Confidence means you believe in your abilities. Feeding confidence means you’re able to trust yourself to offer your children a variety of foods in a structured, supportive, nurturing, diet-free environment.
Unfortunately, much of the child feeding and nutrition advice is steeped in fear and diet culture messaging. One reason we started Sunny Side Up Nutrition is because Anna and I have worked with countless parents and kids who suffered the harmful effects of all the fear-based nutrition information out there. It’s hard to wade through all the noise and feel confident about feeding your kids! Anna and I are child feeding experts, and we too have moments where we question whether we’re doing things right.
Here are our 5 tips to increase your feeding confidence.
5 Tips to Increase Your Feeding Confidence
1. Trust yourself! You know your children best. Much of the child nutrition information out there leaves parents confused and worried. What can you do to promote true health? Read Anna’s post: What Are Parents to Do? 3 Nutrition Actions to Promote True Health.
2. Trust your children to eat and grow. It's easy to run across child nutrition and growth information telling parents they're responsible for their child's weight and to feed them only the "healthiest" foods. Trust that your child will do their jobs of eating and growing. It can help to ZOOM OUT. Feeding our children is a long-term process, as Anna writes about in her post: Family Feeding - The Long Haul.
3. Create a pressure-free and pleasant atmosphere during meals. Do you have a picky eater or a child who's easily distracted during meal and snack times? You likely feel frustrated, which is completely understandable! One way to decrease pressure is to remind yourself of your jobs (what's offered, when it's offered, and where the food is offered), and your child's jobs (what and how much they eat of what’s offered). If we push kids to eat more, try what we make, or eat one more bite of their vegetables to earn dessert, mealtime can quickly become an unpleasant experience. However, what's most important is the time together to connect with others, not what or how much kids eat. Do you want tips for how to avoid pressuring your kids to eat? Check out Picky Eating: If Pressure Doesn’t Work - What Does?
4. Have a flexible plan for meals. Meal planning doesn’t have to be rigid. A simple and adaptable plan can help you feel less stressed and more confident about getting everyone fed. We share our planning tips and “go-to” meals in the following posts:
- Dreading Packing School Lunches? Tips for Getting the Job Done.
- Make These Easy Baked Beans to Simplify Your Lunch Packing Routine
- Go-to” Meals - Your Plan B
- Go-to” meals - Part 2
- Summertime “Go-to” Meals
5. Offer a variety of foods at regular intervals throughout the day. Remember, part of our job in the feeding relationship is what food is offered and when it’s offered. We’ve shared lots of tips and ideas in previous blog posts to help you offer a variety of structured meals and snacks!
- Variety - It’s Not Just About Fruits and Veggies
- 5 Snack Tips for Kids (and Adults Too)!
- 7 Tips for When Your Teen Says They’re Going Vegetarian
Leave your questions below and we'll answer them!