picky eater advice shira rd

parenting a picky eater at home? Join the club. Even when we model good behavior and get kids involved with grocery shopping, picky eating can persist and be hard to navigate — especially for those of us who care so much about good nutrition!

As both a mother and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Shira Barlow knows a thing or two about navigating mealtime with a toddler. Shira RD has been one of our go-to nutritionists for years, and her new podcast, Good Instincts has now become a daily must. Her clever take on nutrition for picky eaters? Add a good daily supplement for your littles, and downshift your worries from over-drive to cruise control! A good multi can help to ensure that kids get all their essential nutrients with ease.

We were excited to learn that Shira gets regular deliveries from our go-to kids wellness brand, Hiya Health and asked her to speak to the age-old toddler trap of picky eating in detail…

Hey, Parents: Let Go Of Expectations + The Pressure For Perfection

As a nutritionist, one of my core values has always been stress reduction around food and perfectionism. Now, as a parent navigating meal times, the same is also true. I’m learning to create an environment where there’s less stress around food and meal times aren’t a battleground.

picky eater advice shira rd

This is easier said than done, especially with picky eaters (ahem, toddlers), but I’ve found that the first step in making it all work is in easing parents’ and caregivers’ anxiety around food and nutrition overall — because it all trickles down.

Part of having patience with our picky eaters is in understanding how kids eat as they grow. Kids go through periods of rapid growth followed by periods of slow and steady growth. When they are growing at that rapid speed they tend to have appetites to match, and the same is true on the flip side! This means that sometimes kids don’t have big appetites and that tends to stress parents out. Even knowing all of this, I can really relate to that stress as a parent!

Focus On Fostering A Healthy Relationship With Food

When I was in grad school, long before having a child of my own, I remember being struck by the recommendations for feeding children.

The basic premise is that the parent or caregiver decides what the meal is (being mindful of preferences and strong aversions, of course) and the kid decides how much to eat. And if they eat the meal, fantastic, and if they barely touch it, there will be another meal or snack in a bit. It all seemed obvious to me. The principle is intended to avoid making parents short-order cooks and isn’t in favor of coercing children to eat — both valid points. But, then I began working with parents in real life.

I remember speaking to one group of preschool moms early on in my career and the moms looking at me like I was absolutely nuts. Now, as a mom myself, I understand why: in practice, the fear of our kids not getting enough of the right foods and nutrients is absolutely terrifying . That fear can drive us to do and say all the things we swore we would never do.

In navigating every other childhood stage, from learning to walk to potty training, most parents receive a lot of advice around “following their lead”. To a certain extent, we’re supposed sit back and pay attention to what our kids are telling us, help them figure out for themselves and listen to their bodies. But when it comes to meal time, the fear of them potentially not getting those essential nutrients makes things tough.

We really want to help these kids foster the skill of listening to their bodies and that’s one of the main reasons that I’m a big fan of using the right supplements to take the pressure off.

Stress Less With Kids Supplements From Hiya Health

I’ve eased a lot of meal time anxiety for parent with a great kids multivitamin (that’s not loaded with sugar). We want our kids to learn to listen to their bodies and honor when they’re hungry and when they’re full! Adding the right daily kids supplement lets us alleviate concern and keep that value in tact.

Hiya kids stickers

Use code CHALKBOARD for 50% off your first Hiya purchase

My favorite brand for kids multivitamins is Hiya Health. It’s clean and has no added sugar, but is actually tasty so I know that my child will eat it no question. My son Oliver takes their Kids Daily Multivitamin everyday. The deliveries and sweet sticker-covered container makes the whole routine effortless and gives me major peace-of-mind.

Cultivate a healthy foundation for your kids! Try the nutritionist-recommended brand Hiya Health for a limited time offer of 50% off for TCM readers. Use code CHALKBOARD for 50% off your first purchase.

Already using Hiya Health? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This story is brought to you in partnership with Hiya Health. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.

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