The Picky Eaters Project, Week 3

We're so proud of you knowing that you've survived weeks 1 & 2 of The Picky Eaters Project! 

It's hard to believe that we're almost half-way through (you deserve something special for coming this far!), and now we're ready to jump right into Week 3!

Week 3:  Transform Kids' Picky Palates

1.  Serve variations per “The List”.  Remember "The List" from Week 1?  This week you're going to take all the information that you've accumulated for each family member and we're going to start serving variations of those beloved foods.  Remember to continue with "The Daily Victory File" & to keep track of what was a hit-or-miss for each individual, and don't hesitate to serve it more than once (research has shown that it can take up to 3 tries before we like a certain food).

If you aren't sure what kind of variations to try, then we suggest you take a look at the book "The 52 New Foods Challenge".  In her book, author Jennifer Tyler Lee lists 52 different fruits and veggies with 3 different child-friendly variations of each.  She encourages children to get involved in the cooking and offers a Food Plan for the Year (for more information on the book - or to order - please click here).

2.  Start “Taste Test Books” where your kids can rate their foods. We know that you know that kids love to voice their opinions about everything, and this week we're going to listen up!  Download and print "Taste Test" sheets for every member of your house, and let them keep track of everything served (and their opinion of it).  Puchase binders with stickers and markers and let them create their own Taste Test Book, and keep it close to the eating area at all times.  For some children you might need to explain the rating-system (and how anything green doesn't always warrant only 1-star).

3.  Make the same meal for everyone.  You've likely been doing this in your homes already, so continue on the path of ensuring that everyone is eating the same meal.  That being said, it is okay to feed slight varations as needed; for example, if textures are an issue, feel free to put out raw carrots as well as boiled ones (while still encouraging individuals to try a bite of both).

We are so excited to be on this journey with you!  Be sure to leave your successes (and frustrations) in the comments section of our Facebook page by clicking here, and please Share below on social media with the other meal-planners in your life!

The Picky Eaters Project, Week 2

Is mealtime often a dinner and a show at your house?

Yep, ours too.

After smelling the deliciousness from your crockpot all day and being excited to serve your family, you find that you're often met with drama and dismay.  After a while, you start to approach family dinner time as you might an animal in the wild:  breathheld, head down, food placed on the table, and no sudden movements.

Last week we introduced you to The Picky Eaters Project by Melissa d'Arabian; it's an 8-week "Mealtime Redesign" to help transform the way your family approaches mealtime (if you missed our blog from Week 1, please click here).  Each week is broken down into managable steps that are built upon each other to create success, and after last week's Setting the Stage for Positive Change, we're ready for Week 2!

Week 2:  Family Dinner Reboot

1.  Set a mealtime routine.  Melissa suggests creating a clear "start-and-stop" for all of your dinners (she lets her girls ring a dinner bell which adds a little more fun to the meal and gets her children involved).  The d'Arabian's also set their dinner table early to ensure that dinners start ontime and children don't come to the table over-hungry (and grumpy).

2.  Keep mealtimes positive.  In week 1 we discussed framing your Mealtime Redesign to your family as a game to create a positive atmosphere.  Try not to repeat old patterns by getting frustrated when your Picky Eater's are unhappy with what you've served; simply maintain a positive demenour and continue to keep the list of all the foods that they like (download "The List" from Week 1 here).  One way to encourage positive mealtime is to make it fun; in our house our kids enjoy the "Dinner Time Story", where each person gives one sentence ("Once upon a time there was a dragon...") and then they have to take a bite from anything on their plate.  The person beside them continues ("...but the dragon was sad because he couldn't fly...") and then they take a bite.  You get the point.  By the end of dinner, an amazing story has been created and dinner has become a lot more fun! 

3.  Create a "Daily Victory File" to record setbacks and victories.  Keep track of what works and what doesn't by downloading Melissa's "Daily Victory File" here.  When you have those moments of frustration and discouragement, referring to the list will help you stay positive at dinnertime.

We are so excited to be on this journey with you!  Be sure to leave your successes (and frustrations) in the comments section of our Facebook page by clicking here, and please Share below on social media with the other meal-planners in your life!

The Picky Eaters Project, Week 1

We all have at least one of them in our homes; you know who I'm speaking of...The Picky Eater.

The Picky Eater who makes meal time difficult.  The one who liked your food last night but hates it tonight.  The one who eats everything at daycare but doesn't like the way you make it (even though you got the recipe from said-day care).  And yes, the oldest one who takes their lunch to work only to return the lunchbag back to you with fruits and veggies uneatten (yes, we have partners too!).

Thankfully, Melissa d'Arabian has designed The Picky Eaters Project, which is an 8-week "Mealtime Redesign".  Over the next few blogs, we're going to take you through all 8 weeks that will (fingers crossed!) transform the way your family approaches mealtime.

Week 1:  Setting the Stage for Postive Change

Within Week 1 Melissa advises that there are 3 tasks to complete for the week:

1.  Get the family on board — everyone is going to try new foods.  Sit down with your family at the beginning of the week and let them know that an exciting new "game" will be taking place over the next two months.  Framing the project (and changes) in a positive way will encourage all family members to get on board and become excited. 

2.  Reorganize your pantry to ensure that healthy stuff becomes more reachable. Take a look at everything that you have in your cupboards, fridge, and pantry right now; obviously you'll likely want to throw out anything that will encourage unhealthy snacking.  Move everything that you want your family to eat within eye-level to ensure that the independent eaters have easy-access to nutritious foods.  For a list of Melissa's pantry must-haves, click here.

3.  Create “The List” of all the foods your picky eaters like.  Download and print out Melissa's Template by clicking here; keep a list this week of all the foods (meats, veggies, fruits, and dairy) that your Picky Eaters like and how they are served (ie. carrots raw, zuchinni bread with cream cheese).  If you have more than one picky eater, then you may want to keep individual pages.  Ensure that you keep track over the entire week (and into week 2), because in week three, we're going to show you how to serve variations as per "The List".

We are so excited to be on this journey with you!  Be sure to leave your successes (and frustrations) in the comments section of our Facebook page by clicking here, and please Share below on social media with the other meal-planners in your life!