After all the effort you put in to make a meal (on time, might I add), it’s like a stab right through the heart when you hear those 4 dreadful words “I don’t like it” … before their butts even touched the chair.
That despite the fact that you’ve tried every trick in the book to get your child to try new and healthy foods, you can’t help but feel that it shouldn’t be that HARD … there has to be something you're missing.
It stops you in your tracks as your mind searches for the most perfect possibility. You try to recall what’s in your pantry and notice that taco night would be perfect, but you don’t have any cheese and that won’t go over well with your 2 year old.
Maybe you can pull off spaghetti and meatballs, but then remember your 4 year old goes in full on “you ruined my life mode” before he even gets in his chair if he sees the “red” sauce.
After pulling out your phone, doing a quick Pinterest search and trying your hardest to remember if you have the ingredients in your pantry to make that perfect 30 minute dish …
… you decide to go for it.
You manage to pick up the kids before your aftercare service starts charging you $1 per minute …
You now have exactly 29 minutes to pull off dinner before the hangries set in and your kids get into a full-on wrestling match over the “same” toy … again.
After moving faster than Lightning McQueen, dinner is served!
That feeling of accomplishment is quickly replaced by you holding your breath as your 2 year old approached the dinner table and takes the first look at his plate … he’s the one most likelly to burst into uncontrollable sobs.
On the other hand, your 4 year old is most likelly to tell it like it is … “ohhhh not that again” or, “I’m not eating that”, or worst “I don’t like it” even though it was his favourite just this morning!While it felt like the kids crawled to the table like a snail, they sure as heck bolted away their meals as if you were serving larvae or something!?
Well at least this time they didn’t just magically turn to jello and melt into the floor in a pile of screams and tears … sometimes snot if it’s cold and flu season.
You tried to get dinner ready on time.
You tried to give them a healthy meal.
You deserve to know how to tell if a tip you read on Dr. Google is full of sh*t or is actually applicable to your child’s situation, and then not be shamed in some mommy Facebook groups for trying what seemed to be a logical idea at the time.
You deserve to self-forgive and let go of any mom-guilt for giving your child mac & cheese for the 3rd day in a row, pack bologna between white toast for lunch, or have a red dye #40 filled packaged treat because you need them to eat SOMETHING.
You deserve to know EXACTLY how to leverage a proven framework to get your kids to accept new foods, re-introduce old favourites, or switch to healthier versions of their preferred foods without forcing, bribing, or short order cooking.
I hate to break it to you, but you can’t make anyone change … after all hasn't that been the most quoted reason boyfriends leave their girlfriends?
But since your kids can’t break up with you … the question still remains … how are you supposed to get them to do what you want at mealtimes?
The secret is to give them what they want. And before you go there, no, I’m not talking about feeding them sweets all day either.
The way I see it, in your relationship with your child there are 3 players.
Your child’s mind.
Your child’s body.
Here’s how the broken telephone game plays out…
Your child’s body is having certain preferences to foods.
Your child’s mind can’t quite make sense of it all and has a hard time to interpret and communicate what its body is experiencing. They are telling your something.
Now, based on what your child said, you have to somehow tell what their body needs you to know.
And if you guess wrong? Well, now your child gets increasingly frustrated that their needs are not met and cry, scream, or become increasingly uncomfortable at the table.
What you Need: Change that broken telephone game and cut out the middle man.
Here’s the deal.
Eating is only an instinctive drive for the first month of life. From birth to 3-4 months of age, we have a set of primitive motor reflexes (e.g. rooting, sucking, swallowing) that help us eat while we lay down pathways in our brain for voluntary motor control over eating.
Between the end of the 5th or 6th months of life, these primitive motor reflexes “drop out” and eating is essentially a learned motor behavior after 6 months of age.
The awesome news is that the same way they learned to “not-eat”, we can teach them to “eat” and reinforce the mealtime behaviors that are positive and actually encourage your child to eat.
What you need: Confidence to access a toolbox with ways to nip mealtime battles in the butt before they even happen and gaining the control over the flow of mealtime without your child feeling like they gave anything up.
Before you can even begin to make changes to your mealtime routine, this is the #1 truth you’ll have to accept.
Eating is the MOST complex physical task that human beings engage in.
It is the ONLY task which requires every one of your organ systems and requires that all of those systems work correctly. In addition, EVERY muscle in the body is involved (one swallow takes 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves to coordinate).
Plus, eating is the ONLY task children which require simultaneous coordination of all 8 of our sensory systems.
I think I’m exhausted just reading that.
You know how everyone goes through puberty? The unmistakable characteristics will be the butt of many jokes from now until the end of humankind. Yet, just like there are many similarities, we all experience it with our own unique flavour.
Just the the process of puberty, there’s a process our body goes through when we are learning how to eat. Before you get your panties in a bunch and overwhelmed, it’s one of those things that only sounds complicated until someone points things out to you.
What you need: A system to assess your child’s skills and weaknesses so that you can know what tool or strategy to apply for your particular situation. No more throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks!
You’re right, it is just a phase.
In fact, they will go through 3 phases (cognitive leaps) by the time they are 11 years old where eating will go through some rough patches. As they grow, they get tired. And that “tired” leads to sensory regression. Remember how we talked about how eating uses all 8 of their sensory systems? Yeah, you guessed right. Eating poorly will be one of the first signs you’ll see that they are going through “something”.
Would you be open to learning how you can help them through their leaps?
What you need to know
Your job isn’t to just put food in front of them and hope thye eat it. Your job is to put aside your ”parent” hat and put on your “teacher” hat. From this new perspective, teaching them to eat new foods will be a widely different experience for both you and your child.
The only reason a child should eat is because they are hungry. And they only reason they should stop is because they are full.Not because they want to make mom proud.
Not because they get a dessert afterward.
Not because they negotiated a clean plate for a toy. If reading this makes you worried that your child who already eats so little, and how can you possibly let them control how much they eat …
You’ll be happy to know that study after study has shown that kids are excellent regulators. They are in tune until we teach them to get out-of-tune. That’s why one day they eat carb heavy foods, and then go for mostly protein for 3 days straight.
What you need to do: Have an easy mealtime framework that works to fine tune and supports your child’s self regulation skills.
If you’ve ALREADY made it this far, then you know to put aside your ”parent” hat and put on your “teacher” hat is the key to successful mealtimes.
A blueprint that is proven and backed by 30 plus years of research and based on the expertise of child psychologists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, speech-language pathologists, doctors and mental health professionals.
A blueprint that I use with my kids every-single-day even though they are not super picky eaters (they do have those phases ;) ), simply because it makes mealtime life easy and because it’s designed to fit into a busy mom’s daily life.
A blueprint that once you implement in your life, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it … it’s THAT GOOD!
I also have a superpower. I have more taste buds than 75% of the population.
While that might sound like a brag-worthy statistic, it’s actually one of the most annoying superpowers ever. It means that I taste “bitter” that much more strongly. Broccoli is “spicy” and anything “spicy” is beyond painful … No even joking, I taste that strongly!
As a child, if it did not look right, smell right, feel right, and taste right, it was just not happening. Does that sound like anyone you know?
Since my default to overcoming bitter tastes became sugar filled snacks or anything chocolate, when I was pregnant with my first child, I went back to school to study natural nutrition and then further got training in feeding therapy. When you just study nutrition, they only tell you the part about what foods to eat.
And I’m guessing since you’re here, you too learned pretty quick that it’s the “how to get the kid to eat the food” part that’s always missing from Dr. Google.When it comes to taste training, I literally have tried every strategy on myself. And since, I’m now a boy mom to two toddlers, a 2 year old and a 4 year old, I also use the strategies I learned in feeding therapy in my family every-single-day.
Today I eat the widest variety of foods I have ever had in my life! And that number keeps on growing!
Using harsh methods.
Punishing kids for not eating.
Or “tell you to do this” without never have tried it on myself or my family.
It took me a year to figure out the “just-right” format where I can translate the theories and feeding strategies we learn in feeding therapy into an easy to follow system that can be used in every day life at home with your unique child.
It's a blueprint that works:
First, you'll get access to Food School. This 6 week online course will give you a clear, step-by step-blueprint to follow.
And next, you'll get ongoing monthly support with the I Mealtime Club.
How kids think and how they physically learn to eat.
The art of espionage at its best. This is where you get inside your child’s mind and body to figure out the way they think and what drives their mealtime behaviors.
Without this module, you’ll be going back to relying on “hope cooking” and your best replica meal of the one you found on Pinterest is not going to save you.
By the time you’re through this module, you’ll have a rock solid picture of the hidden factors at play that are influencing your child decision to eat or not to eat, and give you that fair advantage in the mealtime battle.
Here’s how you’ll get that:
Uncover the reasons for your child’s mealtime behaviours
While in the Foundation module we learned the theory, it’s now time to put it in practice. Here’s we’ll walk you through a questionnaire to uncover your child’s hidden skills and areas that need your special attention to develop.
This is the module where we connect the dots between what you see your child do at mealtimes and what it really means.
Here’s how we achieve this:
By the time you’re done with this module, you’ll be able to tell what strategy will work for your child and which one can turn to internet dust as far as you’re concerned. You’ll know exactly where to focus your efforts.
A primer for implementing the Mealtime Success Path and the 3 Levels
In this module, we cover what the 3 levels of mealtime are, their purpose and when to use them. Remember how you already have a good idea of the reason behind your child’s mealtime behaviours?
It’s now time to see what to do about it.
Here’s what happens in this module.
Your New Normal
This is where the action begins! In this module you’ll learn your new normal mealtime routine. You might not know this yet, but it’s THIS routine that once you have in place you won’t be able to live without it.
I will give you fair warning, you will deviate from it, because #momlife happens. But I guarantee you’ll ALWAYS return back to it because it works so incredibly well at keeping the peace and setting everyone’s expectation including your kids.
Here’s what you’ll be doing:
By the time you’re done this module, you’ll have 3 major accomplishments. First, the mealtime battles will be significantly reduced. Second, you’ll have a process to get your child to come to the table and third you’ll know how to keep them there.
Did I mention that this is where we stop short-order cooking … you’re welcome
Where Operation “Happy Mealtimes” Begins
Now that you know how to get your child to come and stay at the table, not everything is honky dory yet.
Your next task is to get them to actually like being at the table. Your child can’t learn about new foods if they have their guard up emotionally or if they are physically uncomfortable.
Here’s what you can expect:
By the time you’re done this module, you’ll be able to use some ninja mind tricks to get your child to let their guard down at mealtimes. Your little Explorer needs space to explore their safe foods in peace and eat for volume.
Once they are comfortable with familiar foods, we move to the next level and add new foods to the mix.
Where Adventurous Eater Play
Finally, in this module, I’ll show you a process to add new foods in a way that matches your child’s oral motor skill level and sensory references. You’ll learn how to push your child beyond their comfort zones with the “just-right” challenge and use play to make the whole process fun.
The focus for this type of meal is to add new foods to your child’s diet.
Here’s how you’ll do that:
By the time you're done with this module, … well … you’ll be able to add new foods to your child diet without that feeling of dread, overwhelm or worry that it will turn into a battleground again.
Now you have the tools, customize your mealtime!
Now that you know the blueprint to follow, you have a unique child, your own life situation and your own energy levels.
The entire point of Food School is to give you the tools, teach you the ins-and-outs and then show you how you can use them no matter how busy you are.
Remember how you already learned your child’s skills and weaknesses in the Discovery module? Now you get empowered to use what you’ve learned on an ongoing basis, so that you never have to go back to making multiple meals for the kids, fight with them to eat something, or feel discouraged that they only eat junk food.
Here’s what we'll talk about:
Life throws you curveballs, never let them get in the way of mealtimes.
The I Heart Mealtime Club, is the ongoing support to help you with the implementation part.
Did you know that before your child reaches the age of 11 year old, they will go through 3 major phases where they are prone to being picky eaters?
It's really small tweaks that will lead you to success. As you continue to help your child eat new foods or switch old favourites to healthier versions, I will be right besides you helping you nail the food sequencing that will help your child get there.
Here’s what you’ll find inside:
Join the I MEALTIME CLUB before enrollment closes.
If you’re on the fence, or other feeding kids advice left you skeptical that this will work for you ...
Then I want to give you EVERY OPPORTUNITY to put I Heart Mealtime in action and experience the relief that comes with having organized mealtimes where you only make one meal for the whole family and your child tries new foods willingly.
If in 45 days you’ve gone through the lessons, watched all the videos, completed the workbook and got your questions answered in the Facebook group and you don’t feel like you’re well on your way to being a supermom who has control of her mealtimes with kids who lick the bowl …
Send an email to support[at]nourishedlittlemunchkind[dot]com and I’ll hit undo and this whole “let’s get your kids to try new foods” experiment and issue you a refund.
Here are all the Recipe Books included:
Food jags happen when your child wants to eat the same thing over and over again for long periods of time. When ends up happening is that they will start to get sick of that food and will eventually drop it from their diet.
It's especially worrisome if your child eats less than 30 foods. As time goes on and we let them food jags, they will keep on dropping foods.
When you hear mom's say "He used to eat that all the time and now he won't touch it!" .. that's most likely the result of a food jag.
This mini-courses will walk you through the strategy to use to stop your child from food jagging and show you step by step how to meal plan to get then out it.
Question your fellow moms asked before saying “yes” to rocking their mealtimes.
Oh I so hear you on this!
Weekly you should set aside about 30 minutes to listen to the videos and 1 hour to work on implementing one strategy at a time. My rule of thumb is that I have to be able to listen to a video while driving the kids to daycare … the videos are between 3 to 10 minutes in general.
If you wish you can also set aside 15 minutes each day to hop inside the Food School Facebook Group where we can rally together or vent to each other.
It’s pretty much less than the time you’d spend today in “figuring-it-out” mode
This is where I get all sciency on you. My process uses the gold standard children feeding models. They are well researched methods and best of all they blend the knowledge of doctors, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, nutritionists, and psychiatrists to support your child from a wide variety of angles.
It’s truly a holistic approach in the entire sense of the word. It takes into account the child's body development, child psychology, the child’s skill set and the child’s nutritional needs.
In theory, this might be sooooo not relevant to you.But knowing that you’re not going to be asked to do some quack job set of tasks is probably a relief. Instead, you are getting a tried-and tested system (one used to get the most difficult children to eat) broken down into bite-size, real-life, to-do items that give with your busy schedule.
Okay, I get it … It sounds worse than it is.
What can I say, I’m a “why” gal. Especially when it comes to my kids, I need to understand “why” and is it safe. I thought you might also appreciate the same inside scoop.
By actually understanding all the factors involved at mealtimes, it actually sheds so much light on the whole process. I know that you will be floored at the information you hear because I was when I first learned it. While there are a few things I want to teach you about, they connect the dots so well, that it’s no longer about learning something new, it’s about that lightbulb going off when you figure out something old.
I truly believe that there’s a lot of advice out there, and it’s not organized in a way that is easy for us as parents to know if it’s the right course of action for our child.
If your child is eating well, that’s amazing! You might not need this program.
Yet if you feel that your mealtime is generally a soul-sucking activity, you’ll benefit greatly from the tips in this course even though your child is willing to eat new foods.
Yes it can. The SOS Approach to Feeding was developed for the 20% of children who have trouble feeding. You might already find that while they are going through feeding therapy, there’s not always time to teach you as the parents what to do at home to continue progress. The Foundation, Level 2 and Level 3 of the program will teach you that part.
Feeding conditions are multidisciplinary in nature and before you add anything to your action plan, I recommend you send me an email to book a call with me so that I can coordinate with your child feeding team.
What you focus on in the program might be different depending on what your child's current area of focus is, and we need to all get on the same page to make progress.
Your 18 months old baby who used to eat everything starts being more selective of his foods. They are not picky by any means, yet you’re noticing your child is starting to express their unique opinions and dropping foods one by one. You want them to continue eating that wide variety and NAIL great mealtimes, but you don’t want to resort to forcing them to eat.
You’ve been trying to get your 2 to 5 year old to eat more veggies, fruits with peel and meats but they just won’t budge. They flat out refuse to try new foods and mealtime became “their way or the highway”. At this point, you’ve settled for the white or beige diet and are at your wits end with dealing with their mealtime shenanigans.
You’ve done all your research on what your child nutritional needs are. At this point, they’ve dropped enough foods that maybe your child is missing entire food groups. You’re worried that they are not meeting their nutritional needs so you’re taking action in the only way you know how. Adding liquid meal replacements, sneaking in veggies in your dishes, and maybe even adding those baby puree pouches. You know you’ve got to be missing something, but not quite sure how your adventurous baby turned into the picky monster.
You have no problem investing a couple of hours per week doing the work as long as you know every bit of energy is a strategic and meaningful step that will result in your child eating a more healthy and varied diet.
In fact, you are already investing those few hours in researching “picky eater” meal ideas on Pinterest, asking mommy Facebook groups for advice and even wasting time arguing with your child at the table. The problem is that without a strategy to pinpoint the root cause of why your child is not eating well, and a process to address it, you might as well go look for the proverbial needle in the haystack.
You want to use a respectful, understanding and empathetic approach to parenting and mainstream advice of “they’ll eat when they’re hungry” or “they won’t starve themselves” just doesn’t sit right with you. You don’t want to use punitive methods at mealtime either. You’ll appreciate how in Food School and I Heart Mealtime Club, we don’t ask the child to do anything they don’t have the physical skills or sensory tolerance for. We teach them the skills they need first … that’s why it’s called Food School by the way ;)
You’re aware of what it meals to have a child who can eat a wide variety of foods and have a positive mealtime experience. You can bake together for your next school baking sale. You can go to visit friends and not plan to take a “safe meal” for your child. You can start making memories!
You are excited and open-minded about the Mealtime Success Path. Even if you’ve been let down by other feeding kids advice, you're starting to feel a sense of renewed optimism that by this time tomorrow you can dive right into a blueprint that will compound your mealtime wins each day.
You feel confident investing knowing you have 45 days to test it out. It’s plenty of time to go through the material and start seeing some dramatic changes in your mealtime!
Remember that question we began this whole conversation with?
By now you already know the difference between a stress-free mealtime and a free-for-all dinner all comes down to the …
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