“So much of life is centric to food, and being a picky eater can become problematic.”Lori Taylor (7:00 – 7:14)
Liz Weiss MS, RDN, is the Founder of Liz’s Healthy Table, where she shares healthy recipes and mealtime wisdom through blog posts, cooking videos, and podcasts. Liz has been passionate about healthy food and family nutrition for over 20 years. Her previous company, Meal Makeover Moms, received an incredible response from families and fellow health professionals over the years, and even won the 2015 Media Excellence Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!
It is possible to overcome picky eating tendencies.
Almost all of us have picky eaters in our lives. It could be your kids, your spouse, or it could even be you that’s more particular about your food choices. Picky eating is entirely normal. It could be due to evolutionary reasons that we’re hardwired to be cautious about what we put into our bodies. While the tendency to be selective about food might have served us well in the caveman era, it does create some nutritional challenges in today’s world.
A recent survey of over 600 moms revealed that picky eating was their biggest challenge when it came to feeding fresh fruits and vegetables to their kids. That’s problematic because a diet rich in a wide variety of fresh produce is an essential element for a healthy life. And it’s not just about nutrition. Food plays a central role in our social and professional lives, and being too picky could cause problems in those areas as well.
“After surveying a community of over 600 moms, what we found was that picky eating was the biggest obstacle to getting kids to eat a healthy diet.” – Liz Weiss (8:57 – 9:13)
The good news is that there are strategies to overcome the tendency for picky eating. This is especially true for kids, but it could apply to adults as well. Below, we’ll share some tips for parents who might be wondering what they can do to get their kids to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Tips to help your kids overcome picky eating.
Don’t label your kids as picky eaters – The first thing you can do is you can stop calling your kids “picky eaters.” Instead, focus on the fresh produce items they do enjoy, even if it’s only a few. Maybe they only like berries, carrots, and watermelons. While the goal is to add new fruits and veggies to that list, whatever they currently eat is a great place to start. Remember, even something like guacamole, which most kids enjoy, is a fresh produce item you can start with.
“Build your own” nights – The more you involve your kids in the process of shopping and making meals, the more likely they’ll be to try new things. One creative way to get your kids excited about the meal preparation process is to turn it into an art project. Schedule nights where they “build” their own meals. Even if they prepare fun items like pizzas and tacos, you can make sure that some of the ingredients are healthy veggies.
Market nutrition to your kids – You can help your kids try new things by making it more fun for them. Assign a silly name to bell peppers, like “power peppers,” or take a sharpie and put a smiley face on a banana peel. One thing that works well with kids is to playfully pretend that you don’t want to share with fruits or veggies with them. If you act like you don’t want them to have any of your cucumber and hummus, it is sure to pique their curiosity.
“The more you can eat dinner together as a family, the more opportunities you have to be a role model. If you eat a lot of veggies, your kids are more likely to make similar choices.”
– Liz Weiss (21:40 – 21:49)
Remember that everyone is unique, and they respond to different things. While the tips mentioned above are an excellent place to start, it might require some experimenting on your part. The goal is to keep trying so that your children can eventually get to a point where they are comfortable with trying new things. When you have dinner as a family, you can lead by example. If they see you eating a lot of fruits and vegetables regularly, they’re more likely to emulate your behavior and start making healthier choices on their own.
How to get involved
Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week! Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here. For a whole host of valuable resources like coloring cookbooks with healthy recipes, podcasts, and other freebies, check out Liz’s website. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe and leave a quick review on iTunes. It would mean the world to hear your feedback and we’d love for you to help us spread the word!