I am so excited to bring you Operation #4 of my “Mom on a Mission” blog series because I have seen the most progress to date! I am being very diligent about serving familiar foods, (even when I am excited to serve something new and really want them to try it…but don’t push it on them.) I am also reminding myself that this is a long term approach rather than a quick fix. I am trusting the process that over time, my kids will learn to trust themselves and make choices that support their well-being (instead of forcing it on them.) My kids are loving my menu planner, and are showing an interest in cooking with me! (Click here to download a copy of the menu planner.)
As part of the process, I am constantly tweaking and improving my rhythm with DOR; for example, I am working to maintain a neutral attitude when serving new dishes. I cooked some bok choy and purposely served it with a vinaigrette the kids love. When they weren’t trying it, I was quick to share that it had their favorite dressing on it. In talking with the family nourishment coach, I was reminded not to “lead” them, but to just share the food without expectation, like “This is Bok Choy, and it has the ume plum vinaigrette on it. There is a constant learning curve, which is very rewarding.
With three quarters of the way into my 6 week-journey of bringing more joy to mealtimes, I am seeing lots of success and positive changes at the dining table. For this Operation, I wanted to tackle traveling because I have lots of vacations this summer, and also continue to work on sharing my passion for food with my kids.
The Plan of Attack
Connect over food.
We have been doing a lot of traveling this summer and during many of these vacations, I am not cooking every day. I wanted to make sure that I continued the momentum and progress I have achieved so far at home while we were away. Family nourishment coach, Stefanie, encouraged me to continue DOR while traveling by looking for ways to empower my kids’ choices and incorporate them at home. She suggested engaging in conversations about food by asking questions such as:
- What was your favorite/least favorite meal on the trip?
- What restaurants do you want to try?
- If there is anything you discover that you really love, let me know so I can make it (or buy it) for you when we get home?
Expand the options for cooking fun.
When cooking with my kids, Stefanie suggested I focus on the fun and experience of it all, rather than a means to an end (getting them to try a new food.) Instead of inviting them to cook a specific recipe with me, she suggested I let them choose a few recipes that they would like to make with me, and participate in it for the fun of it.
This mission was super successful! While traveling, there were lots of opportunities to talk about food, and try out restaurants and different cuisine. Anything on the menu was up for grabs, and I was pleasantly surprised to see all of my kids include vegetables as part of their meal without me saying a thing.
I was stunned to see my daughter choosing to eat vegan and vegetarian for certain meals of the day and hear her announce it matter of fact. (She even stood her ground when criticized by another family member.)
Other demonstrations of the connection over for food took place when my son asked to try one of my sweet potato fries (unusual for him) and then asked if we could make them at home when we got back (which we did!). That led me into a conversation with him about other types of vegetables we could make into fries. After making the fries, he asked if we could cook together again, so we did the next day too. He has become quite the enthusiastic sous chef!
My eldest daughter wanted to make cranberry white chocolate cookies one day (something she had on our trip.) Instead of trying to push another recipe on her (for something new I wanted her to try), I embraced the idea and we made them together with her brother and sister. Success!
With all of this success and momentum, I am focusing the Operation #5 on lunches (the end of summer and back-to-school is upon us) and the role of my hubby in all of this! Stay tuned! If you are ready to turn your child’s frustrating eating habits around, claim one of Stefanie’s FREE Fussy to Foodie Coaching Sessions now!