With a 5 year old and a 7 year old, we are no strangers to picky eating in our home. I have tried a lot of different techniques, food ideas, meal plans, and s o on to have family meal time be a non-stressful event. It was going okay but I was increasingly frustrated with the children's pickiness.
Watching television last week I saw this commercial. It took a few times for it to play over the course of a program for what they were suggesting really hit home. Two key messages I took from it were:
I make food for the kids with my love. When I offer it to them and they reject it, I feel that they are rejecting my love.
Letting children dish up their own plates takes out the power struggle of how much they eat and what they eat.
I tried a little experiement. I created the weekly meal plan and, when dinner was prepared, I chose to present it on the table on individual plates. Vegetable, main course, and a plate of healthy options I knew the kids would eat (oranges, bananas, yogurt, apples). I told them they could eat as little or as much as they wanted BUT they had to take at least three different items. It worked out so well they were asking if we could do it every night! Sure enough the next night when I called them to the table they asked if we were eating how we did last night and I said yes. I have never seen the children wash up and sit down for dinner and even "yippee!". Wow.
It was pleasant for my husband and I also because we could eat what we wanted without arguing with the kids for the entire meal. We only monitored that they took the three choices and had a regular conversation about our day.
If you want to be inspired, here is the commercial that prompted my "a-ha!" moment.
How do you succeed with meals if you have picky eaters?