fussy eating

Tips for Dealing with Fussy Eaters......

Hands up mummas who have a FUSSY EATER!! I feel your pain....

Understanding that there are fussy eaters.....and then there are FUSSY EATERS. If you are not aware of my story, I had a very FUSSY EATER! I think my kid invented the term!

No amount of cognitive behavioural techniques worked, so much so that he was referred to a childhood psychologist at 15 months of age.....SAY WHAT!!! Over the years I've been to at least 5 pediatric dieticians to resolve the issue and NOTHING!  Eventually it became clear his fussy eating was a symptom of a root cause, in his case, a very unbalanced gut microbiome and nutritional deficiencies. Once this was resolved.....MAGIC, the fussy eating was also resolved. You can read more that here.

Then the are kids, that are just fussy eaters because of a learnt behaviour and will easily respond to some cognitive behavioural techniques. This is the category that most children fall into.

One of the biggest take-aways in all of my years speaking to various professionals trying to resolve this issue for my son, was that as parents, it is our responsibility to choose what they eat, it is their responsibility to actually put the food in their mouth. Sounds so simple right, but I can tell you it was one of the hardest concepts to carry out when you are knee deep with a child that refuses to eat MOST things you provide, unless it was something on the the accepted child food list. What can I say is that when the root cause was resolved, the fussy eating also resolved and never to be seen again! What bliss that was.

So, how do you deal with kids that are fussy eaters due to learnt behaviours? These tips come from a culmination of working with various professionals trying to resolve the symptomatic behaviour. There were common threads from ALL of them.

Creative Solutions to problems.....

Creative Solutions to problems.....

Here are some tips when dealing with a fussy eater, that is generally healthy otherwise:

  1. You provide the food and leave it up to them whether they choose to eat it or not. If they choose not to eat it, do not give any attention to it – that is exactly what they are looking for
  2. Let them know it’s their choice to eat or not eat, but there will be NOTHING else served up till the next meal or snack....which is typically 2.5-3hrs later, so they will not starve. They will probably be more inclined to eat at the next meal
  3. Get them involved in the meal planning and meal preparation. Such a pain I know, and I had so much resistance to this, but when they feel included in the decision making, they are more inclined to at least try the food
  4. Be a good example yourself and eat a varied nutritious diet
  5. Do not offer food as a reward, this sets up the wrong message early on about food
  6. Keep meal times as relaxed as possible, just know that after you have served the meal, your job is done. It’s now over to them to eat. It's a good time to practice gratitude for the day. If you feel you are being triggered by their resistance, come up with strategies how you will handle the irritation and anger. A gentle reminder again, once the food is on the table, your job is done!
  7. Serve food in buffet style, especially good for older kids – gives them a sense of control
  8. Trust their self regulation – they know when they have eaten enough and when they need more. We tend to kill this for them, by constantly coercing them to eat more, when in fact, they have just had enough. This really stung for me as I'm a recovering control freak..lol

Ways to improve nutrition :

  • Smoothies  - there is so much goodness that can be added to this drink;
    •  Wholefood super powders – this is one is my favourites from Nutra Organics
    • Additional fats such as avocado, nuts, coconut oil and butter
    • Ground up seeds such as sunflower or linseeds which are also great sources of essential fatty acids, zinc and calcium
    • Berries – fabulous source of Vitamin C and anti-oxidants
    • Clean protein powders. Another favourite of mine from Nutra Organics
    • Hydrolysed gelatine for gut healing goodness
  • Avoid serving fruit juices at meal times, these can act as a filler and serve empty calories. Water is best.
  • Wholefood and variety is the biggest key
  • Serve vegetables multiple ways. E.g My kids are not a fan of eating straight broccoli or cauliflower, but blitz it, tossed in olive oil with spices and it will happily be eaten. Don't give up, be creative
  • Foods high in Vitamin C such as red and green capsicum, parsley, berries and cabbage. These foods will also aid the absorption of iron from foods.
  • Overall, always try to incorporate a protein, fat and fibre at each meal.

If after doing all of the above consistently for a period of time and you are still concerned with your child’s health, then contact a qualified health practitioner to further assess.  Remember, nobody knows your child like you do and go with your GUT instinct...pardon the pun :-).

I also offer 90 Min Nutritional Audits. The purpose of these sessions are to:

  • Help you gain clarity for your health & wellness goals
  • Identify potential roadblock & solutions
  • Define a clear actionable plan for you to follow
  • Recommend nutritional improvements based on a food diary review
  • Any other quick wins, based on your Health & Wellness Goals.

If this is of interest, contact me to schedule your appointment.

Chantal-150.jpg

Chantal is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach that has a special interest in helping stressed and overwhelmed mums heal their children with wholefoods using a personalised wholistic step by step approach.

5 Easy Ways to get Healing Foods into your kids without fuss!

Getting healing foods into you or your child daily does not have to be a struggle.In fact when you re-adjust your mindset to that of wholefoods ONLY, it’s just something you do on a daily basis and then it does not become a “thing”

Many of the types of foods are consumed on a daily basis anyway, so it’s just a matter of thinking how can I make this more nutrient dense and add a healing agent food.

Below,  I’ve given you 5 easy ways of getting healing food into the diet on a daily basis:

1. Smoothie

Who doesn’t love a good smoothie? This is a fabulous food to get extra nutrition into your child without them necessarily knowing the goodness included

Types of extra goodness to that can be added:

  • Use non dairy milk alternatives such as homemade nut, seed or coconut milk varieties
  • Probiotics – they wouldn’t even know! Just make sure it's good quality and broad spectrum
  • Clean protein powders or collagen hydrolysate for gut healing benefits
  • Whey – the liquid strained from yoghurt for probiotic goodness
  • Superfood powders, like these from Nutra Organics
  • Coconut oil or butter for cellular and gut health

There is just so much bang for your buck in a smoothie

2. Blissball

A great way to get awesome extra goodness into them such as protein, fat, fibre, zinc and magnesium by way of ingredients such as nuts, seeds & dates, cacoa and coconut oil or butter

Add extra goodness such as:

  • Hydrolysed gelation
  • A little turmeric
  • Superfood such as nutri organics
  • Soak the dates in some water kefir then you have a probiotic Blissball

3. Soups and casseroles

A wonderfully healing and great way to get veggies, slow cooked meats and broth into them that are tasty. Favourites for us are slow cooked lamb shanks and a root vegetable soup. Funny thing is my little man is not a fan of "eating" pumpkin but will happily have pumpkin soup, go figure! My princess on the other hand is not a fan of soup period, but loves Chicken Noodle Soup.....you just have to work with what you have :-)

4. Jelly or gummies

Who said gut healing food had to be all about broth. You can still get all the great properties of a broth in a jelly or gummy using a quality grass-fed gelatin. It is definitely not a replacement for broth, but an addition to.

Take it a step further add additional goodness such as:

  • Raw honey as a sweetener for amazing immune boosting anti-microbrial properties. It's still a sugar, so go easy :-)
  • Quality broad spectrum probiotic capsules and you have a probiotic gummy
  • Herbal tinctures such as Elderberry syrup for wonderful immune boosting
  • Even use the gelatin to make custards, puddings and panacotta

5. Water

Who would guess water??? Amazingly you can ferment water with the right starter culture and then you have probiotic water, otherwise known as Water Kefir.

Ferment it a second time with a fruit of choice and you a flavoured probiotic tonic.

You can incorporate the above food daily as a guide:

  1. Breakfast: - Smoothie either but itself which is quite satisfying or alongside something like porridge pancakes. Recipe can be found in this blog post in the download
  2. Snack – Blissball – only need 1 depending on how big you make them
  3. Lunch/dinner –  soup or casserole with a small probiotic drink
  4. Snack – a few gummies

I've put together the following recipes in an easy downloadable Ebook:

  1. Gummy
  2. Root Vegetable soup
  3. Blissballs
  4. Ginger probiotic tonic
  5. Water/Coconut Water kefir

If you are wanting to address your health or that of your family using nutrition & wellness principles, do not hesitate schedule your FREE Health Mapping Session here or here

Chantal is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach that specialises in helping stressed and overwhelmed mums heal their children with wholefoods using a personalised wholistic step by step approach.

Fussy Eating!!! And how I overcame it.

This is something that has been coming up a lot in coaching practice lately and I thought that if this is the case for my clients, then many others are struggling with it as well.

So I thought I’d share with you my personal experience.

To start off, I cannot tell you how much I understand the concept of fussy eating as I sometimes truly believe that my son defined FUSSY eating and I’m yet to find a kid as challenged as he was with eating.

Some context and background

By the time he was 15 months of age he was already referred to a child psychologist as he was not responding to any of the prescribed techniques by the pediatric dietician. Oh my, writing this brings back so many memories of that car trip! My husband and I were just in disbelief that we were actually making this trip for our young baby boy....but sadly we were! Then by the time he was 5 years old had already seen 4 pediatric dieticians – and NOTHING worked.

I consider myself to be a fairly diligent and conscientious person and did everything I was told as PERFECTLY as I could – but to no avail. Every time I did not make the anticipated progress, I lost a little bit of hope,  until I felt ready to keep searching again for something or someone that would help us help him eat a more varied diet.

The Change

So what I’m about to share with you is NOT psychology approved techniques, double blinded placebo control study tested etc......it’s just what worked for me – and I think I just about tried everything if you catch my drift.

I will also preface to say that it was a combined approach not just 1 thing. I truly believe what really propelled us onto the other side was actually a change in me, not him! And I say that again, the change was in me and not him.

I distinctly remember the day I drew a line in the sand and said no more – THIS WILL BE DONE I vowed. I was able to do this for a number of reasons:

  1. I knew what the underlying cause of the problem was- FINALLY
  2. I knew EXACTLY what I needed to do to resolve the issue – HALLELUJAH
  3. I felt guided an supported - PRICELESS

I can say that in ALL of my prior attempts I have never had all 3 of these pieces together.

The Solution:

I too needed to change, and that was predominantly my mindset

  1. I had to let go of any past failed attempts and feel confident in the way forward, which I was for the first time no knowing what the REAL problem was
  2.  It was NOT my role to make him eat, which I often tried to do or play silly games only for him eat 2 spoons and refuse the rest. I needed to choose what was on offer to eat, but it was his responsibility to eat. – this was a massive shift in thinking for me. I used to stress so much when he refused to eat anything new, but this new mindset literally saved my sanity.
  3. I felt confident- so when the boundaries were pushed (which he did often try to do) I no longer crumbled, and he energetically felt this. Soon, he had no choice, but to join the party so to speak as I no longer gave his refusal the attention he wanted.

Techniques for him:

  • EDUCATION - I explained to him what was going to be happening and why the food we ate would be changing. It was very important to use language that he could understand.
  • FUN - We made meal times together an event – it was a time of coming together, talking about the day and sharing and taking the focus off eating per say. If this was successfully achieved, he was rewarded
  • REWARD - I found his hot button which was a reward based system using points, 1 point = $1. One of his love languages is gifts. To know this information about your child is just priceless. Speak to them in their love language. We all have at least 2 dominating ones out of 5. We had a treasure box with smaller gifts such as pencils, hot wheel cars etc, and when he reached a certain number of points, he could choose a gift from the treasure box. And once he had sufficient points, 10 or 20 he could have a bigger reward to that value – this was golden for him and kept him motivated. We still utilise this concept today....except the reward value is little higher...eeek. The beauty of this is that you get to use choose what behaviours you want to reward and give them the control to make the right choice
  • BOUNDARIES - What was on the table, is what was on offer to eat – NOTHING else. It was his choice to eat it or not and nothing else was provided if he chose to not eat.
  • CHOICE - Sometimes I provided 2 choices and he could decide which one he would like – this also worked really well as he felt some form of control.
  • POSITIVE AFFIRMATION - When he did eat something he had not eaten before or at least tried something before refusing – the praise was enormous – sometimes over the top – because that is what worked for him

My mindset, these techniques coupled with a healing with wholefoods approach is what took him from a ridiculously fussy eater to a champion eater today.

In reality – HE was not a fussy eater, which was a label we put on him. Fussy eating was a symptom of an unbalanced gut microbiome along with nutritional deficiencies. Once we remedied this through healing wholefood nutrition, his body cried out for more food, and soon I had the opposite the problem..........he would not stop eating. I then a problem of a different kind....keeping up with the demand.....lol.

Today I still feel so much gratitude when I watch him eat as I know that was not always the framed picture I looked at.

If you would like help addressing the heart of the issue with fussy eating, get in contact with me and schedule your FREE Health Mapping Session or check out my Healing with Wholefoods Program.

 

Chantal is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach that specialises in helping stressed and overwhelmed mums heal their children with wholefoods using a personalised wholistic step by step approach.