Do you have picky eaters in your household? Since I post my family dinners on facebook regularly, I often have people ask me if my kids actually eat the foods I serve? The answer is yes, for the most part. There are things that are a part of the meal that certain kids do not prefer. Like a particular vegetable may be enjoyed by two out of four of my boys. Or a certain vegetable may be tolerated, yet not wholeheartedly embraced. Regardless, my boys have come a long way in what they are willing to eat as well as what they are willing to try. It has been a joy to see this happening over the years and keep getting better with time. I may require them to eat the food they don’t love and I might not. It all depends, sometimes I just really want to stretch them and if I feel like it won’t be a battle I will require they eat a small portion. New foods are always offered first as a trial. Thankfully, they usually are eager to try it. So, how do you get your picky kids to get from only wanting chicken nuggets and tater tots or pizza to eating a wide array of healthy meats and veggies? It’s simple really, but may require lots of patience and time on your part.
5 Tips to Avoid Picky Eater Syndrome
#1 – The best way to break a picky eater of their habitual unwillingness to change is to implement change. If you never stretch them, they’ll never embrace the change on their own. Start with one new thing per week. If you offer it repeatedly over time they will become familiar and accepting of the new food, and perhaps more willing to try it without balking at it. This has worked for me time and time again. It’s especially great if one child LOVES the food and gobbles it up eagerly. This creates curiosity in the hesitant child, and over time they make break down and try the ‘skeptical’ food. If you keep offering over time you can evaluate when it’s time to really stretch your child and ‘require’ they try it. Allow them a small portion and don’t insist they eat a lot at first. Praise them for their willingness to try something new. My kids now eat some ‘odd’ things because I keep offering new and unusual things and make them a part of our menus whether I think they’ll like them or not. The main point is, if you allow them to be picky then you will have to deal with it. I always love the phrase, what you tolerate dominates. It’s so true! Who wants to break a teenage girl of her picky habits right in the throws of hormonal chaos. Keep in mind, it takes nourishing foods to get your kids through puberty without all kinds of angst. Trust me, you will want to break them of their bad eating habits at a young age.
#2 – Exemplify the change. Change starts with you, moms and dads. You have to be a living example to your kids and be the change you want to see in the world. How can you ever expect your kids to get over their picky eating if mom and dad are still picky eaters? Or mom and dad cave all the time and buy convenience foods at every turn? That’s not gonna cut it and I suspect you know that. Think about your kids long term future and make a decision to change your families eating habits one day at a time.
#3 – Avoid excess sugar, starch and carbs – namely from refined processed sources. Kids who only eat carbs/sugars and won’t eat anything offered other than that are likely in a state of dysbiosis. If you cater to their pickiness you are helping to take their bodies into more of a ‘disease’ state. Excess sugars/carbs/processed foods encourage the proliferation of bad bacteria, yeast, parasites and fungus – causing a root of candida to become prominent in the body. Ultimately candida is a protective mechanism for the body, but the deeper rooted it gets the harder it is to return the body to homeostasis.
#4 – Avoid antibiotics at all costs. There may come a time when antibiotics will serve a purpose, but that time really should be rare and few and far between. More kids these days end up on antibiotics for the silliest reasons because doctors aren’t doing their job properly. It’s a crying shame! Antibiotics are indiscriminant against ALL bacteria, not just the bad stuff. Therefore, after a round of antibiotics you strip the body of it’s ability to fight off pathogens. Once pathogens take hold, the body may end up craving sugar and bad foods and this can become a really vicious cycle. If you do have to put your child on antibiotics for some reason, make sure to replenish their body with good probiotics and probiotic rich foods. Otherwise you could be setting yourself up for picky eater hell.
#5 – Learn how to serve a properly prepared nutrient dense diet to ensure your child gets a full spectrum of nutrients to support their growing body. When I learned about properly preparing foods through the studies of Weston Price, my diet did NOT change over night. In fact, it took us a number of years to get really comfortable with eating real foods that were not the same as most Americans. I introduced fermented foods, snuck in liver, started adding a lot of coconut which one child HATED and could detect from a mile away. This child no longer complains -why? Because I kept including those foods and he eventually got over his intense dislike to the point I can make many foods with some coconut in it that he actually enjoys. It was a day by day gradual adjustment to eat these healthy foods, and with time it has become easier. The more you persist the easier it gets – just don’t give up! Your kids health is so worth it!
Here are some of my kids favorite dinners that I make regularly, that I bet your kids will enjoy also!
Also, check out my recipe eBook; ‘Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals‘ for more family favorites and entire meal ideas.
If you are new to the world of Real Food and not yet convinced that switching is worth the effort, I challenge you to read the book; ‘The Unhealthy Truth‘. It’s one of my favorites by Robyn O’brien who does an amazing job of uncovering the reality of our modern American diets. It will change your mind about how you think about food!
My parting words to you are, don’t let your kids be picky – stretch them- it’s easier to create good habits than to break old bad ones down the road. You will be so glad you mustered up the strength to do so, I promise!
How about you? Do you have any practical advice on helping to create healthy eaters instead of picky eaters? Share in the comments…….
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Lydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health From The Inside Out in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Sign up for the Divine Health From The Inside Out newsletter! Pick up a copy of Lydia’s eBook; ‘Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals’.
Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone, Skype or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Contact Lydia today to get started as well as to learn more about what she has to offer you!
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