I have been talking to many parents recently abut a topic I absolutely love talking about. Picky eating.
If you are starting to seek advice I really recommend you start by reading my FREE Ebook ‘Abracadabra! Feed My Fussy Eater’. It’s a goodie and packed with lots of information to help get your little one back on track (and make mealtimes fun again! YES please!).
Today I want to discuss one of my favourite ways to help children expand their diet: encouraging your child to eat a rainbow of food each day. It’s fun, motivating and engaging. Simply: kids love this.
It’s a simple concept that is oh- so- powerful. Start by clicking here to find a free copy of a rainbow food chart. Print it off and start eating a rainbow of food. Top tip: If you laminate it you can use reuse the chart over multiple weeks!
When I introduce this concept to children I talk to them about how food is as colourful as a rainbow. Together we brainstorm foods which are red, orange, yellow, green, brown, white and purple.
I talk to them about how eating a rainbow of food is so important for a strong body, which they need to be able to play football, play in the playground, dance in ballet classes and swim at the beach.
Note: Personalise the activities based on your child’s activity preferences.
When you are ready to begin tell you child that when they eat a colour from the rainbow they get to cross/ tick or use a sticker to mark it off. High-five!
My Top Tips:
// If your child refuses to participate you can make the challenge more attainable by discussing 1 or 2 colours which they can eat. Over time gradually add in another colour.
// Take the pressure off eating and reward your child even if they touch, smell, lick or take a small bite of the food. It is important that children be rewarded for participating so I encourage you to celebrate their bravery and willingness to try.
// Provide a reward for your child to celebrate the fact they are actively trying regardless of the outcome. Celebrate the process. Make sure the reward is motivating and that your child is aware of what it is they will be rewarded to prior to starting the activity to keep them motivated!
// Put the chart on the wall near the dinner table so your child can check in with the chart each mealtime. You might find it helpful to gently remind your child of the game before each meal.
// Pair new food with a food your child currently accepts. For example if your child likes to eat white bread and they have chosen to eat a yellow food, offer them a slice of yellow cheese with their bread. Or if your child likes banana you might mash this with some stewed apples, pears or perhaps strawberries.
// If your child likes to eat white food try to expand the variety of white food they are eating. For example if your child likes to eat pureed pears you might be able to encourage them to eat another white flesh fruit such as pureed apples.
// Provide a small amount of the new food at a time, understanding that a plate with a pile of new food can be overwhelming for your child who will already be anxious, sceptical and perhaps suspicious.
// Ditch the table manners and let your child play with the new food. This deserves to be discussed again because it is so important. Children learn about new objects, whether it be toys or food through using their senses- touch, taste, smell. When they touch the food, smell, smear, pour and lick food they are experiencing what it might feel like in their mouths, taste like and what the temperature and texture of the food is.
So now it is over to you! I cant wait to hear about how you go. Have questions? Comments? Think a friend will find this helpful? Sharing is caring! Keen to dive a little deeper and work together to help your picky eater? Book in for a FREE initial consultation. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org