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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‘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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How to force children to eat dinner

Dec 20, 2010 by

Many cards and letters have come in asking whether or not children should be forced to eat their dinner.

The short answer is that of course children should be forced to eat their dinner.

The long answer is that they should be forced indirectly, not directly. We need to gently and in all cheerfulness block off all other means of eating and therefore, of survival, so that a child is forced to eat dinner in order to survive. It sounds more brutal than it need be.

The examples of two different little girls will illustrate:

When little Meredith, who is human and growing and therefore tends to find herself hungry every day, wants to eat, she eats. She…

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How we cured our son’s ADHD

Jan 20, 2010 by

Much of what I have to say about feeding children comes from my experience with my son, which I haven’t said much about here at “Sacred Appetite.”

Almost from birth, my son had symptoms: of what, we didn’t know. I later came to blame it all on him being put on antibiotics at birth and the hospital failing to give him the breast milk I was pumping faithfully while he couldn’t nurse because of the IV stuck in his head. I also wonder what role the immunizations he got as a tiny infant (who stayed home with his mom, risking no illnesses) might have played.

Starting early and continuing, he had asthma, insomnia, enuresis (a fancy word for bed-wetting), digestion-related ills, crusty eyes,…

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Maple Glazed Carrots and Turnips

Dec 21, 2009 by

The maple glaze gives the vegetables a delicious, sweet flavor.  It was also delicious on the grilled fish I served with them both times I made it.  Not every body likes turnips but they were much softened by the glaze and I found their bitterness a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the carrots and the glaze. I’m sure other vegetables work also work well with this recipe: rutabagas, parsnips, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, onions…

4-5 turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

8-10 or so carrots, peeled and cut into bite size chunks

2 T olive oil

2 T sherry vinegar

1 C broth

2 T pure maple syrup

2 T unsalted butter

Put the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over them and toss well to coat. Spread them out in one layer and season with a little salt and pepper. Roast at 350 until lightly browned and tender, about 35-40…

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