The struggle has been real this month in the kitchen with my kids, especially my very picky 6 year old. She has a natural tendency to fill herself up with refined carbs, eating just enough to keep playing, then get really hangry and whiny when she starts running on sugar fumes. I struggle to eat protein also, and tend to reach for dairy and plant sources instead of lean meat. I’m not a full blown vegetarian, but I just don’t love it, and she doesn’t either. To make matters worse, she doesn’t have my affinity for dairy either.
Enlisting her cooking help and making new foods that I encouraged her to give a “thank you taste” have been helpful strategies also, but ultimately didn’t solve the problem like it did with my oldest. I want to make it fun, without having to jump up on my soapbox at every meal.
Together, we made her favorite dinner, then after dinner we sketched out where her favorite foods land on the food pyramid. We talked about how her body needs all the categories every day so that she could be a strong girl that can play, and think, and sleep well. Natural consequences are a great way to learn, but garbage in, garbage out is a hard natural consequence to recognize until you eat enough to be able to think through it (which is why having her favorite dinner before the discussion helped.)
I made some little pyramids so she can write down what she eats, and tally it up around dinner time so she knows what she is missing. She seems to enjoy it so far, and I will keep going with it as long as she wants to keep tallying everything up. I hope the food pyramid idea will be just another piece of the puzzle that could help her understand the big picture.
(And I know I’m playing a little fast & loose on some of these categories, esp the vegetable one… okay, maybe downright wrong, but she is so very picky).
Please tell me you are going through this too! What has worked for you?