I was able to be educated on some really great healthy lunch ideas. I will be trying a few out like Mac and cheese cups, pasta with pasta sauce, a chocolate smoothie made for kids, and finding lower sugar fruit roll ups while finding new ways to get protein in there too.
These were some of the tips that I really loved that made sense and I believe are doable for my 5 year old.
Kids at each stage of their childhood have a general range of nutrition to follow and I loved that I learned this through this program. It’s not about loosing weight for kids like it is for adults, but getting well rounded nutrition in them so they stay healthy wither they are sedentary (active less than fair hours a week) or active ( four or more active hours a week). If you would like to know more about the general guidelines and plans for children contact me today.
eating should be a good experience for our kids. It is the foundation of habits they will carry out through adult hood and their life. It’s going to be trial and error and kids will have their own views on food, but we can do our best to find ways that can make it a bit more easier for them and for us!