This week I've been running a 5 day Calmer/Happier Mealtimes Challenge (free) on Facebook. Pstt, you can still join! To register: https://www.theconfidenteater.com/5-day-calmerhappier-tables.html
It's been really interesting attempting to distill down advice to one or two actions. In doing this it reminds me yet again how complicated eating is.
We all eat for a variety of reasons beside hunger. Is it boredom or seeing something we really, really fancy or do
we feel over-tired so just can't face a meal ... ?
Eating encompasses all the senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. If one of those is not "right" it can affect the way we feel about a food. Especially if we have sensory issues.
Emotions like stress, anxiety, anger, frustration can affect the way we approach and eat food.
Social and cultural mores are an important part of most of our lives. We eat to be polite when someone has cooked. We eat because it's a celebration. We bake because it's a birthday (I was listening to a middle-aged colleague who was so upset as there was no cake on her birthday!).
Mechanically, eating is complex too. We have to have our tongue in the right place and our jaw muscles need to be exercised to work. Many children find eating meat challenging as it does require so much chewing.
When my teen had his dental plates removed after a year he started using muscles he hadn't exercised for a year and he really noticed it!
Medical issues that impact or have impacted eating can get in the way of variety or comfort. Reflux, undiagnosed allergies and ASD are just a few of the things that can complicate eating and cause ongoing difficulties around certain foods.
This is why resolving picky eating is not one dimensional. We have to look at all aspects to find a path out of the woods.
Which is not to say that there is not a solution. There is always a solution but it may be multi-faceted.
Eating is neither intuitive nor simple for many children so understanding how to approach food and meals to best support their eating is a great start.
Watch this space for info on a course that introduces how to do this simply in your family.
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.