Parenting Picky Eaters: Tactics that Work!

I want to push us all to think about the family as a culture, not just mom’s responsibility.  And I’m starting with food.  Sign up for my free seminar:

stainedglassmama copyParenting Picky Eaters: Tactics that Work

One of my kids is a sensory averse white bread lover, the other is a seeker who snacks on raw onions! If I can feed these two, I can help you feed yours, too.

May 28, 8pm EST; 5pm Pacific
Click here for more details and to sign up!

If you’ve been reading along, you know: I’m frustrated with how much moms are on the hook for cultural problems, starting with kids’ diets.  Obesity, diabetes, test scores, long-term health, even behavior is linked to what moms are feeding their kids.  And yeah, moms.

I’ve written before about the decline of the “typical American family.”  Statistically, there is no longer any one family structure that constitutes a third of American families; there is no typical category any more. And yet simultaneously, the barrier to healthy eating rests on women — studies show.  Somehow it seems that women can’t seem to get out of the kitchen.   Still!

If you have a picky eater, rent those kids a movie, pick up your favorite beverage, and join me as I share some of my best secrets to taking the stress off mealtimes.  You’ll get a free .pdf of three Edible Tools for Fussy Eaters immediately upon signup.

Let’s do this.  See you on the seminar!

 

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Sensitive, Picky Eaters? Listen in as I’m interviewed on this very topic!

Listen in tonight at 7 as I discuss with Donna Ashton my signature system for building food curiosity into your family culture.  Learn the four words that are derailing family dinners.

Donna is the founder of The Waldorf Connection, where parents can get support giving their children an education of art, music, and movement.  Donna is a champion of home-schooling ease and a mentor for family-first home-based businesses.
My talk is free, so just click here to jump on the call.

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To cheat or not to cheat… on your kids

Eat more veggies.

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Smiling veggies

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I haven’t been a fan of sneaking food into kids.  But.

New studies point more to clearly to the importance of healthfulness in kids’ early diets in predicting long-term health “What your child eats now will make an enormous difference to his adult health….Produce may ward off asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, metabolic syndrome, artery-clogging plaque” and more (Parents, June 2015, p. 66).

When my micropreemie was two and still underweight, my mom put a cotton ball on the ceiling fan and hit the switch.  Yes, one could see it as an early introduction to mindless eating, sneaking it in while he laughed hysterically.

vintage botanical print of spinach

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When he was about 5, I bought a cookbook of recipes for foods that had healthy ingredients secreted inside them.  Unnoticeable.  Don’t ask, don’t tell — toddler style.

Does that strategy “teach” kids to like or tolerate, say spinach?  A nursing student mom I know says yes, some other moms say no.  I opted for a little sneaking in while I worked on educating their palates.

But what if — what if we re-thought brownies let’s say.  What if brownies could just BE a dessert that had a healthy dose of spinach?  What if “spinach” came to be associated with spinach pie, greek pizza, salad with bacon, AND chocolate spinach cake, aka brownies?

What if we eliminate the stigma on healthy foods?  What if we just stop sneaking, but don’t stop making those same recipes? This is my goal.

Our chocolate chip cookies have mashed beans in them, and Thing 2 just doesn’t care any more.  “They taste good, that’s all I need” he says.  A few of my best dessert recipes are available on my Free Resources page… then head on over to Facebook and tell me how they turned out for you!

Get your kids into the garden now!

green garden sign

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At this time of year, the cold, ice, snow and grey skies are punctuated with tiny hopeful patches of color.
Red, orange, yellow, and lots of greens.
Maybe you are getting these winter-breakers at your house.
They save thousands from seasonal depression, coming on the heels of the winter holidays.

vintage seed packets

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Yep it’s time for seed catalogues!

My kids like to garden.
With a landscaper dad, they practically grew up in the independent garden center where he worked.
This year I’m trying an experiment.
I’m giving the kids the garden catalogues.
At nearly 12, Thing 1 is not going to play with gorgeous spring vegetable toys.  Sadly.

knit vegetables

Click this image to purchase these fine knit toys from Maple Apple.

My cake-eater brags about eating raw cabbage right out of his garden in the summer.
In winter, he tries to steer clear of the veggies.  So I hope asking him to circle the items he wants to plant in the garden will get his mind on his greens.
sliced tomato

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Going through the catalogues

together, we might remember a fruit or vegetable that we haven’t had for a while.

We might agree to try the new funky cauliflower or kalettes.

They don’t need to know I have ulterior motives as we cuddle up under Gram’s afghan and plan for spring!

Tell me what you’re planning for YOUR garden over on Facebook.  And if you’d like to work with me on your finicky eaters, drop me a line at Funnermother[at]gmail[cot]com

Dinnertime: A Seating Plan and Surveillance

rustic farm table

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Lilith's drawing

Thing 2 made a seating chart with plates and silverware drawn in.

We talked about making a family resolution a month ago…I suggested we start eating at the dining room table.

We usually eat in the living room, but now we have a tween in the house, he’s been squirreling away alone.  I didn’t like it, but it seemed like a harmless way to let him have some independence.

So I broached the idea tentatively.

And they surprised me.

I came home in the dark after working one Sunday at the swish boutique that carries my crocheted items.  Thing 2, age 7, was scurrying around in an apron setting the (newly cleaned off) dining room table.

She had drawn a seating plan, and had taped to the table pieces of scrap paper with our names written on them.

It wasn’t January yet!

We’ve eaten at the table every night but two, and we all seem to enjoy it.  My more traditional neighbor always sang the family meal’s praises.  She did it her kids’ entire lives, and still hosts the whole family plus a son-in-law every Sunday.  I continue to be surprised at the immediate change it made for us.  Everyone comes to the table, we talk, tell about our day, laugh, get antsy, do dishes together, and more.  And the “more” is this — I think my cake-eater eats more of his healthy dinner this way!  It could be because Mother Is Watching, or it could be that it has turned dinner into a more social affair.  I’m pleasantly surprised, and most of all because they actually did it without me!  Try it at your house and let me know how it goes.  Or tell me how to mix it up after the novelty has worn off.  And if you want the lo-down on inspired ways to feed those finicky kids, get my free 20-minute talk HERE.

 

What’s for dinner… who, ME? Pressures on family meals.

What's for dinner

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what's for dinner

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I’ve marched for women’s rights for 30 years. I’m old!  Ha ha. So I’ve earned a certain right to grouse.

Sociologists from North Carolina State have released findings on a study of the stress related to cooking healthy homecooked meals night after night.  Their findings are disappointing.  The stress on women just isn’t worth it.

On women? Still?

Yes. According to TodayParents, they “interviewed 150 black, white, and Latina mothers, with family incomes ranging from poor to middle-class, and spent more than 250 hours with 12 families during meals, grocery runs and children’s medical checks. Most mothers, regardless of income, were feeling the angst.”

What's for dinner?

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Pressures on home cooking are increasing!

 

Medical folks, tv foodies, even the US government (think food pyramid and anti-obesity campaigns) are putting increasing importance/pressure on home cooked meals.

The study recorded inadequately stocked kitchens in many lower income families (one family lives in emergency shelter in a hotel room), and picky children and husbands all across incomes.

Families do share duties sometimes; the report mentions a married mother of 3: “Although her husband sometimes helps with cooking, the task is largely in her court.”  In 30 years of feminism and cultural studies, I hardly expected such stasis!

home cooking refrigerator

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As Salon reports, “the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It’s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway.”…

I admit to feeling this way myself sometimes.  And my Running Mate does a LOT of our cooking.  But a national trend?  An epidemic? That’s not right.

Let’s start with picky children, shall we?  Sign up for my free weekly-ish Ezine at Funnermother.com and watch for details about my upcoming free talk on finicky kids.  I have two, and have some great tips.

Check out these recent articles on the endangered family dinner study in Salon and in Today Parents. Leave your comments below, and of course come join us on Facebook.