The Plan to Eat Podcast

#20: Customer Q&A with Katie Kimball, Fostering Positive Relationships with Food and People

June 22, 2022 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 20
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#20: Customer Q&A with Katie Kimball, Fostering Positive Relationships with Food and People
Show Notes Transcript

You asked questions and we got answers!
Our first customer Q&A is all about kids eating habits with special guest Katie Kimball!
In this Q&A Katie gives us her "toolbox terms" for getting kids to try foods they claim to hate. We learn how your toddler's highchair could be contributing to their eating behavior. She explains the difference between how a child and adult's tastebuds handle sugar and so much more!
Listen to learn how to help your kids foster a positive relationship with food and people!

Listen to our first interview with Katie here:

Connect with Katie:
TedxTalk on Picky Eating

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I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner. 

Roni: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the plan to Eat podcast. We are so excited today because we are doing our very first customer Q and A, and it's with Katie Kimball. 

Riley: In our episode that went live on June 1st, we interviewed Katie Kimble of kids eat real food. She is a wealth of knowledge. And then today we had customers send in questions about their kids and their eating habits and maybe needs they have in their household around meals.

And so we had everybody sending questions after that episode went live and Katie answered then live on today's call.

Roni: Yeah, she just has, like Riley said, she's a wealth of knowledge. She just was able to come up with information for people. And the questions that they had, she is just amazing. We love talking to her. And if you asked a [00:01:00] question, um, it certainly got answered here. And if you didn't ask a question, your question also probably got answered here because she gave us so much information.

Riley: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I found myself getting answers for my two year old that I didn't even know I had questions about. So I am so hopeful that this was, helpful for you and for your family. And we can't wait for you to hear it.

Roni: All right. well, Katie, thank you so much for coming back on the podcast for our customer Q and A today.

Katie: well, I'm just pumped that. People had questions based on our first one. Like that means that people listen and it resonated and I'm always so excited to help.

Riley: Oh, yeah, we're really excited too. We have some great questions. So I know that this is going to be really helpful for.

Roni: In case anybody didn't listen to your first episode, it was just two weeks back. Um, your episode went live and you, we talked with you all about your Ted talks and talk about picky eating and getting kids to help cooking in the kitchen. So if you haven't listened to that, that's probably the best step to start so that you understand the reason why people might have written [00:02:00] in with us to have questions for Katie.

So. One of the questions that we got was from Nina. And she wrote a little bit of an explainer about her family, but she basically says she has four kids and her youngest is 14 months. Um, basically she has problems getting him to stay in his high chair when she's eating. And she's wondering if some of the things she's doing is creating bad habits for him. 

Katie: Yeah. You know, um, there are so many families with kids who don't want to sit at the table. So you could, you could say I have a 14 month old who doesn't want to be in his high chair or a two year old who runs around all the time or three-year-old, who doesn't want to be in her chair. You know, even up to the eight year olds are still running around sometimes.

So I think this is a great question to start because parents feel, um, they, they feel a little bit of anxiety. That they're not doing something right. You know, and I can hear that in, in Nina's question. Like, oh my gosh, like, I feel like I need to hit this, this system just right. Or I'm gonna mess up my kid forever.

So we always want to focus on the [00:03:00] end goal. And the end goal is to have a positive relationship with food, to have a positive relationship with the people around the table, right. To end goals really, really important. And so, as we think about what strategies do we want to use, we just ask that litmus test question of like, is this going to be.

Potentially help her harm, this challenged relationship with food. It's gonna potentially help her harm this child's relationship with us as the parents and the siblings. Right. And so, you know, if, if a little one is just screaming their head off in a chair, But as Nina said, her, kid's actually a pretty good eater.

He has an appetite just doesn't want to be in that chair. So something's, weren't not working, right? That's going to interfere with the family relationships. They, the whole family cannot converse because those poor little kids just screaming his head off. And so I think, um, there are so many options for chairs.

With my kids. We shifted them to a, like a booster chair where it's basically like a plastic travel highchair and you can put a, uh, like a tray on, or you can take the tray [00:04:00] off and scooch it up to the table. Sometimes just a shift in the environment is enough to surprise the child. You know, you're giving him or her a little bit more responsibility.

I think even at 14 months, there's not a lot of language coming out of a 14 month old and a 14 month old can understand really simple language going in. Right. So you can do things like big chair, little chair, you know, where do you want to sit? Like you can, if it's really important to you that the child's at the table, which I do think, like, I do think we want to encourage that direction.

Right? We do want to teach our kids to sit at the table and to eat with the family. so it's, it's up to us to kind of figure out like, can we buckle them in a different kind of chair? Can we even have the, the child at, um, at the table, not in a booster chair, which I know is a little bit out of the mainstream for someone as young as 14 months, but if it works and it's safe, Then everybody wins.

Right. And I think, [00:05:00] I guess maybe not the final thing, but it really important bit is to examine that high chair. Um, when I did the SOS approach to feeding training, which is all like picky eating experts, the premier in America, I think. One of, one of the points that shocked me was how important posture is for eating.

And I would encourage all parents to try this, to sit in your chair and lift your feet. You're going to feel your core muscles engage. Your body is going to lean backward. And all of a sudden, if you were trying to eat at that point, all of a sudden you're far from your food, you're like kind of uncomfortable because you're working really hard in your core.

And it's, it's really difficult to engage in your food. The first thing you want to do is put your feet down and get grounded. And many, many, many high chairs leave their kids with the feet dangling. And so honestly, and it may or may not be, you know, the magic bullet for this child, but if this child likes to eat and he's just so uncomfortable in his high chair, right?

Because his feet don't, aren't grounded, there may be a way [00:06:00] to just, you know, DIY a platform that fits perfectly where his feet need to be. At 90 degree angle knees, 90 degree angle ankles. And wouldn't that be amazing if that's all that needed to be done for this kid? Right? It would be feet. I, you know, I don't know if he's also certainly at an age where he's trying to assert his independence and he's decided he doesn't like his chair.

Sometimes the parents have to, you know, be it to work with that. Um, Nina says he wants to sit at the table like the rest of us, but he's at the age, he can't sit still and moves all the time. And so, and that's the thing too, is big people, chairs. Don't fit. Little people. So if you can figure out like, again, a cheap plastic booster that buckles to the chair and figure out how to get foot rest for him, whether it's, you know, this might be an upside down laundry basket or Rubbermaid tub that you used to have Christmas stuff in with an Amazon box on top, right?

Like it does not have to be expensive. You can sort of create this way so that he can sit at the table with you and be grounded. My hunch is that [00:07:00] that would work really well, especially since he's already. A pretty good eater, right? Like it's not eating, it's somehow this engagement with his chair. And so that's what I would say for any parent though.

Like again, the three-year-old the eight year old, how can we help them have a good relationship with food, good relationship with people at the table and, and be comfortable. And it doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be sitting politely or like appropriately, like you might, if the grandparents were over for the eight year old, that means he or she has to stand at the time.

For a couple of minutes to get their wiggles out, right? Like sometimes we have to break societal norms to make this work. Um, but it's almost always possible. And I do think surprising the child is a great strategy.

Roni: That's great. I was actually going to ask that, that you mentioned the standing up. Uh, do you think that, that, like having your kids stand at the table, you know, like get them a, I don't know, some kind of little platform thing, would that work for a kid who's as young as 14 months? Or do you think that, because there [00:08:00] may be just in that point of like getting comfortable with walking and standing that they still might be too unsteady to stand up at the table. 

Katie: 14 months to just do short, 

Roni: Yeah. 

Katie: you know, he's not gonna be able to reach. And I know some parents say, well, my kid really wants to be on my lap. Right? My toddler like that 14 months age, they really want to be in my lap. And am I promoting bad habits? Here's the thing. Like some kids really need to feel connected to their humans in order to feel connected to their food.

And so. You know, here here's the black and white. Is the child sitting on your lap building a bad habit? No, it's not. The other black and white is, is it interfering with your patience and your ability to be a good mom or dad that day? Right? Like if it's making your head explode, it's a broken system and you got to fix it.

But if, if you can like be okay with that and think they're not going to want to sit on my lap forever. You know, they really won't. They want at age eight, I promise it might be something that is a temporary thing that can help everyone [00:09:00] connect better with their food and with their people.

Riley: I feel like you probably just answered like 20 people's questions in all of that, because you know, I didn't ask this question. I have a two year old and, you know, 20, I just got 20 pieces of advice from you that I was not expecting to get this morning. So thank you so much. That was a great, great answer.

And I hope that really helped Nina. All right. So the next question, um, do you have specific verbiage or a script to use with toddlers that claim? They don't like something that you've prepared, before and after they have tried it.

Katie: I do have scripts. In fact, my favorite part of coaching parents in eating is to give what I call toolbox terms, because when we're at the table, especially at the dinner table, it's the end of the day, we're feeling a little more stressed. We don't always have good decision making power. It's so good to just have those lines, right?

You pull out so same. I would use the same line for toddlers and eight year olds and 12 year olds who say they don't like the food because that does continue the eight year old won't sit on your lap. The eight year old will say, oh, gross. [00:10:00] I'm not eating that the moment they see it. And so I do say we taste with our tongues, not with our eyes, right?

You, you don't get to judge. Until you've tasted so sorry. That's not allowed. That would be more of the older kids, you know, with the young one, you just like shorten everything, right? Oh, no tastes no talk, right? No, no taste, no judge. Um, and then, and then we teach our kids to say things really politely. So our phrase, when a child really has tasted something and decides they don't like it with the only thing they're allowed to say is it's not my favorite.

And we just say, you know, in the Kimball house we say, it's not my favorite. And it's really, it's a gentle correction. You don't say like, no, you can't say eww, but you might say it. You might say, oops, you mean it's not my favorite. And you just do that over and over. And eventually they're trained and you might say, oh, that hurts.

Mommy's feelings. That let's say it's not my favorite. Right. And because we're, again, we're trying to connect as, as human beings. [00:11:00] Um, not to be their friend to remain their parent, but still a parents need to connect with kids. Are there, this one's not going to work anyway. Um, so that's absolutely, that's absolutely what we say is you don't really, you don't get to judge before you try it after you try it, you can always say it's not my favorite.

Riley: That's great. That's helpful. And so simple too. It's not like, it's not like, you know, 30 sentences you have to say to a two year old, uh, which is probably what I do is like, I'll try so many different methods of getting her to try something. Uh, instead of just like, no, you have to taste it before. You can tell me if you don't like it or that it's not your favorite. Sorry.

Katie: yes, to two choices is great for all ages, but especially for the toddlers, the two year olds. So you can say, do you want to poke it with your finger or do you want to start with a spoon? Right. So they're just engaging. You can say, do you want to touch it to your tongue or touch it? Do you want to taste this?

Or do you want to squeeze it in your, you know, your pointer, finger and your thumb or whatever, just squeeze it like [00:12:00] this. I know not everyone can see me. And you're just like, honestly, right. Riley, like you just want your daughter to engage with this food. So all of those choices you're good with, but she feels like you just made her the box.

Riley: yeah,

Katie: wins.

Riley: yeah, 

Katie: So you just have to creatively think of any, to any two choices. Do you want to do this for that? Oh no. You want to do this or that?

Riley: I thought that we had talked about this with you last time, but I think it might've been somebody else. We interviewed there's, maybe not a magical threshold for how much experience a kid has with a food before. They'll be excited about it. But like you just said, like, you just want them to engage with it.

So. They're figuring out that scrambled eggs are squishy. Okay. Well maybe I might like to eat this. I like other squishy foods, you know, and that's obviously, maybe not the narrative they're playing out in their head, but, um, it's an experience they're engaging, they're interacting with it. So I love that, that kind of options to get them to engage.

Roni: Do you find that once a kid has engaged physically with a food, like if you give them this choice of like, do you want to taste it or do you want to touch it? [00:13:00] And they're like, I would rather touch it. Do you find that if they touch it, they're more likely to then taste it after the fact. 

Katie: It is, it is actually a process. So there are, this is crazy that there are 32 steps to eating. And the first step is literally being okay with being in the room with. And the last step is swallowing. There's 32 steps in between. And a lot of those are, um, being encountering, being near the food, let, allowing it on your plate, which I mean, for a lot of people, we move through these steps really quickly, but for our very severe selective.

Having the food on their plate is a massive blue ribbon. win I think that's how far away from chewing and swelling they are. So literally like, yes, touching your fingertip, touching your elbow, touching your head, think about how babies eat, right? Touching your head, touching your cheek. Those are actually all steps to eating.

So anything you can do to move your child along that process helps. And then also the exposure factor. Um, [00:14:00] we can think of it almost like an inoculation . The more times you get a little bit of that scent, a little bit of that taste, a little bit of that touch. You're you're just getting closer and closer exposure wise to the point where they will accept that food.

So yes, every exposure counts, even touching your elbow.

Riley: So I suppose that actually really does answer this next question, which I haven't read yet. do you still put food on their plate that, you know, they genuinely don't like and have refused. Many times, like you just answered that probably yes. Right over and over and over until they've experienced it enough to eat it.

Katie: A hundred percent, we call it a taster bite or an experience bite. So, so yes, the food, wasn't a plate, not a whole serving, right? For a couple of reasons, practically, I don't like throwing away a whole serving of food if that's likely what's gonna happen. But then also for the child, it's less intimidating to see one bite.

And as soon as a child's able, I would advocate for having them put that taste or bite or that experience bite on the. As opposed to the question [00:15:00] was where did do you put food on their plate? Right. So I need to pick on that and reverse it a little bit as soon as possible. We want the kids to be putting their own bite on their plate because sneaky.

That is in both another form of exposure and another way to give them agency. Right. So you can say, you know, do you want a mini bite or do you want a dinosaur bite? You get to choose? And you know, some kids will be like, like a little millimeter size, bit of mashed potatoes. It doesn't matter. It's okay.

They're still getting that exposure.

Roni: Oh, that's awesome. Okay, So, uh, another kind of quick question is my child has become a bit of a picky eater in the last few months and mostly wants to eat sweets or snacks. How do I promote real food and encourage them to eat it? Uh, and also some, maybe some tips on holding my ground when they don't want to eat the food that I want them to eat.

Katie: Okay, I'm cracking up. They said, this is a quick question, cause this is actually very multilayered question. So first I have to just say to all parents that most children [00:16:00] will do that thing where they become a picky eater. Right? Many, many, many children will start out eating great. And then at a certain point, usually between the ages of two and five, give or take a year.

The parents say that they go do they're dropping foods. They're becoming more picky. What did I do wrong? You didn't do anything wrong. Okay. You did not do anything wrong. Parents. The child is just asserting their independence. Like they're literally doing their job. And so to do our job, we have to hold, hold our ground.

And that's, you know, the end of the question. How do I hold my ground? Well, first of all, like be committed, just do it. Right. And so, and holding your ground, what it looks like is continuing to serve the foods and only the foods that you want your child to eat. Okay. So if you do not want your child. You know, have boxed Mac and cheese.

Don't serve it. If you don't want your child to have processed hot dogs or ice [00:17:00] cream or candy or whatever it is, or if you don't want them to have it often, right. You choose what is served. And when it is served. Um, and, and we definitely, you know, we want to give our kids multiple choices at a meal. If you do notice the child's kind of closing down his or her options, it's good to make sure there is an option at that meal.

Um, but if you haven't already gone down the slippery slope of giving the kid what they want, which that's another question for parents too, because we've all done it. start,

Riley: Well,

Katie: don't give it. And you do not have to give them the food that they want. You have to give them the food, you know, they need cause you're the smart one with the developed brain parents.

Right. Um, and that's why I said this has many layered because I also noticed that this parent says they mostly, the child mostly wants sweets and snacks. And as soon as I see that, I go, we're not playing fair. Well, we are sugar and processed foods. Aren't playing fair. Right because sugar is added to everything in processed foods and insights, our kids' [00:18:00] brains and our kids' taste buds are actually genetically more inclined to need more sugar to taste the sweet.

I just learned that like last month from a genetics expert. Yeah. Your kids' taste buds. Like if I had a spoonful of sugar straight out go that's too much. It's so sweet. And a kid could do the same thing and be like, perfect. Because they're literally different. Um, but that doesn't mean you have to give them more sugar, but that's totally the food marketing.

They know how to do, you know, food marketers know that food processing companies know that. So they put sugar in everything to try to like continue our kids need for sugar. So that's like carrot. Be careful, be cautious against processed foods. Be skeptical. Look at themselves. Do I really want you in my home, right?

Because that's going to form the kids' palette. Now we have processed foods in our house. We just don't have a lot. Right. Because there's a balance. And so we try to choose as often as we can cooking from scratch, [00:19:00] using a meal planning, service, like plan to eat to make that easier. Right? You don't need plan to eat if you want to do frozen chicken nuggets and Mac and cheese every day.

So hopefully the people listening to this podcast are at least leaning toward like, Hey, whole foods, vegetables, meats, you know, making my own stuff. So that's why I said this was such a multi-layered question. Right? So first all the kids do it. It's their job. Your job is to hold your ground, serve what you want and be cautious of those processed foods.

Pay, pay attention. You know, to how often those are sneaking into, into your home. And if, you know, if you're noticing this shift, it might be worth saying in your head, it doesn't have to be over to the kids in your head. Like, okay, like we're going to do like three days. And just try to have no processed foods and see what happens, you know, and not make it a big thing.

That's noticeable to the kids, but you're just playing detective and watching to see if that helps. Because we do know, we know our, our palette is constantly shifting. Um, our gut [00:20:00] bacteria are, are shifting and they kind of tell our taste buds what they, we crave. So the healthier your gut bacteria, the more diverse your gut bacteria are.

Um, so really, even that could be another piece of this answer is, Hey, throw some probiotics in. You know, try some fermented foods to increase the good, healthy gut bacteria. And then those bacteria are like, Ooh, I want broccoli. And then your kid's like, oh, I want broccoli. I mean, it's amazing how deeply you can go into the science bottom line.

Hold your ground moms dads, you got this.

Riley: Oh, that's amazing. That's amazing answer. And so many things to start trying and doing and take the, you know, all those. That was great. Thank you. All right. So our next. Four questions are from the same household, um, from a mom named Ceisin. Um, and so we're going to ask you these questions one by one, but just to give you some context, they're all from the same household.

All right. So the first one is how can, you know, if your kid has a sensory processing issue?

Katie: Such a good question. If you can tell [00:21:00] Ceisin listened to podcasts, number one, if you don't know what sensory processing is for sure. Go listen to that because we talked about, um, many times the root cause of a child's picky eating is that one or more of their senses is sort of. Too high or running too low.

So if, if you have a hunch that there's sensory processing issue, you can watch for things like, you know, just some of them are pretty obvious, right? Like the kid has a sound. Processing issue. They're probably going to be really overwhelmed and big crowds or loud noises. They'll get their physical body.

You'll be able to see them tense up when there's a lot of sound happening, you know, and you can just, you can just kind of watch that. And probably if your child has a sound processing issue, you would have noticed that already. You'd be like, oh, you know, match my child's struggles with loud noises. It just is what it is.

Visually, you can see that this was this one's really interesting. This could be a visual or texture, sensory processing, um, if presented with food and if trying to eat in your kids' [00:22:00] hands, I'm trying to figure out how to explain this without the video, if the hands, the fingers splay out and the fingers sort of start to curve upward, like the opposite of making a fist.

That's a sign that they're really uncomfortable with something that's happening. So that could be a texture thing that they're, they don't want to touch their food. It could be a visual thing that you've put too much, too much busy-ness in front of them. Um, so the, the finger splaying is something to look for.

Texture is a, is another one. If you notice your kid is really just always gravitating toward the crunchy, right. Or always gravitating toward the mushy, the mashed potato, et cetera, texture, um, that can be a sign of a texture sensitivity. If you notice, that your kid really. Like the hot, the spicy, um, the, you know, fire Cheetos is a good example of sour cream and onion, Pringles, like all of these where they're just like their taste buds are lighting up.

That could actually be a sign that, their [00:23:00] taste is under processing, right. That they need more input. And their sense of taste to sort of get the same amount of enjoyment as we would. The opposite would be the kids who all really like the bland foods. They're always saying, oh, too spicy. You know? And you're like, dude, I cut the taco seasoning in half.

Why are you still saying this is too spicy? I mean, it literally could be that again for them a quarter teaspoon of taco seasoning feels the same as a tablespoon to you. So those are all, those are all little bits of. And then, you know, there's for sure an occupational therapist to do an evaluation would be kind of the end game.

But if you're just wondering about, you know, here and there, lots of little detective things to look for such a good question though. 

Roni: Yeah. those are all great tips too. And yeah, certainly if Ceisin and If this is something you're worried about, uh, seeking out an occupational therapist is probably the best way to for sure know. Right. Okay. So her [00:24:00] next question is that, um, she's afraid of leaving the decision of whether or not, or how much food to eat up to her kids.

Basically worried that they're going to decide that they don't want to eat.

Katie: Yeah. If this very very common Ceisin you know, I work with, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of parents in a, in a challenge. And this is a, that's a huge concern because you've always had that responsibility you know, and to hand it over to a child, you think you have it? What if they screw it up?

There's a reason I've always had this responsibility. So that's really common. The bottom line is kind of what I said. To the other mom whose child was tending towards snacks and sweets. Like, how do I hold firm? How do I make sure they're eating real food? You only serve real food. Right? So if I'm, um, I've, I've got one child who despises salmon, any fish.

It just, it's not, it's not a thing for her and she will take the biggest plate possible so that her experience bite can be as far away from her [00:25:00] as possible. And so I know when I serve salmon, this child will not eat the main course. So I'm going to make sure that I have maybe some potatoes or sweet potatoes with lots of butter to get some healthy fats.

I'm going to make sure that the side vegetable is preferred by that child, but it's all things that we would eat anyway. You know what I'm saying? They're all whole food options. And so yeah, that particular child is probably not going to get the protein source that night, but. I wouldn't do that three or four nights in a row because I want to make sure that over the course of a week that the children have lots of options.

Now I'm looking at the second half of the question and that's that we often put dinner in front of our kids and when it's done, whether or not they finish it, we bring out snacks, fruit, yogurt, veggie straws, and then occasionally a treat. They don't need coaxing with snacks and treats guys what kids do need coaxing with snacks and treats right?

Fruit. Is fun. I mean, that's one, first of all, that's wonderful. If your kids love fruit, you've done [00:26:00] a good job because their taste buds aren't only turned on by sugar and candy. Right. They appreciate the natural sugar. So high five for that. Well done. There's nothing wrong with serving fruit and yogurt.

Now, when it comes to veggie straws, now we're, we're traipsing into the process food arena. They're munchy crunchy. They're pretty much devoid of nutrients. Of course our kids like them. If the kids know, and I am not judging, not judging your parents are doing a great job out there, but the more we know the better we can do, right.

If that's always happening at the end of the meal, there's a really strong incentive for the kids to save space for that. And there's a really strong discouragement to bothering trying something new or eating the meals. And, you know, guts of the meal. So if you want to serve the F you know, w we're talking fruit, yogurt, veggie straws treat like that's, that's a full dinner.

That's satiating. That's plenty of calories for your child. I would choose one or [00:27:00] two, serve them with the meal and you can manage portion size where you say, okay, awesome. Like, we've got a watermelon here. Everyone can choose one or two pieces as. We'll pass that around right now. We've got our salmon. You can take an experienced bite or a serving.

We're going to pass that around now. We've got our steamed broccoli. You can take an experienced rider, a serving, but some of the structure of dinner is you don't get to just keep getting seconds on the thing that you love. If you haven't touched anything else. And it's not about the clean plate club, I'm guessing this was in our last podcast, but the clean plate club is you have to finish your food before you can leave the table that tends toward eating disordered eating.

It's not good, but if you say, Hey, you know, you chose your food. This is what served. You do need to finish your first, before you have seconds. Right. And so we're not depriving kids forcing the finish, anything. They are welcome to be. They don't have to finish it. They just can't have [00:28:00] five servings of watermelon or veggie straws and zero servings of soup or salmon.

Um, so it's, it's this balance and we do, we want to watch our language so that we're making sure that the children do have choice, but yeah. We're still being in charge of what matters, which is what's served. So that's what I'd say for that mom. So you're not, you're not doing a big thing wrong, but you, you do have something that's kind of a broken system.

And if you shift it just a little bit, I think you'll see really big changes. 

Roni: Do you think that for the first, for her first couple times of shifting her dinner, this way that she should vocalize to her kids, like, Hey, we're not doing snacks after dinner this evening. Like, what you're getting is dinner right now. 

Katie: Ceisin yes for Ceisin. And data's perfect advice. I would absolutely say this is, you know, this is our new strategy. Um, I heard, I heard what I feel is one of the best pieces of parenting advice ever just a couple of weeks ago. And it was, um, I reserve the right to have been wrong in the past. Isn't that amazing, like, just because we used to do it this way, [00:29:00] we did it this way for five years, but you know what?

I am humble enough to admit that past me was wrong and we're changing things now. And I just love that when it comes to like movies or I started a kid with a phone too early, or we we've had too many desserts, I reserve the right to have been wrong in the past. Love that so much. That's what you can say.

You know what guys I've just, um, I've realized that we're sort of putting too many options out and I don't really like the order and we're going to switch things up in here. So it's going to feel, and it will be a little painful. It's always a little painful Ceisin for the first few days, but the more ready you are, the more you sort of put on like your suit of armor and you have your toolbox phrases, like I'm going to do this well, I'm going to do this with patience and grace and, you know, go into it.

Well go into it with the right attitude, the faster you'll get through the painful portion.

Riley: Kind of like the other question we had before these just holding your ground. All right. So her next question, uh, my younger one he's a little over two will often [00:30:00] refuse to eat and it's often because he doesn't want to feed himself. He'll eat if we feed him or if we play encouraging games though, sometimes even if we feed him, he gives us trouble and we have to distract him in some way as we're feeding him, how do we get him to eat without doing all of that?

Katie: Super good question, because we don't want to set really bad habits. Right. We don't want to still be spoonfeeding the eight year old and we don't want to resort to things like. Distraction and screens, especially because again, if we look to the future, that's not how we want our kids to eat. Um, so I would say there's, there's always a little troubleshooting.

There can be different reasons for a two year old in particular to not want to eat or to want to be fed. Um, I would say two primary places to sort of do the detective work one is, is the two year olds coming to the table. Hungry enough. Meaning are those snacks. Getting too close to dinner and encroaching on the appetite.

Make sure you get those snacks far enough away. Um, and two does the two year old is it is the two year old. Maybe just have that personality where he or she needs to, or that he, where he needs [00:31:00] to connect with people, you know, we're like, so, um, you would know this. If you set the two year old down for a snack.

By himself, you know, he's the youngest, all the kids maybe are off doing big kid things and he's left out and then you go into the kitchen and keep working and he follows you and then leaves the snack behind. Even if it's something he likes, that would be a really clear sign, like, oh, like this kid likes to connect with people while he eats.

So he may need to sit on someone's lap. You know, you may need to play a little game where you say, okay, like, I'm going to give you two bites now. I'm, I'm going to go eat my meal, hang out with your food. And again, those two times. It can be amazing. Right? Do you want me to give you a bite? Do you want to take a bike?

Do you want, do you want me to give you two bites and you two bites? Do you want to go do make a pattern, like think about whatever this two year old loves. He loves dinosaurs. Say, do you want a dinosaur bite? Show me how you make a dinosaur buddy or that wasn't two choices. Do you want a dinosaur bite or a birdy bite?

Oh, dinosaur bite. Oh, awesome. Buddy. Show me how you make a dinosaur bite. [00:32:00] Right. And you're just so you're just like, sort of making it fun, but connecting. And so you may, you may need to do that with the little ones. To really, to make dinner more of an adventure. If they're really slow and add the whole, the family has left, you might need to read a book to them.

Um, but I would encourage not relying on screens and it just, you know, figuring out what sort of the root cause is. Um, most kids like to feed themselves, but maybe he's having trouble with utencils. You know, maybe it's just a, um, small motor control thing and he needs a bigger spoon or he needs finger food as an option for the meal.

Just the little things to look for.

Roni: Okay. So final question from Ceisin. She has an older daughter, who's five and a half, who she says is a very slow eater. She gets distracted easily. She'll start talking and looking at the window or she'll start fiddling and playing with things. Sometimes she even just spaces out all together.

So how can she help her focus on eating, which is the task [00:33:00] of. 

Katie: Yes. Um, my goodness, this is so tricky. And so common Ceisin, this is not the only little girl, a little boy in the world who does this? same as a two year old. Again, make sure she's coming to the table hungry. That is sometimes the problem. Not always. Um, maybe sometimes these, these kids are really creative souls and they might enjoy their food being more creative.

So maybe allowing, um, some space to create artwork with the food. This is not actually going to help speed up the meal, but at least she'll be focused on the food. You know, so making artwork out of her sandwich with a cookie cutter or whatever, um, sometimes getting kids who are really slow eaters involved in the kitchen first is awesome because then they can nibble a little bit in the kitchen, right?

So they have a little bit of nourishment and they don't have to eat so much at the table. When they're so slow. So that can be really, really helpful. Um, otherwise, sometimes kids just [00:34:00] need eat slowly. Right? So as long as you have the time, like, I know it's probably driving you crazy, cause you want to move on with your life.

But if you don't have to go to soccer or dance class or whatever, and you have the time, appreciate the fact that hopefully she's chewing really well and digesting her food better. You know what I mean? Because we don't actually want to eat super quickly, but I understand it's a balance between. Katie.

She just looked out the window for five minutes and didn't, didn't take a bite. Um, last thing I'd say is sometimes when kids are really that distracted and seems to not want to eat is we do want to be aware that there could be an underlying food sensitivity. There could be something that kind of maybe makes her feel icky after eating.

And so this is just her defense mechanism and her way of avoiding that feeling coming and putting it off till later. And, and so it's just. It's always a question that parents should ask. Is it possible that my child had, does not have a good relationship with gluten or dairy or something because of what's going on in their gut?

Riley: And this is not on the list. It's just a [00:35:00] question that I thought of, but last time you mentioned that your daughter is dairy free. I think it was your daughter D how you figured out that she was dairy free or what was that process?

Katie: That is a funny story, actually. Not, it's funny, not funny. My oldest child, who's Paul he's now 17. This was four years ago. I think he was having like some congestion and just kind of doing the like annoying and clearing his throat and stuff. And I know that sometimes dairy can be a cause of chronic congestion.

So I thought, okay, like I want this kid to do a month elimination diet and just see what happens because we consume dairy every day. You know, you would never have time off. And I can't even remember why we sort of pulled in child number two, which is Leah, my daughter. I think it was kind of just comradery.

Like let's just do this together. And then he ended up, well, it's so funny. He ended up getting a cold right near the end. So then when he went back to dairy, we weren't really sure [00:36:00] we were unsure of the results of that experiment. And when she went back to dairy, she immediately got a stomach ache after she ate dairy.

And about halfway through the month. She, she didn't even want to say it cause she knew what it meant. She said, mom, I don't even want to tell you, but I've noticed that I don't have as much trouble breathing in gym class. So she had, she didn't know what, what your body experiences is, what you think is normal.

Right? So she just thought everybody gets this short of breath. And about two weeks into no dairy. She noticed that she was breathing a little better. And so now she kind of knows if she eats dairy, most likely she'll have an immediate stomach ache for an hour or two. And then for the next three days, she'll have some shortness of breath.

So she's pretty motivated to stay off of it. Although we did, we actually did some genetic testing and her genes don't have trouble with dairy. So it's her gut probably. And it's healable, which is exciting. We just have to get her to the point where she's not terrified of trying it [00:37:00] again,

Riley: Wow. That's really interesting. And a bit of a different experience for a lot of people who have dairy probably, you know, like here's this one fixable, but also just really interesting how you found that. Yeah.

I feel like most people, yeah. Yeah.

Katie: part of her would rather have ice cream and then the other part of her is like, yeah, but I feel better. It's tricky.

Riley: Yeah, it's a tough one. Okay. We have one final question for you. Um, we are a family of grazers who don't really eat three square meals a day. How can we have diversity and offer our two year old more choices and include him more in the kitchen? Are there baby steps? We can take this from a dad named Mike.

Katie: Okay, Mike, I wish we could sit down and chat about this. Cause I have as many questions as I have answered. Like, are you a family of grazers? Because you've read that eating six meals a day is just so much better for you and that's a conscious choice or your family of grazers. Cause it's just kind of how you lived life before you had a child and it's not conscious, right?

Like if it's just kind of a habit. [00:38:00] Probably what you should know is that it's really, really good for our bodies and our teeth. My dentist always reminds me, cause I like to eat chocolate all day long. It's good for your teeth and for your stomach to have oscillation have times of eating and times of resting.

So even if you're sort of grazing, like doing the intentional six meals a day, it probably still should have a delineation where you're eating. And then you're actually stopping and you're eating and then you're actually stopping. Um, so really for anyone, this is for grazing families or for families who just sort of have ruts where, you know, we eat cereal every day, you know, tacos every Monday and eat this every Tuesday.

Like how do you diversify it? You just kind of do it. You go to the store and you think what's something I've never purchased. I'm going to purchase it. I'm going to look up a recipe and figure out how to use it. Because once I purchased it, I don't want to throw it away and waste money. Cause I'm too practical.

That's, that's how I do it. At least I liked the purchase pushes me, um, for other people, the plan in, you know, their plan to eat would be pushing them. Like I'm going to try some, one new recipe [00:39:00] every, every week. Um, two year olds are so fun to include in the kitchen because they are intrinsically motivated.

They want to be there. They want you to say yes to them. And so getting a two-year-old involved is great, you know, have them wash dishes or wash produce in air quotes where, you know, they're not doing a great job, but they're having a great time splashing the water all about and feeling like they're involved.

Um, two year olds, definitely old enough to start using, uh, just a butter knife and cutting a banana cutting, you know, melons we're coming into summer. Melons will be in season. If the adult can get the hard part, right. Give a kid, a half-moon of cantaloupe and let them go to town, cutting it up into whatever size they choose.

Right. There's no wrong answer and cutting cantaloupe to what two-year-old would want to be in charge. Of what size the cantaloupe is like. That is so tiny in our life as adults massive two and two year old to be given that responsibility. Right. [00:40:00] Um, spreading is a great skill for the two year old. So it could be spreading like butter or nut butter on toast could be spreading again, nut butter or cream cheese on like celery for an ants on a log type of meal.

You could have them cut bananas and put a little dab of nut butter on each banana, sprinkle some chia seeds on like there's tons of fun things you can do. Pinterest will, will give you ideas for days on making it cute. I'm not always, I don't always do it cute, cause I'm a little more practical. I know, time to go on Pinterest.

But really two year olds can get pretty involved. And so I would, I would encourage you like Mike, this is an amazing question. It's a great goal. And so if you believe that goal is important, you'll make it. You'll totally make it happen. Um, and you know, talk with your, your wife, your spouse, your partner to say, you know what, like what do we want for a child?

We want this child to have a wide palette, which means we've got to give her lots of, or him. Sorry, but to give him lots of options starting now, then you just do it.

Riley: Oh, man, [00:41:00] this was so fun. I just want to say to all these parents out here, as soon as in their questions that your baby doesn't come with a guide book, uh, particularly about food. And so nobody. Failing you ask questions, which means you care. Um, so you're doing a great job and Katie, you were an amazing, amazing resource.

And I know these parents are all feeling like I can do this now because you make every parent feel that way. Like they can do it, they can feed their kids healthy food. So just thank you so much.

Katie: Oh, I'm so happy to help. And you know, for so many of these parents, the answer is in the desire bait. The answer is in the fact that they asked this question and they know it's something they want. Like, if you want it, get it, do it. It's totally worth it.

Roni: If anybody who's listening is like really drawn towards all of the information that you shared, because you're obviously a ridiculous wealth of knowledge. Um, can you just point us in a couple directions where people can either like, get connected with your programs or even just connect with you online? 

Katie: is our home online. There's [00:42:00] always something free on the homepage. We do run specifically for picky eating. We run a picky eating challenge twice a year. And so you can always. Well, there's always a way to get on the wait list. I think you can find, I think it's in the menu.

It should be note to self, make sure that's all from the homepage. Pretty sure it's in the menu under picky eating where you can just get on the wait list and you'll get, like, I think it's eight to 10 weeks of many tips once a week and picky eating to sort of, you know, bite-size satiate you until we can jump into the challenge.

Uh, Instagram's a great place to connect. That's where you'll kind of see more. Real life. And then my TEDx talk, picky eating isn't about the food. I think you can just like search on YouTube, picky eating isn't about the food and you go right there.

Riley: We'll link that in our show notes, for sure.

Roni: Great. Well, thanks again for joining us today, Katie. We appreciate it. 

Katie: My pleasure guys.

Roni: We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please share it with someone and subscribe to our podcast. Wherever you listen to your [00:43:00] podcasts.