Do you find yourself prepping multiple different dinners each night in order to save yourself from major food battles and meltdowns? Or maybe you just know that your one kid will only each fish sticks and your other one won't go near them so you end up making one dinner for yourself, one for each kid, and yet another one for the baby. Either way I'm sure you're an amazing short order cook...BUT besides for the possible overwhelm 😫 here's the problem with this set up⏩
The two biggest ways kids learn to be adventurous eaters are through EXPOSURE and MODELING. Making separate meals sends the message that I have my food and you have yours. It can turn somewhat picky eaters into extreme picky eaters. The child starts realizing that he's not expected to try touching, smelling, or tasting the "other" food and so they get no exposure or opportunity to interact with it and learn to like it.
So how can you stop short order cooking??
🍲Serve dinner family style and make sure to include at least one food they prefer to eat more than 50% of the time. (It doesn't matter what kind of food- it could be a protein, snack or fruit..) This allows them to feel comfortable knowing theres at least one food they already know and enjoy. Now for the most important part ⤵️
🥦 Encourage kids to put a little of each food on their plate if they can tolerate it (not all kids can) AND Make it clear that there's no expectation or pressure for them to eat. Yup you heard me right 😁. This is how children will start to develop trust in their own bodies, trust in family mealtimes, and creating a positive experience with food to become adventurous. As the parent your job is to decide the what, when and where. The child's job is to decide if they want to eat and how much. This may sound crazy if you're not used to this but it may also feel like a huge wave of relief😅. Try it!
🍓 Start slow, but try to stay consistent. If completely changing your wholemealtime routine sounds overwhelming and undoable. try setting a small goal, like choosing every Sunday night to serve one family style meal. Make sure to let your kids know ahead of time so they can be prepared for the change.
I know right now it feels like it's easier to keep up with the short order chef act but trust me doing that will only get harder. Switching to one family style meal using the tips above was life changing for myself and for my kids. So go ahead and give it try and let me know how it goes!
What about you? Were ever caught in this cycle?
I would love to hear in the comments☺️⏬