When it comes to eating, my twin toddlers could not be more opposite. One is very easygoing about food. He will try just about anything once and has a wide variety of foods that he enjoys including lots of fresh fruit and a decent selection of vegetables. My other twin is more of a challenge. He has a very limited selection of foods that he will eat and adamantly refuses to try anything new. Sound familiar? At first, I thought this would just be a quick phase, but after several months I grew more concerned and frustrated. Then I discovered Dr. Orlena Kerek and things began to turn around.
I first learned about Dr. Orlena's work when I attended one of her video seminars. I was immediately struck by how positive her approach was and how it seemed like something that I could actually DO within the structure of my busy family. Dr. Orlena is a mom (with twins too!) and she has truly realistic expectations for how kids eat and react to food. She helped me see several areas where I could change what I was doing to help my more challenging eater (I don't call him "picky" as she recommends) without making me feel guilty for ways I had handled it in the past.
For a quick review of her best practices, check out a guest post that she wrote for us last winter.
Dr. Orlena has a new book: Crunch, and when she asked me if I'd like a copy I jumped at the chance to read it and share it with you. I've learned a lot from the book and want to share a few favorite "a-ha" moments that I've had from reading it.
How to Introduce New Foods
This is one of my toughest areas. I know that my kids should be eating healthy foods, but I got so frustrated with the fact that new foods were ending up on the floor that I gave up and was pretty much serving junk every day. Once I read the tips in the book I committed to serving healthy food again and I had a plan for how to do it. I learned what to expect when introducing new foods to kids and how to be patient and take my time with it. I figured out how to have a back up plan when serving new foods, and how to not pressure my kids into "just trying a bite." This has made our mealtimes so much more peaceful and dare I say enjoyable!
My kids definitely inherited my sweet tooth, and I love dessert. But how do I handle dessert when my kids don't eat dinner? I don't want to use food as a reward, or pressure them to eat in order to have dessert later. I love Dr. Orlena's simple solution to this problem. We have designated dessert nights no matter what they do or don't eat, and it's made things much easier on all of us.
I am very good about controlling portion size for myself and my husband, so of course I thought I was doing the same for my kids. Wrong! This was a really eye opening section of the book for me. Serving the correct portions to my kids has made a big difference in their willingness to explore and taste their food, and makes me feel better when they ask for more!
Recipes and Meal Planning
Check out my 5 Crock Pot Chicken Meals with 4 Ingredients Each and my 13 Freezer Meals in 2 Hours collections and you can make a month's worth of healthy meals in a day!
I am also a big fan of adding vegetables to foods that I know my kids will eat, and have put together several recipes that my kids love:
Apple Squash Bread
Breakfast Cookies with Beets
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Sneaky Squash Biscuits
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Bread
And just for fun, why not try our Owl Toast for breakfast? Whole wheat toast, peanut butter, and fruit, all in a cute package!
These are just a few of the lessons I've learned and the ways that Dr. Orlena's book has made meal and snack time a lot smoother and peaceful in our house. It has taken a lot of time and patience, and my more challenging eater is still a work in progress. But the book has given me a good plan and I feel much more confident in my approach.
Dr. Orlena is offering a wonderful discount on Crunch to Sunny Day Family readers. Click here to get your own copy of the book for just $10, and also check out the amazing online course offerings that she has as well.
Do you have challenges feeding your kids? I'd love to hear about your experience helping your children to eat healthy foods! Leave a comment below or let's connect on Facebook.