healthy 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.

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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.

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.

The problem with commercial breakfast cereal

So you think the breakfast cereal you got from the supermarket is OK? Well think again. There is very little, with next to nothing in terms of nutrition in them.

But it's fortified with vitamins and minerals I here you say. I used to think that too until I started understanding what nutrition actually is. You see, the body ONLY recognises vitamins and minerals in a wholefood form.

Firstly, lets address how a cereal is manufactured.

According to Authority Nutrition, this is how a commercial breakfast cereal is typically made:

  1. Processed –grains are usually processed into a fine flour and cooked
  2. Mixed – Mixed with water, sugar and other ingredients to flavour
  3. Extrusion – A high temperature process to shape the cereal, called extrusion
  4. Dried – Then it is dried
  5. Shaped – and finally shaped into balls, puffs, loops, stars etc

Given the process described above, not only are they highly processed, but they also contain large amounts of refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and plenty of other flavours and additives. This is not conducive to a wholefood, let alone improving general and gut health.

Not only is the manufacturing process an issue, there is also the issue of the marketing claims on the front of the box. If a food is truly healthy, there is no need to make health claims.

If a boxed commercial cereal must remain your preferred choice of breakfast, then please read the labels carefully. Some principles to consider:

  • Can you understand the ingredient list? Does it make sense?
  • Is it free of artificial colours & flavouring ? These are the biggies to look out for:
    • Artificial Colours (102, 104, 107, 110, 120, 120, 122-129, 132, 142, 150, 151, 155, 160b))
    • Artificial Flavouring (620-625, 627, 631, 635, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Hydrolysed Soy Protein (HSP), Soy Protein Isolate(SPI), Textured Vegetable Protein (TV P))
  • Check the sugar content, aim for less than 5g of sugar per 100mg
  • Check the serving size. Most cereals will say that a serving size is 30-40g, however when you actually measure that out, you will find that 3-4 times that amount is needed as a decent breakfast portion, therefore the sugar content will need to be multiplied by that amount. All of the sudden, your sugar content is not looking so great.

So what are my options I hear you say. I'm busy, I don't have time to prepare a gourmet breakfast everyday. That's OK, neither do I, and really, who does....lol

If you did decide to ditch the boxed versions, here are some wholefood options instead:

  1. Eggs any which way you want, scrambled, boiled, poached, baked
  2. Home-made granola with a beautiful array of nuts and seeds either served with a milk or yoghurt of your choice, even better use a dairy free option
  3. Smoothie – just add a liquid + fruit + vegetable + protein + fat + superfood powder (optional)
  4. Overnight soaked oats, preferably using uncontaminated oats from here
  5. Chia-puddings made with any high quality milk of your choice
  6.  Baked Breakfast muffins, grain or grain free
  7. Quinoa or millet porridge with dates & nuts (good alternative to oats)
  8. Breakfast cakes made with wholesome ingredients. See my grain free cake one here
  9. Grain or grainfree pancakes.
  10. Leftovers from the night before. Especially in winter, my son will often ask for leftovers for breakfast

All of these options possess the following properties:

  • Made from wholefood ingredients the body can recognise
  • Can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer for a grab & go or re-heat
  • Contains the right balance of macro ingredients of fats, proteins & carbohydrates.

As a gift to get you started on a wholefood breakfast option, I've put together 5 of our favourite breakfast recipes that are loved in our home.

 

If you think you or your family could benefit from transitioning to a healing wholefood lifestyle, get in contact with me today for your FREE Health Mapping Session.

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.

4 easy steps to ensure your child is getting the best nutrition possible!

If you are anything like me, starting out on our wholefood journey was incredibly confusing and daunting, don’t eat this, don’t eat that, eat more of this, include this superfood etc. Everything I thought I knew about food almost had to be thrown out of the window. It all just became too much, sometimes to the point where I was paralysed and did not know where to start, so I didn’t!

And the reality is, it just does not have to be that way. It’s actually really simple.

Here are 4 easy steps to ensure your kids are getting the best nutrition possible:

1.        Variety – Food should be selected from a wide variety of sources each day. It is also important to choose a variety of foods within a food group, e.g. don’t just eat apples every single day, try to include at 2-4 different varieties from each food group. By following this simple principle, you ensure you are obtaining a range of essential nutrition.

2.        Wholesomeness – This essentially means that the food needs to be as close as possible to its natural state. For example if choosing a sugar source, choices such as maple syrup, raw honey or rapadura would be better alternatives than white refined sugar.

3.       Unprocessed – The ideal diet should not rely heavily on processed, packaged, tinned, frozen, take-away or pre-prepared foods. The less processed the foods is, the more nutrients it will contain. Additionally the less processed the food is, the less additives and preservatives it will contain which are so incredibly damaging to one’s health.

4.       Individuality – this simply means eat what is right for you! What is one man’s medicine can be another man’s poison. Things to consider when looking at individuality are:

  • Digestion & Absorption
  • Sensitivities & Allergies
  • Medications currently being used
  • Quality, cost & availability of food
Fresh fruit and vegetables

Fresh fruit and vegetables

 

As a family we don’t prescribe to any particular diet, we just focus on the above principles and eat real whole food and include as many healing foods on a daily basis such as broths, ferments, quality protein, good fats, plenty of vegetables and minimal fruits.

In addition we tend to limit our grains and if we do eat them, they are of a gluten free variety.  I ensure that they are properly prepared, i.e. soaked or cooked in broth to ensure they are easily digested and the nutrients from the grains can actually be absorbed!

There is definitely no refined sugar by choice, however if it consumed outside of the house at parties etc, I'm not going to sweat it! Honey, maple syrup and other forms of natural sugar such as panela and coconut sugar are used, but only in small quantities. Even though they are natural sugars and have amazing vitamins and minerals, they are still a sugar and needs to be consumed in moderation.

I also ensure we eat the best quality available, i.e. eat grass-fed meat as opposed to normal conventional meat and buy fruit and vegetables  according the to the clean fifteen and dirty dozen list. That list can be viewed here.

Personally I’m not a fan of “superfoods”. In my humble opinion, any food you are eating as close as possible to its natural state is a superfood. We don’t need the fancy stuff, but absolutely no harm including them to boost the nutritional content of the food.

Happy eating! XX

 

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Chantal is Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach with a special interest simplifying and implementing gut healing nutritional protocols using a personalised wholistic step by step Healing Transformational Program.