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Six Ways to Handle Picky Eaters

Jeff:
What’s up guys, Jeff and Jeremy here. Six ways to handle picky eaters. That’s what we’re going to try to solve in about five or six minutes. This is a question from Kinner, I believe, from Homeroom. I can’t remember if it was Homeroom or the Five Minute Fatherhood group, but part of our community, and said, “Honestly, we have kind of, this is dinner. If you don’t want it, you don’t have to eat it, but nothing else is eaten until next meal deal type at our house.” Now that’s a great start as number one. But let’s go back and forth, Jeremy, on other ways to do that, because sometimes you can run into roadblocks with that one, of like, “Hey, this is all that’s on the table. You’re going to go hungry.” I think that’s actually a fairly decent one. Obviously, if you do it in kindness and gentleness, then it just like kids start to understand like, “Oh yeah, this is a brick wall that I can’t budge and I’m hungry. I need to eat tomorrow.”

But how would you kind of… Let’s go through these one by one of what would you say are some real… Because this is a problem that happens to a lot of us. What are some tips we would do?

Jeremy:
Yeah, totally. I don’t think there’s one right way to do this. So it’s important to kind of try to figure out what’s a whole list. And so that’s a good one.

Jeff:
Yes, have a multifaceted strategy.

Jeremy:
Yeah. I like that. This is our dinner. We’ve definitely done a lot of that. Another one is, that we did a lot of our house is you have to take a bite of everything. This is the idea of like, you want your kids to at least have exposure to different textures and not get completely caught in a rut. So you don’t have to eat like a whole serving, but try everything that we’re serving tonight.

Jeff:
Yeah. Another one is the butter and salt method or what we call in our house, the sauce method. You can kind of cover things with things that taste good and then wean off that sauce. And this is honestly not just trying to trick your kid, but there is actual psychological layers happening where when you associate something, like let’s say it’s broccoli, with X taste, but that maybe taste starts weaning off, you see broccoli as a good thing. That’s just actually literally how our brains work. So that’s a huge one, I would say, is don’t be afraid to kind of know that you’re not going to put butter and salt and everything forever, but you specifically are doing it in elements that you’re going to wean off and it’s worked for us for sure.

Jeremy:
That’s right. Well, our pediatrician actually told us to do that one. Our kids are having a hard time eating certain vegetables-

Jeff:
That’s awesome. From the doctor’s mouth.

Jeremy:
He’s like, “Just cover it with butter, salt, sugar, just get them to eat a few, and then eventually start taking it away.” I thought, “Okay, we’ll try it.” I mean, he’s like, “They got to get some greens.” Okay. This is number one, two, three, four, have one thing on the table that we know everyone likes. So we didn’t do this one, but this was brought up in the Homeroom, I thought this was a good one. These are basically getting from meaner to nicer. So if you’re like, let’s do something a little bit nicer to the kids and not try to force them to eat something, then sometimes what you can do is just really try to make a lot of it appetizing, but also have something there that you know they like, so that your kids aren’t going hungry in between meals.

Jeff:
Yeah. The next one is teaching kids about new foods. Now this one’s really big in our house. And here’s why, there’s been studies that have shown that you have to try something at least eight to 10 times to even know if you like it. It’s not just of course, and let this maybe some artificial sugar or something like that. But real foods from like real soil that are actually grown from a tree or a plant or something, it takes time. And so that’s what we do is like, we don’t interrogate the kid and force him to eat the food, but we’ll put it in front of them. Here’s what I’m trying to say, don’t do where you make the kid try something or you put something on the kid’s plate and then if they don’t like it, you never bring it back again.

That’s going to dwindle your dinner choices down to like three things. What we do is like, no, it’s just going to get put on your plate for the next year, 20 times. And then what’s interesting is about 90% of those things they love at the end of the year. Even though some of them, maybe 10% of those things, they only ate first. So I think just keep new foods in front of your kids, make the palate diverse. One thing you don’t want to do is pigeonhole your kids into just like the four things I eat thing, because then that means you probably, yeah… This starts with like baby years, I know for us. And if you do get there, then hopefully some of these other tips will be helpful, but that’s one I would say. What’s the last one Jeremy?

Jeremy:
The last one is having kids help you cook and then adjust ingredients while they’re helping you for their taste. So this is a fun one where you’re involving your kids in the cooking processes. This is a lot like the one Jeff just talked about, teaching kids about new foods. And so if you’re going to bring like brussel sprouts or carrots or something that they’re not used to, let them look at it, let them see it, let them try it in different… Let me try this dipped in ranch, let me try this with salt, let me try this raw, let me try it cooked. I really like that idea. It really helps kids. And they’re even doing this in schools now where they’ll bring in nutritionists that will actually lay out a bunch of foods and introduce kids to all these different colors and textures. Because a lot of times kids get really locked into really unhealthy basic foods.

And so if you cook at home maybe once a week where you could involve your kids in that process, they could taste test different things. I think your kids will just be a lot more open to the idea of maybe trying new foods. And so again, these are just six ways for you guys to think about, to help overcome those picky eater phases that kids often go through. Try different things, figure out what works, figure out what fits the culture of your family. Some families, like when we were on mission, we were a little bit stricter with our kids. Look, you have to be ready to try new things at the drop of a hat. In other seasons or in other cultures, it’s like, no, we can be a lot more gentle. Or we have a kid who’s really, really struggling, like we need to really be thoughtful and try different methods to try to sort of bring them along and really cause them to enjoy different foods, get their palate excited about different things. But yeah, I love these ideas. Hope this is helpful for you guys.

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