Are you worried about your child’s limited list of approved foods? You’re not alone. There’s a wide spectrum of food choosiness among kids that’s normal as they learn to become capable eaters. But choosiness, also labeled as picky, can often spiral into struggles with children over what and how much they eat. Occasional food struggles will inevitably occur. When they become a theme, your child’s ability to grow into a healthy eater is at risk.
A healthy eater listens to body cues, enjoys a variety of foods, sometimes eats too much or too little – but makes up for it at the next meal or snack. In other words, a healthy eater is good at self-regulation.
Here are a few ways caregivers (unknowingly) weaken a child’s ability to be a healthy eater…
- I remind my child to take more bites.
- I give my child rewards for finishing eating.
- I give my child certain looks that means eat your dinner.
- During meals, my child(ren) often leave the table.
- My child(ren) often play with toys/devices during mealtimes.
- I feed my child(ren), then I(we) eat.
- I often make different meals for my kid(s) and myself (us).
- The television is on during mealtimes.
When feeding becomes a constant struggle, I can work with you to make things better. Once you know your role in feeding and the reasons why, it becomes easy to let your child do their job with eating. When you let go of the urge to make sure your child eats, they’ll rightfully take the reins to eat and grow the way nature intended. Mealtimes will be more joyful and your family will cherish the memories.
Helping your child develop a healthy relationship with food is a foundational gift of mental and physical health for a lifetime.
When your child is diagnosed with a food allergy, it can throw a wrench into meal planning and feeding. Plus, your child may become more cautious about foods if allergic reactions are associated with eating, thereby limiting their diet. Here’s what you can expect to learn:
- How to minimize cross-contamination risks in and away from home.
- How to read food labels for allergens.
- Foods to provide needed macronutrients and minimize nutrient deficiencies.
- Guidance for how to support your child’s healthy relationship with food.