Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tastin' Broccoli: Parenting Tip for a Picky Eater

Parenting Tip for Picky Eater

Parents of Picky Eaters Unite!
Do you have a picky eater?  Does he or she give you a difficult time during mealtime?  Would you like to try a new strategy to get them to try out new foods?  Maybe this parenting tip will help you like it has helped our family!  Keep reading to see how it helped us, then click on the link below for a free download of my Try New Foods chart!

My Picky Eater 
Miracle Man has had a difficult time with trying new foods pretty much since we started him on solid foods as a baby. He definitely has tExTuRe issues, and won't even put things up to his mouth that he thinks will feel or taste strange to him.  Over time, the foods he is willing to eat ebbs and flows.  Recently, though, he was not willing to eat much at all...even foods that he used to like a lot!  What was a momma to do??

Well, I sought out the help of the nutritionist at our pediatrician's office and she gave me a few tips, one of which is to put him on a multi-vitamin that includes magnesium in it because a lack of magnesium in the diet can actually lead to a lack of hunger.  (Hmmmm...weight loss tip for me?!?!?!) She also suggested that we talk with him about the colors and textures of the foods we are introducing to him.  And, like any parent of a picky eater can attest to, she recommended that we don't force him to eat anything.  She said we should not make a big deal out of what he eats.  So...that strategy may work for other children, but it is one I have used off and on over the years, and it never seems to work very well with Miracle Man.

The nutritionist gave me many other ideas, as well.  And, while I have implemented some of them, I haven't been able to implement all of her suggestions. I did recently come up with an idea that I thought I would give a try, though.  It sort of goes against some of her advice, in that it focuses more on what Miracle Man is willing to eat.  But it is actually working!  With our current successes, I thought I might share it with you in case anyone else is looking to try something new with their own picky eater

Try New Foods Chart

picky eater

In my last post, I wrote about how I have just started a ticket system to encourage the kids to help out more around the house. Well, in conjunction with that ticket system, I created a "Try New Foods" chart! I created it in Microsoft Publisher, printed it out on colored cardstock, and then laminated it. Every time the kids try any new food, they get a smiley face on the chart.  Since it is laminated, I use a dry erase marker to draw on the smiley faces, complete with mohawks for Chub-Chub, and long hair with bows for Little Miss. In addition to the smiley face, I also give them a ticket toward the rewards system we just established. On Sundays, I erase the chart to start with a blank chart each week.   I wasn't sure exactly how motivating this would be, especially for Miracle Man, but it turns out that it works!!!  For Miracle Man, it does not work every time, or even every day, but he and the other two kiddles have been trying new foods a lot!

Since we started this chart, Miracle Man has tried raw broccoli, turkey hot dogs, salad (really just lettuce with ranch, but who cares!?), and raw red peppers, just to name a few.  He even had the raw broccoli twice!  This is such a major, major accomplishment for him!!  As for Little Miss and Chub-Chub, well, they are so motivated by the tickets that they are trying several new things each day even.  I do give them a smiley face and a ticket for each new item.  Originally, I was planning on introducing new foods just once per day and allowing only one ticket per day, but since the children have showed so much interest in being able to earn more tickets just by trying new things, I've decided that the important thing is that they are tasting new foods and exploring their taste buds willingly.  And that, to me, is worth as many tickets as they can earn!!

If you or anyone you know is dealing with a picky eater, you know the struggle.  It is real. And maybe some of the more traditional approaches will suffice for you.  But if they're not working, and you're at your wit's end, go ahead and give this chart/ticket thing a try!  What do you have to lose?  And you never know!  It may just work for you, too!  Feel free to share this article.  Click the link below for a free PDF download of my Try New Foods Chart! :)

Thanks for indulging me,
Marathon Momma

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