6 critical phases that will make mealtimes with ‘picky eaters’ better

6 critical phases that will make mealtimes with ‘picky eaters’ better

My girls and I were just having lunch. Yet while watching Sienna (my eldest daughter) eat without a fuss, I had a flashback to those days when meals were…miserable. Before I implemented these 6 phases to fix her picky eating, Sienna would spit out food, resist coming to the table, and even gag (or vomit) after a taste of yogurt. I seem to have blocked those memories out of my mind. Until today. I remember finding “kid-friendly’ (and seemingly Sienna-friendly) recipes I was SURE she would love.  Smiling in the kitchen while preparing this guaranteed recipe, only to bring it to the table and hear “yuck” or watch Sienna push the plate away.  So frustrating, but that was an average meal for us. I never heard her say “I’m hungry“. I often heard the word “yuck“. She wasn’t gaining weight, nor was she really eating. I was a foodie, yet I sadly dreaded meals with daughter. But I was a Nutritionist and a mom who couldn’t accept this as our fate. So I took the bull by the horns and dove into the literature and research on children’s eating.  I wanted to find out WHY my daughter was so picky and HOW to turn things around.  Of course, I was fearful she would be one of 30% of children whose “picky eating” persists into adult years. At the time, I couldn’t see our life any other way: this was just the hand we were dealt. Yet all of the studying and Certifications eventually paid off and were used to create a structured mealtime plan for my daughter.  It was the...
Is coconut oil good or bad?

Is coconut oil good or bad?

I had a relaxing evening planned last night.  Just myself, daddy, and an episode of House of Cards while snacking on these treats packed with good ol’ coconut oil (or is it as healthy as we thought?).  I just had a bit of work to do, launching our 6-Day Picky Healthy Eater Challenge and setting up new families for the summer session of the Picky Eater Protocol.  Then I was looking forward to some downtime.  But when this article landed in my inbox and this one popped up in my Facebook Group suggesting coconut oil is unhealthy, my plans changed. Health-minded parents were now doubting whether coconut oil was good or bad for them, and for a very good reason. These articles did a good job of sounding alarm bells.  After all, how can we ignore a heading like “Coconut Oil - as unhealthy as beef fat…” or dispute statements like this: According to the AHA, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated. That’s more than in butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%). And, like other saturated fats, studies show it can increase “bad” cholesterol. So as soon as I finished my “picky eater” work for the night, I immediately switched into defense mode, consolidating my research to provide peace of mind for families (and my own!). Here are my reasons for continuing to consume coconut oil DAILY (despite the fear mongering happening around us).   A few quick terms first: CVD = Cardiovascular Disease SFA = Saturated Fatty Acids (in coconut oil, butter, meat, etc) PUFA = Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (in corn oil, soybean oil, etc)...
40 Healthy Crunchy Foods for Kids

40 Healthy Crunchy Foods for Kids

I was just working on a family’s protocol offering up recommendations for healthier “crunchy” foods, and thought “I need to share this!”   I was going to squeeze it into my Free Picky Eating Webinar coming up, but it’s already a full hour of useful tips, there wasn’t much room/time left.  So here I am with my list of 40 healthy crunchy foods for kids! Most kids do very well with crunchy foods.  Especially picky eaters. When Sienna went through her earlier phases of extreme picky eating, crunchy foods were a staple.  If I steered into the territory of mushy foods (like muffins) or slimy foods (like yogurt) it was anxiety-provoking.  I had to prepare myself for a lot of gagging, and even vomitting.  Nope…those days were not fun. But here we are today, with a little girl who had my homemade pumpkin seed & zucchini crackers for breakfast, with hazelnut butter, and some coconut yogurt.  No gagging and no tears.  I NEVER thought things would change, but with some tweaks and the Picky Eater Protocol we completely turned things around.  She is a different child at meals and stress is long gone. Why children crave crunchy foods? SENSORY PREFERENCES Picky eaters like my daughter in her earlier years, tend to be selective with food because of their sensory preferences.  For instance, a child can be under sensitive  or over sensitive to sensory input like smell, taste and texture.   When we are under sensitive, we can’t process sensory input from food properly or feel softer textures in our mouth (think of it as if the sensation in our mouth being numbed).  When sensations are numbed, we would avoid foods like yogurt, bread, etc. and instead develop a preference for crunchier foods.  Sienna...
Green Eggs No Ham (a healthy breakfast for picky eaters)

Green Eggs No Ham (a healthy breakfast for picky eaters)

Breakfasts can make or break our days, right parents? Blood sugar is low and the kids likely need some nourishment after a 12 hour fast. We would love to offer a healthy breakfast for our picky eaters.  However, if we make something that doesn’t appeal to them, all hell can break lose.  So to keep things tame in the early hours we feed our kids a breakfast we know they will happily eat.  Before we know it, we get stuck in a cereal rut.     Unfortunately, most kid-friendly breakfasts are a great source of SUGAR and simple carbs which take that low blood sugar WAY up.  And soon after, it comes crashing right back down.  Those typical breakfast favourites are nutrient-lacking, but tasty and easy for kids to eat.   The benefit to parents is that they are also (more often than not) easy to prepare with few ingredients. …Throw some PB&J on some toast. …Pour some milk into a cereal bowl. …Add fruit to a container of yogurt. One of the most common things I get from parents I work with is “Help! We need some breakfast ideas for our picky eater and our family“.   Thankfully, there are healthy kid-friendly breakfasts that are also easy to prepare. I’ve consolidated 10 of the best recipes right here (pssst…they all only have 5 ingredients or less).   Oddly enough, my girls (aged 4 and 2) have only had a bowl of cereal once. Our breakfasts are always changing.  Partly because their mom is fickle and likes to experiment with new foods and recipes all the time.  So when my girls wake up they have no idea what mom is going to throw...
Offer each food a million different ways

Offer each food a million different ways

“My daughter doesn’t eat apples.” That’s what I would have said after multiple attempts of giving her sliced apples. I could have (and would have) given up on those darn apples…if I hadn’t worked with families and limited eaters, nor studied children’s eating for years as a Certified Nutritionist and Picky Eating Expert. And another simple ‘picky eating’ solution is born! To us an apple is an apple.  An egg is an egg.  And chicken is chicken.  But how that food shows up on their plate and in their mouth makes a difference.  A big difference! A sliced granny smith apple is completely different from a whole granny smith apple, from both a sensory perspective and oral motor.    And a macintosh apple has a unique taste vs. a red delicious apple. So I knew I had to put my “Picky Eating Expert” hat back on and try a million new ways until I found the winning apple combination.  Ok, maybe not a million 😉 I had try a million dozen different apples.  Royal gala Golden delicious Granny smith Macintosh Red Delicious You get the gist! (and I can’t remember any other varieties at the moment) And I needed to offer that apple a million dozen different ways. Peeled Sliced Thinly sliced Really thinly sliced and peeled Cooked Shredded Half an apple A full apple Dried crunchy Dried soft With dips….and so on.   As I was handing Naomi her apple this morning it dawned on me that this was another simple “picky eating solution” I should share. As you may have guessed, my stubborn yet sweet, two year old Naomi is now an apple lover.  Partly because...