Sunday, March 25, 2007

Picky Eaters

I've been reading through a book that I borrowed from a friend called Feed Your Kids Right by Virginia Van Vynckt. I've been looking for some new strategies for my picky eaters. What's very interesting is that a lot of the book addresses kids who overeat and are overweight. The book only dedicates four pages to picky eaters.

My first question...with your own kids, do you have picky eaters or kids who don't know when to stop eating?

According to the book, the number one rule to remember is "Parents are responsible for which food is offered and how it's offered. Children are responsible for how much and even whether they eat."

So if your tyke wants to eat 5 helpings of rice pilaf and nothing else...it's his choice. However, if your other tyke wants to "snack, morning, noon, and night...you don't have to let him do it."

That has pretty much been our game plan. If the kids don't want to eat, that's fine. However, they have to wait until the next meal for food. No snacks. Usually just the mention of no snacks helps them pick their fork back up and dig back into their food again.

Here were the other suggestions from the book:

The Just try it rule: "If they don't like it, fine; if they do, great. If it's a food we're 99 percent sure they're going to hate, we don't force the issue."

The one-yucky-thing rule: This rule allows the kid to turn down one food at the table.

The one-yummy-thing rule: Serve at least one food your kids are guaranteed to like.

The try-try-again rule: It may take serving a new food 5 to 10 different times before a kid will try or like it.

So, my second question to all of you who have picky eaters...what rules/ strategies do you use in your home?

3 comments:

CampHillGirl said...

Well, we usually make our kids try a new food (or make my daughter eat one bite of meat since she doesn't like most meats) and then, we don't push it. I try to have the one yummy food (like rice or corn or applesauce) at dinner. But I also have to allow snacks. My son eats lunch at 11:15, and we almost never eat dinner before 6:00, so 4:15 till about 5:00 is usually snacktime. I try not to keep around too many sweets, but lately we've had Girl Scout cookies galore. I'm big on making sure they get enough milk, but otherwise, I just try not to worry about it. I think kids grow out of the pickiness pretty naturally.

TCC said...

Let's see...

If they don't finish a meal there is no snack (or dessert if one is available). They don't have to finish b/c if they are full, they are full. But full means no room for dessert. There are many times where they will finish their meal and then not even want the snack/dessert.

They always have to try the new food (within reason - I am not going to make my two year old try spicy chili). Typically the "new food" is a type of vegetable or potato (my kids don't like anything potato-ish). They both LOVE protein - meat, poultry, fish.

We are also sensible and will not give them a portion that is too big for them. If they are still hungry they will ask for more.

JCC also has a unique rule. He is very good about his lunch - he eats the "healthiest" thing first and works his way down to the "snack" (example: first sandwhich, next fruit, finally crackers). If he doesn't finish any of his lunch then that is what he eats when he gets home - and if he is still hungry after that, he can have a small, healthy snack. But no snacking after 4pm or I know he won't be hungry for dinner.

Anonymous said...

i ask my kids to try things...if after the 3rd time they don't like it - i don't ask again. i have found that jack will eat it a few times later if i don't push the issue. chloe - she doesn't eat much of anything unless it is dipped in ranch dressing, so i happily pour ranch on her plate at every meal!

we do meal planning on sundays and every family member contributes one meal request. that has helped because we can say this was daddy's request and he ate yours last night so you need to eat his. it also guarantees my kids will eat at least one full meal during the week!

if i'm fixing a main dish they don't really like i make sure to have bread, fruit, and their favorite veggie.

my big thing - i try to remember there are foods i don't like, never have, never will and honestly some i will never try so why should i expect any different from my kids.

jack is now 61/2 and eats stuff i never dreamed he would! just be patient.

we also don't allow snacks if they don't eat their meal - my exceptions to that are when they try it and i know they really don't like it they can snack on fruit before bed.

i really enjoy your blog....you almost have me inspired but i fear my house will be a wreck if i join the blog world!

cousin chris...ps...i loved your bit on indiana basketball and you should know plymouth just one the state championship last weekend!! go pilgrims!!!