As parents, we have all struggled when it comes to feeding our children healthy food. Certainly, there are children who simply need to be reminded who is in charge – you!! Removing refined sugar, wheat and corn from your home is an excellent start. This will help to accomplish two things. First, your child will not be watching other members of the household (siblings, parents, etc.) eating the junk food. This will help YOU to set a good example. Remember, they watch everything you do! Second, when your child refuses to eat the REAL food you have prepared, you won’t be tempted to cave-in and feed them junk food.
Also, remember, there are children (particularly toddler-age and preschool) who will have varying appetites at any given meal and sometimes during a given day. Some children will eat 2 bites at one meal and devour the next. This is a normal feeding pattern for many children. If your child tends to eat this way and he/she is growing at a normal rate, be patient and avoid a power struggle when he/she has a poor appetite.
Food generally tastes good for one of two reasons. Either it is extremely sweet (often the items we are trying to avoid) or there is healthy dietary fat (saturated and monounsaturated) in the food. This is why cheese with butter or berries with heavy whipping cream taste good! Be sure to look at the low carb/paleo recipe books for ideas on this.
Two of my recent favorites, are Kate Evans Scott’s books Paleo Kid Snacks and The Paleo Kid. She recommends a couple of “Tricks of the Trade” that I really like. If your child is just too busy to stop and eat, trying to put him in a high chair or booster seat often fails. Instead, as she recommends, “The best trick for the busy child is to set out a plate of food where they can see it and graze.” These children will often grab a bite while they play.
Some children take picky eating to a whole new level. My wife and I have dealt with this in our home. We learned early on to use a bit of reverse psychology. In her book, Kate Evans Scott calls it the “My snack” trick. In her words, “Instead of sitting down with a turkey-pesto rollup and telling her to eat, quietly make the dish and sit down with it yourself. Relax, grab a cup of tea, and enjoy your delicious snack. Soon enough, you are sure to have your daughter up on your lap asking what you’re eating. Say, ‘Oh, it’s a rollup.’ Take a bite and look like you really enjoy it, but don’t push it on her. When your child asks if she can have a bite say, ‘Hmmmmm… I’m not sure.’ Before you know it, she will be begging for one! If she tries it and doesn’t like it, be patient. It takes about 3 times tasting a new food before a child will become accustomed to the flavor.” I love this trick!