You toddler's journey to self-feeding will inevitably begin with their fingers - using their fingers to grab and pinch foods are some of the first feeding milestones they will reach. But at some point you may want to give them foods that are a little easier to eat with something other than their hands (or, at least, give them the option of using something other than their hands).
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.
It's tempting to overload your littles with vegetable options. Sometimes that strategy can work: for example if your kiddos are familiar with some veggies and you pile a new one onto a platter of their favorites.
But with new fruits & vegetables, it's best to start small. REALLY SMALL. Seriously small.
I don't love referring to kids as "picky eaters" because it can often be used as an excuse or internalized (by our kids) as a permanent state of being. Which, I can assure you, it is not! "Picky eating" is a behavior - and like any other it CAN be changed. It can be addressed and tweaked. Especially if you understand why your little one has such strict standards for what they will and won't eat.
But knowing that picky eating can be changed, doesn't necessarily make having a picky eater at home any easier. Here are 5 tips you can use to tackle picky eating at home.
We've read that having an organized kitchen makes life easier. An organized kitchen is certainly more efficient when preparing meals, but it can also make cleaning up easier and more efficient too. Having an organized kitchen - and one organized around your kids' needs - can also help make it easier for kids to help with meal prep and clean-up.
When stuck at home, day in and day out, it can seem like the any time is the right time for food. Boredom, indecision, and actual hunger combined with being in close proximity to the kitchen at all times drives kids (and adults) toward constant grazing turning breakfast, lunch, and dinner into a 24-hour buffet.
Not only can this be stressful for parents - who feel like their spend all their time preparing food and then cleaning up from it - but free-range grazing is often associated with overeating.
Setting limits on meal and snack time while stuck at home can help. Here are some ideas for how.
By following this simple plan, you too can avoid doubt and disappointment at dinner and give yourself and your family happier, healthier mealtimes. It may sound simple, and we think it is.
Family mealtime is important for many reasons, not the least of which is because it gives you a chance to model healthy eating habits. Like it or not, and especially when your kids are young, you remain the strongest influence on their mealtime behaviors and their relationship with food. So anything YOU do to modeling healthy eating is sure to have an impact on them too.
But being a good role model does not mean being a perfect role model. Here are 5 concrete actions you can take to help be a good (not perfect) role model for healthy family mealtimes.
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.
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
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?