I've shared before that I have two kids who are picky eaters (and one who eats great). Getting my family to eat the healthy food I prepare is a constant and often discouraging battle for me. It's Not About the Broccoli is a book about eating habits written by sociologist Dina Rose, PhD. Her method encourages parents to stop focusing on nutrition and instead focus on developing healthy habits around food, which then leads to better nutrition. On the surface this feels like a contradiction to the normal advice of a dietitian, but she poses some interesting suggestions I'm willing to give a try.
The book's goal is for parent to teach their children the habits of proportion, variety, and moderation - how to eat a variety of foods in moderation and in proportion to their health benefits. She starts out the book by addressing common feeding styles for parents and identifies the flaws in each style. Then she lays out the "Big Fix" to get out of your old feeding habits and start building new ones.
The Big Fix has three steps:
- Decide when your children eat by establishing Eating Zones.
- Decide what your children eat by implementing the Rotation Rule.
- Keeping with first two rules you allow children some control by giving them choices.
Dina recommends tackling each rule individually to give the family time to adjust. She also recommends getting kids on board by talking to them about why you are making changes and what the changes are.
I really enjoyed the book and we are going to be implementing the strategies in our family. I will share our progress here on the blog. Since the first step of the Big Fix is Eating Zones, that's where we started. Eating Zones are predetermined blocks of time where you offer food (a meal or snack). Eating Zones help avoid constant snacking but still offer a little flexibility. You offer your child food at the appointed times and if they choose not to eat or don't eat enough they have to wait until the next zone when the next meal or snack will be served.
Here is what we (I) came up with for our Eating Zones:
- 7 - 8 am: Breakfast
- 9:30 - 10:30 am: Snack
- 11:30 - 12:30 pm: Lunch
- 4 - 5 pm: Snack
- 5:30 - 6:30 pm: Dinner
- 7:30 - 8 pm: Snack
Just to be clear, the kids aren't eating during the whole hour designated. They just get food offered at some point within that hour.
This was a perfect time to start this because I will begin homeschooling our oldest soon and we need some routine in our schedule. I made this chart as a visual for the kids (and me) to help keep up on track. Let's see how this goes. Keep checking back for updates on our progress.
Here is the list of upcoming posts in this series:
- It's Not About the Broccoli: Part 2 - Rotation Rule and Choices
- It's Not About the Broccoli: Part 3 - More on Proportion, Variety and Moderation
I hope this inspires and helps those of you who have with picky eaters.
Here is the Amazon (affiliate) link to the book and other tools used if you want to check it out.
You can also check out Dina's site for more resources. I am not affiliated with her - we are just trying her methods at our house.
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