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Let’s look into this question: What makes a fussy eater, and how can you support your child(ren) to eat a variety of nourishing foods.

 

My Story

I’ll begin with my own testimonial of my daughter’s current appetite and habits. Ever Love is a little over two years old as I write this. She has always had a big appetite and a beautiful, healthy body. Mealtime for us is a delight—something we both enjoy every single day. On top of this, according to Cronometer.com (a useful nutrition managing system), she eats around 500 calories per day more than required, she reaches all her nutrition needs (to see full details click HERE>> http://donnawild.com//what-my-baby-eats-in-a-day/) and she does so with absolute joy and peace. 

Would you like to know how to make your child’s mealtimes like this? If so, read on.

 

What if there were no such thing as a fussy eater?

What if we’re fussy feeders? Really, what if your child wants exactly what is perfect for their health? For their digestion? When they ask to eat a raw zucchini, cucumber, capsicum, three bananas and half a watermelon, what’s wrong with that?

Don’t get me wrong. I know that many of you aren’t starting out with newborns here. I know that many of you have learned about the plant-based lifestyle along the way in your search for greater health for you and your family. This may mean that your child already has a palate adapted to colours, flavours, preservatives, added salt, dairy or possibly meat—and so their natural preferences have been warped. 

So let me stick to the young ones here, the babies with their pure palates, their perfect instincts and their ability to honestly communicate their needs.

 

Babies Know Best.

My daughter, at two years old, has never tasted dairy, meat or eggs—or artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. She, like me, does not consider them food. I’ve seen her receive vegan “junk food” like cupcakes (filled with food-colouring and preservatives), and I’ve seen her play with it. I’ve seen her smell it, but I’ve never seen her eat it. 

This is what’s possible. The time to nurture a child’s taste buds and nutritional instincts is right now. 

They know better than we do if we keep them clean. No meat, dairy, eggs, flavours, colours or preservatives, and ideally no cooked or mixed food combinations for a baby. Babies are just learning themselves. Sure, they have intuition, but they’re following your teaching, so support their knowing and be sure that what you are teaching is true and kind and healthful.

 

Change is Normal.

We all love something one week and want another thing the next. Does that mean we’re fussy? Of course not! So why does it mean a child is fussy? Every couple of months, Ever changes what she is into eating. And by “into,” I mean she wants lots of it and she wants it every day. 

I’m a “Yes Mum,” as I in believe saying yes to just about anything that is safe and good for her development (I don’t consider food choices such as meat, dairy, eggs, colours, flavours or preservatives safe, just as knives and roads aren’t safe for a baby…you get my point). If it’s safe and she wants it, then it’s a yes. I have absolute faith that our children’s needs and desires will be on mark so long as we nurture them to be able to know—and so long as we don’t crush them with unnecessary “No’s,” poor food choices and disconnect from nature. 

I truly believe that no matter how many years of study on nutrition I have behind me—and no matter how many years of personal experience I have to go by—Ever will always know better what her needs are. Just as I will always know best what my needs are. 

For example, from the moment I conceived to this day, I’ve abhorred broccoli. Should I be encouraged to eat it anyway? Even though the thought of eating it makes me gag? Why would I? Food should be enjoyed! My body doesn’t want it for a reason. I don’t need to know what that reason is; I simply need to listen and not eat it. With all the amazing healthy foods out there, why would I force myself to eat this particular one? 

I know what’s good for me, because my body tells me—and so does a baby’s body. In fact, it’s way more attuned than mine. I’ve been parenting Ever this way since her birth, and I’ve seen how my trust in her has sewn seeds of confidence, decision-making, relating in the world and security in me, her mother.

 

Often when Ever goes through major dietary changes, I put what she wants to eat in a day into cronometer.com (because I’m a food nerd more than any other reason, but it’s a great tool for peace of minds for mums!). She has relentlessly made astoundingly good food choices to the point where she usually reaches—or exceeds—their targets.

 

What if my child doesn’t make astoundingly good food choices?

These targets don’t need to be reached every day; they just need to be reached over time (over a few days is adequate). So if calcium comes up low one day, don’t rush to pack your child with greens (notice I didn’t say milk, as it is documented to leech calcium from bones, not provide it!). >>CAN WE HAVE A LINK FOR THAT? Instead, observe it and see what happens the next day, while offering more calcium-rich options. To read more on how to get calcium click here [NEED LINK].

 

Mono Meal Horror

Most parents out there encourage their children not to eat just one food per meal (a mono meal), regardless of how happy they would be eating it (i.e. a whole plate of watermelon or bowl of plain potato) and regardless of the nutritional content of that food. I think this is a huge shame. Mono meals have incredible health benefits, and kids love them! 

To read more on mono meals click here [NEED LINK]. Ever and I love sharing mono meals together. Our favourite meals are mono meals of our favourite fruit: jackfruit meal, watermelon meal, mango meal…yum! (Yep, it’s healthy for kids and adults!)

 

Summary

Starting today, consider taking a vow to never “Choo Choo Train” a spoonful of food into your child’s mouth again. If they want to eat it, they will. If they don’t want it and are actually hungry, then give them something they love to eat. No tricking them to get another mouthful in with high-speed spoon action—and no bribes! (“Eat this last mouthful and you can…” “Finish what’s on your plate and you can…”) 

No more! Promise me.

 

Fresh fruit, baked potato chips (oil-free) with guacamole or raw cucumber sticks—get creative…or not…this is honestly so simple you don’t even need to be creative! Take your child to the fridge and let them tell you what they would love.

 

Have the most amazing meal, and please tell me how it went for you both.

 

Wildly,

Donna

Want to learn more about mono meals, plant-based living, and oh so much more? I thought so! Check out my 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality and discover your best health and sexiest body—today!