Drinking lots of water is great for us. When we have a picky eater it can be useful too for preventing constipation. Making sure our child drinks enough water is important.
Sometimes though, the drinking tips from a positive into a negative.
When it comes to fussy eaters it's good to evaluate a few things:
1. Drinking is often easier for our child than eating. This means that they will fill an empty tummy with drinks before food. Yes, we want them having enough water but we don't want a hungry belly filled with nutrient free drinks.
Before snacks and meals it's good to keep an eye on how much our child is drinking. A tummy full of liquid suddenly doesn't feel ready to eat our yummy dinner. An hour later the hungries hit!
2. During dinner it's again easy to fill the tummy with water rather than food. I recommend having small amounts of liquid available until we've eaten.
3. Milk is fatty, filling and even gives us a lovely warm feeling once drunk. Add to this positive associations of comfort and milk is often a favourite for fussy eaters.
Let's repeat - milk is fatty and filling! This can easily take the place of food and many children prefer to drink than eat - especially a favourite.
Yes, milk contains calcium and other nutrients but for children over 1 years old it shouldn't be replacing food.
Parents have often hit a road block when it comes to their child's eating and feel there is no way they can make progress. Or secretly hope it will just happen as they - age/go to school/via peer pressure etc.
The common reasons parents give me for not being able to help their child move forwards are:
1. Their child is too "stubborn".
2. Their child will not even try something new.
3. There are anxieties around food.
4. They have tried everything and nothing works.
5. They do not have a plan, and are not sure which strategies to use.
6. They do not have the time/energy to do different things.
7. They feel their child will grow out of it.
My latest article rinted in TeachersMatter. It's a publication that goes out to teachers all over Australia and New Zealand in print form and via the web internationally.
Lunchboxes returning full is a huge issue for many parents. Hopefully in the article I have addressed some of the pain points and offered solutions.
Even when working with picky eaters who have a super selective diet, my advice is always to rotate not repeat (you are going to have this stuck in your head :) )
1. The more different options we can offer across a day/a week, the more of a spread of nutrients our child is eating.
2. Having varying foods on offer helps to prevent boredom or jags where our child gets fixated on one thing.
3. The key to having variety is offering variety. Even if that is from a very limited range of options it is still important.
If our child has a sandwich for morning tea can we offer something different for lunch? If we have served a yoghurt for breakfast can we find a new option for afternoon tea?
You may not feel this is helpful if you are cycling through the same options daily but it is still maximising that spread within even a limited diet.
I was privileged to be interviewed by the fabulous Monica Ferguson who is a photographer - but one with a unique message and approach - for her series of podcasts.
It was great fun for us and hopefully is equally good to listen to!