Last week I participated in a great cooking class with The Motherhood regarding picky eaters. It was so much fun to spend an hour chatting with friends and guests about ways to placate picky eaters and expanding their palate. Here is a summary of the show. It included so many great talking points, here are a few of my favorite take-aways I hope will help you!
Picky Eating is Normal!
As Stacie from One Hungry Mama said:
- There’s an evolutionary explanation for some picky phases. (some phases come at times of increased mobility, when baby might be exploring places without mama or papa immediately nearby to protect them. Pickiness, natural skepticism of new foods, prevented the cave baby from putting just about anything – like a poisonous berry – in baby’s mouth)
Just Try It
Many participants use the “one-bite rule” to get their kids to try a food before simply refusing it.
“Our rule is you just need to take a full size bite, chew, swallow and then say, ‘Yes, please’ or ‘No, thank you,’” said host Jennifer Leal, Savor the Thyme.
And Keep Trying It
“Always introduce food several times in several forms,” said host Kelsey Banfield, The Naptime Chef. “Kids will pick up on it eventually.”
“It can take upwards of 6-10 tries for a child to accept a new food – so it’s super important to the course by repeatedly serving healthy foods (openly!) and modeling eating them, too,” added Stacie Billis. “Even when they say they don’t like them!”
Interesting Food Everyone will Love
Host Kimberly Coleman, Mom in the City, asked participants to share some of the healthy, interesting foods their picky eaters enjoyed.
“My kids are big fans of eggs,” said Dara Michalski. “We make a lot of frittatas for dinner (quick and easy). We’re able to include a variety of proteins and veggies into them.”
Making Meals Work for Everyone
You can also ask your kids to help you prepare the meal to encourage them to eat the same thing you’re eating.
“Sometimes I’ll cook with both of my girls and I’ll intentionally choose something that is new,” said Kristy Bernardo, The Wicked Noodle. “They’ve never turned down something they’ve made themselves – they’re too proud of it!”
Educating the Smallest Consumer
Co-host Shaina Olmanson, Food for My Family, added, “My husband and I do our grocery shopping and our cooking with all four of our children … We have seen how important this is to getting them to eat healthy and develop a good relationship with food.”
“Sneaking” Foods into Meals?
Opinions varied widely on whether moms should sneak healthy foods into other foods their kids like to help them vary their diets.
“I don’t see anything WRONG with it, but I don’t go out of my way to be ‘sneaky’ either,” said Jo-Lynne Shane. “I just keep a variety of nourishing food around. They eat what they like and leave the rest. I don’t stress over it.”
Co-host Dara Michalski, Cookin’ Canuck, had additional advice for parents of picky eaters based on experience. “I have worked with many children who have significant eating issues, and one of the most basic and helpful changes the parents make is to insist on a regular meal and snack schedule so that kids are not grazing on food throughout the day (and are then not that hungry at mealtime),” she said. “Also, requiring that the child sits at the table to eat, rather than taking a couple of bites between playing, can make a big difference.”
Rewards for Trying New Foods or Flavors
Participant Janice Bissex said, “We have a recipe reviewer chart on MealMakeoverMoms.com. It helps to get kids excited about trying new foods when they are the official reviewer. After trying a certain number of new foods, the child get a prize – we encourage rewards to be fitness or education related: http://mealmakeovermoms.com/mealtime-tools/recipe-reviewer-chart/”
And our insightful, wonderful co-hosts!
Jen Rabulan-Bertram, Next Kid Thing, http://nextkidthing.com/
Marla Meridith, Family Fresh Cooking, http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/
Kristy Bernardo, The Wicked Noodle, http://www.thewickednoodle.com/
Jo-Lynne Shane, Musings of a Housewife, http://www.musingsofahousewife.com
Dara Michalski, Cookin’ Canuck, http://cookincanuck.blogspot.com
Brooke McLay, Cheeky Kitchen, http://www.cheekykitchen.com/
Shaina Olmanson, Food for My Family, http://foodformyfamily.com/
Carol Cain, NY City Mama, http://nycitymama.com/
Shari Simpson-Cabelin, Earth Mother just means I’m dusty, http://dustyearthmother.typepad.com/dusty/home.html
Amy Johnson, She Wears Many Hats, http://www.shewearsmanyhats.com/
Stacie Billis, One Hungry Mama, http://onehungrymama.com/
As always, many thanks to our amazing partner, ConAgra Foods, for making Cooking Connections possible!!!