Jayne Havens is a certified sleep consultant and the founder of Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. As a leader in the industry, Jayne advocates for healthy sleep hygiene for children of all ages, and she is committed to supporting families at the highest level. Jayne launched her comprehensive sleep consultant certification course so she could train and mentor others to work in this emerging industry.
I have this theory… it’s not a proven theory, but rather something I’ve observed over the course of my 6 year parenting journey. I find that once babies transition to whole milk at age one, those who drink a lot of milk tend to be very picky eaters. The kids who drink less milk eat a much larger variety of food, and also more food at each meal. My explanation for this observation, is that milk is filling, creamy and delicious. The children who are filling up on milk don’t have the appetite for balanced meals that include meat and vegetables because they are always full from the milk.
Milk is pushed as an excellent source of protein, fat, calcium and other nutrients. There is nothing wrong with milk, unless it’s keeping your child from eating a well balanced diet. Scaling back the milk consumption will likely lead to an increased appetite for actual food.
Assuming it isn’t the milk getting in the way of your toddler’s eating habits, here are another few tricks to encourage them to try new foods.
– Invite a friend over! Kids love to model what their friends are doing. If they see their friend trying something new, they will be more likely to try it themself!
– Try new foods out at restaurants. This often works for two reasons. One, there’s the novelty of eating out in a restaurant which is more social and fun than eating at home. Kids are distracted and often don’t realize they are being asked to do something they’d never do at home. Two, restaurant food is delicious- often seasoned with all the good stuff to make it taste even better!
– Pack new foods in their lunchbox for school. Kids work up an appetite while learning, and if they are especially hungry, they will be more likely to try a new item and actually eat it.
– Skip the snacking between meals. If your child is grazing all day, they won’t have the same appetite they would if they hadn’t eaten since the meal prior. This one seems obvious, but we are so conditioned to let our children snack all day that we often forget to go back to basics!
Ok, I’m off to feed my kids lunch!