Lately, we’ve been struggling with the eating habits of my 3-year-old picky eater. Maybe, it’s because my almost one-year-old is just experiencing all these new foods for the first time, and I am comparing his food acceptance to her pickiness; maybe it’s a little burnout; maybe it’s a little bit of my own health problems with my thyroid that I have been dealing with for the last several weeks. Whatever it is, I had hit my mommy and dietitian breaking point.
My daughter is extremely independent, and has been very capable of selecting her foods and feeding herself for quite sometime. That means when she requests a snack, she isn’t really requesting it, she is demanding it. Even when she says it with the sweetest voice, you know what is going to happen when you say no. Rather than having to tell her no all the time, which I felt like I was, I decided to try a little bit of a positive approach. She has just started being really interested in crafts and coloring and creating things that are “fridge-worthy.” Taking this into consideration, I decided to create a coloring sheet to be a fun backdrop for my little experiment. I helped her select the right color to go on the right fruit and vegetable which she colored meticulously. Then we colored strips with the names of colors on them. She knows a few letters so I explained each word to her and had her color them so she could remember which color was which word. Then I laminated the coloring sheet and the word colors sheet because I had the intention to use them over and over. (I actually might frame it to make it an even more permanent fixture). Then I attached a clothes pin to the paper (you could also use velcro strips), so we could swap out the color of the day. I hung it on the wall and we selected a color of the day which I incorporated into our dinner that evening.
As you can see she was really into coloring this printable.
Nutritionally, eating a wide variety of colors helps maximize the antioxidants and phytonutrients that these foods provide. Each color provides a unique blend. Grouping fruits and vegetables into colors is something that I do with my adult clients as well. I usually use the acronym BROG (Blue/Purple, Red, Orange, Green) to hit all the highlights. You can read more about BROGing for adults here. I decided from a color matching standpoint to increase the number of colors for this activity to 6 (Blue, Purple, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red). While ideally, she would be eating from multiple of these groups each day, we have to start somewhere.
So far, this is has been going surprisingly well, like Christmas morning well! The day after we created it, she ran excitedly into my room asking what today was, I responded, Friday. She said, no, and repeated, “what day is today?”, clearly irritated I didn’t understand her nuance. Oh, I realized, today is RED day.
If you are ready to up your picky eater game, or just want a fun activity to get the whole family involved in meal planning check out my free printable.
- Free Printable
- Crayons or Markers
- Clothes pin or velcro strips
- Laminating Sheets (optional but this will make it last much longer)