Is Your Child a Picky Eater?

Raise your hand if you have said this, or heard this before:
“My kid won’t like that”
“She doesn’t like any fruit” 
“He won’t touch his green veggies” 
“They only like chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese”
“He could live off crackers and chips”
“She won’t drink a smoothie” 
The following are some of my top suggestions that can turn your picky eater into a curious consumer of yummy healthy foods. It all starts with YOU!

Model Healthy Habits:
Mama it starts with you, and Dad too. This may be a tough pill to swallow, but you must be the model of the behavior and habits you wish to develop in your kids. You can’t expect them to eat their broccoli if you don’t. So your going to need to check your behaviors about food first, and see where are you needing some support. Working with a family health coach that helps families around this very issue can be really helpful, because we can get you and your family in a healthier place at the same time. Which is a win/win for you all.
Stock up on Smart Snacks:
This is tough one, but its effective and eliminates the temptation for mindless snacking. Get rid of the junk snacks, all of it. For one, those highly processed foods are addictive to young brains and thats why they crave them. Also you must be solid in your decision to not give it to them, and when the temptation is removed its easier to say what you mean. The most important thing is to stock up in healthy snacks and offer those in a choice. Fill the fridge with fresh food, leave fruit visible, have veggies cut up with a yummy dip, and when they ask for a snack do not day “ok, what do you want?” Most adults can’t even make up their minds about what they want. So give the kids a choice, “yes, you may have a snack, would you like apples with peanut butter or would you like some strawberries and yogurt?  You get to choose the options for them which keeps it in smart snack zone and they get empowered to make a choice.
Kids in the Kitchen:
Kids learn and gain interest through experiences. So you must get them involved. Depending on their ages you can involve them in food preparation in different ways. Take them to the grocery store or a farmers market and have them explore the produce with you. Allow them to select a food they would like to try…touch, smell and taste if they can. If they are old enough, let them come up with a meal that they want to make, with your help of course. Let them get in on your meal prep and planning. They can do many things with your supervision, like simple measurements, stirring the food, tear lettuce leaves, mix the pasta, toss a salad, etc. Offer them the appropriate kids sized portions at meal time and make sure their is something that they like at each meal. Keep adding in the newer foods over time and keep a positive attitude at meal time. Encourage them to eat the way their favorite superhero would eat? Would Super Man/Wonder Woman eat veggies because they make him/her healthy and strong? YEP! They would!
We want to keep meal time a fun enjoyable experience. Kids don’t need to finish their plates and don’t need to be forced to eat something they don’t like. This can create an unhealthy relationship with food. Keep in mind to celebrate every step in the right direction, even if they taste a new food once that is a win!

Positive reinforcement is key.

Kids are learning new skills all the time, they are pretty fearless in this world of options and lessons. Lets support them as much as we can.

If you need guidance in this area, we definitely need to chat. Together we can figure out a plan that works best for you and your family.
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