Knowing that other mums are in the exact same position, Jo, our naturopath and nutritionist has come up with some tips to help others get through this sometimes stressful time.
- Once your child reaches 12 months old, milk does not necessarily have to be a staple in their diet. In fact, I find that milk really hinders the development of a child’s ‘solid food’ diet. Solid food should now make up for the majority of their calories. Often, I find that fussy eaters are big milk drinkers.
- Get a bit of a routine around food and stick with it. Kids that constantly pick at snacks all morning are clearly not going to be hungry for lunch. Try and limit food 2hrs before the next main meal.
- Unless your child is severely underweight or ill, take the pressure off yourself. If they miss lunch, don’t stress, they will eventually eat. The more pressure you put on them the more likely they will rebel.
- Try not to put pressure on your child to eat the complete plate of food if they are convincingly telling you they have had enough. We are the generation of wellness change and we have to teach our children to listen to their body and stop when they are full. Of course, you have to be strong and if they are then asking for dessert 5 minutes later they had you hook, line and sinker and you therefore need to put dinner back in front of them.
- Get your children involved in the kitchen. Make them part of preparation and get them excited about food and what it has to offer them nutritionally but also socially. Food is a way to connect with others. It is fun and exciting but also obviously delicious. Teach them this. Food is not just to sustain and satisfy nutritionally.
- Balance. As your children get older begin to educate them about better food choices, about health and wellbeing and that their body will get ‘sad’ or ‘unhappy’ and won’t work very well if you give it too much sugar and not so healthy foods.
- If you never offer or allow your children to enjoy not so healthy foods then you may end up with a child that over indulges when the opportunity arises (i.e. parties) or begins to sneak in foods. Don’t deprive your child from these experiences. Balance and honesty is the key.
- Parenting takes strength, will power and energy. Make sure you are filling yourself up so you have these things and do not give in. Occasionally giving in is fine but if you feel like you are giving in each day with treats and not so good food because they are not eating their proper meals then maybe it is time to change.
- For some meals, try and load up meals with vegetables and ‘hide’ them in risottos, soups, homemade burgers, pasta sauces etc. Try not to get in the habit of this all the time. Be honest with your children, teach them about food and get them excited about it.
- Remember, you want to help establish a good relationship between your child and their diet. Be positive about it and do not let it consume you or them.
For more tips, read Jo’s full blog over at Franjoskitchen.com