When our family switched to real food, both my husband and I lost weight. However, our greatest accomplishment was with our kids’ eating habits, especially my picky kid.
Before you think your picky eater will turn their nose up to spinach in a smoothie please listen to my story first!
This is a guest post by Pamela Salzman with PamelaSalzman.com. Her blog was introduced to me by Shawn (our FB Moderator). Pamela’s Instagram feed always leaves me feeling hungry, so I thought you guys would love a guest recipe from her today! :)
As I’ve shared before, I am part of a “Healthy Child & Earth” committee at our elementary school, and one of our initiatives this year was to form a Cooking & Gardening Club. This new after school club meets weekly, and the volunteers on our committee take turns teaching different lessons.
The first time I led this group of 1st through 5th graders, I explained the importance of whole grains and let the kids make their own whole-wheat pasta with a hand crank machine. Most of the parents I spoke to afterward said their kids boiled their pasta (and gobbled it right up) as soon as they got home—yay!
The second class I taught (last week) was all about taste testing. And this lesson taught me:
Taste testing games are a great way to get even the pickiest of kids to warm up to new foods!
These games are so easy, they by no means have to happen in the classroom. Today I want to share all the details so you can do this at home with your own kids (and/or their friends). This could honestly even be a fun birthday or slumber party activity (depending on how “out of the box” you like to be and how much you like the idea of positive peer pressure!). The kids in the class enjoyed the activities much more than I expected, and by the end, several of them were saying, “Oh, I wish we could do the blind taste test game again. It was soooo fun!” Score!
I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to share my back story and picky eater tips on The Doctors TV show today! A big welcome to anyone joining us for the first time after seeing the segment, which can be watched here: **** Mobile users may need to click this link to view. For more on the Lunchables we briefly discuss at the end of the clip, be sure to check out my DIY Lunchables post. We did discuss the price comparison on the show, but they apparently cut that part out of the final segment so I’ll share it here… Store Bought Lunchable: $1.99 Homemade Organic, Whole-Grain “Lunchable” (without grapes): $2.24 Homemade Organic, Whole-Grain “Lunchable” (with the addition of grapes): $2.80 So the price difference to send your kid with a healthy lunch that you can feel good about – between $0.25 and $0.79 more! I think we can all agree that is totally worth spending as little as an extra quarter (and some time preparing it, of course)!
Winning over your picky eater is no new topic on this blog, but it’s something that many parents continue to struggle with day after day. So this is why I am super excited to share some new healthy eating tips with you straight from two experts in the field (and both sponsors of our blog)! Cai Dixon, co-creator of the Copy-Kids DVD, and Kia Robertson, creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit, have both created award-winning yet simple resources that get kids interested in – and eating! – their fruits and veggies. Both Cai and Kia are fellow moms who feel passionate about helping other parents overcome the typical struggles they face when trying to get their children to eat a varied diet. Be sure to check out the contest details at the bottom because both of them are generously giving away one of their products along with a $100 Whole Foods (or alternate grocery store) gift card!
The subject of picky eaters is certainly not a new one around here. But after hearing feedback from readers it occurred to me that not everyone is dealing with the same level of pickiness. Some readers have said their child will eat no more than 5 different foods or literally vomit at the table when attempting to try something new. Other kids are picky, but maybe their lack of adventure at the dinner table is because they aren’t being exposed to different foods often enough. After consulting with a couple of occupational therapists I’ve learned that parents are likely dealing with two different issues: picky eaters vs. problem feeders. And for some who have a “problem feeder” on their hands, intervention might be the only answer.
If you deal with picky kids (or even spouses) I highly recommend reading the book French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon. Several readers recommended it to me, and I am so glad they did. First of all, this book is very inspiring. Whether you are able to apply every single tactic to your life or not it gives you the confidence that kids do not have to be so limited when it comes to food. I know I am not the only one who often wonders why so many think that kids will only eat and enjoy “kid food” like pizza, chicken fingers, plain pasta, hot dogs, and macaroni & cheese. Now I will say, as motivated as I felt after reading the book, there’s one huge component we’re lacking here in America. Apparently, in France, their schools, governments, and communities all work “together to create food and education systems that support parents in feeding their children well.” I don’t know about you, but I oftentimes feel like others are working against me (not with me) when it comes to feeding our next generation well. My daughters eat more junk food at school than I would ever dream of giving them at home. I can’t imagine how much easier things would be if everyone in our society was on the same page like they appear to be in France. But rather than waiting around for that to happen we must just take matters into our own hands. And what I have learned from my own children is that converting a picky eater requires a gentle, yet persistent approach and LOTS of patience! Winning over a picky eater is not something that will happen overnight, but if you really make it a priority in weeks, months, or even a […]
Can someone please explain at what point in history it was decided that children’s menus would only offer the following? Hamburger/Cheeseburger with French Fries (or Chips) Hot Dog/Corn Dog with French Fries (or Chips) Chicken Fingers with French Fries (or Chips) Macaroni and Cheese Cheese Pizza Plain Pasta Sure my kids would gladly devour any of these choices, but I often wonder when it was decided that kids need a special, separate meal in the first place? Since when can’t they just eat what the adults are eating? Has it always been this way? Surely not. It amazes me when we go to birthday parties and the food served to kids consists of pizza and cake. How is that possibly being passed off as a “complete meal” for our next generation? Where are the fruit and vegetables? When was it decided that kids would only eat a handful of simple (and somewhat bland) foods? I understand that pizza is usually a crowd pleaser, but how and when did things get to be so limited? How did children end up with such a limited palate? I too used to be guilty of thinking kids had a very limited palate. Not long after embarking upon our “100 Days of Real Food” pledge it dawned on me that I had never before offered my daughters a salad because…they are kids after all!
Winning over your picky eater is no easy task, but (in most cases) it can be done! Following is a list of tactics to hopefully convince your child that “real food” is good stuff. Also, don’t forget that it can take time for one’s palette to adjust to new tastes so if you experience some failed attempts at first don’t be discouraged! 1. Start by switching out the refined and processed ingredients in meals they love for healthier ones. Some recipes to consider: Whole-Wheat Macaroni and Cheese, Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Whole-Wheat Pizza and Whole-Wheat Banana Pancakes (pictured). 2. Give your child a good first impression of the real food you want them to try even if it means deep frying sweet potatoes to make French fries, making sweet zucchini bread, or coating fish in almonds and topping it with a butter sauce. Once your child thinks they like “fish” you’ll have a better chance of getting them to eat it next time (even if you cook it differently).
Most parents struggle at one point or another with a picky eater, and the most important thing to remember is to never give up! My youngest daughter frustrates me almost daily with her pickiness – luckily my older daughter is quite the opposite- but clearly since we are all doing the 100 Days of Real Food together I’ve had to try almost anything and everything to get my 3-year-old to eat whole foods. I hope some of these tips that I have learned along the way, which are all based my own personal experiences and observations, can help you make some breakthroughs with your picky eater as well. And of course please keep in mind that each suggestion is not necessarily going to work for every child out there, but you certainly never know until you try. And as always, if you have any additional tips or suggestions from your own experiences please feel free to leave a comment! Take baby steps when trying to convert your kids to whole foods. First of all, start with some familiar foods by switching out the beloved processed version with a healthier alternative. For example, my daughters both used to love the white store-bought flour tortillas, so one of the first things I did was make them some homemade whole-wheat tortillas.