Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Are We Actually Creating Our Own Picky Eaters?

In week 2 of National Nutrition Month we pose the question:  Are we actually creating picky eaters?   If you have a picky eater, you would be the first to admit that this wasn't by design.  You hoped your child would effortlessly eat spinach, salmon, and cooked carrots.  Instead, your child eats only pizza, pasta, and vegetables loaded with cheese, butter, and salt.

How did it come to this?  

It probably started when your child (let's call him Charlie) first began eating table food.   Let's assume you tried serving him healthy food at the beginning.  After a few attempts he just didn't respond.  He has to eat, you say.  So you resort to typical kid-food and roll out the frozen chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.  That, along with a few other standard foods, worked.  Little Charlie was happy and eating and that was good enough for Mom.

A year passes and you decide it's time to try healthy foods.  Your child is still eating mac n cheese and chicken nuggets and by now refuses to venture out of his comfort zone.  You try a few new foods with no luck and chalk the failure up to him being a "picky eater."  Dinner time becomes nothing but battles and compromises.

This continues.  Out of frustration, you beg and plead with Charlie and constantly ask him why he's such a picky eater?  You talk about his picky eating habits every day at lunch and then again at dinner.  You feel like you're in the movie "Groundhog Day" and just can't seem to get out of this cycle.  

 It's a common story that you've probably experienced with at least one child at one point in time.

Could we have actually created this?

Indulge me while I get a little metaphysical and "law of attraction-like."  If little Charlie were told over and over that he was stupid (hang with me on this one), over time he would start to believe it and would probably stop trying to learn in school.  It's very subconscious but very real.

If Little Charlie is told over and over again that he's a "picky" eater, do you think the same thing might happen to him?  Over time his subconscious would start to believe it and little Charlie would soon live up to the expectation of a picky eater.

What if the word picky eater were completely taken from your, and his, vocabulary?  What if little Charlie is applauded every time he tries something new (even a bite) and is told that he's making progress and becoming a "healthy" eater?

Over time, this positive reinforcement would create more positive behaviors, which creates more positive reinforcement.  It's an amazing approach that really does work.

We're not quite done though.  Now Mom, what if you put the Laws of Attraction in place and approached dinner time with excitement and optimism?  You begin to pair some of his favorite foods with some new foods.  You proudly put dinner on the table and mentally prepare to celebrate even the smallest success.  It may just be one bite and that's ok.  Do you think little Charlie would soon follow suit and begin to enjoy dinner time too?

After a few months (yes- it may take that long), dinner time now becomes high energy and full of celebration.  Before you know it, you're serving less of his old favorites and more of his healthy new favorites.  It's an amazing shift in mindset that will transform your  family dinner experience.

Strangely enough, people have a way of meeting even our subconscious expectations of them.  If you change your thinking, you just may change your life... and little Charlie's too.  Give this a try.  You'll be happy you did!

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