Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Practical Help for Picky Eaters

Picky eaters need more variety in their diet. Period. They have a limited number of foods in which they will eat by choice. If you are wanting your picky eater's habits to change, there are several things that you can do to help, but one of the most effective ways to start getting more variety in their diet is with bread. Yes! Bread!

Are you sitting down? Please do, especially if you don't know your way around the kitchen.

Are you sitting? Okay, now take a deep breath before you continue reading.

In order to use bread to get more variability in your child's diet, you need to be willing to make bread from scratch.

I know you are yelling at me right now. I can hear your "Are you kidding me?" right through my computer screen, but hang with me for a minute.

Making your own bread is the only way to start manipulating it slowly enough to get more variability in your picky eater's diet. The bread needs to change one ingredient at a time.

You will need to start by baking a very simple, straight-forward white bread recipe and I have one for you if you need one. Most picky eaters will eat white bread, which is why I recommend white as a starting point. After your picky eater is successfully eating your homemade white bread, you then have an open door to start s l o w l y changing things up. Is my key word obvious enough?? Slowly.

By slow I mean, let's change one variant. After you have made the same simple white-bread recipe a couple times, you can start changing the shape of your bread. Make buns instead of a loaf for instance. Believe it or not, this is a variation for your child and we want to change every single variant we can. Use the buns often and in place of white bread. Slice and toast the buns. Use them for your picky eater's sandwich. Use the buns in every place your picky eater would eat regular bread.

After your picky eater is eating white buns, change the flour. Next time you make your white bread recipe, change the all-purpose white flour to 1/3 wheat flour and 2/3 all-purpose flour.

Then use a 1/3 wheat, 2/3 white flour mix for making buns.

Now let's change the recipe again. This time add a 2/3 wheat, 1/3 white flour mix for bread and buns.

Are you starting to see why you need to make your bread from scratch? It has so much manipulation room. Since the time you started making bread, your child is eating plain white bread, white buns, almost-wheat bread, almost-wheat buns, and that's just the beginning.

We can add rolled oats, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds to the top--starting with a seriously small amount.

We can add garlic salt, cinnamon, parsley, Parmesan cheese.....the list continues. I haven't even started talking about muffins, cornbread, banana bread, and pumpkin bread.

Don't forget to try different temperatures. Try giving them the bread or buns fresh out of the oven, warmed up in the microwave, or chilled in the refrigerator.

Adding variety is the name of the game. Each baby step is a victory because picky eaters have narrowed their choices down to sometimes extreme proportions.

Can I be candid for a moment? I know, from one busy mom to another, you have a million things on your plate. I know that baking bread, from scratch no less, is the last thing you have time for. The process of baking bread is high maintenance and often intimidating; it requires kneading, rising, more kneading. Here's the thing...your child needs your help and this is something that is possible to do.

I am asking you to do this because baking bread opens up more doors than just bread for your picky eater. Let me give you an example. My picky eater started with white bread and eventually worked his way up a garlic bread. A very, very simple garlic bread with some butter, some parsley, and the smallest shake of garlic powder you can imagine. He ate it and he liked it, so we started making it on a weekly basis. What that did for us was open up a door to use parsley and garlic powder on other foods. From bread, we went to noodles and started using the same tiny, bity shake of parsley on noodles. The quantity of parsley did not matter because it opened another door.

That, my friend, is the key. We are unlocking doors. We are establishing trust with our picky eaters who will trust us with one ingredient at a time. From bread, to noodles, to chicken, to rice.....we are now adding parsley and flavor and variation to foods that he would not tolerate before.

Now, take another deep breath, let that information process, and then let me know what questions you have for me.


hands full said...

ok - now I want your basic bread recipe. I have wanted to try my own bread... just need a good place to start. Laura

IAMmom said...

"The person who is impatient with weakness will be ineffective in his leadership. The evidence of our strength lies not in the distance that separates up from other runners but in our closure with them, our slower pace for their sakes, our helping them pick it up and cross the line." --J. Oswald Sanders from "Spiritual Leadership"

What a beautiful example of this! Slowing things down enough to help that picky eater over the hurdle that they don't even see. I love your gentle approach. I don't even have a picky eater and I am blessed!

Ann said...

It's such a model of what Jesus does in us...very gently as much as we can handle adds new things to stretch our "spiritual pallet". He never yells, never forces, always the gentleman.

Lovingly and tenderly with our good in mind He adds things we never thought we would do or like. A stretch here and a stretch there, and the next thing you know, you are leading classes at church, or singing in front of a crowd or... As long as we put our trust in Him...we truly "CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us" Philipians 4:13

Holli I have seen you give such patient love to your kiddos...and to care for them tenderly and indvidually. You are a good mama:) You go your blog!

Mamahollioni said...

Ladies, you are so encouraging! Thank you. I will post my basic bread recipe for you asap.