The “Anna Karenina Principle”: Six Steps to Avoid Picky Eating and Achieve a “Happy Family”

Aug 2, 2012 by

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  

—  the opening lines of Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Broad is the way that leads to unhappiness in a family; the ways to go wrong are limitless. No question about that. If Tolstoy is right, there’s also only one narrow path, a certain set of basic foundational requirements, to achieve a happy family. What if we apply this principle to family meals?

Jared Diamond in his book Guns, Germs and Steel

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Free San Antonio Workshop for Parents of Picky Eaters: How to Shepherd Your Child’s Appetite

Jul 28, 2012 by

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012
7– 9 p.m.
at La Altura Pediatrics, Dominion Hills Plaza 21195 IH-10 West, Suite 2101  San Antonio, Texas 78257

Are meals a battle?
Having trouble getting kids to eat at the table?
Have you become a short order cook?
Do you make two different meals for one family?

Through this interactive workshop, you will:

  • Identify which tools you are using to try to make kids eat that actually make things worse, and get equipped with the right tools — the ones that work!
  • Find out how to cultivate the right atmosphere and habits in your home so children both eat happily AND behave.
  • Discover how to do less to accomplish more.
  • Learn how to leverage children’s natural appetites to motivate them to want to eat what YOU…
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The World’s Simplest Solution to Picky Eating: Freedom Within Limits

Jun 26, 2012 by

The other day a man was telling me how one of his kids had been a picky eater.

As I always do, I asked him what he did about it.

“We’d sit there with him and tell him he had to eat certain amounts of the various things on the table. We’d sit there and insist until he did it,” he told me.

A typical strategy, I thought. And a counter-productive one.

Then he added, with a note of curiosity: “We noticed, though, that if we actually left the room for awhile he would eat.”

I wasn’t surprised by those results. Just another proof of the Push-Pull Principle.

Nobody likes to be pressured and forced to eat something they don’t want to eat….

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Dinner Table Showdown: Hunger Games with Picky Eaters

Jun 23, 2012 by

Beth, mom of an eight-year-old and a six-year-old, wrote me with the suggestion that maybe moms of picky kids should simply offer them a “healthy” alternative, like pasta, whenever they don’t want what’s served. Good idea, right?

“I don’t want them to have to eat things they seriously don’t care for,” she said, noting that her kids don’t have medical, developmental or sensory processing issues or other such real problems. They just aren’t crazy about certain textures. Or probably, they just would rather have pasta than what’s served sometimes.

Thus far, I agree that no one should have to eat anything against his will.

“That being said,” Beth admits, “it upsets me that I have to make separate meals for them. It means we eat at different times and eat different things. 

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Free Workshop for Parents of Picky Eaters: How to Shepherd Your Child's Appetite

Jun 7, 2012 by

June 14, 2012
7– 9 p.m.
at La Altura Pediatrics, Dominion Hills Plaza 21195 IH-10 West, Suite 2101  San Antonio, Texas 78257

Are meals a battle?
Having trouble getting kids to eat at the table?
Have you become a short order cook?
Do you make two different meals for one family?

Through this interactive workshop, you will:

  • Identify which tools you are using to try to make kids eat that actually make things worse, and get equipped with the right tools — the ones that work!
  • Find out how to cultivate the right atmosphere and habits in your home so children both eat happily AND behave.
  • Discover how to do less to accomplish more.
  • Learn how to leverage children’s natural appetites to motivate them to want to eat what YOU want them to eat.
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