When kids won't eat, parents get desperate. Jacky knows this because as a child, she was a very picky eater! Adults in her life were desperate for her to eat and they tried everything. It wasn't until Jacky was on her own that she branhced out to eating new foods. Jacky's children's book mirrors her life: a picky ant gets bribed and pleaded with to eat, but doesn't have her moment of trying new foods until the pressure is off. This great episode will give you tips for picky eaters and a great book that will help too!
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Jacky is a picky eating coach and an author. She went to school for early childhood education and wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. She couldn’t find a job after school. She found a job in Beijing, China. She was 23 and was a very picky eater. She ate the “kids menu diet.”
Her eating really held her back. She loved travelling and got the position in China. She felt like the only reason she wouldn’t take the job was because of the food. She ended up having a huge transformation. For the first time in her life, she tried everything on the table. Looking back, she realized that for the first time she wasn’t known as a picky eater. They didn’t know that was a fear that she had.
Helping Picky Eaters
That changed the trajectory of her life. She wanted to work with kids, but she knew she had different people she wanted to help picky eaters. That changed everything for her. She went through a health coach certification and wrote a children’s book about picky eating.
This book talks about feeling left out and wanted to be a part of everything, but not knowing how.
Keys to Success
The way the food was presented was on a circular table with a lazy Susan in the center. Each person was given a bowl and some chopsticks. Jacky says that she encourages having a family meal that everyone can try and sample each thing.
One of the biggest things was being able to pick and choose and having the freedom and flexibility. That is something we can model at home. We can separate each thing so that kids can pick and choose what they want.
Programs for Parents of Picky Eaters
Jacky created programs for parents using things that had worked for her. She wanted to adjust the situation at home so that it feels better for everyone. She wanted to work with parents because they control the environment about eating.
Eating with chopsticks also took a little of the focus off the food. Parents can also do something a little bit differently. They can do a meal with finger foods or chopsticks that makes an extra challenge that makes it fun.
Jacky started writing her book 2 years ago. She took a class and wrote her book for the parents. The idea is that if parents make the adjustment they can help their kids. She wanted this information to come through a fun children’s book. She wanted to use her own experience and things that had happened to her.
The story is from the perspective of Addy the Ant. She feels uncomfortable about eating and she doesn’t really know why. The whole story is about everyone focusing on getting her to eat different foods. She can’t eat it until she has her big moment on her own. It is a personal experience by herself without the pressure and the attention. Everyone would watch her and that added to the pressure. She wanted this book to be from the child’s perspective. There is something going on even if kdis can’t explain why. In the book, Addy has her moment alone because we all have to go at our own pace and feel comfortable enough.
Tips for Parents
As parents, we can step back a little bit. We don’t have to try to convince and fix our kid. It becomes a bigger thing. Sometimes as parents, they feel a lot of pressure. So parents in turn do whatever they can to get their kids to eat. Often, when kids have a little space, the kids come around. Taking the pressure off helps to create a more positive relationship with food.
We can also be careful with labels. Kids can own those labels. This relates to anything. When we tell our kids what they are, they often believe us. When we are put in boxes, we can get stuck there.
Try to shift to see what your child might be feeling rather than focusing on what you want them to do. Get curious. What is going on with your child? Does it have to do with smell, types of food? What do they love? Keep it positive.