Sunday, January 8, 2012

31 Day Food Challenge

Teaching "Good" Eaters is hosting a 31 Day Food Challenge in January. We recently realized with Shane how much food plays a part in his daily behavior. We hit rock bottom about a month ago with our wonderful active 4.5 year old and were seeking anything that would help us get out a a terrible behavior rut. Food became one of the major answers.

He is a picky eater (like most preschoolers out there). When I stepped up and took some time to really figure out what I could get him to eat AND stopped pushing him on eating, we saw a 180 degree turn in his behavior.

Just last week at my MOPS group we had a guest speaker on picky eaters. She was AMAZING. I mean truly amazing. The top three things I took away from her talk were:
  • Our job as a parent is to provide healthy nutritional choices. It's the kiddos job to get it into their mouths. Bargaining, bribing, counting bits, etc does no good at all. Allowing them to decide what they want to eat and when is the health way to feed a kid.
  • Let all the walls go around eating. Don't be a wall that your kiddo can push against. Put all the power in their hands. Which means here is dinner, Kiddo, eat what you would like, try what you would like, or don't eat anything. It's all in your hands. 
  • By always having a "safe" food choice at meal time, your kid will eat. Yes, that may be bread or green beans, or olives. What ever a "safe" food is for your child. But, as they learn to take the power of eating into their hands, they will begin to want to try other things and you'll most likely see your child start to eat what is on the table all on their own free will.
Back to the food challenge. Here is what we accomplished this week:

Day 1: Establish Accountability -- We eat made a list of our favorite foods. Over the week we have been adding to it.

Day 2: One Family, One Meal -- We generally ate one family meal at dinner time, but had gotten a little off track. This week I've focused on having a "safe" food each night for Shane, as well as making sure we are at the table together and eating (or sitting nicely) for about 15 minutes every night. Dinners this week have been a lot less hectic!

Day 3: Try a New Food Tuesday -- This was a success after Shane cried for about 5 minutes. But I really wanted him to try a half of a garbanzo bean. When he did it, he discovered it was just fine and life went one. Since then he has been super open to at least taking a bite of something new.

Day 4: Eat a Fun Lunch -- This isn't the funniest looking lunch, but Shane really gets into having things in small sizes, toothpicks and fun plates. He ate this all up. That is all that matters to me! A happy eater equals a happy kid.

Day 5: Read Labels -- I happened to buy Adalyn some Gerber Puffs and she was eating them for a snack. I normally just feed them Pirates Booty. I read the Gerber Puff label and it had a handful of off items in it. I headed over to the Pirates Booty bag and it just had a couple ingredients. No point in buying the expensive baby puffs!I'll be sticking to Costco sized Pirate Booty bags.

Day 6: Plan a Food Adventure -- Still working on this one....

Day 7: One Small Change -- We needed new ketchup and I bought the new kind by Heinz that has no corn syrup in it!


Julie@teachinggoodeaters said...

Wow Jessica- I love reading about your progress this week!! I'm inspired by your dedication to changing your kids' eating habits. The fun meal with toothpicks is a great idea. I make a chicken dish all the time that my kids eat, but it is usually eaten without comment. One night, I cut it up and put it on skewers. The only thing that changed was the way I served it, but suddenly it was "the best chicken they ever ate!" Thanks so much for joining the challenge. I can't wait to see your family's continued progress!!

Anonymous said...

I found this post so insightful, Thank you! I have a picky 5 year old and 3 year old eaters. I really don't like to fight with them about eating dinner either so they eat a lot of scrambled eggs;-)

Jessica M. said...

Sean and I changed our ratting habits drastically about 3 months ago, I worried the kids would revolt with all the veggies and salad, but what I found is that kids won't starve themselves. we do like to keep one safe food at meal time. I have found two things if I give a small portion of the safe food and they ask for more I can get them to try the new stuff before they get more and secondly it take many little tries before they decide to like something. Now my 2 1/2 year old loves salad! good luck, sounds like you are already making good progress and have a good plan.