Family Meal Planning ~ Showing a Little Tough LOVE
Thank you again for sticking with me on this really important series. I am sure if you are on session 4 of this series, its because you are feeling me when it comes to the discussion of picky eaters in your home. Session one we looked at what picky eating was, and when it is time to be concerned. Session 2, I shared my TOP mom and Nutritionist strategies with you, and in session 3 I shared some tools you can print off and start using at home.
Session Four is about how mom and dad are handling picky eating at home. I Feel I need to take a moment to acknowledge that I am in now way a mental health expert. I am however a mom of 4 children, one of whom has food behaviour problems with sever picky eating. I am also a nutritionist, who has worked with hundreds (if not thousands ) of families who have faced picky eating at home for more than 14 years! Experience is my friend here.
You may or may not agree with me, and I am ok with that. I do however want to share how we manage it at home and how many of my clients have found success at home.
So here we go, how to use a little tough love for picky eaters.
1) Be ok with the tantrum. There will be times that your child will throw an epic tantrum over food that is put in front of them, this is often the power little ones wield. Do your best to brace the storm and stand strong. Giving in will only show your child that the tantrum worked.
2) Offer choices, but keep some expectations. Offering one or two options that fit within a family meal is a great way to show some flexibility and allow your child the power to make a choice. Let me share an example I had at home with my son who is a seriously picky eater. We eat broccoli at lot at our house (its pretty protective stuff!) and my son hated cooked broccoli, so we compromised that he would have his raw and with ranch dip. It use to drive me bonkers watch him bath his broccoli in ranch and then nibbled on the ends of the broccoli leaving the entire stem in tact. BUT it was a compromise and he WAS eating some of it, so I let him do it each time. I would simply ask as I was preparing the vegetable to go with our meal, if he wished have it cooked or raw.
4) Make one meal for the family, not multiple. My heart seriously breaks for moms and dads who have turned their kitchens into restaurants making multiple meals every night. With a family meal plan set; you can let your picky eating child know what is on the menu that night. This gives them time to process and accept what will be offered and you can even, go back to step 2 earlier in the day for part of this process.
4) They will not starve themselves. Many moms and dads give into the behaviours of picky eating because they are worried their child will starve. Now I am not a believer in “eat now, or don't eat at all parenting”, BUT I am a believer that if you don't eat your meal, it gets put away until later. I am also oatmeal before bed mom, so if they don't eat the meal prepared for dinner, there was and is always a warm bowl of oats before bed. This complex carb offers a warm belly and always promotes a good nights sleep.
Thank you so much for following along with me over the past 4 parts. I am always interested in your feedback and struggles with healthy living. Feel free to post as a comment to this blog post or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you!
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Alisa Herriman has been researching and teaching Nutrition since 2003. Leaving her job in the health care industry to share her passion for healthy living, Alisa travels all over Canada sharing her mission and teaching communities how to prevent and fight disease with Nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.