This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for ages – especially because parents just don’t know how long to use a picky eating strategy before giving up on it.
So if you find yourself trying one mealtime trick for a few days or weeks, then moving to another tip you saw on Instagram.
If you feel unclear with what picky eating strategy to use first.
If you aren’t sure how many strategies to try right now to help your picky eater.
This post is for you my friend!
A picky eating strategy that’s also a mistake.
There’s a mealtime mistake I should share. Before I reveal what that mistake is, I need to tell you what happened this morning that prompted this post. Oddly it wasn’t at breakfast, or while feeding my kids, or while coaching another family.
I was doing my daily work out – a high intensity 35 minute workout. And I was jumping, lunging, pushing, pulling, and moving like a maniac. But despite working so darn hard, that wasn’t when I felt like I was reaping the benefits of my workout. Sure I was moving fast and hard, but it wasn’t the thing that made me feel strong – or feel that my exercise was actually working.
But then, I had to hold a plank for 60 seconds – and guys, THAT is when the sweat starting polling down my neck. THAT is when I started shaking like a leaf. THAT is when I felt my strongest and thought to myself: “now this is working”.
It wasn’t when I was doing squats, but when I STAYED STILL in that squat.
It wasn’t when I was doing push ups, but when I STAYED STILL in that half push-up.
Nor was it when I was doing bicep curls. But I felt it working when I HELD a half-way curl.
It was at that moment, in my isometric movement (or lack of movement rather) that I started to reap the benefits of my workout this morning.
Isometric training consists of the muscle contracting without changing length in a static position. As a result, the athlete doesn’t undergo a full range of movement in the ‘lift’. Some may think that this isn’t an ideal way to build strength, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. – source
It’s when we’re in the holding position that we reap the benefits:
- Staying still builds strength
- Staying still helps controls the body
- Staying still improves flexibility
But wait…what does exercise have to do with picky eating?
This isn’t a post about your fitness regimen.
It’s about mealtimes – and feeding picky eaters.
I often see families constantly ‘moving’ from one feeding or picky eating strategy to the next. Always looking for the next best tip or trick to adopt. Being resourceful isn’t a problem at all, nor is looking for support. I commend you for making the time to source out picky eating tips!
Though, there’s something missing here (stillness). And there’s too much of something else (movement).
Instead of squatting 20 times, try holding that squat.
How long should you stick with a picky eating strategy?
Instead of switching strategies when it doesn’t work right away…
Try sticking with one picky eating strategy for a few weeks.
May even need to continue with that strategy for a few months.
It all depends on how consistently you’re using the picky eating strategy – because kids need to learn what’s expected of them. If we waffle by doing one thing (i.e. say “you don’t have to eat”) but doing another (i.e. say “just have one bite”) we confuse kids. And that sends us back to square one.
They only know what to do and how to respond appropriate, if they see that strategy held…and repeated over and over.
How do you make a picky eating strategy more effective?
Try one tip at a time and focus on it.
Be consistent, be still, be in the moment, and repeat it.
Why? Because everyone at the table needs time to adjust to that new mealtime strategy.
Your picky eater needs time to realize what’s happening and recognize what’s expected of them at meals. You also need time to practice that feeding strategy. #practicemakesperfect
Don’t get me wrong.
Sticking with your picky eating strategy when you’re facing resistance is going to be tough (maybe your child isn’t responding well, and there are meltdowns, etc). That’s precisely how you’ll feel holding a squat for a minute (ouch!) – it’s going to burn, make you sweat, and you’ll desperately want to pop out of it.
But the real benefit comes from holding in that position – and in that new mealtime and picky eating approach – long enough that it starts to feels good.
It starts to feel easy.
And the transformations you’ve been waiting for, start to roll in, making all that waiting (and sweat) worth it. That’s when you’ll know your picky eating strategy is finally working.
How do you know what picky eating strategy to employ first?
What’s your next step to conquer picky eating behaviours?
Well, just as you might consult a fitness coach, or personal trainer, to give you a step-by-step workout plan, to build up to your fitness goals. You might consider consulting a mealtime coach, or picky eating expert, to arm you with a clear step-by-step feeding plan for your family.
I find a lack of plan is one of the biggest reasons why parents can’t stay consistent. They don’t know if they are doing the right thing at the table.
I’m here to tell you what that next step should be!
Feel free to book a complimentary Mealtime Rescue call here so I can share how I help families like yours transform mealtimes and address picky eating behaviours the right way.