The Little Miracle of ‘Family Style’ Meals: How It Helps Kids be Less Picky

Apr 5, 2012 by

“I know I should serve them family style, and usually I do,” Debra, a mom of a picky eater, told me when I visited her house on a Supper Nanny visit.  “But since this is something new tonight I knew they wouldn’t want to eat it, so I plated it up.”

Debra was talking about using serving dishes and passing them around for kids to dish up their own food, “family  style,” versus placing filled plates in front of each child.

Hmmmmm. When kids might not want to eat is exactly the time NOT to plate it up, I thought to myself.

I was at Debra’s house for the second time to help her figure out what she could do to get picky Jonathan to eat something beyond the ten meals she was cooking. This serving of filled plates was one of the…

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How to Get the Picky Eater to Eat: in the Woods or in the Pasture?

Mar 2, 2012 by

 

Getting kids motivated to eat is a lot like getting sheep to eat.

If sheep are allowed to run free in the woods, they are in danger. When they get hungry there, they will probably eat something harmful instead of the right things. Not much good grass in the woods.

The sheep might even fall in a hole or off a cliff, or be terrorized by a rushing stream. They could be eaten by a wolf, run over by a car, or shot by a hunter.

So the shepherd watches over the sheep and places them within limits. The shepherd selects the best pasture of green grass he can find, and builds a fence around it. He gently lures his sheep…

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Serious Reasons Not to React to a "Picky" Toddler

Feb 21, 2012 by

If you give your toddler some sticks of red pepper as part of her lunch, what should you do if she chews them up and spits them out?

  • Some parents will decide they need to find a way to make the peppers acceptable, like peeling them or disguising them in ranch dressing.
  • Other parents might tell the child to eat the peppers, maybe scold her for having spit them out, or find some other way of pressuring the child to eat them instead of spitting them out.
  • Others won’t try giving the child peppers again, worried only about getting something down the hatch, and will look for other foods the child is sure to eat.

But our problems, and our children’s, are likely to…

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How to prevent picky eating from ever starting, Part II

Jan 9, 2012 by

“We wonder how we get started doing these things, but we do them.”

My friend told me that as part of my babysitting instructions. Lunch for her 2 1/2-year-old, Kaylee, and her 18-month-old, Wee Man, was to include some cut up, raw red peppers.

“He’ll spit them out. So I started peeling them for him,” she explained, with some embarrassment. These kids hadn’t been picky; they had been the kids who ate everything a few months earlier.

Preparing for resistance: holding firm

“I do not get started doing these things,” I said to myself. I wasn’t about to start peeling raw red peppers to try to get Wee Man to eat them, because that right…

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How to Prevent Picky Eating from Ever Starting, Part I

Dec 14, 2011 by

“I don’t know what we did wrong with her,” my friend sheepishly told me, as she gave me my babysitting instructions and warnings about exactly what picky-eater actions her kids were going to take with the food planned for their lunch.

Kaylee was the little girl that used to eat everything. Her parents had been so proud that she ate everything.  At that earlier time, I had unconsciously thought, “Of course she eats everything. That’s normal. What do you expect?”

Maybe they were anticipating picky eating. That they seemed pleasantly surprised when their child wasn’t picky led me to think that they assumed it was normal for kids to become picky….

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‘Duty Made Lovely’: How to Train a Child’s Appetite

Oct 21, 2011 by

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L’appetit est la conscience du corps (The appetite is the conscience of the body).

— Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.

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When my children were about six and eight, we listened to the original Pollyanna story on tape. Unlike the caricature of Pollyanna as a ridiculously blind optimist, we found the real Pollyanna to be charming and delightful. I was surprised and pleased to find that she managed to inspire us and stir our hearts by her sweetness. “We can be glad of that!” she would say. We still quote her, 14 years later. We all loved Pollyanna and her story.

Pollyanna and many other literary or real-life heroes are perfect examples of what educational reformer Charlotte Mason (1846-1923) called “duty…

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