One of my fears as a first time mother and Dietitian was raising a picky eater. You know what I am talking about- the constant struggles and battles over food. The child who only eats chicken nuggets or grilled cheese sandwiches. I feared becoming a short-order cook or even worse, bribing my child to eat vegetables. I agonized that my children could be unhealthy if I made a wrong decision with feeding. Believe me- I suffered from”mom guilt” before my first child was old enough to eat food! I was stressed and did not want to fail my children.
After the birth of my first child, life had new meaning. Yes, I have my MS in nutrition and studied the science formally for 7 years but I still had anxiety over feeding my children. I read every child nutrition book and, of course, the most recent evidence-based journals. One day, it hit me- I vowed to never fight over food. I promised to embrace all food and listen to my children’s input regard food and fullness. Two children later and 6 years later, I have not fought over food. I admit it has not been picture perfect and I did worry at times but that is normal.
Instead, I decided to enjoy food my food and “teach taste”. Every parent, including myself, will spend countless hours teaching letters and numbers to their children but how many parents take the time to “teach taste”? Teaching taste is just as important as ABCs and 123s because flavor preference sets the foundation for a life-time of healthy eating. “Teaching taste” involves exploring food using our senses. This blog will guide you in food sensory exploration using variety, texture, aromatic herbs and spices when feeding your family.
As a mother, I want exactly what you want for your children. I want them to be healthy. I want them eat but not too much. I want the to be adventurous with food. I want them to seek a variety of flavors and welcome new foods. Simply put- I want healthy children. Yes, I agree this does seem like an unattainable dream. However, it is realistic. Yes, I said it- you can raise a healthy eater who actually prefers fresh produce and food.
Clancy Cash Harrison MS, RD, LDN