How to get kids to eat at the table? The Push & Pull Principle

Apr 14, 2010 by

Two totally true stories moms recently told me illustrate a key principle in getting kids to come to the table, behave, and eat what you want them to eat.

Marlena’s kids are very narrow in what they will eat. They’re afraid of new foods. The dinner table is a battlefield of pressuring and resistance. Her overweight four-year-old, Walker, survives on bean-and-cheese tacos, filling up on juice to make it through the day to avoid other foods.

When her children won’t eat dinner, she feeds them whatever they are willing to eat, right before bed, in order to keep them asleep (so they don’t scream during the night).

One evening the whole family was doing the chicken dance after each bite Walker took, because that’s what got him to eat. She also considered it an improvement the other day when he allowed her to spoon chicken and rice into his mouth while he…

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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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Grease and tighten: How to Get Kids to the Dinner Table

Nov 2, 2009 by

It’s one thing to cook dinner regularly and sit down to it together at the table daily from the start of your life as a family. It’s another to come under the conviction that it’s something you should have been doing all along, when the children are five, ten or 15 years old.

How can we get kids used to sitting down and eating regular meals at the table when they’ve become accustomed to doing things altogether otherwise? Where do we begin?

There’s a Spanish expression, “engrasa y aprieta,” meaning “to grease and tighten,” that describes the proper attitude for the parent undertaking such a major family overhaul. While you restrict and require, you also make it enjoyable. Both parts are needed.

It’s similar to the way logic and emotion work…

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To Melissa G., the Recessionary Grocery Shopper / Part II: Two Choices of the American Every Mom

Oct 5, 2009 by

Melissa G. represents the average American grocery shopper (as targeted by Campbell Foods) during the current recession, according to a Sept. 7 article in Advertising Age.

Dear Melissa, Cambellsvisitsscan

You have no reason to listen to me. I’d be pretty surprised if you took to heart anything I have to say. Actually, I don’t see that you even have much choice about it.

Since those nice folks at Campbell Soup came out, and acted like you were doing a great job as a mom, and declared you the representative of their target market, it’s a little like being crowned queen.

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To Melissa G., the Recessionary Grocery Shopper: The Official Kid-Will-Eat-It Guidelines

Oct 1, 2009 by

Dear Melissa G.,

Congratulations! You have been named “ground zero for the new austerity” by one of our food industry giants, according to an article I just read in Advertising Age.  Industrial edibles manufacturers, scrambling to keep their profits up while consumers like you look for ways to spend less, are taking a hard look at you, the average grocery shopper, and how you think and behave.  Melissa, you represent today’s Every Mom:  the very picture of the grocery-shopping parent. You are the bull’s eye of the target for processed food manufacturers in this economic downturn.

It’s quite an honor, and a responsibility, a sacred destiny even, Every Mom. The wellbeing of the American child is in your hands.

While Campbell Soup was analyzing your habits and attitudes…

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