When it comes to kids, they can be a trick when supper time rolls around. Picky eaters, anyone?
1. Advertising plays to the fun packaging.....fruit doesn't have any packaging. If you are getting a majority of your nourishment from packaging...is it food?
2. They are still developing their taste buds. They are learning flavors and their taste buds are much more brilliant and perceptive than ours, which have been "dumbed down" by white flours, processed sugars, and an over abundance of Congestor intake. Especially when food is bought in a grocery store rather than fresh from the earth, the flavors are very different! No wonder kids don't like how fruits and vegetables taste! Because they don't get these tastes in, their under-developed taste buds stay underdeveloped. How much of each flavor are they exposed to?
3. They eat what is around. What is around? What school offers (unhealthy, imbalanced, easy processed, minor preparation foods, very very low enzyme rich), and what YOU offer. What is around at your house?
4. They eat what you eat. How do you feel about your diet? Are you modeling what you want your kids to be doing? Do you even KNOW how to eat in a way that would be a good model for your kids? Do they see you eating something but you tell them they have to eat something different? Do they not see you eat, but they KNOW what you eat? Your personality has a lot to do with it. If they see you active, making healthy choices, participating in activities like gardening, or CSA involvement, or going to farmer's markets, or being selective with your grocery buying, they are going to see that healthy eating is a value to you.
5. Foods don't taste as good when they're not fresh. Do our kids even know that food comes from the earth? Have they participated in gardening or tasted something fresh out of the garden?
6. Are these activities a "sideline adventure" or is it evident that they are a main value of your family?
7. Are your kids over-busy, constantly running from one place to the next? This is an indication that healthy food IS then, an afterthought, because the activity has become more important than planning food into your day. Food, growing food, preparing food, creating food used to take up the majority of a day. The whole point of working the fields or the job was the provide food, because it was a NEED. Now, the majority of food we take in has nothing to do with need, because there are so many cheap alternatives available, and we don't have to work physically to support our nourishment needs any more...but at what price?
8. Food used to be an important part of relationships and family. Time and effort daily were taken to prepare food, working together. Preparing the food in home creates smells and sounds that stimulate the brain and body to produce chemistry and ready processes that digest and make use of food. Not preparing the food at home and just have it show up in front of you in bags and wrappers robs the body of opportunity to prepare and properly process the food coming in. The very first enzymes created for digestion come from the smells and sounds that stimulate the body for digestive action.
9. Kids have very little they are in control over. Food and pooping are 2 they still have complete say in. Watch tomorrow's DrFoodie TV episode about a mom's concern over her 7 year old daughter's "controlling behavior" and how that related to her picky eating. Is your child feeling a need to control their environment or exert their independence?
How to start eating more healthy foods, even when you're busy.....
First: FILL YOUR FRIDGE - The FRESH FRIDGE
If you fill your fridge at the beginning of each week with fruits
and veg, make it a challenge to eat them up before the week is
through. Each week fill it with different varieties of produce. If they
are prepared and cut the more likely you and your family will grab
and eat them. The more likely you will add them to everything else.
If they are taking up your fridge space and you’ve spent money on
them, the greater the chance that you will eat them.
For each person, plan enough fruit and veg for:
3 fruit servings a day
Lunch salads with 7 vegetables options in them daily
2 sides of vegetables at every supper
Frozen fruit for daily Breakfast Smoothies
Plus, you can create your weeks according to “theme”, and
choose produce accordingly. For example, have a mexican themed
week and select veg that go better with tacos, burritos, taco salad,
etc? Like Red, green, yellow, and orange peppers, jalapenos,
rutabaga, lettuces, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, olives, avocado, hot
sauce, etc. Or Chinese theme where you choose bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, celery,
sprouts, shredded carrots, broccoli, snow pea pods, etc.
Remember that there is not only ONE WAY to prepare these nourishing foods. Your kid may hate raw broccoli, but love it cooked. Also, keep in mind the 3 by 7 Rule...
The 3 By 7 Rule:
It takes 3 bites for the taste buds to wake up and truly taste the flavors coming in. This means in order to get our kids a REAL idea on what something tastes, they need to try 3 bites of it, not a tiny nibble before they throw it down.
AND it takes 7 TIMES of this 3 bite trial for a connection to be made in the brain.
THAT'S A LOT OF TRYING!
So when you give up serving a food because "they won't eat it anyway and then I'll end up throwing it", you haven't even reached the physiological quota yet. KEEP TRYING!
Things you can do:
1. Allergies/intolerances? Keep in mind that if a child is allergic or intolerant to a food, they may be rejecting it. This may come across as "picky eating" but is actually a sign that the food doesn't feel good in their body, and they just can't verbalize it.
2. Food Fun - We turned Dash into a "food scientist" with a graphing chart with 7 spaces, and 3 squares in each of the seven spaces. This is where he "checkmarks" each of the 3 bites he takes for a specific food. When all 7 spaces are used up, that means that over the course of time, he's tried it a sufficient number of times for the body to make a real decision about it. Of course, you can always start the 7 over again and again. When he likes a food, we write it on a fun sticker page so that he has a list of all the foods he's tried and likes, which makes him feel accomplished and excited to try new things.
Sometimes it's all about making it a game, but sometimes it's about him seeing that food is a necessary part of life and TIME should be taken in it's preparation.
3. He sees that creating our food is a real and necessary part of our day. We grow it together, plant it together, take care of it, harvest it, cook it together, eat it together.
4. Make outside days fun. We will spend whole days outside, and when we get hungry, go pick something from the garden. It's fun to see that food preparation doesn't need to be time consuming, plus we don't have to stop our fun.
5. Anytime the activity of life gets in the way of the necessity of life, we probably need to stop and question ourselves.
6. Kids like simple easy food. They do not need recipes, and sometimes that can be the problem. Most often, Dash's plate looks like a pin wheel of little bits of food all around. He rarely eats a prepared recipe meal. It might be a few spoons of rice, some pieces of broccoli, a few carrots, a couple grapes, maybe some raisins or dried banana. I keep the Food FX formula for balance...2 Eliminators to every acid forming food (Builders and Congestors) So 2 fruits or veg to every one protein food or grain/sugar/starch food. Learn more about Food FX here, if you haven't already.
7. Some like foods "funned up" but I find that there is a longer appreciation and more acceptance of food if they simply see it as a necessity, and stick to the foods that truly do good things for our bodies. Less choice can be much easier especially in small children.
8. I put lots of options on their plates, but know they won't eat all of it. It's about trial and discovery, not forced eating to clear their plates for worry of waste. When they are taking part in the preparation of food, they learn how valuable each pea pod is because they put the work in. Plus, if it's real food, you can compost it and they can see how that gives back to the cycle of life.
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