Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Raising Good Eaters: An Introduction

My children are far from perfect. And, believe me, I am far from a perfect mother. But you wanna know one thing I'm pretty confident that I'm good at? Raising good eaters. I hear time and time again from teachers, family, and other parents that my kids are great eaters. When people aren't remarking on what good eaters I have, they're lamenting their "only eats Eggo waffles and chicken nuggets" offspring.

Truth be told, these other parents very, very rarely seek my advice or input on how to broaden their children's gastrointestinal horizons. Frankly, it's easier to throw up your hands, shrug, and declare, "What can I do? He's just picky." If that's where you're at- no problem. But this series isn't for you.

Likewise, if you're looking to transfer your child over to a vegan diet or raw diet or completely sugar- and flour-free diet or any other fairly specific and narrow meal plan... this probably isn't for you either.

This series is for parents of babies and toddlers who want to raise children who will try things. Explore things. Eat what's set in front of them. Learn to take bites and say "no, thank you" if it's truly something they don't like. It's for parents of persnickety preschoolers who are wondering where they went wrong and if it's even possible to get back on track. I want to share with you all both the philosophy behind how I approach feeding my children and specific steps I've taken to ensure they're the kids labeled "good eaters".

Throughout the month of April, I'm going to be offering up tips and suggestions to help you raise your very own troop of "good eaters". I encourage you to join me on this journey if you're trying to improve the variety in your children's diets. I also encourage you to chime in if you're raising your own good eaters! I have no doubt that there's a wealth of knowledge out there and I still have much to learn... after all, my oldest is still in preschool.

For this week, I just want to leave you with one thought in your head... one little nugget to file away and keep ever-present in your mind... because it is crucial that you get this concept if this process is going to be successful:

Your child will not starve.*

That's it. That's all I want you to focus on and let mull around in there for the week. Really think about it and allow yourself to get comfortable with the idea that, as long as you're making nutritious food accessible to your child, he is not going to starve.

I'll see you next week and we can really get started.

(* note: Clearly, these posts are designed for parents who are raising "typical" children who are picky eaters, but otherwise healthy. Please do not think I intend these suggestions to be appropriate for all children. I realize there are special circumstances. All that being said, however, please be aware that one of my preschoolers is a former micropreemie who had all those "difficulty gaining weight" preemie issues... and she still turned into a good eater- and there's not an ounce of Pediasure in our home. Use your own -and your doctor's- good judgement here.)

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday.

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