Food Fights

In many ways, I commander opportunities at work in the same fashion expressed at home…I “make it happen”. It being roles or projects that fuel me, give me an opportunity to share, and also be creative in the process. Moving here 18 months ago, I knew I wanted to do more in the community here emphasizing developmental assets, or healthy communities. Too much of our health care approach is “ambulance” focused, fixing chronic problems or traumatic cases rather that making deposits into already healthy systems to bolster success and vitality.

One of my projects is a monthly parenting seminar held at the library, in conjunction with a brochure I create on the topic that is disseminated for pediatricians to give to families presenting with common problems.

This month’s topic involved developmental nutrition….
YUMMY IN THE TUMMY, End the Food Fight for Good.

Main Highlights included:
1) Women feel more pressure to get their kids to eat than men. 75% feel stressed about the dynamic. There is a strong attachment to a sense of competency when people eat the food we prepare. It’s not just we want them to “like it” in many ways, we NEED them to. It brings me SO much pleasure to have people compliment my creations…a sense of simple competency achieved.
2) The biggest food fight is non-compliance, or refuses to eat what you serve, thus, the fear that a child is not “eating enough”.
10th Time’s a charm: Babies will spit out food reflexively up to 18 months of age. Don’t mistake spitting out for rejection. PLUS Kids will turn down new food up to 10 times. After the 10th one, concede that “he just doesn’t like it.” Give it one more time before trying again! But remember, you don’t like everything, and neither will he.
Adjust your attitude…to ACCESS, not AMOUNT. Realize that Kids will eat more on one day, less on others. The more distressed you are that “he’s not eating” the more distressed his eating will become. Do not worry about his size or weight UNLESS A DOCTOR informs you that he is NOT thriving.
3) Parents invest too much in trying to bribe their children to eat.
Bite your tongue. Talking about eating isn’t fun. Don’t comment or try to explain to him to eat better. Modeling is more powerful. Try not to comment on what or how much your kids are eating. Be as neutral as possible. Remember, you’ve done your job as a parent by giving ACCESS.
Don’t become a short-order cook. Say “the kitchen closes at 7” and MEAN it. Desserts and Treats: Snacks should be eaten 1 hour before bed, and not offered for those who “ate their dinners”. If you are going to do night time snacks/sweets, everyone should be given access to them. If you reward “eating dinner” with sweets, you are fostering active dislike of the food presented at mealtime, and more intense attraction of dessert.  Treats don’t have to be processed-they can be fruits, jam on bread, cheese cubes, steamed colorful veggie, spoon of honey, etc too!
What you see…is what you get:  A child who knows that he will be served what he prefers won’t eat initial presentation. Having no other options is key.
4) Parents don’t understand HEALTHY portions or WHAT to serve
A SERVING is one tablespoon per year of life. Consider the size of the tummy! Only give 3 different “servings” at a time and see if she asks for more.
Meal Plan for children (1-5 years of age):
3 meals: 1 SERVING each (see above!) protein (meat/dairy) + veggie OR fruit + starch, 2 snacks: 1 serving in any category.  Offer food every 2-3 hours.
Expect children to sit 10-15 minutes for meals, 5-10 minutes for snacks
Juice is considered a CANDY. Serve it as a SNACK and only serve milk with meals to encourage healthy eating.

As part of my presentation, I made some goodies for the families to try out, really practicing what I preach: EXPOSING them to different “foods” (sorry for the shoddy IPHONE pics!)

Put a 2-3 nail sized nibbles of different foods in trays to expose kids to lots of rotating flavors

Taffy: Great Protein Packed Snack

2-1/3 cups pitted dates
1/2 cups sesame seeds
1 scoop protein powder

Slowly add dates one at a time in a food processor, slowly add the powder and finally the seeds. Roll into balls.  Chill.

Bean Cookies

1 Cup Wheat Cereal, crushed in food processor
1/4 Cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt
Half a can of chickpeas, blended in food processor
2 TBL cocoa power
1/2 banana
¼ cup sugar
1 TBL molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove butter from refrigerator to let soften.
In a large bowl, whisk together cereal, flour, baking soda, salt, Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, beat banana, sugar, molasses…slowly add egg and then extract, pulse on low speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Makes 24 two-bite cookies by dropping rounded half-teaspoonfuls, in mini muffin tin.

Chocolate Bread
2-1/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups grated zucchini
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, optional
Combine dry ingredients including nuts, if desired.  In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, oil, vanilla and zucchini; then add to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into 24 muffin cups or 2 medium-sized, greased and floured loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes for muffins or 50-55 minutes for bread

What food fight are you battling?


8 thoughts on “Food Fights

  1. very interesting post. i haven’t thought much about this topic but i can see how it could be quite stressful for mommas. thank you for sharing!

    and the chocolate zuc bread looks awesome!

  2. Haha K! I love that. I think you can bake wine into a brownie. Anyways, I need to learn how to do my evening feasting once a week and not every night! It will help make my poo more S shaped — or whatever shape it is supposed to be.

  3. Great tips and recipes. These are really important to remember. I have worked in this population before and I am amazed by some of the misconceptions parents have about feeding. No, your 6 month old was not asking for your food while you were eating ice cream and no you should not have fed your 6 month old your ice cream. I have had to stop myself before because when I am not working, I know my input is not solicited so I should not jump in to make comments, but it takes a lot to not ask a parent to put the water bottle down because a 2 month old does not need it. Ah, had to vent there, thanks for the chance to get the one out. Again, great points about feeding in children.

  4. I think access is very important! I usually put a bowl of fruit and or vegetables out while I get Maya’s meal ready and before you know it she’s munching away on edamame, grapes, or carrots.

    Also, she totally refused avocados about 15 times before she fell in love with them. Now she can eat an entire one on her own.

    Now if only I could get her to eat brown rice without complaining…but you choose your battles I guess?

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