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How to Encourage Your Picky Eaters to Eat in Color

Why You've Got to Listen to This Episode...

In today’s episode I’m talking with registered dietician, mama, and founder of Kids Eat in Color, Jennifer Anderson. Jennifer is an expert in helping parents help their kids develop a healthy relationship with food by reducing the stress of mealtime battles. Are you ready to get your kids to eat in color?
 
We’re talking about managing food waste, why you might be the victim of unnecessary food-marketing scare tactics, and how to offer kids freedom with boundaries at mealtimes. 

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Key Takeaways to Help You Get Your Picky Eaters to Eat in Color

As always, we’ve rounded up our top three takeaways to summarize what we believe are the core points to remember from Jennifer. 

1 - Take the Pressure off of You - and Your Kids at Meal Time

Jennifer reminded us that it’s our job to put food in front of our kids and control the environment in which they eat. It’s their job to decide what goes in their body. It’s important for kids to build their own relationship with food to dealing with consent and feeling like they have some control over their own bodies. 

But naturally, when we pressure kids, they’re going to push back or they’re just going to eat to make you happy. This leads to them feeling like they don’t have control over what goes in their own systems. Instead, try reducing the portion sizes and help kids ask for more if they’re still hungry. If they don’t eat, gently remind them when the next snack or meal will be and let them know to listen to their bodies and eat if they’re hungry. 

Also, it’s super, super normal for kids to eat a lot in one day and not much in another. Our first pediatrician told us early on that kids’ eating habits fluctuate. So don’t put expectations of how much you think your kid should eat on them. Let them decide what’s going to go in their bodies but encourage them to eat in color. 

2 - There is More Than One Way to Feed Your Family Healthy Food

It’s hard to ignore all the advertisements pushing organic and fancy foods and the right way to cook and baking from scratch. We see all these things and maybe we want to be those parents. But we can’t always do that because we don’t have the time we don’t have the money.
 
Organic is not the only non dangerous way of getting your family to eat in color. Make sure you get enough food to last the entire month and buy the more affordable options. Plan meals around what’s on sale. 

If you need additional help, use WIC or reach out to food banks in your area. But just focus on protein, then fruits and vegetables. well rounded meal that will keep your kids healthy and growing and happy on any budget.

3 - Offer Kids Freedom in Their Choices With Boundaries

Many of us have faced that classic scenario where kids say they won’t eat dinner, but then they want to snack. Instead of letting up or just demanding that they eat dinner at dinner time, stay calm and let them know when that next food will be available. Empathize with them and distract them -maybe even at that meal time. Let them know when their next opportunity to eat will be. It’s going to require having a firm and loving routine.
 
There are also going to be times when our kids are frustrated in that moment. But they will start realizing what that schedule is and how to listen to their bodies so that they eat when they’re hungry. 

Remember, the kids are in charge of their own body, how much they’re going to eat and whether they’re going to eat -that’s their job, it’s not our job. So limit portions if they’re special foods that you want to make sure to last the whole month. Your kids can still have some freedom and choice. At some point they will start to experiment with ways they can eat in color. We do not have to force them to do this.

Links & Resources Mentioned

Connect with Jennifer

Jennifer Anderson is a registered dietitian, mom of 2 exciting boys, and cheerleader to hundreds of thousands of parents feeding kids through the Kids Eat in Color social media movement. She helps parents let go of mealtime battles, reduce their stress, and get their kids on the path to eating better.

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