The food drama. I am proud and pleased to say that things around here are looking up in a major way! I am so incredibly happy about this new direction. Meal time reform has begun, and I am seeing such obvious changes. (Obviously Brother never needed any reform).
In the past two weeks I have heard lots more, “Can I have some more broccoli, please?” And there has been zero, “I don’t yike it.” Zero!After analyzing the factors, I think I can point to a few things that have made the difference:
-No milk between meals. “We drink water when we’re thirsty and milk at meals,” is the new mantra around here.
-We have totally eliminated the “take this many more bites” tactic. This is huge. She does not come to a meal defensive anymore! We do require that she sits at the table for the entirety of the meal. And when she’s hungry, and she’s sitting there with food in front of her, she just ends up eating without any discussion about it. She eats so much more at dinner now, and will try things that she definitely refused in the past.
-Letting her help with the prep work. This does not happen every night, but I have noticed that even if I just make sure she helps with one small step of the process, she is then more interested in the meal. And she often chows down on a few healthy things in the process.
-Our food group lessons. This has been so fun and helpful in giving me a platform to stand on when I am trying to explain why she can’t start the day with cookies. And she has loved it too. The girl is a sponge. She will often ask, “Are we doing any yearning today?” So learning about the food groups was a win-win. Here’s what we did: I started with this book the first day, which just gave us an overview of how food gets to the grocery stores. It also had that awesome plate diagram showing the food groups and about how much of each group a person should be having each day. We focused on one food group each day. I wasn’t ultra consistent, so it did take us a couple weeks to get through all the groups. I would start with a book about the one we were working on that day.Then I used matching cards to show her examples of foods in that category.“Momma, do salads have footies? Or just eyes and a face?” Then we would have some snack from the group we were learning.
So when I say “lessons” I use that word loosely. It was just some basic exposure to each category. We also talked about how different foods give us energy and make our bones and muscles strong.
When we got to proteins I mentioned that we should probably eat fish more. She said, “Yeah, and probably more peanut butter too. Yike peanut butter cookies.”
So the cookie fixation has not been totally eliminated. And honestly, there are still nights when she eats very little at the dinner table. But last night I watched in disbelief as she asked for three helpings of green beans. So I am shouting, “Progress!” from the rooftops.
There has been change in my attitude too. Now that I feel more comfortable with the strategies we are using to encourage good eating, I am not so worried about how many bites get in her tummy. She now has a little knowledge and a little independence (within limits), and things are moving down a good path.