Gretzky vs. Picky Eating
What does Wayne Gretzky, greatest hockey player ever, have to do with picky eating? I actually have no idea if Wayne was a picky eater himself and turned out to be a successful hockey player. Although, there are many examples of picky eater children who grow up to be successful, smart adults (even if their eating habits never changed).
What the “Great One” has to do with picky eating is this:
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take
In my one on one work with parents, I hear the fatigue from offering foods repeatedly that are rarely eaten. Then at some point, understandably, they give up and offer their child only the foods they eat and like. Here’s a few steps to making sure you are “taking shots” with new or non-preferred foods in a way that will move your child from yuck to yum:
-NO pressure. Offer the food, then Keep Calm and Carry On! No convincing them to eat it, that's not your job
-Small Amounts: The amount varies depending on your child’s response, can be a teaspoon to a tablespoon (or even smaller and further away)
-Enjoy it Yourself: Sit down and eat it too. Show them, don't tell them, how yummy those sugar snap peas are
-Variety: keep going with different foods in small amounts, we want them to expect the unexpected. A different color, shape, cut, a veggie, a fruit, a new cracker. Your choices are endless.
If you’ve found yourself wondering why your kidlet only eats fishy crackers, be sure to ask yourself “Wait, are fishy crackers the only thing I ever offer?” It’s a well known fact that: The most limiting factor related to a toddlers food preference is what foods were never even offered.
Even if you can channel your inner Great One with the mantra “You can’t score, if you don't shoot” keep in mind that when you do shoot (with that new food), there’s a low chance of actually scoring on those first few tries. Follow the ‘shooting’ tips above to increase your likelihood of scoring. Keep your expectations low and your hopefulness high.
Yes, I’ll admit I'm an Oilers fan…expectations low and hopefulness high.