Finding a way to handle and improve picky eating can be incredibly daunting, which is why I’m all about methods that are straight forward and easy to understand. Today, we have a great approach to feeding kids that’s so easy to put into action in real life!
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Meet Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith is a pediatric registered dietician and runs the site Veggies and Virtue. She provides parents with age-appropriate food ideas, meal time organization strategies, evidence-based insight on feeding questions and concerns, and fun ways to get the kids into healthy eating. Ashley is also a mom to three kiddos and has one of my very favorite easy to understand approaches to handling picky eating.
Love It, Like It, Learning It Approach to Picky Eating
We love her very straight forward approach to plating foods for kids, especially when it comes to introducing new foods to more apprehensive eaters. This approach, which she calls Love It, Like It, Learning It to describe the three types of foods you should include in a meal, is easy to understand and implement.
““Love It, Like It, Learning It” is a feeding approach that fosters exposure to a variety of foods. This approach minimizes age-appropriate pickiness while creating a well-rounded food environment, even for the most apprehensive (i.e. pickiest) of eaters. With a foundation in the Division of Responsibility in Feeding, “Love It, Like It, Learning It” can help kids develop a taste for healthier food without a fight. Through the simple saying and straight-forward strategies, parents can quickly begin to build better meal plans, offer more variety, and lead their families to eating more real food on a regular basis.”
“For kids, pairing LOVE IT or LIKE IT foods with LEARNING IT foods makes new foods appear less threatening. Research shows that when familiar and unfamiliar foods are offered together, it may make children more likely to try the unfamiliar, LEARNING IT food.”
“For parents, pairing LOVE IT or LIKE It foods with LEARNING IT foods offers peace of mind that there is always something being offered that their kid should/could/usually would eat. This lessens the meal time stress of “what to make” for a picky eater. It eliminates the tendency to offer back-ups when the initial meal is turned down… More commonly what parents see is that when offered in a non-threatening manner, kids begin to learn how to expand their diets over time to accept more real foods.”
You can read more on this approach, with more info on exactly what the different foods are, in her guide.
Ashley sets up snack drawers for her kids each week to take some of the work out of coming up with those in between meals. She uses a kid-level drawer in the fridge so they have easy access when it’s time to choose a snack. She tries to include a range of food groups to help round out the nutritional intake of other meals and she changes things up from week to week so that she’s not always offering the same thing.
Ashley recently started selling really great sets of Combination Cards with combinations of foods you can easily put together to make healthy meals for the kids. They’re a great resource for quick and easy ideas that are possible to pull off without much pre-planning.
Links from the Show
Ashley mentioned a study on preferred and nonpreferred foods, how to set up family meals to be considerate to everyone’s likes and dislikes without exclusively catering to the kids demands, and why we need to keep offering foods that our kids don’t love.