Let’s talk about postpartum for a minute. It can be an amazing time filled with joy, wonder, and big emotions. It can also be a time where self-care is hard…and at times self-care may even seem impossible. After my first baby, I was NOT kind to myself. After my second baby, I did a much better job taking care of myself. How? I found my people, my crew, my tribe, my squad. Now, I make a conscious effort every day to surround myself with fierce, smart, hilarious, and kind women who lift each other up.
On that note, I want to tell you about a new online program designed for mamas by mamas – The Mama Reset. If you are looking to improve your overall health and wellbeing in a positive environment (aka no guilt or shame involved) #MamaReset just might be the community you’ve been waiting for! Fitness, core and pelvic floor strengthening, realistic nutrition, meal prep tips and a whole lot of self kindness, wrapped up in a supportive community of other mamas.
You can find out more or register here. Feel free to use my code POMMETTA10 for a 10% discount but only until midnight (EDT) on September 26th, 2018. Program starts September 28, 2018.
I had the opportunity to do an exclusive webinar for the last #MamaReset squad and there were so many great questions! I have a sneak peak of some of the answers below. You can read the full blog here.
Here are some of my top tips from the webinar for raising healthy eaters and minimizing power struggles at the dinner table.
WHEN SHOULD WE START THINKING ABOUT OUR LITTLES’ EATING HABITS?
Jay: Healthy eating starts from infancy! It’s best to expose babies to as many foods & textures as possible. That doesn’t mean they’ll like them right away. You should expect to expose babies to a food multiple times before they will decide to take it and actually swallow it. Overall, focus on offering a variety of foods presented in different ways. Try cubes, slices, purees or shapes!
LET’S TALK ABOUT KID NUTRITION. HOW DO WE END MEALTIME STRESS?
Jay: I coach my clients to follow the Division of Responsibility when it comes to meal times.
Parents are only responsible for WHAT + WHEN. What is offered at each meal and when do those meals occur? ***under the Division of Responsibility parents are also responsible for WHERE
Children are only responsible for WHETHER + HOW MUCH. Whether they are hungry or choose to eat, and how much they are hungry for, or choose to eat.
When someone is doing the other’s job? That’s when problems start. For example, if you’re trying to encourage, or force, your child to eat more than they want, you’re acting outside of your responsibility zone. The child should always decide how much to eat. Or if your child is being allowed to dictate what they eat and you’re serving nuggets and grapes at every meal? They’re acting outside of their responsibilities.
Don’t ask kids questions they can’t answer, like “What do you want for dinner?” They’re not equipped with the nutrition knowledge or self-control you are, to choose, plan and prepare a healthy family meal. The parent decides when meals occur and what will be eaten. The child eats as much as they can/want. It really can be that simple.
SNACKING 600 TIMES PER DAY: IS THAT NORMAL?
Jay: Yes! Bedtime snacks & between meal snacks are healthful and normal for younger children. Even if your little one hasn’t had much of the chickpea salad you served at lunch or the salmon you’ve served for dinner, I recommend you still offer a snack. Of course, under the Division of Responsibility we talked about, YOU will choose what that snack is – so it can be a good opportunity to offer something your child needs. Maybe some more fruit or veggies, some yogurt, some cheese and crackers or something with a little bit of protein.
Treats are a bit different but they are still an important ritual and part of our cultural bonding: the birthday cake, the popsicle at the zoo, etc. Try to be matter-of-fact about treats, and don’t use them as bribes or rewards; a good relationship with food is best cultivated when special foods like dessert are not surrounded by conditions. If dessert is being served, everyone should get some, regardless of how much dinner they did or didn’t eat. For younger kids, put dessert right on the table at the same time as the rest of your food. If they choose to have only a few bites of meatloaf and then eat dessert, don’t panic. Often kids will want dessert first, but they will also often return to their savoury course once the sweets are done.
Try comforting your littles in distressing moments without food. Of course, being hangry can make anyone throw a tantrum, especially a toddler or preschooler. When you suspect a tantrum might be due to hunger, ask “Are you hungry?” and help them learn to feel into their body’s cues, rather than just shoving a snack at them in a hurry to end the fit.
WHAT SHOULD WE FOCUS ON AS OUR KIDS GET OLDER?
Jay: As kids get more social and start visiting friends’ houses, they get exposed to more foods & parenting styles. You might hear the dreaded, “But Amy’s mom lets her…” and be asked for foods/food products you aren’t willing to purchase. On the flip side, your kiddos might try a new food because they see a friend enjoying it! Stay away from negotiation, even as your kids grow into their childhood and adolescence. Stick to the Division of Responsibilities.
Getting the kids involved in the kitchen is one of my top tips, and they can take on more and more tasks as they grow. Little kids can help add things to a salad or stir something! School-age children can start cutting, measuring and using some basic appliances. Get them involved and the chance they’ll eat the food is much higher! Let them come shopping with you, even if it slows you down, so they are exposed to the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and can help choose some they love. Just don’t bother trying to teach them nutrition facts until they’re in adolescence, since little kids don’t have the abstract understanding they need to grasp concepts like macronutrients and vitamins.
Focus on being a great role model! By observing you planning, shopping, prepping and cooking some of your favourite family foods, your littles will learn so much.
OK, PICKY EATERS ARE NORMAL BUT WHEN SHOULD WE SEEK HELP?
Jay: All kids have tastes, just like adults. Everyone has foods they just won’t eat. Over time, tastes will change. Try to implement the Division of Responsibilities first and see if that helps take some of the stress away for both you and your little person.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, reach out to a qualified Registered Dietitian for help:
- If you are making multiple meals for everyone;
- If meals start taking over your mind and your time;
- If you feel like you can’t eat in public;
- If it is causing you anxiety or conflict with your kids;
- If mealtime makes you feel bad or worried.
WHERE CAN WE GET MORE INFO?
Pommetta Nutrition does in-home visits in Toronto and virtual appointments for individuals throughout Ontario.
Check out Mama Reset to find out more about their online program.