Dad & the Picky Eater: 4 Steps to Setting Up Kids for Eating Success

Mar 21, 2013 by

Two-year-old Amber knows there’s chocolate cake for dessert. So at dinner, she turns up her nose at the roast chicken and creamed spinach. She’s holding out. So her dad commands her to eat and makes sure she does it. The battle begins. Amber’s secret enjoyment in getting Dad’s goat is even greater than her objection to dinner. It gets ugly, but Dad “wins.” Amber ends up eating the absolute minimum requirement of her dinner, then she gorges on chocolate cake.

“I thought that’s what I was supposed to do: make them eat,” different dads of picky eaters have told me when I suggested otherwise. “I thought I was doing the right thing, just what I ought to do to be a good dad.”

It’s a tough question: Where should we hold the line as parents? When do we let it go? Should we let them eat what they want or make…

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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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Food Chaining: My Review, Part I

Nov 9, 2012 by

 The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet.  The Kid-Tested Solution for Stress-Free Mealtimes, by Cheri Fraker, et al.


Imagine a young mom with clumps of oatmeal clinging to the side of her head. She is staring off into space and resolutely ignoring little Johnny. She winces as he throws handfuls of cereal at her while grinning.

This is the picture I get from page 160-190 of Food Chaining, the section called “Using Positive Reinforcement at the Table.” This part of the book advocates ignoring your child when he does anything you don’t like, from throwing food, spitting out food or crying at the table, to refusing to eat. We are advised to only acknowledge our children when they do what we like. When they do what we like, we should fuss over them, clap and lavish them with praise. Only pay attention…

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