Updated: Sep 7, 2020
People who know me and my family often ask how I got into the business of picky eating. I have two extremely active, hungry boys who seem to never stop eating! Not only do they never stop eating, at ages 4 and 6, they quite often make healthy choices on their own. We are a plant based family and people often joke that my kids will eat anything because they are starving (that is a whole other issue I will get into later).
From an early age I only had one rule at the dinner table; Try everything once! My boys knew that if they tried something and didn't like it, they didn't have to eat it. There was never pressure to clean their plates. That didn't mean I wouldn't reintroduce the food at the next meal and it still meant they had to try it again. Eventually there wasn't even talk about trying new or reintroduced foods. They would sample something and if they didn't like that particular food they would push it aside and move on to the next thing.
We often spoke about what certain foods did for our bodies and minds (instead of whether they were yummy or not) and the boys loved it! Without the constant guidance from my husband and I, they developed this metacognition about food and making healthy choices. They knew why they were doing it and they had control over it, which is key.
As an educator, I have always known that control leads to empowerment for children. The more an adult tries to control a situation, the more push back they will receive from a child. That doesn't mean we throw all discipline out the window and just let them do what they want. It means we need to understand that their little brains are developing and appreciate that they are growing into these humans that have a mind of their own. Kids do great things when they are given the reigns and are allowed to think for themselves!
From a young age, being a disciplined dancer, I was taught by the adults in my life to make healthy choices. Dance class wasn't just about movement and fun, it was also an education on taking care of our bodies and for that I am forever grateful to my dance instructors. It kind of grew into this habitual thing that I always did and never had to think about....until I had my own children. I want to be a model and guide for them in so many facets of their lives and nutrition just seemed to come naturally. I started following some accounts on Instagram such as @kids.eat.in.color and @plantbasedjuniors and felt so inspired to make it my goal to instill natural healthy choices in our home. Another big influence for me was Karen Le Billon who wrote French Kids Eat Everything. She is an American living in France and discovers the french approach to kid's food. It's a great read for any parent or soon to be parent who wants practical strategies for meal times.
I never would've imagined that I would be where I am today. I always pictured myself continuing my education in the field of art history. Even though that is still a passion in my life, I felt drawn to this world of picky eating and what I could contribute to it.
So here I am, today. I have developed Picky Plate in hopes of helping parents and kids enjoy meal time. I want parents to be their kid's heroes and I want kids to survive and thrive in a healthy environment.
This is just the beginning of the journey and I can't wait to be educated by masters in this field and hopefully take this venture to a whole other realm.
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