Moms, I feel your pain! I get it, I truly understand what it’s like to have a picky eater in your household. I understand the ups and downs of that roller coaster ride, the meal time battles and feeling like a terrible parent when I break down. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that gag reflexes can be strong in our home. It’s a REAL challenge for the child as well as the parent.
I want to also take a moment to address the fact that sometimes a “picky eater” has reasons for being that way. Some of us have severe sensitivities and aversions to certain foods. AND some people have sensory “issues” that make it a lot harder to consume foods of various textures, tastes and smells. I can completely relate to this (sorry Mom, I have to share!). When I was a child, my Mom used to serve tuna and/or salmon sandwiches for lunch. I remember taking a LONG time to bring myself to take a bite and then having to gag it down and crying because I just couldn’t consume the entire sandwich.
At the end of the day, we do our absolute best as parents.
We guide, educate and discipline our children the best we can. And yes, we can always be open to guidance ourselves, to learn new things in order to learn and grow as a parent. Right? Are you with me on this?
Last month, I shared an amazing Breakfast Cookie Recipe with you that is always a hit in our house. What I love about it is I can sneak a variety of healthy ingredients into those little nuggets of tastiness and know that my kids are being fed a nutrient dense breakfast.
Everything in moderation.
Even when it comes to a picky eater.
Here are my top tips for survival as a Mom of a picky eater:
- Involve your child in meal planning. If your child feels that their preferences and suggestions count, they are likely to respect your choices as a parent. During this process, they will also feel some excitement about meals in general. This might also help to open their mind to eating new foods.
- Involve your child in meal preparation
– Similarly to the meal planning, when children take pride in helping with food preparation, the more open (and sometimes even eager – GASP!) they often are to trying different foods.
- Take it slow. This would be the complete opposite of the “eat it or you can’t leave the table” method. Provide your child with options. They can look at the food (but still put it on their plate, even if they have not liked it in the past), lick the food, smell the food or take one bite. You can even break down the bites into first trying a fairy bite and work your way up to a huge dinosaur bite.
- Encourage and be positive. Even if your child tries a bite but gags and spits it out (or worse, vomits), the point is they have DID IT! Therefore, remember to encourage your child and praise them for taking a bite. Some professionals would say not to use the word “try”. Instead, the suggestion is to say something like “good for you for licking your carrot”. Or perhaps saying “great job taking a bite of your broccoli” and to avoid saying something like “good for you for trying your carrot”.
At the end of the day, we must remember that each and every child is different and unique in their personalities,
their abilities and even their tastes.
Think of a food that you absolutely despise and can’t it eat. Remember what it felt like when you first ate it and how your parents handled it. I can be 110% sure when I tell you that I felt so frustrated and upset as a young child when I tried to explain to my Mom that I just could not, eat tuna or salmon (or any other fish for that matter). There was something inside of me that just stopped me from being able to handle the taste, smell and texture. AND, I still feel the same way today, despite sampling it again over the years.
The good thing for me is there are amazing Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements out there that I can take. Now that I have learned to take them on a full stomach to prevent any fish burps (I avoided them for years because of those disgusting fish repeats, lol), I am at least getting the goodness in the form of a trusted supplement.
SO, if your child continues to be a picky eater or demonstrates extreme sensitivities to various foods, know that you can always investigate alternatives. These will ensure that they are receiving as much “goodness” as possible. And remember, there are ALWAYS creative and fun ways to get those alternatives into them too!
The suggestions and tips on this blog are just that; suggestions. These are tips from an experienced Mom who is passionate about inspiring and helping other Moms. Please know that not all suggestions are recommended for every child AND not every tip or suggestion will work for every family. Take in the information and decide what works best for you, your child and your family situation and good luck! If you ever find yourself struggling and would appreciate some support from like-minded, supportive Moms, please connect with me over in my Parent Support Group.
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Disclosure: I am part of the Orange Naturals Mom Ambassador Program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
As always, please check with your family doctor before making the decision to start any health related products to your daily routine. This post is meant to be informative and is not meant to supplement advice from your doctor.