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What to do if my child doesn't eat enough food

Do you have a small child and you feel that they should weigh more? Maybe your child is on the bottom of the growth chart, so you're worried they're not getting enough food.

Or if your kid eats like a bird, you're probably worried they're not getting enough calories or nutrients. Or maybe just worried in the short term that they'll wake up hungry in the middle of the night if they don't eat dinner!

Or it's easy to get stuck comparing kids. Maybe you have an older child that always was a big eater. Or your friends kids eat way more than yours, which makes you worried!

And I know that this concern can lead to....

  • Spoon-feeding a child that's perfectly capable of feeding themselves.
  • Bribing your child with dessert, to finish dinner.
  • Other pressure tactics, like forcing them to eat 3 bites.
  • Short-order-cook syndrome: if they don't want dinner, you bring out a backup food or a favourite you're sure they will eat. Or get stuck making 2 meals...

So instead of all of...

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Why is my child a Picky Eater? And what to do about it!


If you have a picky eater at home, you might be struggling to get your kids to try new foods. You've probably become a short order cook. And you may feel like you have to bribe, pressure or reward your child to try even take one bite of dinner.

 All of this just leads to stress at the table for everyone. And often arguments and tears (on behalf of the kids and parents!). And we want dinner to be a nice place for everyone!

Wouldn't it be great to stop stressing about how much or what your kids eat at the table? Have more peaceful dinners, with no more tears or yelling at the dinner table? And for your kids to eat new foods without complaining about it!?

This is definitely possible. But one of the obstacles for us to getting to this point is the plethora of contradictory advice about how to deal with your picky eater! My doctor told me to give my daughter what she wanted....which I know is exactly the wrong advice.

 To give you some understanding of the...

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3 Reasons Why the "3-Bite Rule" Sucks

Are you struggling with a picky eater at home? If so, I'd imagine you're probably:

  • worried that your child is not getting enough food, or enough nutrients to meet their growth and potential.
  •  frustrated that your kid doesn't try new foods.
  • stuck as a short-order cook, bringing out those backup foods or making a second meal. Just so your kid will eat something!
  • your dinner table is probably full of pressure, bribes and tears.

And I'm guessing you just want to stop stressing about how much your kid eats. You want your kid to expand their palate, try new foods without complaints. And you'd like to have more peaceful family dinners, to end all the yelling and the tears.

If that sounds good to you, read on or catch watch my video here.

I know that there's lots of conflicting advice out there on how to feed kids. From your doctor, f your mom, friends, blogs....And maybe you've tried some of these tactics and discovered that for most kids, the "one-bite rule" or "three-bite...

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How Do I Get My Picky Eater to Eat Vegetables?

Does your kid avoid anything green? All veggies? Picky eating is a struggle for many families and vegetables are definitely one of the most challenging foods for young kids to enjoy. They naturally tend to prefer sweet foods - or quick, easy energy sources. So it's common for children to enjoy fruit, but shun more bitter vegetables. The good news is that fruit and veggies contain many of the same nutrients! Your child can find folate, vitamin C and fibre in both fruit and vegetables, so you can relax a bit.

One common tactic I want to chat about is sneaking pureed vegetables into your children's food.  I don't recommend this, as it does not allow your child  to experience that particular food and learn to like (or dislike!) it on their own. And at some point, they will also probably figure you out - possibly leading to distrust,  a stronger dislike of the offending food and power struggles.

It's also not aligned with the "Division of Responsibility" principles, which...

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How the division of responsibility worked for my picky eater

*This is a guest post from Sarah, a fellow dietitian & mom of three I requested Sarah share her story with you, as she has been through the experience of raising a very selective eater. Following The Division of Responsibility in Feeding, Sarah's son has finally has made it past the pickiest stage. I have many clients who are hesitant to believe that this method can really work. Well Felix is proof that patience pays off!!*

"I first became interested in pediatric nutrition after my first year of university. I had a job at the local community health unit, working for the community nutritionist as a summer student. She encouraged me to read all of Ellyn Satter’s books on child feeding. This was my introduction to the feeding relationship.   Ms. Satter defines the roles of parents and children in feeding and her 30+ years of research show how trying to do your child’s job with feeding or letting them do your job can lead to a dysfunctional feeding...

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Help for your picky eater

Click image to see Jen talk about Picky Eating on Global

Creating stress-free mealtimes, even with picky eaters!

Feeding struggles are common, making dinnertime full of stress, fights and tears. It is understandable that  you are concerned if your kid refuses to eat multiple meals in a row, or never wants to try a new food. So you enforce a “3 bite rule,” don’t offer dessert if dinner wasn’t consumed, and bring out said refused dinner for bedtime snack. Or try sneaking vegetables into your child's food. And not only does your child now seem to be eating less than ever, but there are tears. Fights. Tantrums…. on the part of both the parent and the child. And then you read that rules such as these can negatively affect your child’s eating practices for life! Possibly leading to not only an even pickier eater, but an unhealthy relationship with food  and the potential for disordered eating or weight issues as an adult.

So you stopped the...

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3 Tips to Help your Child Grow up to Love Food in a Healthy Way

Disclosure: I am happy to bring you this sponsored post today, thanks to Alberta Milk. All thoughts are my own.

Happy Valentine's Day! Speaking of love.......does food = love for you?

Often food is often equated with love. And this can be a beautiful relationship!

  • Think of a breastfeeding baby, learning that their food comes along with their mother's loving touch and cuddles.
  • Or eating at a romantic restaurant on a first date.
  • Or your mom's chicken noodle soup when you're sick.

These are all fantastic ways to love food! But learning to equate food with love is not always a good thing. It causes some of us to turn to food for comfort when we're depressed or lonely. This can result overeating and guilt.

As a parent, we hope to raise kids who have a healthy relationship with food. This will help prevent picky eating in young kids, disordered eating and struggles with weight later on.

While your kids need nutrients to grow - it's just as important that you as a parent help them...

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How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables

As a dietitian working with parents of young children, one of the most frequently asked questions is: "How to get my kids to eat their veggies?" Should you bribe them with dessert? Reward them with praise? Hide the veggies in other foods?

Watch the video below, or read on to find out!

To answer this question, I wanted to share a study that looked at whether kids ate more veggies if you rewarded them. This took place in Belgium and the researchers looked at 98 preschool aged children. they gave the kids a variety of veggies and found out the least-liked veggie was chicory (a really bitter tasting vegetable). So the authors used chicory as the study vegetable.

Twice a week, the preschool children were offered a bowl of steamed chicory. The kids were  split them into three groups:

1) The first group was simply offered the vegetable.

2) The second group was offered the vegetable, along with the promise of a reward (a toy or a sticker) if they ate the chicory

3) The third...

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Unlock the Potential of Food to Discover: Getting Kids in the Kitchen

March is Nutrition Month dietitians are helping Canadians Unlock the Potential of Food.

Today I'm going to talk more about unlocking the potential of food to DISCOVER: by teaching children to shop and cook. Starting from a young age, inspiring children to shop, prepare and cook food can set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Prefer to watch? Check out my clip on Global TV discussing getting kids in the kitchen.

A great way to teach children about food is to let them join you in the kitchen; Yet, a recent Ipsos survey conducted in 2017 for Dietitians of Canada found that 38 per cent of parents rarely or never let their child prepare a meal or snack.

It totally get that it's messy and time consuming, but it’s a missed opportunity! So today I have five tips for getting kids involved in the kitchen:

1.Incorporate learning 

Build on lessons they learn in school, such as math, science or reading! Younger children can practice fine motor skills by stirring and...

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Protein for kids

Disclosure: I am happy to bring you this sponsored post today, thanks to Alberta Milk. All thoughts are my own.

Are you worried that your child doesn’t get enough protein? If you’re the parent of a young child, this is a common concern. Especially if you have a selective eater with a small appetite (which is most toddlers & preschoolers!).

In this blog, I’ll discuss why your child needs protein, how much they need, where to get it and share a protein-rich breakfast recipe.

Why is protein important?

Protein is the building block of the entire body. Muscles, organs and the immune system all need protein.

It also helps to keep us feeling full, so it’s good to offer protein at each meal and snack.

How much protein does my child need?

To figure out how much protein your child needs, take their weight in pounds and divide by two. For example, a 40 pound child needs about 20 grams of protein per day.

For children of average weight, this works out to about...

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