Three strategies to tackle picky eating in older kids

Three strategies to tackle picky eating in older kids

Your kids are not going to like everything you make for dinner (as much as I would like to believe otherwise), but "I don't like it" doesn't have to be an acceptable reason that your little ones don't eat the meal that you've lovingly prepared.

Being selective about food choice is actually a normal part of a child's development. They are creatures of habit, have developing tastebuds - which are differentially sensitive to flavors than mature tastebuds are - and are pre-wired to avoid certain flavors, like bitter vegetables. 

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"I don't like that"

"I don't like that"

It is well established in the field of nutrition research that parent’s mealtime(feeding) behaviors influence their children’s eating behaviors; parenting style, modeling of eating behavior, meal frequency, and food exposure (trying new foods) are all associated with child’s mealtime behaviors including fruit and vegetable intake. 

But a recent study wanted to examine the role that parent’s mealtime goals (their desired mealtime outcomes) might play in influencing their feeding behaviors. Why ask this question? Because parents’ mealtime goals – and any potential confli

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The language of food

The language of food

Imagine if someone handed you a food you were unfamiliar with and said, "Here! It's good. Eat it." Would you? Or would you pause and ask "What does it taste like?"

We use our previous experiences with food to provide context and expectation for our new experiences. Doing this helps us feel more comfortable trying something new. When we know it will taste "crispy and salty with a hint of lemon" or "sweet and creamy" it's easier for us to prepare for that first bite. 

Now imagine that you are your 5 year old who is still exploring the world of food. And language. Someone hands you baked eggplant which, let's be honest, looks a little dodgy, and says "Here's dinner. Eat up. It's good for you." What would your response be?

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"What's for dessert?"

"What's for dessert?"

I get this question a lot. And by 'a lot' I mean A.LOT. I sometimes think that my kids are hummingbirds, interested in subsisting on nothing but sugar. One Saturday morning my husband and I made the mistake of sleeping in, giving the kids permission to watch Finding Dory on Netflix. We came downstairs to find them eating chocolate chips for breakfast. Lesson learned. 

Just last week, after a beautifully prepared, home-cooked warm chicken salad and freshly baked bread the first thing I was asked when everyone sat down at the table was "What's for dessert?"

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sensory bin, sensory play

The importance of (sensory) play

Children learn through exploration and play, and they are at their best with learning when they are able to engage their senses. Sensory play helps kids practice and develop cognitive, emotional, physical, creative, and language skill sets. Download your free PLAY idea printable now!

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4 strategies to help kids listen to their hunger cues

4 strategies to help kids listen to their hunger cues

When babies are born they are extremely attuned to their internal signals of hunger and fullness. When they are hungry they know, and they will let you know too! They also know when they are full, and they stop eating. But when we take over doing this for our kids, there are negative unintended consequences. Here we describe 4 strategies to help you support your little ones to continue listening to their internal hunger and fullness cues.

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Mindfulness in parenting

Mindfulness in parenting

What do you think about when you hear the term “mindfulness”? Do you think of practicing yoga? Maybe spending hours sitting on a pillow, on the floor, in the corner, meditating with your fingers clasped, chanting “OMMMMM”? Okay, so mindfulness has a reputation – but what does mindfulness mean?

The general definition of mindfulness is the nonjudgmental (this is a key word) awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness encourages us to experience life as it is happening, without fear, worrying, or anxiety about what will happen or what has already happened. It does not have to include long periods of meditation – it can be done in just a few minutes each day.

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Parents = Healthy Eating + Physical Activity Role Models

Parents = Healthy Eating + Physical Activity Role Models

Over the past several decades, childhood obesity rates have risen dramatically, especially in economically disadvantaged communities. Children who carry excess weight face a number of health problems in childhood, and later as adults.

A number of factors have contributed to this health crisis, and it's going to take a number of approaches and lifestyle changes to help reverse the trend. Some of them require commitments from industry and politicians. But not all of them. Some of them require YOU.

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The Benefits of Gardening with your Kids

The Benefits of Gardening with your Kids

As we move headfirst into spring it seems the appropriate time to talk about one of my other long-term food goals that I have for my family: that they know where their food comes from. I don’t mean that they need to know where every cucumber and apple are grown and to have been able to shake the hand of the person that grew them, but I do want them to know that cucumbers grow on vines and apples on trees.

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Encouraging your kids to become willing {food} tasters

Encouraging your kids to become willing {food} tasters

As my kids have grown they have gone from willingly putting anything in their mouths (including crayons!) to being slightly more choosy, and I’ve watched even my most adventurous eater stop eating foods she once liked. Given that I also know that kids need multiple exposures to a food before they “like” it (or even willingly eat it), and that this number increases as children get older, I wanted to have strategies in place to promote + support the skill of tasting.

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