No Wellness Wankery

59: Is your child 'fussy'? How to develop healthy habits for little eaters.

May 09, 2023 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
59: Is your child 'fussy'? How to develop healthy habits for little eaters.
Show Notes Transcript

Raising children to have a good relationship with food can set them up for life.  But we all know that teaching kids healthy eating habits can be tricky. So let's break it down.

As a paediatric nutritionist with over 5 years’ experience, Shelley Judge knows all about what it takes to create healthy mealtime habits for your kids. She founded Good Little Eaters, to create a judgement free hub for parents to become confident feeding their kids. The perfect guest for No Wellness Wankery. 

In this episode Shelley joins Lyndi and dives deep into all things nutrition and behaviour related, offering actionable steps to create healthy mealtime habits for our kids. From when eating becomes ‘fussy,’ to tips for creating a healthy relationship with vegetables, snacking, refusing to eat at mealtime, plus what is the best way to introduce desserts.

📘💫BOOK TIP: If you want to stop handing down disordered eating like a family heirloom and raise kids who have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies - read my book Your Weight is Not the Problem. It's been ranked the #1 Women’s Health book on Amazon for 10 weeks straight and is probably the best investment you’ll make in your health for under $30. Get the deets and access to a free audio sample of the book HERE.

Want to feel more in control around food? My FREE webinar has my top 4 strategies to help you stop overeating.

Try my Back to Basics app FREE for 7 days.
It's got everthing you need to be healthy without dieting at your fingertips.

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy

If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

00:00:00:05 - 00:00:24:09

Lyndi

Okay. I would like to tell you, your your weight is not the problem. It really isn't. I know you've been made to think your weight is a problem your entire life, but honestly, it's just been a red herring making you focus on diets that really suck and your weight is not. The problem is the title of my new book and I would really like you to read it if you've ever been made to feel like you need to worry about your weight that you're fixating on your weight is going to help you lose weight, which is nonsense.


00:00:24:16 - 00:00:47:22

Lyndi

This is the book you need to read. We tackle body image. We help you with practical strategies to feel normal, relaxed, and freedom around food, which are all fabulous things you also deserve. Please go to my website, Lyndi Cohen dot com and check out my new book. It's available from all great retailers. Please check it out. Hello everyone and welcome to today's episode of No Wellness Wankery Podcast.


00:00:48:10 - 00:01:05:21

Lyndi

Today I have a guest with me who I think you're going to love. I love I mean, I'm a big fan of everyone who I have on this podcast that I've worked with our next guest, Shelly Judge, before. And I just think she's someone I want you to know about. So she's a paediatric nutritionist. She's got over five years experience.


00:01:05:21 - 00:01:28:23

Lyndi

It's not just that she's just got a Bachelor of Nutrition and Food Science and a master's in public health nutrition. So that's I mean, pretty impressive stuff. She's recently founded Good Little Eaters. And this is, I think, something that all parents should know about because it's a way it's just she's helping us create a judgment free hub so that parents can become confident with feeding their kids.


00:01:28:23 - 00:01:54:11

Lyndi

And she's using her experience in children's behaviour, psychology and nutrition. And she's turning complex nutrition, science and mealtime behavioural science into actionable steps, which is what we all need. Ultimately, she's helping parents transform mealtimes and help kids develop healthy relationship with food, which is giving them everything they need to get started to be a healthier adult. Shelly, thank you for coming on today's episode.


00:01:54:13 - 00:01:55:20

Shelley

Thank you so much for having me.


00:01:55:20 - 00:02:14:12

Lyndi

Linda to pleasure. I'm sorry. Also, just a little disclaimer. You are now 33 weeks pregnant as well. And yet it's going to be a great experience. Also, just be doing this for yourself and having that experience. I think that's going to be a really nice thing to have. How do you feel about it?


00:02:14:12 - 00:02:23:00

Shelley

I'm very excited to start this next journey and also start to use some of my own strategies in my own life as well that I work with clients everyday.


00:02:23:06 - 00:02:40:05

Lyndi

Well, right on. I want to dove right into this idea of fussy eating. I think we're, you know, I don't want what is fussy eating and what is just like normal eating. Like I don't like capsicum so much, but does that make me a fussy eat? How do we know when it's when a toddler or a child is a fussy eater?


00:02:40:21 - 00:02:42:05

Lyndi

What should we know about that?


00:02:42:06 - 00:03:08:04

Shelley

100%. And this is something I really try to drive home because this foods that I don't like either and it's so unrealistic to expect kids to like everything, give me a banana and I will push it away. I absolutely hate it. So this is what we need to understand. Not all kids that refuse foods are fussy. It's normal for them to go through some fussy stages.


00:03:08:10 - 00:03:29:15

Shelley

But some of the warning signs you do want to start looking out for is, you know, that they're eating less than 20 foods. They've got 20 light foods. And also, you might be you know, it might be stressing you out. This is a time as well where you want to reach out to some help because mealtimes shouldn't be stressful.


00:03:30:00 - 00:03:52:21

Shelley

They often are. And I think it's a little bit of a rite of passage that parents take on that, you know, this is just something that they have to go through, that mealtimes has to be stressful and it just doesn't need to be. But the main yeah, that main warning sign really is that they've got less than 20 like foods or they have had a dramatic drop in weight gain.


00:03:52:21 - 00:04:00:20

Shelley

I don't like focusing on that and we can talk about that a little bit more later on, but they're just some of the warning signs to really look out for.


00:04:00:20 - 00:04:18:21

Lyndi

Yeah, I mean, either I think it is one of those things that we do need to kind of consider weight and not place may put too much emphasis on weight. But I know this a lot of my friends have mentioned about their kids, you know, on the on the lower kind of percentile charts and that paediatrician starts to get a bit worried about that that.


00:04:19:10 - 00:04:27:18

Lyndi

So I guess what you're saying is if they are losing weight, but if what happens if they're not gaining weight at all and they're they're growing but they're not gaining weight, is that also a concern?


00:04:28:06 - 00:04:48:03

Shelley

It is a concern at different stages in their lives. But again, it's we want to make sure that we are focusing on the whole picture and not just weight, because this is where, you know, even kids that are in that really high percentile, which I know as a child, I was always on the 99th percentile, the weight and height.


00:04:48:03 - 00:05:16:07

Shelley

I'm six foot three. That's just how I was. But to a doctor reading this chart, that's a worrying sign to them. But when you actually look at the whole picture, look at what your child is eating, that's when we can see its weight. It's actually an issue. So always just because something's not tracking perfectly on the growth chart, it's not always a worry, but it is something to watch out for.


00:05:17:05 - 00:05:37:11

Lyndi

I think one of the things I hear from many toddlers, parents, friends, is that they'll offer their child something and they don't really like it. They go to all this effort to make it and then they kind of assume that that that their child doesn't like that food yet, so they don't really keep offering it to them. What's your advice about frequency on offering the foods?


00:05:38:00 - 00:05:45:00

Lyndi

I know this is what needs to go to all that effort, not it ends up, you know, for them to be eating it. But what should we be doing as parents?


00:05:45:00 - 00:06:05:22

Shelley

Oh, it's so disheartening when they don't eat something that you slaved over cooking for them. You know, you've made this thing, you think that they're going to like it because maybe they liked it a little while ago or they like something similar and then they refuse it. But the thing is, it actually takes up to 15 to 20 exposures to a food for a child to even try it.


00:06:06:15 - 00:06:09:01

Lyndi

So many, so many.


00:06:10:05 - 00:06:29:16

Shelley

So many. And, you know, that's just an average number that we've come up with. So it can take more than that. It can take less. The thing you need to focus on is to keep on serving it up, but make sure you're also helping them engage with it. We don't want to pressure them to try anything. That's the last thing we want to do.


00:06:29:23 - 00:06:36:16

Shelley

But there are a few different things you can do to really help them actually engage all the other senses other than taste.


00:06:37:01 - 00:06:51:13

Lyndi

So does that mean, you know, you've got your plate of some stuff that maybe there's like some familiar foods that, you know, this is generally what they eat and let's say it's mushrooms that we're trying to go, hey, let's, let's build explosive mushrooms. So what you're saying is replacing it on the plate so that they can visibly see it.


00:06:51:13 - 00:06:58:21

Lyndi

And even if they don't touch it, their smell it. They they're just seeing it. That's that's an exposure in and of itself. And we should be doing a bit more of that.


00:06:58:24 - 00:07:27:11

Shelley

Yes, 100%. That is the first stage of exposure. Just putting that on their plate, having it there with a lot food present as well. Always make sure that you're serving up that light food because ultimately we need kids to feel comfortable at mealtimes. You know, I always like to talk about it. Adults have had 30,000 meals by the time you're 30, whereas kids have had, you know, or a toddler has had maybe 300 meals.


00:07:28:02 - 00:07:45:03

Shelley

So think about that practice that we've had. It's become so normal to just have these foods on our plate. It's not normal for them. They haven't even seen half of these foods before. So it's all about getting them to feel comfortable with what's on the plate. And that happens through exposures.


00:07:45:12 - 00:08:03:00

Lyndi

That sounds really practical, and I think what you're also getting at is this idea of not having pressure, which as a parent is so hard. So what you're saying, just to be really clear about it, is head on the plate and you don't say, Oh, we should try the mushrooms. If we don't say that, do we know.


00:08:03:00 - 00:08:21:23

Shelley

Know that is the one big no, no, I don't like having food rules. Do you know that it's the one rule at a mealtime that you really should have for yourself is that you do not ask your child to try anything. So it all goes back to this division of responsibility and knowing your role and your child's role.


00:08:21:23 - 00:08:44:06

Shelley

So your role as the parent or carer is to serve up the food and decide when and how much to serve up. And it's then your child's job from there to decide how much to eat and what to eight of what you serve. So this is the most important thing that you can take into mealtimes once you put the plate down your job.


00:08:44:06 - 00:08:47:08

Shelley

This is essentially done, you then let them explore.


00:08:48:02 - 00:08:53:16

Lyndi

And then once let's say they do try the mushroom unprompted and you know, you're, you're.


00:08:53:22 - 00:08:54:16

Shelley

So right.


00:08:55:10 - 00:09:04:19

Lyndi

To celebrate because it's like you don't say a thing, just you literally, you go into, you know, turn around briefly for the second if you need to is that right?


00:09:04:19 - 00:09:24:00

Shelley

Yes. Yeah, 100%. If you need to go into the kitchen and hide down behind the bench and celebrate, do that. Do not show them that you're excited about it, though, because while we, you know, want them to be trying new foods, this can just be another form of pressure that we're putting on them. And it can it's a positive type of pressure.


00:09:24:00 - 00:09:29:13

Shelley

But whether pressure is positive or negative at mealtimes, it's still pressure and it has the same effect.


00:09:29:15 - 00:09:49:12

Lyndi

So this comes back to this idea that I have heard you talk about, which is neutrality with all food and this idea that we're you know what, we want our kids to be internally motivated with how they feed themselves. And I think as parents, when we keep coming in and saying, eat this, don't eat this, that's too much sugar, all these things we're teaching them that there's like external forces that need to control what they eat.


00:09:49:20 - 00:10:07:04

Lyndi

But when what we're doing, what you're talking about, we're allowing them to experience foods for themselves and to become internally motivated and regulated. Then they can make decisions about food that is going to serve them far better for the rest of their life, because we're not going to be around forever to help them eat in this way.


00:10:07:08 - 00:10:32:08

Shelley

Yeah, we're developing independent ideas that aren't swayed by diet culture that way. You know, as adults so often are, you know, we're teaching them not to have these food rules from the very get go. And I think that's what's the most important thing is to help them develop that healthy relationship with food. You really need to help them have neutral associations with all foods.


00:10:32:08 - 00:10:55:13

Lyndi

And I think if you're a parent who's struggled with body image, diet, culture, dieting consistently throughout your life, it's it's more important. It's essential that that you are doing this kind of neutral approach and getting someone like Shelly to advise you on how we're going to be talking about food. Because it is it comes down to nuance. And the little things we say are the things that we don't say the body language.


00:10:55:21 - 00:11:15:01

Lyndi

It's all these little things that I think they play into it. And I think for me, growing up within that in a household where food was quite disordered, I really am very gung ho about creating a very healthy space for my kids to grow up. And I'm sure you're listening right now. You're also pretty interested in that. So I think that's an important thing.


00:11:15:11 - 00:11:36:12

Lyndi

And just to talk more about this idea of neutrality with food, I think the hardest kind of concepts for many people to wrap their heads around is this. When we are seeing you talk about it, when we present a child with dessert, let's say we've got an apple and a chocolate, for example, what the advice that I've seen is to not say things like, well, if you eat your apple, then you can have your chocolate.


00:11:36:21 - 00:11:48:23

Lyndi

And rather, what we're doing is not positioning chocolate as a treat, but we're just placing them down neutrally in front of them just in time and allowing them to have freedom of choice. Is that right? Can you talk about this in more detail?


00:11:48:24 - 00:12:19:23

Shelley

100%. It's just like what we want with adults, you know, to be able to create this neutrality around food. We want to do that with kids. So it's really important that you do just serve up those sweets or the snacks, the packaged snacks or whatever it is. You serve it up like a regular food that you'll be serving up, and you do it with their dinner or with their lunch, because this is how we're really going to just show them that it's just another food on their plate.


00:12:19:23 - 00:12:41:01

Shelley

It's not something that they're going to be restricted from because really the human psyche does say, we want what we can't have. This is tenfold with kids. You tell them they can't have something and they are going to beg you for it until they've got it, whether it be a toy or whether it be a chocolate or an ice cream.


00:12:41:22 - 00:13:03:14

Shelley

So what we want to do is make sure that we're serving it up consistently and serving it up just with their normal food that, you know, I think what is hard for some parents and I understand it, it's hard for adults to understand that, well, why do we serve up dessert with dinner? That's strange. Strange to our palate.


00:13:03:21 - 00:13:13:19

Shelley

Right? But also, that's just our culture talking that we can't as adults, choose to eat something sweet before we eat something savory. It has to be that other way around.


00:13:14:06 - 00:13:33:19

Lyndi

What happens if our child doesn't have a large appetite for that meal and then they end up only having the dessert and not having the vegetables and the other stuff? I guess once if it's happening once off, yeah, we might feel more calm with it, but if it becomes a bit more of a trend that could cause us to feel a little bit scared of this process, any thoughts around.


00:13:33:19 - 00:13:58:01

Shelley

That? Yeah, definitely. It can be a scary process, but I promise you, if you do this consistently for two weeks, they're going to not just pick up the chocolate first every single time, but the key is being consistent for a few weeks with it. If you're just starting now to serve up that dessert with dinner, it's going to be the exciting thing on their plate and they are going to eat it first.


00:13:58:01 - 00:14:12:13

Shelley

And it might mean that they eat slightly less of the other stuff, stay consistent with it for a few weeks, and that's when you going to start getting that neutrality with the food and they'll be able to pick and choose the different things on their plate.


00:14:13:05 - 00:14:29:01

Lyndi

And I've seen some incredible footage of like a child with chocolate in front of them and they're actually just munching on an apple. And for them, they just, you know, it doesn't it doesn't really matter because as you said, when we're making something forbidden, it becomes highly interesting, highly palatable, highly exciting.


00:14:29:10 - 00:14:30:20

Shelley

So on a pedestal.


00:14:31:23 - 00:14:41:19

Lyndi

So by serving it at the same time, we're helping to reduce that and to kind of make it less exciting and novel and just become another food, which is that food charity concept.


00:14:41:20 - 00:14:49:03

Shelley

Yeah, exactly. And you know, we just serve up a small amount with our usual foods and that's how we achieve that.


00:14:49:08 - 00:15:13:06

Lyndi

Can we talk about snacking, as you touched on snacking in those days, packaged foods, I hear, I know with my son, he loves snacking. Big, big like love snacks. Grab a bag and stop playing towards me. And snacks. I know there's a lot of parents who fear that their child's just snacks all the time and that there isn't when they get some mealtime, they're not actually that hungry because it feels like they've been snacking the whole day.


00:15:13:12 - 00:15:20:07

Lyndi

How can we have a healthy relationship with snacks for them? Share your tips with us.


00:15:20:08 - 00:15:43:04

Shelley

Yes, of course. Okay. So this is two part. First off, just like dessert, we want to say that those snacks consistently with their usual meals, you can take them out of the packet. Crinkly packets are very talented kids. There's just a thing about them that, you know, they're very tactile. So they want them serve them up consistently with their usual meals.


00:15:43:17 - 00:16:07:02

Shelley

But the second part of that is actually making sure that you've really got a good meal time schedule in place and meal time boundaries around that. So it goes again back to that division of responsibility that you're deciding when food says not your child, and you've got to make sure that you're respectful with them with this boundary but still firm, you don't have to give in to your child.


00:16:07:02 - 00:16:12:24

Shelley

They're not going to starve because they haven't eaten for half an hour. Even though they might react like that.


00:16:13:02 - 00:16:17:05

Lyndi

They might have a tantrum in the shopping center. But yes.


00:16:17:05 - 00:16:34:14

Shelley

Yeah. And so I understand that there's obviously times you want to avoid a tantrum and you do just end up giving that snack. And look, I don't want you to beat yourself up for doing that either, because that's also just life. And sometimes it's just easier not to let your child have that tantrum if there's an easy way out of it.


00:16:34:24 - 00:16:49:19

Shelley

But when you're at home, it is really important to get firm with those boundaries because that's also going to help them understand as they start to get older, that there's times where food is available to them and times where there's not.


00:16:50:01 - 00:17:00:12

Lyndi

So it's not just concerned. Grazing right there is like like as you know, we have we go to work. We've got, you know, our schedules. We can just eat willy nilly whenever we want. And so we're kind of building that with kids already.


00:17:00:17 - 00:17:21:03

Shelley

We are they tend to thrive off structure. And so that's what we're setting out for them. And we can then set boundaries around a schedule so we can let them know that dinner is in 20 minutes. If they ask for something, why don't you come and help me prepare it? And this works for kids so young you don't.


00:17:21:23 - 00:17:47:06

Shelley

They understand a lot more than we give them credit for some time. So use a boundary around that and say, okay, if you, you know, dinner's in 20 minutes, but you can help me, you know, prepare some things if you'd like and give them a little task. Or if they're not eating much of that meal, you can use it in the other way and say the next meal times, not until breakfast.


00:17:47:06 - 00:17:48:24

Shelley

Are you sure your tummy feels full.


00:17:48:24 - 00:17:54:15

Lyndi

And what happens is an hour later they're like my tummy. I would say time is not full. What do I do?


00:17:55:07 - 00:18:22:23

Shelley

Okay, well, you know, at dinner time, especially, you can offer them a bedtime snack. It's okay to do this every now and then. I don't want you get the habit to do it every single night because that just is them avoiding eating their dinner. But you know, if they are really hungry and they're just asking for food, they're not asking for an ice cream or, you know, a very particular thing.


00:18:22:23 - 00:18:48:02

Shelley

Then this shows us that they are actually hungry. Offer them a small snack. We don't want kids going home hungry. Sorry, going to bed hungry. So that's the thing. Anyone ever tells you to starve your child out, please run a mile. This is not advice that you should ever take on. It's not about making your child hungry. But we do want them to be hungry coming into meals.


00:18:48:02 - 00:18:52:09

Shelley

And that's why setting up a schedule is really, really important, because I.


00:18:52:09 - 00:19:03:21

Lyndi

Think diet culture makes us quite scared of feeling hungry. You know, never feel hungry can society, but, you know, it's natural to feel hungry multiple times a day, every time before we eat. And that is kind of a part of me wants to be teaching them.


00:19:04:05 - 00:19:26:07

Shelley

Well, we want them to help. We want them to understand their hunger and fullness signals as well. And we need them to understand that from a very young age because that, you know, we've we've grown out of doing that as adults because of diet culture. So we need to make sure that they're doing that so they understand when they are truly actually hungry and not so they can regulate themselves.


00:19:26:20 - 00:19:38:14

Lyndi

Now, if it was 20 minutes till dinner time and they're like, I'm really hungry. And you said during a snack on some tomatoes while we cook, what do you think about that as a something to tide them over or do we just hold strong?


00:19:39:00 - 00:20:02:13

Shelley

No, that is. Okay. So what I do instead is have no pressure veggies. So if it's yeah, not too long till dinner time put out a little platter and get them sitting up at the bench with you. They can either help prepare things or you can have these things called no pressure veggies and they can kick at that if they would like to before dinner.


00:20:02:20 - 00:20:09:06

Lyndi

We just place quietly taste vegetables in front of them. We don't say a word. They eat them. They eat them.


00:20:09:10 - 00:20:37:02

Shelley

Yeah, exactly. So what I suggest to parents is just have some prep in a container in the fridge that you can pull out every night and pack it back in. So it's very easy to just put out there, but you don't need to be feeding them 20 minutes before dinner, a snack that they particularly want. It can just be about putting these veggies at it's exposures them that we're building on because they're being exposed to these different veggies.


00:20:37:10 - 00:20:46:07

Shelley

You can give them a kid cut a knife to try chopping some of them. They're fantastic. And it's really just building on that mealtime principle.


00:20:47:01 - 00:21:05:05

Lyndi

I love this. I feel like it's very practical and just to reiterate, I think what you're saying when it comes to like the meal times referring to breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also that there's morning tea and afternoon snacks. So rather than just constantly eating from breakfast to lunchtime, there is a set time at like one 930, you know, with that that's the morning tea time.


00:21:05:05 - 00:21:10:05

Lyndi

And then we consolidate snacks so that it's not just either it's not constant.


00:21:10:05 - 00:21:34:17

Shelley

It's they're eating every, you know, 90 minutes to 2 hours. That's what we kind of want to spice it out as. This is how, you know, kids and even a lot of adults, again, how we need to actually eat. We can't just huge big meals and they're not going to eat huge portions. A few tablespoons for toddlers is all you can really expect them to actually consume it at mealtime.


00:21:34:24 - 00:21:55:13

Shelley

So I think that that's something that also trips up a lot of parents is we see them pack their plate full and then, you know, oh, I'm worried that my kids not eating enough because they haven't finished everything on their plate. But what you want to do instead is just serve up small amount. Whenever you are serving up food, you can always add more to their flight.


00:21:55:24 - 00:22:13:06

Lyndi

And that's not to be too overwhelming for them. So not you know, they know they can always get more if they want. And of course, they're always allowed to have more. Can we talk about vegetables a little bit more and building that healthy relationship with vegetables and with fruits? There's two kind of school of thought, you know, there's a bit of that hidden vegetable idea.


00:22:13:06 - 00:22:28:02

Lyndi

But we blend everything. We try hide all the vegetables. And then the other school of thought is we want to have that exposure. So they become familiar with this is what a mushroom looks like. And it's not you know, it's not has doesn't have to be hidden from them at every time. Can you talk about that idea?


00:22:28:02 - 00:22:48:21

Shelley

Yes, of course. So, look, I understand that some recipes do have vegetables in them that are grated, like, you know, the ball. And I saw I make has 5 to 6 different vegetables or grated in into it. But what we want to do is really make sure we're being upfront and honest with kids, with what's going into that meal.


00:22:48:21 - 00:23:15:09

Shelley

We don't want to be hiding vegetables from them because we want to be always putting exposure and engagement with the vegetable ahead of how much they're actually consuming at this age. Their nutritional requirements are actually quite low, and I think that that's something, again, that's forgotten. We've got to make these unachievable targets, but we don't they're not actually that difficult to achieve for a lot of kids.


00:23:15:22 - 00:23:23:05

Shelley

So we want to make sure that we have always practicing exposure over them actually eating it. Hmm.


00:23:23:17 - 00:23:44:21

Lyndi

I've heard this a bit of two to thought. Total amount of fruit. I have. I have heard from some parents who say that their child won't have vegetables, but they will have fruit. And given that they are similar nutrients in it that can nutritionally tick some boxes that help that, you know, we still want to be exposing them to vegetables.


00:23:44:22 - 00:23:47:10

Lyndi

We don't want to just give up on veggies altogether. Is that right?


00:23:47:13 - 00:24:14:09

Shelley

Yes. Yeah. Fruits, you can really take that pressure off them eating, you know, the vegetables because it is nutritionally they're very similar. You're you're going to be able to get exactly the same nutrients from fruit as vegetables. And don't worry about the sugar that's in fruit. It's completely fine for your kids. But again, we don't want to stop exposing them from different vegetables and we do this in different ways.


00:24:14:09 - 00:24:40:19

Shelley

It's not just putting it on their plate. We want to make sure we're actually engaging them with it as well. So that's where we bring them into the kitchen. If we have some time and, you know, get them actually chopping things, grating things all we play games at the table as well. It's not you know, I think our generation was probably a lot more if you're like me, it was we use our cutlery, we don't touch our food with our hands.


00:24:41:02 - 00:25:09:17

Shelley

We clean out plate that those days are gone. We want kids to have fun with their food. This can they you know with pays for example something I always tell my clients to do is you know have a right sort of rolling the pay across the table or squish the peas in your hand and see what popping sound it makes, or get a toothpick and see how many peas you can skewer onto a toothpick.


00:25:09:24 - 00:25:18:21

Shelley

It's these little games that we play that gets them touching and exploring those foods, but there's no pressure to actually try it.


00:25:19:21 - 00:25:28:03

Lyndi

I really like that. It's like it's, you know, ultimately we stick to things that we enjoy doing. So if we can have them enjoy vegetables, it feels like a nice, lifelong habit.


00:25:28:10 - 00:25:33:07

Shelley

Yeah. And it's all about getting them to that comfort level with that vegetable before it then goes into their mouth.


00:25:33:13 - 00:25:59:05

Lyndi

Yes. Oh, I love it. Very practical advice for us. I want to bring it back to that, what you just mentioned about fruit and sugar. And I overheard a mother the other day talking to their child saying, you can't have any more watermelon. It's got way too much sugar in it. It's time to have something else. And then I also notice that when I became a mother, I started listening to these podcasts about, you know, nutrition kind of things.


00:25:59:05 - 00:26:27:15

Lyndi

And I found that the the far left nutrition sphere, there was a lot of sugar phobic attitudes where they, you know, they referred to children as fruit bats. And if you give them fruit, then they just go psycho with it and it alters their mood and it makes them go crazy. Oh anyway, so on all of these things and you know, if we did notice that our child was having a lot of one fruit or one particular food, what would we say and how would we deal with something like that?


00:26:27:18 - 00:26:51:15

Shelley

Yeah. So look, sugar is always a worry and I think that if we do have this fear against sugar of any sort and it's sad to see that that's coming through with sugar and fruit as well, because fruit is so nutritious and serving up whole fruit with all of the fiber in there is a fantastic snack for your child.


00:26:52:01 - 00:27:16:17

Shelley

What I do suggest, though, is never serving up just one food. This doesn't discount some fruit or vegetable. It counts for whatever you serve up. Never just serve up one individual food to your childhood in mealtime because it's a missed opportunity. So we want to make sure that we're building out a little bit of a mini meal. So even at snack times, it's not just watermelon that you're serving up.


00:27:16:17 - 00:27:38:03

Shelley

They might choose to just eat the watermelon, and that's their choice. But you're serving up some yogurt with it or some peanut butter, anything like that that's really going to build out the protein and the healthy fats. This also then goes into them being able to fill that for for longer and build out that nutritional profile of the meal as well.


00:27:39:02 - 00:27:45:02

Lyndi

And so if they wanted to keep eating the watermelon at some point we would say either there's no watermelon.


00:27:45:10 - 00:27:45:21

Shelley

Left.


00:27:46:02 - 00:27:52:15

Lyndi

Or there's plenty of other foods on your plate still to be finished. Yeah. Would we say something like that? Not really.


00:27:52:17 - 00:28:17:21

Shelley

Yeah. So the first one. Yes. Serve it up one more time. I always say offer second, but after a second you have every right again. Going back to that division of responsibility, you decide how much is served. You have every right to say this. No more on the menu today. But we don't then need to say there's plenty of other foods on your plate that you can eat.


00:28:18:03 - 00:28:20:22

Shelley

Just leave it as there's nowhere on the menu today.


00:28:21:09 - 00:28:31:20

Lyndi

Mm. Okay. And leave it at that. And I think that's the hard thing is, is a lot of this is what not to say as much as it is to what to say. And so it's actually nice to have your practical words of wisdom here.


00:28:32:19 - 00:28:42:08

Shelley

Yeah. Don't beat yourself up if you do say some of this stuff, it it's a learning process for you as a parent just as much as it is for your child as well.


00:28:42:22 - 00:28:53:15

Lyndi

And we don't want to be pointing out the reasons, like giving them reasons why we shouldn't be eating something. So so the conversation around, well, watermelon has got sugar and sugar is bad. You know, that's that's way too much to be.


00:28:53:15 - 00:28:59:01

Shelley

Told back to those neutral associations at all times we want neutral terms around also it's.


00:28:59:23 - 00:29:11:16

Lyndi

Okay I love this. And what this is all getting at is building a healthy relationship with food. So before we wrap up this conversation, are there any other top tips that you have for building that healthy relationship of food for your children?


00:29:12:09 - 00:29:36:15

Shelley

The main thing is just make sure you're actually serving up these foods. You know, what I see so much is that parents restrict foods, you know, for so long while their kids are at home and not going out to school and things like that. And then they go to school or they go to kids parties and they've been exposed to these foods for the very first time and they go nuts over them.


00:29:37:04 - 00:29:39:09

Lyndi

So chips or.


00:29:40:17 - 00:30:10:06

Shelley

Anything like that, ice cream, you know, these are scary foods sometimes to serve up to kids because we've been told that they're the unhealthy ones and that don't need them. Sure. Does anyone need them? Like nutritionally? Not necessarily. But mentally, like what it does for our mental health to be able to enjoy these foods. Yes. And that having a healthy relationship with food is and we want kids to be able to understand that we are allowed these foods.


00:30:10:11 - 00:30:28:19

Shelley

There's no foods off limit. Serve them up first in your own home and you're going to help your kid actually develop a healthy relationship with all of these foods before they get exposed to them at these different situations. And they'll know that those foods are on offer so they don't need to binge them.


00:30:29:13 - 00:30:46:02

Lyndi

That's excellent advice. I just had one more thought before before we leave, can I ask you this? I have this theory. I have two theories. One of the theories is around food touching. I know a toddler plates. There is a bit of a thing where we put food in little quadrants on the plate and things never touch. Yeah.


00:30:46:09 - 00:31:02:01

Lyndi

Part of me wonders, shouldn't we be combining foods a little more so that their exposure to, like, you know, there can be herbs on top of a pasta and that's okay. What are your thoughts about food touching and creations?


00:31:02:08 - 00:31:25:22

Shelley

Yes, look, mixed foods are very overwhelming to kids. It's a lot because they don't necessarily understand what's in that food. And that's all about not hiding things and being upfront with them, what's what's on offer. So it can go both ways. And it can also really depend where your child's at as well, what's going to work for them most.


00:31:25:22 - 00:31:54:22

Shelley

So it often is best to actually deconstruct them if they're feeling really overwhelmed at mealtimes. This is their time where we really want to strip it all back and deconstruct that meal completely and then build them back up to having more of the mixed meals where some foods can touch or you can have, you know, plain pasta and the ball and a sauce, and then you can have one strand of pasta that's covered in the sauce that served up separately.


00:31:54:22 - 00:32:04:14

Shelley

It's just about very slowly getting them there because we've got to make kids where they are. They're young, they haven't had many meals. And we need to remember that this is a learning process for them.


00:32:04:24 - 00:32:25:21

Lyndi

Oh, I love that. Thank you. That really that's really helpful. And one more thing I wanted to ask you while I've got you is I kind of have this other theory that one of the reasons kids hate vegetables so much is that because nutrition advisers told us as parents that we need to take out also sodium or fat or sugar out of every time we eat vegetables.


00:32:26:06 - 00:32:48:15

Lyndi

As a result, we have vegetables that taste like very bland. Yeah. And then they go out and they'll have chips and they'll be like, Oh, this is delicious. Well, of course it's delicious because the gap between what healthy food is considered and what unhealthy food is considered is so grand. And that my theory is if we added more flavor to our healthier foods that way, we're going to help them have a healthier relationship.


00:32:48:15 - 00:33:03:08

Lyndi

So that means we're adding a little. Yes, we know we don't like kids eating a of sodium, but if we're adding like flavor a little bit more flavor, if that helps them eat the veggies and have that healthy relationship with veggies where they might even like it more than the chips all at equal, whatever, then that's brilliant.


00:33:03:09 - 00:33:23:23

Shelley

Yeah, definitely. I completely agree with you there. Like, yeah, sure. We do want to watch how much sodium they're having, especially before too. But that doesn't mean that they can't have any. And you know, there's also a lot of different ways that we can play the vegetable sorry, by putting this different herbs and spices on them as well.


00:33:23:23 - 00:33:33:14

Lyndi

Or putting a little bit of cheese and broccoli and thinking that they like that. Yes, we've added a bit of sodium, but they're now going to have a really yummy experience.


00:33:33:14 - 00:33:45:21

Shelley

Yeah. And if your child likes tomato sauce and you're putting two teaspoons of tomato sauce on their plate to help them feel comfortable with the other foods that's okay. It's not going to hurt them.


00:33:46:02 - 00:34:06:12

Lyndi

I agree. And one of the things I saw, it was all just like a really light drizzle of the tomato sauce. Yeah. So that it's just, it's it's evenly distributed and doesn't just eat it with the spoon. Shelly, I have found this conversation incredibly helpful, and I bet many of the parents listening to it will as well. Thank you so much.


00:34:07:04 - 00:34:18:17

Lyndi

I'd love other people to be able to go and find you, and especially if you've had a tricky relationship with food and want to raise kids. Have a healthy relationship with food. I'd love you to reach out to Shelly. How can we reach out to you and find you?


00:34:19:05 - 00:34:38:16

Shelley

Okay, well, you can find more about me on my website WW W dot good little eaters dot com or come and join me on Instagram at good little eaters. I'm always up for a damn conversation my day and so hit me up. Thank you so much for having me today. It's been really great to chat to you about this.


00:34:39:00 - 00:34:42:15

Shelley

I could talk about it for hours and hours on end.


00:34:43:10 - 00:35:02:24

Lyndi

I would say sorry to do for you, Shelly, because she has so much good stuff on Instagram and everywhere that she exists. I'll pop all those links in the show notes so you can easily find them. And also we'll do another shout out of so many of the recipes and back to basics. My app was developed by Shelly, so she I mean, she's a foodie at the heart of it.


00:35:03:06 - 00:35:32:02

Lyndi

She knows good food. And if you want to try any of her her recipes credit and back to basics you can try free for seven days my goodness some of them of the some of my most favourite recipes ever. Thank you, Shelly, for coming on today's episode. Hey, everyone. And before we get started in the podcast episode, I just want to tell you a little bit about how I might be able to help you if want to get a healthy relationship with food because oh my goodness, there's a whole lot of stuff that's working against us all the time.


00:35:32:02 - 00:35:49:05

Lyndi

Hello, diet culture. So if you ever wanted a little bit more personalised, check out my program. Keep it real. Especially if you're struggling with binge eating. If you feel like every Monday you're starting from scratch, if you feel like you know what you should be eating, but you just can't stick to it if you feel like you want to eat healthier.


00:35:49:05 - 00:36:11:18

Lyndi

But honestly, it just feels like you're out of control all through your face, planting into the fridge. All the pantry. I can help you binge either. I really do. I do. Get it. So check out Keep it real. Use the code podcast to get 20% off if you if you get it via the the website and also I've also my app called back to basics back to basics is an app to help you be healthy without dieting and will help you work on your body.


00:36:11:18 - 00:36:33:02

Lyndi

Image gives you a whole bunch of hundreds of recipes that are super quick and easy to make so you can just be healthy without having to get obsessed with that at all, without it taking over your life, because that's the way it should be. Plus, you get mindset support for me inside the app. You also get a whole bunch of workouts that you can do at home, or you can still just do your normal workouts.


00:36:33:11 - 00:36:46:20

Lyndi

But check out back to basics. You can get it for free for seven days. Check out Back to Basics on my website, use the code again podcast, get 20% off and I'd love to see in there I'd love to see in there I'd love to see in there. I'd love.