What to do when you’ve got a picky eater | Podcast Episode 278

“She will not eat with us at the dinner table. No matter what we have for dinner she won’t eat it. She just says “yucky” and won’t eat anything. Help!!!”
So writes Megan, mom of a two-year-old girl who is a seriously picky eater.

I bet, if you’ve got kids, you know Megan’s struggle. I certainly do!

There is help. Today I share 4 things to consider when you’ve got a child who refuses to eat.

Also! Click here to sign up for the “5 Ways to Handle Your Picky Eater” Free Guide, which I tell you all about during today’s break!

Plus in Parenting News: We talk about the new and lovely NYTParenting website and newsletter, which I love and I bet you will too.

Join us!

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/278 for:

  • A cheat sheet on the 4 factors to consider when getting your picky eater to willingly eat
  • The video of the week: “My child literally won’t eat anything”

And thank you so much for listening!

 

Continue reading “What to do when you’ve got a picky eater | Podcast Episode 278”

Podcast Episode 171: When Your Kids Only Want Snacks – A Listener Q&A for this Your Child Explained episode

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

We’re sticking with the food theme this week, today addressing listener Tim’s concerns about kids and food:

“Why are my toddlers not eating fruits/vegetables? Why are they only eating snacks (cereal, popcorn, Lunchables, grrrrrr)?”

In March of 2016 I made the whole month about food – how to handle picky eaters, how to prepare food without going bankrupt or spending hours in the kitchen – I even created a Guide to Food and Family, with recipes and food hacks, which you’ll find in the sidebar at weturnedoutokay.com!

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/171 to listen and to read about my responses to Tim’s questions (and thank you, Tim, for asking : ) Continue reading “Podcast Episode 171: When Your Kids Only Want Snacks – A Listener Q&A for this Your Child Explained episode”

Podcast Episode 170: Kids and Food – A Conversation with Mom and Author Jeannie Marshall (Rebroadcast)

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and click the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Today’s guest, mom and author Jeannie Marshall, showing off a gorgeous frittata that she just made!

When today’s guest, Jeannie Marshall, became pregnant with their son Nico after her family relocated to Italy, she developed a fascination for how Italians introduce their babies to food, and the part that food plays in Italian children’s lives now that factory foods and agribusiness have made inroads into Italy. She details her experiences in one of my favorite books, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids.

One memorable line: Jeannie writes about when Italian mom of baby Rocco, a boy the same age as Nico who is being exposed to first foods as well, says it’s as though we North Americans are “teaching our babies not to like food.”

Our conversation, originally aired in March of 2016, reflects Jeannie and her family’s love of Italy, Italians, and Italian food – and also their first-hand experiences fighting that battle that we fight every day: getting inexpensive and tasty meals on the table (and then getting our kids to eat those meals).

Find key links and to complete notes by going to weturnedoutokay.com/170! Continue reading “Podcast Episode 170: Kids and Food – A Conversation with Mom and Author Jeannie Marshall (Rebroadcast)”

065: How to Get Your Kids to Eat, Part Two of Two – Mindset

Today, we wrap up our month of food here at We Turned Out Okay with a show on the mindset of getting our kids to eat!

If you have been loving the food/family focus this past month here at We Turned Out Okay, but didn’t have a chance to take notes, I have great news – I made you a FREE, two-page Food and Family infographic! It combines key takeaways from this month, favorite recipes, and grab-and-go snack ideas so that you can have all that information in one place. Best of all, when you print it out and put it up on the refrigerator, babysitters, grandparents, and older siblings will all have an idea of what to do when you’re not home and your little one is hungry

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/foodandfamily – see how well you do on my one-question food quiz – and sign up for the We Turned Out Okay Guide to Food and Family. (Note – if you’re reading this in iTunes but the link is not clickable, tap on the three dots to the right of this episode’s title to bring up a menu; choose View Full Description from that menu, and the link will be clickable 🙂

During part one of How to Get Your Kids to Eat – back on March 1 – I shared about how I helped my picky eater become more adventurous (and my part in creating that picky eater in the first place). If you have picky eaters and you’re trying to get them to eat something, take a listen by clicking here or going to weturnedoutokay.com/059.

For today’s show, I’ve come up with three key aspects of the mindset you need when thinking about kids and food.

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/065 for notes from today’s episode!

The three key aspects of a happy kids/food mindset:

1) make mealtime not so much about the meal, instead focusing on the fun aspects of sitting down together with family and friends – it’s more relaxing for everyone, and just a lot nicer to think about enjoying mealtime rather than girding for yet another food battle

2) take into account what your child has eaten over the course of a week, and try not to worry so much about what he or she has eaten at this meal, or even today; when he was younger, my Jay could go days and days without virtually any solid food, and even today will sometimes eat next to nothing… and then the next day or a few days later seems to have a hollow leg! Letting kids figure out for themselves when they’re full or when they’re hungry is key not just to avoid battles today, but so that our kids approach food in a healthy way as adults

3) eat a variety of foods; doesn’t that sound simple? And yet it can be so tough, when all they want in the world is nuggets and fries! Today I help you figure out how to make eating a variety of foods the reality in your home, even with your pickiest of eaters

Adapting your food and kids mindset to include these three aspects will, not coincidentally, allow you to worry less and enjoy more every day with your young child! I know this firsthand, because these were the three things that helped me get my kids to eat.

At the end of today’s episode, I shift gears and bring up an FAQ about my forthcoming book for parents of young children – Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child – a favorite FAQ that, when I first read it, made me snort tea through my nose!

Q: How do I recommend Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics to my sister/cousin/best friend without saying in effect “hey, you’re a sucky parent – read this book!”?

A: We all know someone who we wish their parenting was better. Maybe they bring too much drama in, maybe they’re just too worried about everything child-related, maybe they fly off the handle really easily. How to recommend a book that will really, really help – without making them think you disapprove of their parenting style? Try this: make a general recommendation out to your social media peeps. Post into Facebook, twitter, instagram, or Pinterest and just say something like “here’s a book that I got a lot out of… Everybody should read it, you’ll love it and be a happier parent when you finish it!”

When Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics goes live in Amazon – the plan is currently for this to happen in April – it will be free for three short days! To get notified immediately the moment it goes live, go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com; this is also where you can grab my anti-tantrum infographic, perfect for printing out and placing on the fridge so that babysitters, grandparents, and older siblings know how to handle a tantrum in your home!

Key Links

In today’s’s conversation, the following We Turned Out Okay episodes come up: weturnedoutokay.com/056 (how to handle every temper tantrum), weturnedoutokay.com/059 (about how I got my picky eater to become more adventurous), and weturnedoutokay.com/064 (feeding kids beyond Nuggets and Fries)

Click here or go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com to sign up for your fridge-worthy anti-tantrum infographic and to get notified immediately when the book goes live in Amazon, because it will be FREE for three short days!

064: Feeding Kids Beyond Nuggets and Fries: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today, in this Your Child Explained episode, where we always get into the mind of our kids’ heads, we’re looking at exposure to new foods from the perspective of our kids.

March has been – and continues to be – all about food here at We Turned Out Okay, and today’s episode pertains to two interviews from this month: my conversation with mom and author of The Lost Art of Feeding Kids Jeannie Marshall in episode 60 (click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/060 to listen) and my conversation with mom and author of the cookbook My Kitchen In Rome Rachel Roddy in episode 63 (click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/063 for that one). Those were two fantastic conversations, I learned so much about kids, food, and the interactions of one with the other while talking to these two great women! I know you’ll love our chats, so if you haven’t yet, go back and take a listen – that said, neither episode is a prerequisite to today’s.

Jeannie and Rachel are friends who live in Rome, Italy; each has a son in the Roman school system – and both are quick to note the differences between the school lunches they remember growing up in Canada and England respectively, and school lunches their sons enjoy each day.

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/064 for further notes from today’s Your Child Explained!

Similar to the school lunches that you probably remember, Jeannie and Rachel ate a lot of frozen pizza, French fries, and limp salads in school. In Rome – as in most places in Italy – each school has a chef, who makes fresh and extremely varied dishes each day, serving them family-style and eating with the children and teachers! Kids are exposed to foods in Italy that we’d never dream of sharing with them here in North America or England; in fact Rachel’s 4 1/2-year-old son Luca came home the other day talking about how he “didn’t like the car coffee” served at school. Rachel thought briefly “they are giving my son coffee?”… and then realized that the phrase car coffee is a phonetic pronunciation of the Italian word for artichokes. Luca may not have liked them, but he was exposed to artichokes in school that day!

And that is how kids get out of picky eating, become more adventurous and able to handle different foods. We can’t expect our kids to be exposed to only the same nine or 10 foods in their young lives, and then suddenly become adventurous (or even less picky). It’s up to us parents to change their exposure at home – to make nuggets be the treat and variety be the norm.

I know how difficult that is; episode 59 from the first week in March was all about how my own picky eater turned adventurous (listen here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/059). Through our experiences in my own family, I know that it can be done; I hope as you listen to today’s episode you gain some ideas and some hope in moving from nuggets and fries to other great and yummy foods out in the world!

Key Links

Click here to sign up for the “5 Ways to Handle Your Picky Eater” Free Guide!

Click here for my conversation with Jeannie Marshall in episode 60, and here for her website, JeannieMarshall.com.

Click here for my conversation with Rachel Roddy in episode 63, and here for her weekly food column in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/059 for my story about helping one picky eater become… well, less picky!

My forthcoming book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, is for you if you need a toolbox of tools to handle every tantrum, keep your cool, and enjoy life with your young child! To get your free, printable, fridge-worthy anti-tantrum infographic, as well as to be notified immediately when the book launches in Amazon – it will be free for three short days! – go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com.

BONUS: How to Get Past Picky Eating: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today’s episode wasn’t supposed to happen; normally, this past Tuesday would’ve been a Just You and Me, but I recorded a great interview which had so much to do with food that I knew I needed a third Guest Interview episode in March. (That was How to Stop The Weeknight Chaos with Brandie Weikle of The New Family Podcast – listen here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/062.)

And I still wasn’t going to do a Your Child Explained – but then the Boston Globe Magazine forced me into it with their outstanding Family Issue from February 28, 2016! The cover article, The Tyranny of The Picky Eater, captivated me with its well-written and non-lectury style; read Alyssa Giacobbe’s fantastic article by clicking here or going to BostonGlobe.com/magazine

Today, I read two key sections of Alyssa’s article, and share the one change that we made here in our home that has really helped alleviate the picky eating!

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/BONUS-picky-eaters to read more about that change, or just click play to listen.

In her article, Alyssa talks about the evolutionary background to kids and selective eating; as our young kids become more mobile, starting at around age 2, they are much more likely to ingest something toxic and as a species we’ve evolved to combat that through picky eating. In the modern family home, for convenience or lack of time, we can easily extend on the years of selective eating by only serving what the kids will eat.

A later section, about the harm we can do by forcing kids to eat foods they don’t want, includes this quote by Doctor David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital: “We don’t have to be afraid of letting the kid get hungry and experience the consequences of the decision not to eat. We need an appropriate division of responsibilities: parents decide what the kid gets; kids decide whether to eat it.”

For me, these two ideas – extending on selective eating and forcing kids to eat foods they may not want to try – combined to point the way toward this one change Ben and I made in our home, five or six years ago, when we decided that Max and Jay would have just the one option: to eat whatever we were eating.

At the same time, we made it clear that it was their choice whether they ate what was on the table – and then we dropped it. We stopped focusing so much on the actual food and started focusing on the enjoyment of sitting around a table together. All these years later, the four of us really look forward to dinner time because it is (relatively) stress-free and just enjoyable to be together!

That is the crux of this bonus episode, the take away for you as you’re trying to stop the picky eating: try to make mealtimes relaxed and enjoyable. Make the emphasis less on the actual food and more on the joy of being together.

I hope this helps!

Key Links

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/062 for my conversation with Brandie Weikle of The New Family Podcast

Click here for Alyssa Giacobbe’s article, The Tyranny of The Picky Eater, for some great insights about why kids become picky eaters – and how we can bring them out of it

To get notified the moment the book I’m writing for you – Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young child – goes live in Amazon in April, click here or go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com. By signing up you’ll be able to grab my printable anti-tantrum info graphic, perfect for placing on the fridge where babysitters, grandparents, and older siblings can see it so everybody knows how to handle a temper tantrum in your home, so if the tantrums are getting out of control, you’ll find a great resource to help!

060: How Do We Know What To Feed Our Kids? A Conversation with Mom and Author Jeannie Marshall

IMG_0385Today, guest Jeannie Marshall and I talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: food. Italian food, no less – Jeannie, Canadian by birth, and her husband chose to make their home in Rome, Italy a little more than a decade ago. When Jeannie became pregnant with their son Nico, she developed a fascination for how Italians introduce their babies to food, and the part that food plays in Italian children’s lives now that factory foods and agribusiness have made inroads into Italy. She details her experiences in one of my favorite books, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids.

Our conversation reflects Jeannie and her family’s love of Italy, Italians, and Italian food – and also her family’s first-hand experiences fighting that battle that we fight every day: getting in start scrolling expensive and tasty meals on the table (and then getting our kids to eat those meals).

Find the complete notes to this episode at weturnedoutokay.com by clicking here!

One memorable line from The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: Jeannie writes about when Italian mom of baby Rocco, a boy the same age as Nico who is being exposed to first foods as well, says it’s as though we North Americans “were teaching our babies not to like food.”

Italian babies, it turns out, aren’t exposed to foods one at a time to detect allergies; instead, they enjoy a special broth at first, to which parts of the family’s meal are puréed and added as the baby gets a little older.

Our conversation ranges over so much else! Listen for:

  • the differences between visiting the beach and sharing a restaurant meal as a family – a frequent Italian family trip – and visiting a waterpark that opened nearby, where the only food options were those very familiar to us North Americans, hamburgers and chicken nuggets and anything that can be set up in a warming tray; reading The Lost Art of Feeding Kids three years ago was the first time it occurred to me how pervasive the warming-tray culture is here where I live
  • how agribusiness makes the food of our cultures not cool, and how dangerous that can be for a typical family (and their tastebuds)
  • why parents and grandparents are sometimes at odds for what is best in raising the newest generation

Jeannie is optimistic that the beloved Italian food culture is winning the war against the food companies trying to hijack it. She shares that there is a heightened awareness among Italians of the importance of passing on traditions to children, and that those legendary and beloved street markets are thriving.

I hope you enjoy our conversation, and I hope to have Jeannie back on the show in the future!

Key Links:

Review The Lost Art of Feeding Kids here.

Jeannie’s friend Rachael Roddy has written a cookbook that Jeannie describes as “a wonderful companion for The Lost Art; it becomes available in the US this spring. When it does, I’ll link to it here!

Sign up for my free gift to you, the 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents here.