One of the biggest challenges moms complain to me about is catering to everyone’s dietary needs or preferences in the family. I hear questions like, How do I NOT make more than one meal for my family? How do I make my kid eat what we eat? How do I get my picky eater to try new foods?
I get it believe me. I also have a picky eater at home and it is definitely a challenge to not only make a healthy meal but actually get this food in her mouth without coercion, threatening or punishment. I believe that feeding, as well as parenting, has got to be done in a respectful manner with understanding, compassion, grace, and patience.
I hear many moms complain that they are not enjoying to be in the kitchen, that they hate cooking. A lot of it is not really because they hate cooking, but actually because they’ve never learned to cook, which in my belief is one of the most important skills to learn ourselves and teach our children. Let’s start by saying that if you are not enjoying cooking in general, or that you are dreading spending time in the kitchen this activity would seem both laborsome and a lot of hard and not fun work. No judgment here, I admit that I don’t LOVE cooking, I do it because I choose to. You know that I am a huge proponent of sustainable living and this is true with regards to eating and feeding as well. If you find yourself repeatedly struggling and dreading mealtime then you have to ask yourself, WHY? What about this time of day is making me feel this way? Is it because I did not prepare ahead of time? Is it because the recipe I’ve chosen Is too complicated, has too many ingredients and steps? Could it be because I am too slow in the kitchen? Or is it because there is too much chaos around this time every day?
Even as a nutritionist and a health nut myself I don’t think it is necessary to overcomplicate food, especially the weekly meals. I enjoy cooking, but you will not find me during the week cooking elaborate meals with more than 10 ingredients, and I’m also not afraid of repeating meals and eating the same food the next day (with the exception of salads of course). Whatever I have to do to streamline this process for myself, make life easy for myself, I do it.
So, yup, today we’re having the same rice with chicken like yesterday, yes we’re having soup, again. Remember, you are not only their mom, you are also the leader, and it is important to assert yourself with confidence consistently. This way they are learning that they can trust you, that it is OK to wait until the food is ready, that they are not going to die.
I love talking with other nutritionists and dietitians who also work with moms and pick their brains on how they approach these issues. So, Today I am talking with Jodi Danen, who is a wife, a mom of two, a registered dietitian and the founder CreateKidsClub.com, where she educates parents on healthy eating & cooking skills. She is also the creator of Lunch Bites school lunch note cards. These lunch box note cards feature positive notes or acts of kindness on the front with jokes and facts on the back. All cards are focused on food and nutrition. Kids love the positive fun of discovering a Lunch Bites note card in their lunch box, backpack or sports bag! If you are interested to learn more about these cards and get a little discount check out the link in the show notes. You can use the coupon code DORIT to get 10% off your purchase.
She is passionate about teaching children to cook at a young age & believes this is key to forming healthy habits for life. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Here’s what we cover:
- What’s the best way to avoid making more than one meal every day that picky eater will enjoy as well?
- What is the best age for kids to start cooking on their own?
- Advice for moms who do not enjoy cooking
- Why is it important not be too strict with healthy food?