Do you have a picky eater for a child (or perhaps even you) who you know needs to eat better for a healthy mind and body, but you aren’t sure how to go about it? Be it an allergy, a more severe medical condition, sensory issues, or other reasons, they may be excluding whole food groups and missing out on the nourishment of a plethora of vitamins and minerals, not to mention the pure enjoyment of all of the world’s delicious and nutritious dishes! Today I’m reviewing the book, From Mac & Cheese to Veggies, Please. How to get your kid to eat new foods, end picky eating forever, and stay sane in the process. How’s that for an appetising title?!
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I was most definitely a fussy eater when I was a child, and to some extents, I still am; although not near as severe as I used to be. I will say that I know some very fussy adult eaters here in Northern Ireland; those who won’t touch a vegetable of any description, to those who scrape a sauce off chicken, or those who think that homemade is adding a tinned sauce to pasta.
I knew that when I had children I didn’t want them to be fussy like me (although it turns out that many of my aversions were due to self-preservation as I was allergic to many things that weren’t discovered until later). Since having children, I will now even eat the dreaded kidney bean, just because it is good for me and I don’t want my kids to think things are yucky before they even try something. In fact; there are only about 3 or 4 things that my children won’t eat, and that’s great. Long may it last.
However, everyone can eat better than they do, particularly children with autism, asthma, eczema, those who refuse to eat anything that isn’t pureed, and those who only eat the same limited foods. Certainly, we know that diet plays a large role in children’s (and adults’) behaviour, and many times this behaviour may not even be linked to their diet.
When a balanced and nutritious diet isn’t achieved, bacteria in the gut can become imbalanced (for more on this check out this post) and cause all systems in the body to react and a healing diet may be needed to correct the balance and then move forward. Of course, it isn’t likely that children will jump at the chance for their favourite and/or processed foods to be taken away and replaced by fabulous fruits, veggies, and bone broths.
How is it done?
Step up Jenn Scribner, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPS Practitioner, and Restorative Wellness Practitioner, has literally written the book on the subject, From Mac & Cheese to Veggies, Please. How to get your kid to eat new foods, end picky eating forever, and stay sane in the process. She says, “It’s a how-to, helping parents get off the fence around the food changes they know they need to make for the health of their kids, but are scared to tackle.”
There are three main methods to break the cycle and sub in new foods;
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) method
- Backing into the new diet
- Cold Turkey
Jenn walks parent through the steps to take for each method; the method that is right for your family may not be right for another, which is why there are three methods. Each has its own aspects and time lines, too.
If you think you’re not prepared to start this journey, Jenn gives you information on how to prepare yourself, your child, and your family, as this really must be supported by your family, friends, and school in order for it to work.
What can you expect during the first week or more?
You will be prepared on what might happen, as well as ways to deal with it.
Health is not confined simply to foods, either; Jenn looks at the home environment as well and gives some great advice on detoxing your home; getting rid of nasty chemicals and replacing them with natural solutions (that are also better for the wider environment, too).
Once you’re on your way you may come across an issue that you hadn’t anticipated. Jenn also helpfully provides a trouble-shooting chapter, as well as a whole chapter on what to do if your child won’t eat particular things; strategies for getting children accustomed to different foods, and in some cases sneaking it into other foods or drinks.
Although this book is aimed at parents of picky eaters, many people will be able to pick up some advice to improve their own eating habits. Changing a lifetime of habits (whether you’re 3 or 83), can be daunting and difficult, but with the right tools, it can be made easier.
If you’d like to know more about this book, and how Jenn implements these steps in practice, you can hear her talk about it on the Nutrition Heretic podcast, Jenn has also been on the show previously, talking about the GAPS diet protocol.
Jennifer Scribner is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPS Practitioner, and Restorative Wellness Practitioner. Her focus includes food choices, non-toxic home products, and mindset and stress management tools, including EFT Tapping. Her other passions include her husband and tuxedo cat, Hello Kitty, and taking cooking classes when she travels abroad.