How to Avoid Picky Eaters – Stanford Children’s Health

How to Avoid Picky Eaters – Stanford Children’s Health

November 2, 2019 19 By Ewald Bahringer


So welcome everyone, thank you
for coming out tonight to our lecture. My name is
Felice Stonestrom and I manage the community programs at
Stanford Children’s Health. And just a couple of things
before we begin you probably noticed the lecture’s
being videotaped tonight. So we do ask that you hold all
your questions to the end. At which point we’ll turn off
the cameras and you can ask your questions anonymously. So
tonight’s lecture is titled, How to Avoid Picky Eaters from
Infancy to Early Childhood. And we’re honored to have
three speakers tonight, with a combined experience
of 55 years working here at Packard Children’s Health.
Amy Fahey is an occupational therapist with advanced
practice in feeding and swallowing. She has worked at
Stanford Children’s Health for the past five years, and also
has many years of experience in private clinics and
school systems. She currently works with both
inpatient and outpatient pediatric patients, with
a focus on infant feeding. For tonight’s presentation,
Amy will give and overview of the development
of infant feeding skills. Gretchen Flanagan is
a registered dietitian with over 20 years of
clinical experience, working with infants, children, and teens at Packard
Children’s Hospital Stanford. She currently is working
with the outpatient gastrointestinal team,
where she collaborates with physicians, nurses,
occupational therapists and parents to solve difficult
feeding problems. Tonight, she will address the
nutritional needs of healthy, growing children. And Annette van Boldrik is an
occupational therapist who has worked at Packard Children’s
Hospital Stanford for 24 years. She has advanced
practice in feeding and swallowing. She has worked
in all areas of occupational therapy here, but
her current focus is, is with infants and
toddlers with feeding and swallowing issues. She also
performs video fluoroscopic swallow studies in conjunction
with radiology when indicated. She enjoys mentoring and
collaborating with her peers, and tonight she will discuss
how to manage picky eating. So please join me in welcoming
our speakers tonight. [APPLAUSE]>>Okay, so, my name’s Amy. I’m an occupational therapist
here at Packard. I’m going to start out by talking about the
oral motor portion of feeding. From there, we’ll have
Gretchen talk about nutrition, and then Anette will wrap
things up by giving some specific tips and strategies
on how to avoid picky eating. So this is a photo by
a photographer and mom, Caitlin Domanico that
shows the relationship of feeding between moms and
their babies. You’ll notice that these babies are being
fed in many different ways. They are being breastfed,
bottle-fed, formula-fed. Moms are pumping
and tube-feeding. The purpose of this photo is
to show you that there is no right or wrong way to feed
your baby, as long as you have a positive and healthy
relationship with your child. You’re gonna hear lots of
information from us tonight. So if you question anything,
just talk to your doctor, and know that not every tip and
strategy might be right for what works for
your specific child and family needs, and
that’s okay. So moving on to Oral Motor
Development, as infants, they are working on
coordination with nippling, with breast milk or formula
as the primary nutrition. At four to six months old, most
babies are developmentally ready to try their first
solid foods. Lots of changes are happening at that
age. Baby’s jaw is elongating, their mouth is getting bigger.
They are showing more interest in the stuff that we’re
eating. Babies are much more alert and interactive at this
age. They might reach out for food. They might smile or
drool when they smell food. And babies head control
is also improving, they can hold their head up. They don’t need to be able to
sit completely unsupported, but they need to sit in some
sort of feeding chair without tipping over to the side. The
first foods are a thin puree, and it’s still very normal for
babies to suck the food off the spoon, and
with that sucking you’re gonna have some tongue protrusion.
So the tongue is gonna push some of the food out still,
and that doesn’t mean that they don’t like the food when
it comes out of their mouth. It’s just a normal
developmental stage at this point.
So we’re gonna show a video. This is this baby’s first
experience with solid foods, which is sweet potatoes.
>>Yummy, it’s so good. Good girl, good girl. Mm, good girl,
do you want some more?>>[SOUND]>>Allie’s very first food. Five months old, yum. Yeah, there it is. So good.>>[SOUND]
>>Okay, from six to eight months old,
babies show more and more interest in solid foods.
You might start offering foods twice a day towards
the end of that time period. Babies will start
to eat a thicker puree. And they also have the ability
to hold a large piece of food, like a cracker or teething
biscuit, and bring it to their mouth. They’re still
munching with an up and down jaw motion with
their tongue and jaw, not quite chewing yet. At nine
months, the tongue starts to become much more involved.
It’s moving side to side, which allows for much
better control of textures. Babies at this age
are managing lumpy and mashed foods quite well.
And soft foods like steamed vegetables, breads,
pastas, and soft fruits, can start to be introduced.
Babies start chewing at this age,
to the sides of their mouth, even if they don’t have teeth.
Which is really important to, to know that you don’t have to
have teeth to do all of this chewing and managing
of these softer foods. They also are working
on their pincer grasp, starting to pick things up
with their fingers like this, like blueberries or
Cheerios, and bring those types of foods to
their mouth so well, as well. So this is a video at
nine months, of broccoli. And so she is self-feeding
herself, she can bring it to her mouth. She still
requires to be fed from a caregiver. She’s not gonna
eat a whole entire meal with her fingers by herself. But
this is a good experience for her to have,
to practice with. And this baby didn’t have teeth
until after 12 months. Any teeth, actually. So she’s managing the texture.
>>Is that good broccoli? Do you want more broccoli? Allie,
do you want more broccoli? Do you have enough? Yum.
>>And she really liked it.
At 12 months, most toddlers at this point are capable of
eating solid foods and table foods that the family’s
eating in smaller portions and cut up into smaller bites,
but chewing is more refined, they’re using a more
diagonal chewing pattern, again even without teeth they
can handle most textures. Once the molars come in, they can handle harder
textures like an apple, or carrot stick, or
a tougher piece of meat, so this is a 12 month-old
eating some pasta. And this toddler was also
eating regular meals, meatballs, soft meatballs
cut up into cubes, cubed vegetables, soups, things like that.
So at this age is when things start to
switch over to being more of a food-based diet with
liquid supplements, which Gretchen will talk
more about as well. And then we’ll let
this video finish. Okay, so from that point
forward, toddlers are working on independence in
feeding skills, they’re working on using
utensils, using a spoon, using a fork, bringing
the food to their mouths and variety is key, they’re
experiencing new foods all the time. So this slide talks about the importance
of sensory development, babies need experience
touching, smelling and tasting new flavors. This baby
is not eating a pickle for nutrition but she is
bringing it to her mouth. She’s has it inside her mouth
to desensitize her gag reflex. She’s tasting a new flavor.
She’s has pickle juice on her hands. A lot a times babies
try to get into things and mouth toys and mouth things
and we’re often saying, no, don’t touch that, that’s dirty
or you’re gonna choke or that’s a bag of diaper wipes.
Food is a great way to do this in a safe and developmentally
appropriate way. They also need experiences with
touching food and feeling it, experiencing it from
multi-sensory angles rather than just being forced to have
something that they’ve never tried before. If you think
about having a new food that you’ve never had before, maybe
you’re at a new restaurant or a different country,
somebody gives you something you’ve never seen,
you’re not gonna just eat it, you’re gonna poke it with your
fork, is it hard, is it soft? You’re gonna bring
it to your nose and smell it, maybe bring it to
your lips and take a little nibble before you put the
whole thing in your mouth and even then you’re probably
gonna take a small bite just to start with. Babies need those same
experiences with foods. It’s very normal for them
to want to explore and, and smell things, and feel things
on their hands before they feel comfortable with
it in their mouth. So that’s all I have, hopefully
that gives you a good, basic understanding of some
oral motor development and expectations for this age.
So I’m gonna hand it over to Gretchen, who’s gonna talk
more about the nutrition.>>All right, put this here. Well, as parents,
grandparents, and perspective parents, we are concerned about
the foods we feed our kids. We wanna be sure that we’re
providing the healthiest foods possible.
However, we’re confused, we don’t understand what
makes a food healthy, does that mean it’s organic?
Is it, are there, should I be concerned about
pesticides? How about GMO’s? Don’t worry I don’t
have the answers, but our food market is exploding
with new food products designed to convince us that
we should be purchasing these foods. Okay, so let’s
talk about real food. [LAUGH] As we know,
food fuels the body, and food is composed of
three main ingredients, carbohydrates, proteins and
fats. The ideal fuel contains
the majority of carbohydrate with a fair amount of protein
and a sprinkle of fat. So let’s look at the toddler
plate, the plate method is a way to put that ideal fuel
mixture into real foods. As you look at the plate, the carbohydrates are provided
by the fruits, vegetables and grains. You can see that’s
three quarters of the plate is carbohydrate. The protein is
represented by the meats and you can see that looks like
about a quarter of the plate. The meats are the building
blocks of for growth and development. And fats are how we
prepare the food, they are not a food group
in and of themselves. So that plate provides
the ideal fuel in the ideal quantities of
those essential ingredients. Now milk can provide that
same mixture of carb, protein, and fat and
can be a stand-alone or an accompaniment to
the plate itself. So that is the ideal blend of nutrition.
Now let’s keep in mind that the early
months in an infants’ life, they’re primarily taking
breast milk or formula, and both breast milk and formula
have this ideal mix of carb, protein, and fat,
uniquely designed to meet the needs of the rapidly
growing infant. However, as the child grows and
we introduce other foods, keeping that balance
gets a little more difficult to manage.
So it is a very gradual, building in these new foods
is a very gradual and individual process. There’s
no one right way to do it. So we’re gonna skip ahead and
talk about the toddler, diet. Now, this is the part
where I’d like to talk about. I’ll see if I can find this. How toddlers eat, and
we know that toddlers are not consistent eaters. That means
they don’t eat the same amounts at the same times
from one day to the next. And in fact, they eat when
they’re hungry and they stop when they’re full. Most adults don’t
have this down. So, it is unique to
this country that, that we talk about feeding
our children every three hours because they need
fuel every three hours and we named that three meals and
three snacks. So, six opportunities a day
to eat. Now, with that three meals and three snacks,
there is a misconception among most kids and some adults.
That meals are opportunities where you get foods
that are good for you and snacks
are opportunities to eat the foods you wanna eat.
And those are the ones that mostly you tear open.
So, unfortunately, our children need fuel
every three hours and they need this balance of
carbohydrate, protein, and fat every three hours for
optimal nutrition. So, we, I’m wondering if we need to
rethink this whole meal and snack concept, and
turn it into mini meals. So, if we give kids
opportunities five or six times a day to
have a mini meal, we may be getting better
nutrition for our kids. They may learn a style of
eating that helps them prevent some of the negative
consequences of the style of eating that many of us have
today. Something to think about. So now, that we know
what constitutes a mini meal, let’s look at portion sizes.
Now, this slide represents
the same meal for four different ages,
age 1, 2, 3 and 4. And what you’ll notice is that
the plate sizes are the same, the only thing that changes
is how much food, and slight textures,
is appropriate for the different years.
So, a good rule of thumb, and many folks are kind of shocked
by this recommendation, a good rule of thumb
is one tablespoon per food item per year of age. So if we look at the portion
size for a one-year old, that would be one
tablespoon of strawberries, one tablespoon of green beans
and two tablespoons of mac and cheese. Cheese
representing the protein, the pasta representing the
grain. And the milk portion is about one to two ounces.
Now that’s not to say that that’s what your child’s
going to eat. But that’s a good place to start. If we
sit down with a young child, a young one-year old and give him the amount that
is more appropriate for a four-year old, we may not
feel that we are parenting and getting our kids to eat what
we think they should eat. Sometimes our expectations
about what a child needs to eat do not match with the real
nutrition needs of a child. The one nice thing about
having five to six opportunities to eat like this
is that it gives the child the opportunity to keep
that balance of nutrition. Whether they eat all of of
it one day or one meal, or eat none of it, one meal. It will balance
itself out if we allow it to. Your child may not be
satisfied with the amount that you present them and that’s
fine too. They can have more. This just represents a good
place to start. Now, keep in mind that this
plate is quite small. This is about a five
inch diameter plate and it’s up on the table in the
back if you wanna take a look. So if you’re dishing your
child food onto an adult-sized plate, you may be
missing the mark. Because what we tend to do,
and it’s human nature, we put appropriate portions
according to the size of the plate. So most adults
eat on too large a plate, as a good place to start.
Most adults need no more than a nine inch plate. So
something to check out at home and see how you’re doing with
your own plates. So let’s see. Now, another important role of the
parent is to offer variety. As a dietitian with lots
of years experience and two children, I can guarantee
you that if you ask a child what they want to eat,
they will tell you
the same three foods, cheese pizza, chicken nuggets,
and mac and cheese. I can also guarantee
you they won’t ask for broccoli, cauliflower or
Brussels sprouts. Now, we know that
it takes about 15 to 20 exposures of
a new food before a child will accept that food.
Now notice how I didn’t say, will like that food, but
they will accept it. So, one of the biggest
responsibilities of parents is to offer those mini meals
with a balance of food groups to achieve that ideal fuel and
mix it up all the time. That is one of the biggest
keys to avoiding picky eating.
Parents are responsible for putting the food on the plate.
Kids are responsible for whether they eat or not.
And sometimes it’s not and that’s okay.
So what can you do, To create a healthy feeding
environment at home? Well, we can start with
establishing those mini meals, every three hours. Or so. We can build in
the healthy balance of nutrition in appropriate portion sizes. So here’s where
I really think it’s important to take a look at the amount
of food you’re expecting your child to consume. It no,
it may not need to be as much as you’re offering.
The child may feel overwhelmed if they’re
given too much food, and may not wanna even begin.
So portion size is key. So establish those regular
mini meals and take a break from activities, and enjoy
a mini meal with your child. So that means, you know, have
a picnic in the backyard or on the living room floor
to make it interesting and fun. Stop what you’re doing. Maybe it’s sit at
the dining room table or at the toddler table and have
a tea party with your child. One of the biggest concerns I
have are busy parents that do majority of their snack
meals in the car and they need convenience
to not mess up the car. I’m gonna recommend that you
pull the car over, and climb in the back seat, and have
a mini meal with your child. Family meals, we need to
join them. We need to make the environment conducive to
leaving food on the plate, to finishing it all and
asking for more. Whatever we want our
children to do, whether it’s have good table manners or
learn to enjoy new foods, we need to do it with them.
Oops, and then one last thing I
wanted to say is that if you have provided the right fuel
in reasonable portion sizes, your children will be able to
eat the amount they need and we don’t need to worry about
it. Okay, I’m going to now pass off the presentation
to Annette who’s going to talk about if all of our good
intentions have gone awry and we, we have ended up
with some picky eating.>>Picky eating. Hi, everybody,
how you doing? All right let me just get into
my slide as well. So I’ve, I’m gonna show
you three videos and I want you to just react
to them. Some of you have experienced this if you
already have a baby. Some of you, I saw some
pregnant women in here, may be experiencing
it in the future. I’ve just pulled these
down from YouTube and I, being a little bit of a
feeding nerd, I have looked at lots of baby’s first meal
videos on YouTube and I find them enlightening.
>>Make sure to think about this.
>>Okay.>>It’s avocado.>>Avocado.>>But it’s cold.>>[LAUGH]>>[LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] Is it not good?
>>She doesn’t like it.>>Okay. [LAUGH]
>>First comment on this one is this baby’s not choking.
This baby’s not dying. This baby, I actually really
like hearing the parents laugh in the background, okay.
So let’s look at the next one. Let’s see if I do a better job
on this myself, here we go.>>[SOUND]>>Watch her eyes, where’s she looking?
She’s looking at her parents. She is like my gosh,
what the heck is this?>>[LAUGH]>>The parents are laughing.
>>I’m sorry.>>It’s the right response.>>[NOISE]>>And watch. It’s okay. And I’m just gonna do one more
and show you this one and then we’ll talk about
it a little bit. These guys are all adorable.
>>Peas.>>[SOUND]>>Do you see the shudder?>>[NOISE]>>Watch the eyes. He’s looking at the parent.
>>Do you want another bite? [LAUGH]>>There you go.>>[NOISE]>>You see another big reaction like.
>>[LAUGH]>>He’s not choking, he’s not dying.
>>Do you not like peas, buddy?
>>[SOUND]>>He could barely breathe.>>They’re still just kind of hanging out in there.
>>[SOUND]>>He’s still opening his mouth, he has not shut down,
he is still accepting this even though
it makes him shudder.>>That’s good stuff.>>[SOUND]>>He’s crying, it’s so good.>>[LAUGH]
>>[SOUND]>>You’re taking it down.>>[SOUND]>>Try some more?>>And he has probably hit his limit.
>>I don’t think he like peas. [LAUGH]
>>[COUGH]>>Okay.>>Jeez! [LAUGH]>>[SOUND]
>>Okay.>>So I’ve just a couple of points to make about this.
He’s not loving this food. This is not his favorite food.
But what I appreciate very much that these parents
did is they kept it positive. I’ve looked at an equal number
of these kind of videos where the parents are going
he doesn’t like it and you could just hear and the baby is making eye contact
with these parents and shutting down. I can’t tell
you how wonderful it is when I see this kind of video
where the parents are not freaking out about these gags.
Babies will gag. They will gag if the texture
is really strange. They will gag if this taste is
something that they have just not gotten their heads wrapped
around yet. His whole body was reacting, his breathing
changed, he shuddered, but he kept opening his mouth
and that was in large part because of how the parents
were approaching it. Would we ask this baby to
eat very many more bites? Probably not. But
that was a successful feeding, believe it or not. I mean,
the baby trusted the parents. What happens, this is like
when your, your little one is starting to learn to walk, and
they’re walking along, and they trip and they fall down.
They fall down, and then they look at you, and go,
am I okay? And if the parents are going, my gosh, you fell
down, the baby will cry. And if the parents are going,
you fell down, let’s get up,
the baby won’t cry. And it’s kind of a similar
approach that I take with these kids that are gagging.
If you keep it light and have reasonable expectations,
it was a slow pace of feeding, they weren’t going [SOUND].
They weren’t putting big giant spoonfuls in the baby’s mouth.
And all those things together. The baby still trusts the
parents. And that’s the really key part of the relationship
with feeding and introducing some of these foods. Now,
going forward, was that peas? I can’t remember. Does that
mean I’m not gonna get it, get the peas because they really
weren’t that successful. You don’t wanna create,
excuse me, [COUGH] the mental list of my
baby likes these foods and my baby doesn’t like
these foods because, I’ll only work on these foods.
I literally had a friend whose baby, I walked in and I
saw her one time, and the baby had a perfectly orange circle
on the tip of her nose. It was perfectly round, I’d
never seen anything like it. I was was like, what’s wrong
with her nose? She was on a carrot binge. And they were
just feeding her carrots. And I went back
three weeks later, and there was no more
orange nose, and she wasn’t eating carrots at
all. It’s like okay [LAUGH]. What you want, what your attitude about
introducing foods, should be is, I know there are foods
that my baby will eat more of, will eat more rapidly, will
eat without all this going on, but that doesn’t mean
I don’t reintroduce these foods that are a little
bit more challenging. Could I, so I had a baby that
wouldn’t eat avocado. And we all know avocado’s
just this wonder food and we all like our babies
to eat avocados. And so I worked with a mom and
I said, okay, what’s the food the baby does like? And
I think it was pears, and so we were feeding the baby
some pears, and then we took a teeny bit of
avocado and mostly pears, and we introduced that, and
we gradually changed the proportion of
pears to avocado. And then, the baby really turned
into an avocado lover. So, there’s these different
things that you can do to help the baby accept more and
more foods but, you don’t say that’s on the
list of foods I’m not gonna do again. That mental list
that you have is the list that’s called I will try this
again maybe a little bit differently. Okay? But,
not that food is off the list, that food is off the list.
We had a baby that was, came in to us eating
two white things, coconut, water and
pear because the parent and this is extreme but, the
parent was trying things and this list was just getting
smaller and smaller and finally, we had this very
undernourished child come in living on nothing.
So, what do you fear? You know, when you start to
have struggles with a picky eater, there’s usually some
little voice in the back of your head that is making you
worry. Maybe they’re saying, your baby’s not gaining weight
enough, and it’s like my gosh, I have to feed this
baby more and more and more.
Maybe your baby’s a gagger. Maybe you just feel like every
time you sit down, it’s like, I have got to engage in this
battle again to get this child to eat, or to take these
foods, or eat something besides french fries.
Maybe it’s being ostracized. Maybe like your mother-in-law
[LAUGH] or your mom is saying, why can’t you feed your baby?
I could feed you. Or some family member. There’s
a lot of social stigma to children that don’t eat
easily, and that one’s actually huge. And then a fear
of inadequate nutrition. I can’t get my child
to eat vegetables. I can’t get my child to eat
this mini meal balanced diet, you know? So be aware of
what’s driving you with your potential meal issues. Okay, so eating should be
a messy experience. You can’t expect that every
meal is gonna be like this, because you will go through 20
sets of clothes in a day, and life will be impossible.
But, you know, one meal a day like this, it’s
kind of awesome and you’ll notice that these are really
huge hunks of avocado. And even if she puts some of this
in her mouth she’ll manage. If she takes too big a bite
she’ll spit it out, okay? I think a lot of parents are
very afraid of their babies and afraid of choking and
that sort of thing. So we need to, we need to
be aware and this one, it looks like she died but
it’s beets. And she likes beets and it’s just
this horrible messy meal. But playing with food actually
is really important. I have a lot of kids I see in therapy
where I will put a cracker on their tray, and they’ll pick
it up and they’ll eat it. But I’ll put something wet like a
piece of fruit, or a piece of, a vegetable on their tray.
And they touch it and they literally recoil. Their
hands go [NOISE] like this. It’s like I’m not
touching that. And I just can’t
encourage you enough to, you know, that the idea behind
being messy with food is to interact with it, to smell it,
touch it, taste it, and be familiar with it here.
Because you’re not gonna put something in your mouth that
feels gross here. If it feels gross in your hands, it’s
grosser in your mouth, okay? So that’s what this
is all about. Okay, so there, let’s say you
already have a picky eater, there is a concept called
food chaining. And the idea with food chaining
is, you take baby steps, this is not giant steps.
You might, you have a child who eats
a lot of french fries. You’re not gonna go from french
fries to sweet potato fries. That is a giant leap. But
you might go from french fries from McDonald’s, to french
fries that are home made, to french fries that are cut
in a different length. And work your way in those tiny
baby steps to accepting a wider variety of french
fries. In this example, it’s like the Kraft, sorry,
[COUGH] I’ve been talking too much all day, Kraft mac and
cheese, you know? It’s like, that’s the only one.
It has to come in the box. It can’t be homemade.
None of that. So how are we gonna
chain this food so that we break it open a little
bit and have a wider variety? And you might do something
like same sauce, different pasta shape. Same pasta baked,
or baked in a muffin shape. And finally working so that
you can put some vegetables mixed into the pasta. But this
is baby steps. And there’s a lot more steps to get to
where the vegetables are. But this is just to introduce
the concept of food chaining. And like Gretchen said before, don’t overwhelm with huge
portions. Keep it small and unintimidating. When I’m doing
feeding therapy, I’m, I’ll put two Cheerios on the tray and
maybe start there and work my way up. Because if you put a
lot on, they’ll go [SOUND] and it’s all on the floor, so
you have keep it manageable. One of the things that I
can’t tell you, is it’s so important is listen to
yourself. Listen to the message. Okay, how many
of us have said you’re not getting off the table till
you’ve cleaned your plate? Or, you can’t have dessert if
you don’t finish your peas? Or some of these directive
assertive messages that set you up for a power struggle.
If you set up a power struggle, you lose. I’m sorry,
there’s just no way around it. If you say you must do this,
this will happen. You could tell me that I have to eat
goat cheese. I have tried, I have tried. I can not tell
you how hard I’ve tried. I’ve eaten little bits
of goat cheese, and it’s finally to the point
where it’s like I’m done. I’m not doing goat cheese.
And if you say I can’t have dessert until I eat my
goat cheese, sorry, I’ll skip the dessert.
Because for me it’s just, I can’t do it. And I’m really
digressing right now, but I have to tell
you a fun story. I did a picky eating talk for
a group of foster parents, and we asked them two questions.
The one question was, what’s your favorite food? And
what’s a food you won’t eat? So everybody went around the
room. And one guy said, I hate peanut butter, and another guy
said, that’s all I eat for lunch every day, peanut
butter and jelly sandwich. You know, and so
we had people, same food, polar opposite, and
there was one person there, who was Panamanian, and when
we asked her what her favorite food was, it was chicken feet.
[LAUGH] It was like, we all kinda went really?
And she said, it is wonderful, it’s my favorite thing.
So we have to understand that within our goal of having
this great variety, there are sometimes things
that just don’t appeal to us and that’s okay. So when
you’re talking to the child, you can say when they try a
bite of a new food, good bite, you’ve tried that and
you never had broccoli before, good bite. You can model,
and I can’t tell you to say, I love this broccoli.
That is my favorite thing and I love this. You’re gonna
kinda model that behavior. You can say let’s try this.
If the child’s older, you can kinda have the thing,
you know, we can try it and we can say we like it a lot or
we don’t like it very much or we really don’t like it.
But, let’s try it, let’s see what we think. Eat
your colors is a concept like you know, a bell pepper
might be green or red or orange or
cauliflower might be white. Or a pear or a peach might
have their own colors and just kinda encouraging the
concept of we should eat food of many colors. What colors
did you eat? Golden, French fries, nuggets. You know,
let’s work on another color. And then really my favorite
one is when you’re ready, you will eat this.
And the idea behind this is there are foods and
I’m jumping ahead to my tips a little bit but
I’ll just talk about it here. You don’t wanna be
a short order cook. You don’t wanna cook fries and
nuggets for this one, and you know the, this one over
here only eats whatever and you know, you are just
preparing individual meals for everybody in the family
instead of you’re making your family a balanced meal. A lot
of times, you have the green beans and the strawberries and
the whatever on the plate, and the child’s going I don’t eat
green beans. The message is when you’re ready, you’ll eat
green beans. It could take months or whatever, but the
green beans are on the plate. It’s not, I don’t want
green beans on my plate. When you’re ready, you can
eat the green beans, but the green beans need
to be on your plate, because we all have green
beans on our plate. Okay, it’s a very positive message.
It’s not a, you know you have to eat your
green beans kind of message but it’s when you’re ready,
you will eat the green beans. That was me and
the artichokes. I thought they were kind of
weird and I love artichokes, you know. You just never know
but they keep reappearing, it’s not I can’t put this on
the plate, I can’t put that on the plate, it appears on the
plate, okay? Okay, so grazing. If you are having that fear,
my child is underweight, I’m not getting
the nutrition in and there’s this compulsion to
say, let’s have a snack, lets-. I had a friend who we
were having their child’s birthday party and while she
was unwrapping the presents, they were shoving her
sippy cup in her mouth. It’s like take a break.
Now, cuz I can’t say that to my friends always but
you know, relax, have a meal, and a break,
and a meal, and a break. Don’t come at them with little
snippets of food all day long, okay? Limit choices and
don’t be a short order cook. So the idea again behind this
is, you present the meal, the meal has options within it
and this is what we’re eating. Ellyn Satter has the approach
of saying, put the desert there. Don’t say, you can’t
have this until you have that, it’s all there. If you
plan to serve a dessert, have a dessert, do you have to
have a dessert every night? No, but don’t save it
as the carrot out here. Try dips and condiments. So I can’t tell you broccoli,
broccoli is trees, right? Say, look, there’s a tree!
Let’s put snow on the tree, and now we have ranch
dressing, and my gosh, we’re gonna eat the broccoli
with this, you know, trees and snow, trees and snow. You
know, kind of be creative with it. Humus, ketchup,
mustard, I don’t care. But if it takes adding
a little something extra onto the fruit or vegetable, that’s
fine. That’s totally fine. Once again, I can’t tell you,
variety, variety, variety. What happens is we have
between six, nine months and two years of age to make
all the you know, offer all the variety that we can. When
we hit the two year age range, that’s gonna shrink.
It’s normal behavior, two year olds kinda go whoop,
like this and it’s like, I’m not eating that,
I’m not eating that. But you know what? If you’re calm,
you’re relaxed and you keep offering the foods,
it comes back out. But if you start from
a variety like this, instead of a variety
like this, it’s a lot less intimidating to
go from here to here, instead of from here to here.
It’s not, not so scary. Include them in a food prep.
They’ll handle food, they’ll learn about cooking, they’ll
have a really good time. So what do you do with
the little one? You’ve chopped up
the vegetable or the whatever, and it’s here, let’s get those
little hands picking it up and putting it in the bowl, or
the pot, and you’re gonna stir it. One of my favorite things
is this learning towers that they’ve got for little kids,
where they can stand and they have the little
cage around them so that they’re not
gonna fall off. Pull them up to the counter
and it’s like okay, what can we do together? You
know, and just see if there’s an element of that. If you’re
working and you’re exhausted, you’re going I am not
gonna do this after work, do it on the weekends you
know, that sort of thing. I’m not saying this all has
to be all the time but, but be very inclusive in terms
of what you’re doing with, with meal times. They’ll
learn to be good cooks and eat together. [COUGH] I would say one social
meal a day where you see mommy’s eating the brocc- I’m
picking on broccoli today. Mommy’s eating the broccoli,
Daddy’s eating the broccoli, baby’s eating the broccoli.
You know, just model, model this, and
go this is delicious or whatever. Take a picture, so
this is kind of a fun one that you might do if you really
have a picky eater. You know, capture a positive,
a little video snippet, or a little photo, of the
child putting that new food up to their mouth and trying
this new food. And go look, do you remember when
you tried that, what a good adventure that
was, wasn’t that? You know, that sort of thing. Kids
love to look at themselves, it’s their favorite subject.
It is, I don’t kid. Set a realistic goal. If it’s
something like those peas, one or two or three bites is
a huge success. It’s not like this big amount of food.
Don’t have a clean plate rule. Don’t have a list of foods
that you can’t can’t feed. Keep the keep
the fears out of this, become be encouraging. Don’t bring your stress
into this like we said it can take 15,
20 times sometimes. I had a friend who was an OT
and a feeding therapist and her little guy would not
eat cottage cheese. And she was really like, I can’t
get him to eat cottage cheese, it was very funny. And she
kept putting it on the plate, and one day, she decided that
she wouldn’t call it cottage cheese. She’d just called it
cottage. Here’s your cottage, he ate it. Who knows? Was it
cuz she changed the name, was it cuz she tried
it enough times? Who knows? But after that
he ate cottage cheese. So keep your stress low, maybe
be a little bit creative, but keep the power struggles out
of, out of the equation, you don’t wanna do that.
Skip the baby aisle, so this [LAUGH] this is Gretch
and I, we’ve both kinda feel a lot my thing is, it used
to be pureed baby food and that was kinda it. And then
they came out with stage one, stage two,
stage three toddler. Nobody should be buying toddler baby
food, in my opinion, feed them something that you’re eating.
You can you can make your own baby food like you’re
having a sweet potato for dinner, make a little too
much, put it in your blender, put it in ice cube tray,
make little portions. Once it’s frozen, break it
out of the ice cube tray, put it in a ziplock bag. And then go I’ll have a cube of
sweet potato, a cube of this, a cube of that,
there’s your meal. So it’s not even that you have to
make it fresh every minute. But you can, it’s not that
hard to take a sweet potato, cook it up, and
make something delicious. Babies can have no,
babies can have seasoning. Six month olds,
maybe not so much. Single you know, we’re kind of
in the single foods stage but if you are eating something,
you’re eating spaghetti. And your child’s going like this,
put a dab of spaghetti sauce on your finger and give him
a lick, okay. Let them kind of have these flavors. Don’t go
this is my food, this is your food. If they’re interested
in what’s on your plate, figure out a way, fork mash
it, do something to it, put, finger mash it, go here,
have a little taste. Incorporate them into
what you’re eating, it makes a big difference.
Have fun. You know, laugh like these parents. Have a good time with it and
just kind of enjoy and make it as positive an experience
as you’re able to, okay.