Does your child eat the same foods day in and day out? You work hard to present a variety of healthy foods to your child, but for some reason he is very limited in the foods he will allow to pass his lips. There can be many reasons for this problem and when we work with parents with children who are struggling with this, we pull out all the stops and work through several different potential root causes. One particular reason for this inflexibility we see often is memory.
Sometimes memory keeps our kids stuck. Sometime in their past, they have had a bad experience around food and that makes them hesitant and maybe even too stubborn to want to venture into that unsafe place again.
I have a funny story about peanut butter. When I was early pregnant with one of our children, there was a sale on peanut butter. Tom always loves a bargain so he bought a bunch of jars of it. When he came home and I began to help him unload the grocery bags, I got more and more sensitive with each jar of peanut butter I took out of the bag. I was feeling particularly nauseas that day anyway and multiple jars of peanut butter was not helping. So, for many months afterward I could not look at peanut butter without feeling sick. I could not eat peanut butter because my mind stored a memory of something unpleasant with the product peanut butter. So, my mind had to change before I would ever eat peanut butter again. Another story: when I was a young child, I got hold of a very large bag of potato chips and in one sitting ate the entire bag. My tummy was not happy after that and for the longest time I would not eat potato chips (which is not necessarily a bad thing). It just goes to prove the memory is powerful and can dictate what we are willing or not willing to do.
For our children, there are so many possible experiences that could be influencing their decision to eat or not eat a certain food. It could be a memory of being in the same room with people upset with each other while the child was eating such a food. Maybe she choked on a certain food, then that food, along with any food within her line of vision, became imbedded in the memory and they all became outcasts. Who knows? We really don't even need to know what it was that caused the issue to begin with. The principle here is to impart truth into the mind so that a new story can emerge.
We do not recommend forcing a child to eat anything either by physical force or with bullying language or by guilt trip or in any other way. We do believe in offering good foods often and in being the example and modeling. Eat the food in front of the child and say positive things about it in a natural way. Give him the opportunity to take a bite. Allow her to put an acceptable condiment (ketchup, salad dressing, etc.) on the food to try it.
You can also use digital recordings. This is very basic step but profound step you can take to begin the process of transforming the mind and inputting truth about foods. Make a recording for your child’s listening. It is in the child’s perspective. So, it will be in first person.
For example, your script may go something like this: "It is always good to put new foods on my plate. I like ketchup. I can put ketchup on my new foods if I want to. Broccoli is a good food. It is very tasty. Mommy likes broccoli and Daddy likes broccoli. I eat it, too."
If the child is a little older, the recording may go something like this: "I like to eat new foods. Vegetables are great for helping me to be a better basketball player. Greek yogurt, eggs, and fish are great protein sources. My body needs protein. Nuts are good fats and kale has great iron, protein, and calcium. All of these things are important and I love to help my body to be healthy so I can be a better athlete."
These are simple examples, but you get the idea. Note that the recordings only state the positive and are worded as if the action has already taken place. You are teaching. You are imparting truth.
For daytime listening, we suggest the recording be no more than 3 to 5 minutes long. It can be played several times during the day but short three to five minute stints work better.
For nighttime listening (while the child is asleep) you can make the recording as long as you like. The important thing is that the recording be positive and uplifting.
Whether your child has struggles with eating a variety of foods because of memory or for any other reason, the digital recordings will be a helpful tool in building her list of acceptable foods because he or she will be filled with the truth about good foods.