I have the world’s pickiest eaters! They seriously do not like any “real food.” If it was up to them, they would be eating junk food all day. My mother tells me that we were the same way as kids and outgrew it eventually and turned out just fine, but I’m still very stressed about it and feel like they’re not getting any proper nutrients. Do you have any advice or suggestions for me?
Welcome to motherhood where we stress about…everything! The number one piece of advice I can give you is to not make a big deal about it! As you may know, kids love doing or not doing what gets our attention and the more you focus on it, the more they’ll continue to eat junk and not eat what you want them to, just to get your attention and reaction. Here are some practical suggestions:
1. Ask your pediatrician about multivitamins for kids so that you can somewhat supplement what they’re not getting.
2. Are you practicing what you preach? What example are you setting for them? Even very young kids pick up on what we do and imitate accordingly. Very often when I work with kids, the kid will eventually say “Why should I eat healthy if my mother doesn’t?” or “My father skips meals, so what’s wrong with that?” Try to role model (if you don’t already) proper eating for your kids. Sit down when you eat, explain each food group on your plate, take along healthy foods even when on a trip, etc.
3. Make it fun! Why does chicken need to be boring? Make skewers, for example, with their help or make a salad party theme. I once bought funky, colorful, kid-sized salad bowls and introduced “salad bar night” in my house. I’m not gonna say they instantly started eating more veggies, but with time, it sure helped! It’s not even necessarily the food itself that needs to be more exciting but even the theme or the colors or the paper goods. In this nice weather you can have a picnic and only bring along healthy items. Kids tend to get starved outdoors so they’ll eat it regardless of what it is.
4. Sneak in the protein and the veggies. You can even make protein cookies (call it cookies, for their sake); just add whey protein powder or peanut butter, which is high in protein
5. Be consistent. If one day chips and soda are just fine but the next day you’re upset about it and don’t allow it, they’re getting a mixed message. Pick one stance, and get your husband and grandparents and babysitters on board too!
By Tanya Rosen