Advanced Pediatric Therapies


Do You Have a “Picky Eater”?

Recently, the New York Times blog Motherlode did a series on picky eaters.  The term “picky eaters” is somewhat tricky; you don’t want to pigeon hole your child into a role by calling them something in front of them.  And by the way, most kids are picky eaters.  However, on the website, they tried some new and inventive ways to get kids to eat new things.  They set family goals (meeting together to come up with them, not just parents) and they set family-friendly, non-blaming rules.  For the full article, go here.  Below is a brief synopsis of what they did specifically that worked to help families eat a better variety of foods and make it so there was only one meal being prepared.  (Keep in mind some of our kids have genuine food sensitivities, allergies and triggers that this plan will not address.  Please work with your OT if this applies to you).

photo from WebMD "Quick Tips to Feed a Picky Eater."photo from WebMD “Quick Tips to Feed a Picky Eater.”

Create a mission statement together. What do you hope to achieve together by the end of the six weeks?

Make a few “mealtime rules” for everyone. See below.

Cook one meal together this week. Based on your family’s preferences.

Plant a small herb garden Put a few plants in the windowsill or backyard to harvest from later.

Try one new food Taste something that you’ve never had before and write a quick sentence of what you thought of it to share next week.

If you have a picky eater in the family, know that it can’t change unless you try, and better yet, try together. Create your own “picky eater project” and let us know what works!

Here are the “rules”that the Motherlode readers made:

10 Rules of Picky-free Parenting:

1. As parents, we will be good role models. We will only ask the kids to eat foods that we are willing to eat ourselves.

2. As parents, we will decide what foods are offered, when, and where. As kids, we will decide of the food that is offered, what we will eat and how much.

3. We will value the process of learning to be more adventurous eaters. We will be willing to try new foods, even if it is just a tiny bite.

4. We do not have to clean our plates. We will listen to our bodies and let hunger be our guide.

5. We will not offer food rewards. In other words, we do not have to ‘eat our vegetables’ in order to get dessert. We will not reward good behavior with sweets and ‘treats’.

6. Mealtimes are a family affair. As often as we can, we will shop, cook, and eat together.

7. We are one family, and we will eat one meal. We will not make separate meals. But we will be sure to include at least one thing each family member likes at each meal.

8. We will learn together about food, nutrition, farming, and cooking.

9. We will have fun, play, and experiment with new foods.

10. We will be consistent in following these rules, but not rigid.

For more in the series, including “Nudge Don’t Push,” “Peer Pressure Helps Picky Eaters Try New Foods,” “12 Ideas to Take Back the Dinner Table,”  and “This Kind of Picky Eater is made, not born,” go to the website here.  All the articles are under “The Picky Eater Project.”

Please see a follow up post on ideas for what to pack for lunch now that the kids are back in school!

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