Does your child only eat chicken nuggets, spaghetti and chocolate syrup with a dash of milk? If so, you are probably overwhelmed with where to begin. So let’s make it simple:
- First of all, forgive yourself. No one is a perfect parent and while you may have let go of nutrition for your family; you have the power to change it all. If your child learned to have a taste bud or two geared towards sweets then they can unlearn it. No child was born with an innate desire for deep fried donuts or processed meats. So, relax, forgive yourself and start over!
- You have heard it time and time again….small changes make lasting changes. Swap chocolate milk for plain milk, replace cookies with one piece of fresh fruit, toss that juice and serve some ice cold water…you get the idea. One small change at a time. Remember people: Rome wasn’t built in a day! Wait a minute. Or was it Frankfurt?
- You are in control. Feel free to take charge. It is easy to forget when we are spread too thin. Sometimes we allow our children to rule the roost. Well, you know what? That just isn’t helpful. You are the parent. You can set the guidelines. Give yourself permission to not purchase every pack of fruit gummies you see just because your child says they love them. Side note: This is just a blog not a doctor’s office so feel free to shout your name and provide your opinion. I welcome differing views as I think it helps us all learn.
- Your child will not starve. Make sure your child isn’t filling up on ho-ho’s, ding dongs or tall glasses of frothy milk before introducing a new food. They need to feel hungry enough to actually want to try that octopus salad you have been holding for just the right moment. So let them go a few days without snacks. They will survive. And if they skip one meal because they don’t think it was the right temperature then guess what? Yep, you are right! They will live. Children can regulate their own appetite. Unlike a taste for Red Lobster cheesy biscuits, they were born with the ability to manage hunger cues. If beans, guacamole and sushi are foreign to your child’s palate then keep on offering the food. It takes the average person 8 to 12 attempts at trying a new food before they will develop a taste for it. I can personally attest to this well-researched statement. Just last year I made myself like sweet potatoes. I, literally, would cringe if I put fork to mouth but I kept trying because I knew they were so nutrient dense. Lo and behold, I am now a sweet potato lover!
The moral of the story? I knew you wanted one. Children will try new foods and, eventually, enjoy it. Give them the opportunity- repeatedly. Take away your parent guilt. Take away the special kids only menu. Do what is right and make little changes for your little children.