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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Picky Eaters: How a mom tightened up the snack routine and a timer added some grease

Mar 20, 2012 by

I put some thought into my delivery and implementation of the new snack plan and today tried a new approach that totally worked,” Debra told me.

A mom of three, including one extremely picky child, Debra is a mom I’m coaching. I visited her home at dinner time a few weeks back, and observed that she spent the entire meal pressuring and manipulating the picky child to eat. As a result, nothing was getting better.

We looked at what ways she and her kids are “out in the woods” and where her fence posts are built.  She does have…

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Emerson and the Calf, or One Good Reason Kids Refuse to Eat

Mar 16, 2012 by

One day,  Ralph Waldo Emerson  and his son, Edward, needed a calf to go in the barn. So the elder Emerson, the great Transcendentalist writer and philosopher, pushed on the calf’s backside while his son grabbed the animal’s head and pulled from the front. They pushed and pulled with all their strength, but the calf resisted with all of his might, over and over.

“How to get this calf into the barn?” Emerson wondered, with his deep, philosophical mind.  He thought about all the advice he could think of from his wide reading. He pondered his own ideals of self-reliance, muttering to himself his famous injunction to “trust thyself,” but could produce no insight on the subject.  He was stuck.

Just…

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How Much Do You Care about Your Kids' Eating? How Much is Too Much?

Oct 24, 2011 by

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In the mid-90s TV show My So-Called Life, a baby-faced Claire Danes plays Angela Chase, an emo teenager.

About four minutes into the pilot episode, the scene opens with Angela’s sigh, and an arial view of her plate of peas with mashed potatoes and gravy and meatloaf being pushed around by her fork.

“I cannot bring myself to eat a well balanced meal in front of my  mother,” says Angela in a voice-over. “It just means too much to her,”.

An old Zits comic strip uses the identical statement to illustrate the same kid attitude.

Jeremy is earnestly confiding in his best friend, Hector, how he…

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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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