I have been feeling the need to increase the health and wellness of my family by increasing the health of our diet. A few of my children are very limited in the kinds of foods that they eat, and we all need to eat more vegetables! I have been reading a few different resources and recently read The Picky Eating Solution by Deborah Kennedy. The book had some helpful ideas, so I am sharing my notes here.
As I keep researching I have the feeling that one of my children may actually be beyond just a picky eater, moving into the realm of a resistant eater or perhaps some sensory issues. So I am not sure if all of the ideas in the book will actually work for him. However, we are working on our own variation of dinner rules.
“Not allowing dessert until enough dinner is eaten, especially vegetables, is a consequence, not a reward. So is have having your child each the healthy stuff before he can have the unhealthy part of his snack. This is really just a “this then that” technique you probably use every day, whereby you teach your child that he must first do one thing before he can get what he wants: exercise before playing video games, finish homework before playing outside, or cleanup your room before going to a friend’s house. If you take away the consequence, how in the world are you ever going to motivate your child to eat the healthy stuff?” (p. 59).
“Do not serve a snack within two hours of meal-time.”
Six Simple and Effective Food Rules to Live By
- Eat then treat. Ex: No dessert until the meal is eaten. No treat at snack time until a fruit or veggie is eaten. Not treats at all if enough healthy food was not eaten that day. Say “Oh, I see you haven’t eaten your carrots. We are having ice cream for dessert. You can have some once you eat your carrots. The choice is yours.”
- Establish the one-bite rule. She just has to take one bite (of a new food), then she can spit out if she does not like it. If there is not an intense reaction, then next time she can try two bites, then three, etc. Remain calm and don’t overreact. For extremely resistant children try the touch-smell-lick approach.
- Serve a fruit or veggie with every meal and snack. Children need at least two whole fruits and three vegetables a day. Consequence–if they don’t eat the 5 servings, then they do not get any processed treats.
- Limit food waste.
- Serve only one dinner. Give children the chance to offer input on what is served (pick the vegetable or the main dish).
- No “yuck” is allowed at the table. Consequence is a time-out in their room. They can say “This is not my favorite”.
Four Table Rules to Prevent Mealtime Chaos and Encourage Family Connection
- Everyone has a job to do at mealtime. Kids can help plan, pick, prep, and cook.
- Eat at the table.
- Electronics are not allowed at the table when eating.
- Whoever raises his or her voice leaves the table.