Letting go of the worry, guilt, and stress is one of the main focus points you must do as a parent of a picky eater.
If you have a picky eater you probably just read that sentence thinking “she is crazy! How on earth do I even begin to do this?” I was there, right where you probably are today.
Let me share a little about my story and how I was able to let go of the worry, guilt, and stress so that I could help my child become the eater he is today.
It wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies in my house at mealtime. If you know me or follow me on social media you know I am a very health conscious person. You know I looooove my plant foods. You know I am a big believer of sitting at the table for meals and eating real whole foods. So having a child that didn’t eat a good variety of foods or hardly any veggies or fruits consumed my thoughts.
Our mealtimes used to be stressful. At times it was a battle to get one of my kiddos to even come to the table let alone tolerate a new food near his plate. It was nagging and complimenting his sister because she got the “clean plate club”. There was tension knowing I cooked this meal and I was most likely going to throw most, if not all of the food away at the end of the meal. Does any of this sound familiar? If you have a picky eater I am sure you can relate and are probably thinking of some of the stressors you have at mealtime too. The struggle is all too real for so many parents. It’s such a negative place to be in at times.
When I knew we had a problem I put on my feeding therapist hat and really dug deep to help us move on from the trenches of picky eating. I realized I was part of the problem. One of my favorite feeding techniques is called food chaining. I knew I needed to start with a food my child really liked and then I could build off that and eventually get to the point that I wanted us to be. The problem was I am sooo healthy conscious that I was not buying foods that I knew he would eat because of their ingredients or I wouldn’t make foods a certain way because I knew there was a healthier option for cooking it. I was limiting exposure to new foods, experience of trying new foods, and creating added stress in my life and in my child’s life. I prayed hard. I talked with a good OT friend of mine. I changed my thoughts. I stopped worrying because I knew this wasn’t our forever; it was what we needed to do for now to get us to point b. I let go of the worry that my child wasn’t eating enough. I let go of the guilt that I should have done something sooner. I let go of the stress of cooking meals and focusing on if my child was going to eat it. Our meals soon became about sharing how our day went, being silly with our food, and just enjoying each other’s company around the dinner table.
Click here to read the whole interview I recently did with my amazing OT friend from Your Kids Table. It’s all about letting go of the worry, guilt, and stress and how when you do that it will completely change your life when it comes to working with your child.
I am so happy to say that almost two years later we are in such a good place. I have two strong, healthy lil ones that eat a good variety of foods, have a positive relationship with food, and know how to listen to their body when it’s full and when it’s hungry. I have also changed and grown in so many ways through this process. I believe my relationship with food is better. I still love my plants and believe in the power of food. I believe that food can and does truly protect and heal our body, but I believe in moderation now more than ever. That is a healthy place to be in for me and especially for parents of picky eaters. When we can do that, we can move forward in the process to help our little eaters.
Do you have a picky eater? Click here for a free picky eater meal ideas printable.