Showing posts with label Picky Eater. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Picky Eater. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Surprisingly Easy Tool To Help You Get Your Kids To Try New Foods

If you've been following my blog you know that I am always working on getting my son to try new foods.  As a picky eater, he tends to stick with what he likes, with foods that are in his comfort zone, for most of his meals.  Before going thru 1 year of very expensive therapy, there was zero chance I could get him to eat anything new.  At least it never happened when I tried, the times he did try something new was because he decided he wanted it, so very much a control thing happening here... I'm very much aware of that.

One of the last things we did in therapy was making sure we were able to translate what my son was learning with the therapist and apply it in the real world and at home. So talking to the psychologist, she suggested we used a very simple tool to help us get more foods added to the list of foods he tried. The idea is very simple!

WHAT GOT US OVER THE HUMP

The next thing I know my son is trying new foods or at least giving a second thought to trying something new.  Mind you that before it was "no way Jose!" I'm not trying this food I've never seen in my life! So the fact that we went from running from the table to at least considering touching  a new food, I was feeling pretty accomplished.

Today we have mastered trying new foods and even adding new ones to the foods he will eat on a more consistent basis. And all of this was accomplished with a piece of paper. We just kept working on it and we were consistent with it. Today if there's a situation where a new food is available we use our magic tool and there's a good chance we get at least one bite to try.

MAGIC TOOL

What is this magic tool anyways? We call it at my house "The New Foods Chart" very creative, don't you think? It is literally a piece of paper with 10 squares and we for the longest time made one with crayons and a blank piece of paper. Now that I created one for the blog, we have started using these, they are neat and I've printed a few and they are handy at my kitchen desk. We don't go thru them as fast as the Bites Game that you can learn how to make here, but I like having a couple printed out.

PICKY EATER TOOL


HOW TO USE IT

You might need to explain the new game and get your kid on board.  After all there's no way to play it if you don't have a buy in! For each 10 new foods that he/she tries, he/she will get a prize. Agree on a prize together to be given at the completion of the chart and write it down in the spiky ballon. For each new food that your little tries, mark one of the 10 squares. Writing the food in the square (and maybe the date) can help remember what the new food was. It might take a few weeks to complete the chart, be patient! Praise your kid for trying the food. Make it fun!! And remember, for this game to work next time, you must follow thru on the prize!! 

It is that simple! Some of the prizes my son has chosen were experiences.  The first ever prize he chose was to get cotton candy at the zoo.  I had planned a trip to the zoo on a Saturday early morning when the crowds were very thin, and I had to follow thru with getting him the cotton candy.  So he basically had cotton candy by 9 a.m.  But that is ok, he worked hard on completing that first New Foods Chart and I reminded him that he was getting that cotton candy because he did a good job.  

Adding a new food

Obviously after a few years of doing this the number of charts we complete have been fewer and fewer.  The last time he finished one was back in December 2016.  We were also having a busy couple of months, so it took us until March to actually get him his prize. At the time he chose to go to Legoland in TX, which is not right next door and took some planning.  So whatever the prize you agreed on is, just make sure it happens! A few times we had material things, like Lego sets or Hot Wheels cars, which are so much easier to get than taking the whole family to an expensive outing.   

Enjoying the outing he earned


The sky is the limit! Have fun trying new foods!!

Download the FREE New Foods Chart here!

Here's a good article from Parents Magazine with an expert's strategies for dealing with your picky kid.  




Sunday, June 5, 2016

Food Gamble

We came up with a new game for taking bites! This one is kind of silly but let me tell you, it worked. Every Saturday we like to have pizza for lunch or dinner.  Every Saturday I need to find something else to feed that dude.  I will do it, but we would like for him to join us.  Now slowly but surely he is starting to accept pizza. Hooray! However, he does not eat it without a playing a game to take each bite.  I tried using the Dinner Winner Plate again, but this time it did not interest him too much.  He is the one who suggested playing a "bite game," so I remember he was playing with a die he found in my husband's desk and thought that would be a good way to get his interest in the pizza.

There's no trick to it.  It is a pretty straight forward game. But it was fun playing it.  We will certainly bring it back next time we need him to eat something he is rejecting. 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- a hungry kid
- food you want the hungry kid to eat
- one die
- sense of humor

HOW TO PLAY
First assign an action to each side of the die.  These can be silly things like touching the tip of your nose, tapping your ears, etc.  Also assign one number for taking a bite.  This is an example of what we assigned to each number, but you can certainly choose different actions in your family. My only suggestion is choose actions that you can do without getting up.

1. take a bite
2. touch the tip of your nose
3. blow a kiss
4. tap your ears
5. blow a raspberry
6. wink 

This game might work better with bigger kids, but you can try for any age.

Let me know what actions you chose together in your family.  It was hard for us to be creative and come up with things that didn't involve getting out of the chair.  I can think of a dozen of things we can do, but it would take so much longer if anything involved standing up and then getting back down to eat.  I guess you can do it if you don't mind your kid getting up and down all the time. I'm curious to hear what you guys come up with!!


We let my daughter play too just to include her, but she certainly didn't need any incentive to eat hers, as you can see... (smiley face)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Heads and Tails

As the parent of a picky eater, you face many struggles on the daily to get your kid to eat.  I am there every day, every meal. I often joke asking "why do they need to eat 3 meals a day?" Of course I'm just kidding and I'm just referring to the struggle that we have getting kids to eat. I bet you can relate, a meal that should take 15-20 minutes lasts an hour because you have to beg and plea and implore for your kid to take one bite. I get it, I'm usually right there with you.

But why if it didn't need to be a struggle every single time? We learned one game that has served us well and hopefully will do the same for you. It is so mundane and simple that you probably have all you need at the bottom of purse.  It is a simple flip the coin game, but you and your kid decide which food bite your kid will take with heads and with tails.

The coin game works best with 2+, when you choose between two foods, and if your kid likes games (which let's be honest, which kid doesn't like to play a little game at meal time).

I was so surprised when I saw the therapist using this game with my son and him actually looking forward to the next bite.  Be prepared to chase the coin all over the place, they tend to throw it all over the place and not really flip it like you're supposed to.  And I'm not responsible for flying coins that might hit you... it just comes with the territory. Wouldn't you take a few hits of the coin if your kid is eating?

The Game

So basically if you ever flip a coin for anything, you know how to play the game.  Hard to explain, huh!? You just assign Heads or Tails to the foods before starting to eat, so there's no confusion on the kids head.  So I usually let my son choose what he wants to eat when it lands on Tails and when it lands on Heads.  That way he feels that he has control over his choices.

Not too happy with the selection

Playing the game made it a little better

He finished it... see the struggle?


This day picture here we went to eat out with friends.  It was a new place and he was not used to the way they prepare the quesadilla.  So he did not really want to eat it.  I pull out the coin and he chose one side for the broccoli and the other side for the quesadilla.  As you can see, not much later he was finished and we were all happy.  Well... at least I was!

Try it next time! I would love to hear how it worked out for you! Hope this helps!











Saturday, January 16, 2016

From Picky to Eater

As any young lady growing up I would sometimes fantasize about getting married and having kids. In this dream my kids would seat down at the table and eat whatever we had as a family, one meal.  My dreams never involved having to cook special meals for my kids and beg them to eat the most mundane foods.  Fast foward to the present and reality is totally different.  Meal planning is challenging and what usually happens is me cooking two different meals.
I know many people can relate to this.  What toddler is not particular at picking their foods?  Just chicken nuggets is what my son eats says one frustated mother, only pasta is what mine will have says another mom. Yes, feeding a toddler can sometimes be the hardest thing you do, and if you are like most people, you have to do it 3 or more times a day.  It is exhausting!

With that said, going out to eat is even a more challenging feat.  Many a time we would have the idea of going out to eat but our options were limited to the places that my son would eat.  We cannot go here because they don't have anything LJ will eat, we would say often.  It got ridiculous for a bit there, when it came to meals (not just a snack in the morning or afternoon) we would have to bend backwards to try to find something that matched all the criterias.

You might think why wouldn't you just offer him different foods.  Doctors tell you kids need to try a new food a number of different times in order to start liking it.  Yes, that makes sense.  As if I never thought of that!  The problem was that every time I offered my son any food that looked anything different than what he was used to eating, he would throw the entire plate out on the floor and not eat anything.  I would add different veggies to his plate next to his preferred food and crying would ensue, tantrum central was unlocked and it was very difficult to expand the food options for that boy.  I tried people, I really did.  One day when he was about 2 years old I did this whole theatrics with him.  I got a piece of bread (something he would not even touch, literally he would make digust faces and he would recoil from touching a piece of bread), peanut butter and jelly to make a PB&J and I gave a voice to each of the items.  I was playing with all him and spreading PB and saying silly things that at the time made him smile.  Then I did the same with another piece of bread and added jelly, all being all playful and making very interested in what I was doing.  My intent was to have him have a bite of the bread with PB and then the one with jelly and put them together and say see, you're eating a PB&J.  Even with all that effort, I did not even get to my first goal of getting him to eat a piece of bread with anything on it.  It was so frustrated, he was liking what we were doing, but he did not like it when I asked to eat it.  He was basically mortified I had asked him that and ran away.

After noticing his aversion to certain foods, I brought that up to his pediatrician who was kind and said kids are usually picky at age 2 and to keep insisting.  I wasn't so sure that was the case so I still asked if she could refer us to a program that could evaluate if he was plain picky or if he had some sort of sensory disorder. Luckily that program was a mile from our house.  Apparently this one of the best places in the nation for feeding therapy.  I didn't know this at the time, but it is a hight sought after program that people even move from other states to have their kids learn to eat due to disabilities and sensory issues.  Yes, we lucked out. After a year of therapy (and many dollars later) we were able to at least get my picky eater to try new foods, even if he doesn't love them.

I know many of you can relate to some frustrations while feeding your kids.  I want this blog to hopefully help you with some tools to get your little one to eat a litte more variety.  I know kids have their favorite foods, and that's ok.  I will not insist my kid eat a burger or pizza because we like it.  My whole intent when I sought help from therapists was to give me tools to help introduce new foods, which before I went thru this journey was basically an impossible thing to do.  I still am not able to cook one meal for all of us to eat every evening.  But it has gotten better and I know in the near future as I continue to work on adding new foods we will eventually be eating the same dinner as a family.