Do you have a picky eater? Then you are likely dealing with frustration and worrying if your child is getting enough nutrients. Sometimes dinnertime can become a power struggle. Do any of these sound familiar?
- “No dessert until you eat three more bites of your dinner.”
- “The carrots are good for you. You need to eat them.”
- “I worked very hard to make this meal. You need to eat it.”
I am sure we have all caught ourselves saying one (or all of those) at least once to our child. We say those things with the best intentions – we want to make sure our child is getting enough nutrients so they are healthy.
But take a step back and look at it from your child’s perspective (or reflect back to when you were told to clean your plate when you were young). Even with the best intentions, messages like those above can be translated into the following by your child:
- “I can’t wait until I’m older and can eat dessert whenever I want.”
- “Healthy food tastes bad.”
- “I can make someone sad or happy by eating.”
So, how can you make sure they are getting enough nutrients without pressuring them to eat?
Trust them to eat the foods that you provide to them.
I know, I know… all they eat is mac and cheese and chicken nuggets. Yep, I totally get that. But what are you cooking? What are you serving them? Yes, I know that they will refuse to eat what you have prepared for dinner. They will pout and they will cry until you get up and make them some quick mac.
What happens when your child doesn’t eat what is being served?
The picky eating stage of development can be long. Every child is different. So, be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint. But, it will end… trust me. The goal is to encourage intuitive eating in your child. Remember when they were an infant and they cried when they were hungry and turned away when they were full?
Encourage intuitive eating with your child
In my course Well & Strong, I guide you through reteaching intuitive eating with your daughter. Intuitive eating allows her to trust her own body for hunger and fullness cues and allows her to develop a positive relationship with food and her body.
The 2 and 1 Rule
One action that you can take right now to start on the intuitive eating path, is serve a meal that encompasses at least 2 foods that your child likes. Then include a new food and/or a food that your child dislikes.
You don’t need to talk about the foods that are being served or even how much they are required to eat. Just serve the meal. Oh, and talk to each other. Talk as a family – talk about the good things about the day. The challenges of the day. Something silly or something weird. Just talk. Keep the mealtime experience positive.
Tonight I served Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with a Mediterranean Grain Salad. My youngest daughter LOVES meat (particularly pork), both girls love feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The new experience was farro – a hearty grain. I also served the sauce on the side as it was reduced white wine with hoisin sauce. (I just started liking the taste of wine about a year ago!)
It was fun watching their reactions to the meal. My youngest ate all of her pork instantly, ate the cucumbers and tomatoes out of the salad, and tried a few bites of the farro. She saved the biggest piece of crumbled feta for last and savored it like it was a sweet treat.
My oldest polished off the pork immediately (with the sauce) and then went back for a second helping of farro salad. She looked at me and said, “that salad is really good”.
I would love to hear your mealtime experience with this dish!
Adapted by Powered on Well from epicurious.com
Course: Main Course
Main Ingredient: Pork
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 45 min
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 3⁄4 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper divided
- 3 cups cooked farro
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup cucumber slices cut into half moons
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1⁄2 cup crumbled feta
- 1⁄4 cup fresh mint minced
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley minced
- 1⁄4 cup pitted Kalamata olives sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons unsalted cold butter sliced
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven to warm while the oven preheats.
- Combine cumin, brown sugar, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp. pepper to a small dish. Mix well. Rub pork all over with mixture.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sear pork, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides.
- Transfer pork to the pre-heated baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of meat registers 145°F for medium/medium-rare.
- Meanwhile, drain excess fat from skillet and heat over medium heat. Add hoisin sauce and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon, until bubbling and slightly browned, about 30 seconds. Pour in wine. Increase heat to high, and cook, scraping up browned bits, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat and add butter. Whisk until butter is melted and emulsified. Stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- After pork is done, transfer pork to a cutting board. Let rest at least 5 minutes. Then slice into medallions.
- Meanwhile, toss farro with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 3/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Fold in cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, mint, parsley, olives and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve pork over salad and drizzle with sauce.