Over Three Less-Than-Amazing Ways to Show a Picky Eater That Eating Can Be Fun

Jul 10, 2013 by

From an amazing speech-language pathologist who treats children with feeding issues

I recently interviewed Christie Olguin,  CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology) and clinic director at ABILITY Pediatric Therapy in San Antonio.

Leading over 100 therapists, Christie personally works mainly with kids with food aversion. She’s helped many severe cases overcome problem eating.

One idea that this expert in solving picky eating made clear to me is that enjoyment matters! Enjoyment is essential! Enjoyment in eating is healthy. It’s not a luxury or a frivolous frill. It’s not an indulgent distraction from the dread duty of getting used to eating what’s good for you. Pleasure in eating may be the most important lesson to teach a picky eater.

That day, Christie was working with an 11-month-old, Grant, who is averse to food. Grant is food averse for several reasons.

Grant learned early that eating meant pain from acid reflux. He was diagnosed…

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“My Toddler Will Only Eat Peanut-Butter-&-Jelly Sandwiches!” How it happens, how to avoid it, how to change it

Apr 29, 2013 by

When your baby hits toddlerhood, a lot of normal changes occur, but a couple of things in particular:

  1. His appetite becomes less reliable. He’s not growing as fast anymore, for one thing, so sometimes he won’t feel like eating at all, or less than before.
  2. He starts asserting his individuality. He starts wanting to call some of his own shots.

Where parents go wrong in response to these changes:

    1. They think it’s not OK if their toddler doesn’t eat anything or very little one day. They get worried. They get the mindset that he has to eat something and that it’s their job to make sure he does. They begin to interfere with his natural appetite and natural ability to self-regulate. Said toddler also notices that not eating gets an interesting reaction from his parents.
    2. They offer the toddler something else to eat in an attempt to get him to eat something. This is…
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When Picky Eating Leads to Abnormal Parenting

Apr 24, 2013 by

Marlena’s picky eater, six-year-old Walker, was overweight. He wanted to eat bean-and-cheese tacos and little else every day. His eating was abnormal. So Marlena reacted, desperately.  She did all she knew to do.

One night, the whole rest of the family found themselves doing the chicken dance after every bite he ate, to get him to eat. True story.

Another night, he allowed Mom to spoon chicken and rice into his mouth while he played video games.  She would feed him a “second dinner” before bedtime if he refused dinner, so that he wouldn’t wake up in the night, screaming from hunger.

Any given  night at the dinner table found both parents badgering Walker non-stop to eat more of this, more of that, with threats of punishment and promises of reward.

Following  a Picky Eater Down the Wrong Path

If you have abnormal eating going on in your house, your automatic response may be…

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Patio Picnics for Picky Eaters

Apr 23, 2013 by

If you have a picky eater, take her on a picnic. Eating outdoors is just one great way to reduce the pressure and make the dinner table experience more enjoyable, in order to get kids more interested in eating.

For once, improving our lives doesn’t require misery! We need not always increase the pressure or muster up will power, hard work and self-denial. In this case, those are the most counter-productive actions to take.

If you have a picky eater, instead look for ways to create a more pleasant atmosphere at the table. Where pressure and ugliness isn’t getting you anywhere and is probably making the situation worse—not to mention damaging your relationship with your child—a picnic is better at whetting your child’s…

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It Doesn’t Matter if She Likes Brocoli, As Long As She Eats It. Or Does It?

Mar 12, 2013 by

How much good we get out of our food depends a lot on how much we enjoy it, one study suggests.

When researchers fed a spicy Thai dish to a group of Swedish women and to a group of Thai women, the Thai women liked the dish more and absorbed more iron from it than did the Swedes.

Then when both groups were fed a Swedish dish, the Swedish women liked the dish more and also absorbed more iron from their meal than the Thai women did, recounts Barry Glassner in his 2007 book The Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat.

Perhaps even more interestingly, when a meal was blended up into an unappealing mush, even the  women who had enjoyed the original meal got less out of it. And when both groups were then fed a very good-for-you but sticky and unsavory paste, none…

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Review of Food Chaining, Part II

Nov 28, 2012 by

Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet, by Cheri Fraker, et al.

“Children are not pets to be trained.”

— Alfie Kohn in Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

Food Chaining has a lot of great information in it. It offers parents in-depth understanding of the serious reasons some children refuse to eat. It also offers a logical plan to increase the range of foods even the pickiest eaters will eat. It has a great section about teaching kids on the autism spectrum about food. It’s all about figuring out WHY a child is refusing food and understanding what the child needs to improve her eating.

Then, in a section called “Positive Reinforcement at the Table,” the authors advise us to ignore children completely whenever they won’t eat or they misbehave at the table. When…

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