Never in all my years of practical experience in the parental arena have I ever seen such a huge increase with eating disorders and the challenges surrounding children who are not eating…or what we tend to nickname “picky eaters.” Parents are consistently baffled with how to encourage their kids to eat healthy and how to maintain those healthy eating habits. How did we become so obsessed that we have now created the problems ourselves?

Our television is a big culprit. Brainwashed by commercials, that lead us to believe that our children have a problem with eating vegetables before they really do. Sneaking vegetables onto a plate as if it was something we shouldn’t feel proud to give to our children. When did meat and two veg become old fashioned? When did we as parents give in so easily so that our toddlers could follow suit? Did we get lazy as parents? Did we give up on our kids and resort to fast foods and dry foods like crackers, knowing all too well it would save us from the disappointment of cooking only for it to be rejected and cried upon with dismay?

Maybe we are happy for those clever commercials patting us on the back and insinuating that it’s “not our fault that our kids don’t want to eat healthy.” And, “Let’s just pump them with nutritional shakes so they never need to learn how to chew or use their facial muscles, which help with their speech development in those early developmental stages — all the while struggling to pencil in a meal plan for the week ahead.

So what is one of the biggest fundamentals we need to get right? Oh, trust me I’m not telling you it isn’t going to be a challenge, and I’m not telling you your kids aren’t going to whine about it, and I’m not telling you your kids are not going to turn their noses up and dig their heels in — especially if you have succumbed to such behavior in the past. What I will tell you is, it is not an impossible task to getting children thinking about and consuming food that is good for them. Our children depend on us to get it right for them — and in the meantime learn valuable lessons. So before we can move forward, let’s STOP and remind ourselves of the basics:

Create an Environment…

– Where good and healthy foods exist.
– Where exercise is basically fun activities.
– You are in it to win it. If you are going to sit down with your kid to eat a healthy meal, your plate better look the same.

What Are Your Kids Eating?

-Don’t know? You should know, because you are the one filling the fridge and cupboards. Read your last shopping receipt. You will find it very telling with respects to what you throw in that shopping cart (especially if it’s just before mealtime).

Save Time

– Stick a Post-it note on the fridge so you can replace only the healthy stuff you run out of.
– Plan your meals. No more last minute pop-in at the supermarket.
– Cook more and freeze more to save time while creating a whole other meal.

Small Changes, Big Impact

– Change white ingredients/foods for brown, as they are un-refined.
– Half is better than full, unless it is milk for toddlers.
– Instead of full-blown soda, dilute sparkling water with a touch of natural cranberry or orange juice.

Take the Lead

– Snack on fruit and veg as they are simply sweeter. Or snacks like Sweet Bell Peppers, Apples with cream cheese, celery slices with peanut butter.
– Downsize the snack box. Less means more fresh snack choices. You can always stick paper cards in the snack box with the fridge snack for the day. For example, apricot yogurt or a peach medley.

Fun Social Experience

– Show your kids mealtimes are a family event! If you are eating with your partner later, have a small plate with your child at teatime. Do the same when you are on holiday.

Get Inspired

– Keep the foodie ideas coming. Lend recipes from neighbors or fellow parents at the school, search out the internet, check out seasonal and themed foods. Trying one a week is a start.

Portion Sizes

– 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks per day.
– Remember serving size is different from portion size. For example, 2 slices of chicken, one small potato cut in two, and 2 large tablespoons of vegetables is an adequate amount for a toddler. (On a plate that is slightly bigger than a side plate).

Trust me I get it, Rome wasn’t built in a day and no one is saying that you do a complete 360. But the replacements in the advice above is the encouragement needed as this is a life long journey where it is not about destination, but goals that are achieved along the way.

x Jo

Copywritten by Jo Frost

Share this:

More in this category: Teaching Values » Exaggerating » Tantrums » Selective Hearing » Aggression » Are We There Yet? » Terrorism – How to Talk to Our Children About It » Encourage Reading » Keeping in Touch When Away » Discipline » Winding Down Tips Before Bed Time » Stepmom Struggles (Fake Cry) » Stalling Over Mealtimes » Child Anxiety » Sleep Transition » Work and Home Balance » Peek-a-Boo » Let’s Talk About Sex » Confidence for Pre-School » BACK TO SCHOOL » Encouraging Children to Come Out of Their Shells » Spring has Sprung — Let’s Get Active! » Meet the New SAHM: the Work-From-Home Parent » Kids Talk About Love » Turning Winter Blues into Sunshine for the Children » Spending Holiday Time with Family » Change the World, Give Back » Zero Tolerance Bullying » The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Back-to-School » For Playdates & Parties, Don’t be a Helicopter Parent » Disciplining Other People’s Children » Making the Most of Your Summer with the Kids… » Children and Accountability » Settling In Nicely » One With Nature » Valentine’s Day » Charging Into 2015 » 10 Holiday Questions (and Answers!) » Practicing Gratitude » Balance On the Work and Home Seesaw » And So To Bed… » Ready for Nursery » A Time of First Milestones » HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! » When is YOUR Child Considered Potty Trained? » Child Abuse Prevention Month » Excerpt from Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules » With Love » The Art of Being » Holidays on a Budget » Dealing with Life Transitions » Halloween Crafts » Who Needs Sleep? Everyone! » How Much Attention Should We Give Our Kids? » Young Girls and Self-Esteem » Anxiety, Depression and Teens » A Personal Note About Food Allergies » Gay Parenting » Eating Out with Kids » Flu Season » Plan of Action » Baby, It’s [Getting] Cold Outside » Encouraging Your Child’s Social Skills » Medical Alert » Planes, Trains, And Automobiles: Travel Tips for Children of All Ages » Father’s Day Activities » A Mother’s Day for YOU » Limiting Your Child’s Screen/Tech Time » Letting Go: Mother, Not Smother » Getting Sexy Back After Baby » Introducing A Babysitter » Jo’s Tips For Being Penny-Wise This Holiday Season » Adoption Month » The Importance of Sleep » Parenting Solo » Stay Cool » Household Chores » Jo Frost’s Confident Toddler Care Book Excerpt » How Do I Play? » Jo’s April Editorial » Jo’s Editorial » When Technology Is Ok » Do You Know What Your Children Are Reading? » Calling All New (or soon-to-be) Moms & Dads! » Jo’s Three Nursery Golden Rules » “We Never Have Sex Anymore!” » How your child behaves is your responsibility » How to deal with your Toddler » My son has a problem in the toilet » My 15 month old son will not sleep » My 4 year child is telling me “I hate you” » Work with your baby’s body clock » Starting fresh for the New Year » Twelve Thoughts for Christmas » Naughty chair/spot correct way? » A New Mom To Be » Baby waking too often » How much sleep does she need » Pick me up! » DESPERATE for help!!! » Three year old daughter won’t let others help » How to get my five year old son to stay dry all night long » How to explain death » No more nappies?!!! » Need to Pack On The Pounds.. » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » guilt trip or more serious? » My 12 month old doesn’t like to nap in daytime » Big Issues with my 15 year old » Time Out Follow-up » Tummy time! » How do I best help my 18 month old to STTN? » My son won’t use cutlery » 6 year old Reader » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » Child won’t drink from sippy cup or cup… » 3 1/2 month old’s sleeping difficulties » Ouch!! » Transition to a new room » Fear of bed time » 10 months – too young to sleep through? » Is it too early for reins? » 3 year old and new puppy » Toddler forcing himself to vomit » Potty Training » I’m a nanny and need help!!! » Help getting my 18 month old to talk » How do I know when to start weaning?? » 3 1/2 yr old daughter wont stop SCREAMING!!!! » Naughty Step Becomes a Game » TEEN IN DESPRATE NEED OF JO’S HELP!!!! » Please Help! » Daily Routine » STUDY HABITS » Paci still a problem » 4 1/2 month old: Should he be eating? » Three-year-old son sleeps only in our bed »

Hey, before you leave...

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get the upcoming scoop!

Please take 10 secs to fill in, you’ll be glad you did!
Read previous post:
A Few Tips for Father’s Day

1. Do something special he normally misses out on due to work, maybe a picnic with a friend of his...