Laura Fuentes, Author of my favorite cookbook Taco Tuesdays, mom, CEO and Instagram Star talks to us in very clear wisdom about what it takes to work with food struggles, dining table power struggles and mom fatigue.
If you think that in your home, picky eating may be more of a communication – mis-communication issue or a struggle that has less biochemistry and more behavior, this is the podcast for you!
Laura shares 3 tips about how you can manage your mindset right away:
Cook One Meal
- Stop micromanaging the eating process
- Look at nutrition as a big picture – instead of meal to meal
- I especially liked the last point. But there is a lot more wisdom here. Please listen on….
You can find Laura at www.momables.com
Find your Free Picky Eating Toolkit at www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/eatwell
Disclaimer: The information in this Podcast is for educational purposes only. Vaishnavi Sarathy, Ph.D. is an educator, not a doctor, specifically not your child’s doctor. Please consult your physician before implementing any supplement or diet recommendations.
Do you have power struggles with your child over food every day? If you think that in your home picky eating may be more of a communication, or miscommunication issue, or even a struggle that has less biochemistry and more behavior, this might be the podcast for you. Welcome back to functional nutrition and learning for kids, your podcast for all things learning, gut health, brain health, and education, especially for kids with disabilities, whether visible or invisible. I’m your host, Dr. Vaish Sarathy. And without further ado, actually, with one further ado, we will jump into the podcast since I like making sure that you always have a toolkit with you as you navigate this incredibly complex field of picky eating. Make sure you download your free guide at this link. www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/eatwell. And now with no further ado, I presenter is phenomenal guest My guest today is lot of pointers.
And she is the creator of mama balls, where she’s helped 1000s of families improve their health and wellness by establishing healthier eating habits as a family with their family Kickstart program, and her weekly meal plan. She’s the author of five cookbooks. And by the way, Laura, I was really excited. I did not know that you are the author of taco Tuesday until today. And it’s actually one of my favorite books. So I’m, I’m even more excited to meet you. Thank you. And she’s a successful entrepreneur, public speaker spokesperson, she makes regular television appearances like on today and Good Morning America.
She’s competed on Food Network and 100k plus YouTube subscribers make her an official YouTuber, at least according to her nine year old. Right. So she is bilingual. She’s born. She was born and raised in Spain and currently lives outside of New Orleans with her husband and three kids. In our spare time Laura reads, sleeps and works out and what she loves most is taking her family on travel adventures. Well welcome, Laura.
I always like so excited to be here.
Me too. And like I said, my excitement definitely doubled when I when I was, I mean, I was looking forward because I really like your Instagram channel, and I follow you on Instagram. But when I learned you are the author of taco Tuesday, I love tacos. I’d been looking for a good book. And then I actually when I found Taco Tuesday, I think I still have it on my shelf for occasional looking up. Whenever we come to tacos, but I’m so happy you’re here. Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what it is.
So I was born and raised in Spain, and I came to United States in my teens. And I really experienced that food culture shock from you know, coming from, from Europe and living with my grandparents where everything was pretty much like homemade. The food that we ate was, that’s what we had, and to America with so many choices and options. And, you know, I came, my mom and I and my mom was a single parent. So she really taught me how to just be present and stretch. You know, she worked a lot. So when we were together at mealtimes at night, usually every night, we didn’t miss a meal together. That was just something that she always established with me. It’s almost like our Spanish culture, but it was just us two. And then I, I feel like I’ve carried that into a lot of my work at today, which that’s why I share that with you.
now I live outside of New Orleans, long road trip to brought me here for my master’s degree. And that’s where I met my husband 20 years ago, and I have three kids. And when you have three kids, they’re all very different. I always share with my audience that, you know, my family does not look like that Instagram perfect foodie family where we have access to, you know, farmers markets and my eat my kids eat a rainbow of food and all these things like I live outside of a city in the suburbs, I have to drive 20 minutes to a grocery store. So I really have to be very calculated in thought I’d have to think about what it is I’m going to feed my family every week. And you know, I also have struggled with three different kids with a lot of picky eating at home. And so much so that, you know, it really brought out the worst in me as a parent. So when parents email me in my community that they’re struggling with picky eating, and we all feel so alone and like this is I’m the only one with this problem or this in particular.
I always am really reassuring to tell them that picky eating and feeding our families is really like a journey because there is no handbook to do this the right way because we’re all human and different techniques and different approaches work differently for every person, every family and every child right? And so when I was really in thick and thin have a really hard picky eating issues with my middle son who also happened to have, you know, other like, he was underweight pediatrician continuously asked like, we this is what we need to do now thinking yeah, sure, but how do I get him to actually eat that right? So I really, it was really a tough period of time in his growing years because every time I did a doctor visit, I was reminded, or at least I felt like I really wasn’t doing a good job because my child wouldn’t eat, right.
And she would assure me that it was a phase. And it was not a phase. Because four years later, I was like I struggling. So I that began my journey of working with specialists and going to weekly therapy, to be a better parent, and learn how to communicate and create a positive environment at the table with my family, because I was not very positive. And I had a lot to learn. And so now all that, like I said, that journey to things are not perfect. My kids still don’t eat everything. But it is such a better mealtime environment, there are no fights, yes, there are a little older, but there are no fights, nobody complains out loud, because I have expressed that when they complain about the food that I make the efforts that I do, it doesn’t make me feel good. So we’re all it has been a journey that I’m so happy to share some of those tips and the things that we’ve tried that have been most successful with your audience, because I can really empathize with wanting to eat healthier, and your family not being on board all the time.
Well said, and one of the things that you reminded me of right now is that I don’t often talk about how stressful you know, being the parent of a child who’s a picky eater is because, you know, I think it might be one of the most intense stresses, I mean, I, we, we have children that have various degrees of disabilities, and oftentimes that we under, we underestimate as a society. Just the fact that I mean, we just think all children are picky eaters. But when children are actually kind of a little bit far along on that spectrum of picky eating, it can be one of the most stressful events for the person that is preparing the food.
I know that even when one dish of mine gets rejected, I feel it. So personally, I you know, I’m I’m close and personally close to a tantrum to tears to everything. Can you can you share a little bit more if you feel comfortable about how you know about the about the actual process of when you discovered your child was a picky eater? And what you did to address that?
Yes, so like I mentioned a little bit each time I went for, you know, when our kids are young, we go to the pediatrician quite often. And so, and the weigh ins and the heights, you know, genetically my children are in the lean side, his dad was very lean when he was a child, like, you know, it’s just how they’re built. But so I would remind that the pediatrician just like, yes, but he’s still in the five to 10 percentile. So I really need you to like feed them fruits and vegetables and, and I’m thinking to myself,
I am really trying, right, and that’s easy to say, right?
Yeah, it’s really easy to say and I know they’re doing their job and in a caring way, right? It was no means like, Hey, you’re not doing a good job. It was like well, you know, I’m really worried because he hasn’t grown or you know, just or the acid reflux wouldn’t stop or and I would express like he really only he’s very picky. Well, how many foods are see eat. So that’s really important when we get to distinguish the my child’s a picky eater or their selective eater. So because I have one kid who is a selective eater, he likes a certain types of foods, but he eats a variety, you know, he’s list 30 things 40 Things when he was younger, okay, and I thought he was these selective, but the pickier eater he really only ate about nine to 10 foods, right? And, and if you think well, I guess that’s really not a lot, right.
So what that really tells me is that my child was not only being really picky, right? But then I paid attention to the types of foods that he was eating, and we were also struggling with digestive issues. So he was constantly constipated constantly. He would say My stomach hurts. I’m full and I will look at it. I’m like, you ate two bites, how can you be full? Right? So it wasn’t a beat intuitive. You know? Like, there’s a thing about we are supposed to allow our kids to just discover when they’re full and learn their state when they’re satiated.
They’ve had enough but when your child really you’ve observed all day that has not been enough and they’re eating only two bites, that the only thing that he could say at three, three and a half was on full weigh in, because that’s what he knew, but really What he was really saying is non verbally as my stomach hurts, you know, when our kids are really young, they don’t know how to express it. So it’s really important to observe those physical cues, what’s happening with their bowel movements. And then little by little, I kind of puzzled it together. And I said it to my pediatrician, Hey, these are the things that are happening. I would read a lot because this is before the internet and like, that we have today.
So this is 2008. So I read a lot of books I, I sought, professional help. And little by little we discovered you know what, it’s not just a number of foods. He’s really he didn’t like certain textures. He a no meat, no protein, because he didn’t like how he said as I choose funny, right? So that’s another cue that I, but it really was about paying attention. But of course, I’m being very kind as I explained this to you, but I was very frustrated in the process, right? Like, how can my child not eat like, what am I doing wrong? I had like mixed feelings, like dinner was really frustrating. And the more I pushed, the more he cried, the worse I became, right, I fought with my husband about this. Because, like, I it all came down to I felt inadequate, because like, How can I don’t know how to feed my child, but it was really about observing the cues. And then the last straw really was, you know, he, when I went to a birthday party, and he had to go to the bathroom.
Since he was always constipated, I noticed once like, a lot of blood in his stool. And I’m not talking about like, the stool was red. It’s just like, so I nearly just passed, he almost passed out just from looking at it. And he was three and a half. But I was like scared to death, right? I’m at a birthday party. And I’m like, What do I do now. So that really was the tipping point of observation going like, okay, it could not be more clear that something is happening. And at the end of the day, my child was chronically constipated for because he ate the same foods all the time, right? It was like a lot of dairy, a lot of grain. So like pasta, a lot of white foods, which is very typical, right, but it was the foods that he had deemed safe. So that really was a tipping point in our journey. And when that happens to you with an almost four year old, that really scares you as a parent. So really, you just take action, and I was like, I could not do this alone. I have to get help to learn how to transition my child from the nine things into more. Right?
Like you said, that’s a vicious cycle, right? If you don’t feel you’re eating very less food so that you’re not feeling good. And you’re when there’s inflammation in your stomach. When there’s constipation, you can’t really eat anything. And I think you brought in one really important point that picky eating is often viewed in our culture as a behavioral issue when it’s really a very biochemical issue. But it just kind of manifests it looks like it’s a child deciding not to eat, which is, which is as far away from the case as possible. Eating is uncomfortable process.
Right. So like my case is sort of extreme, but I share it with you because a lot of parents when they think their child is picky, they’re just being very selective about the food is the age where kids are really just establishing that independence. They want to say no to things they want, like mealtimes is the only time that our kids get to decide about anything, right? We we buy the food, we buy their clothes, we buy their toys, we take them to playdates, right? Like we are making all the decisions for them. We tell them when it’s bedtime, we tell them when it’s bad time. So when they sit at the table, and they have food in front of them, this is the time where they can go hey, no, I’m gonna say no. And that and you’re going to I’m not going to do it.So a lot of it is like a power struggle that is happening or they’re just asserting yes and knows. Right.
I think that the although they’re not I honestly like after speaking with professionals is like really 90% of the what we think is picky eating his children really saying I don’t like that, right? Or this is this is this looks scary. They don’t know how to communicate it. So broccoli looks scary. It looks really intimidating. I don’t like the texture, or but they don’t. They’re not telling us all of these things are just saying no, they’re saying no to the color green, white because they’ve learned that things are green. They they feel funny, right? Or maybe it’s not cooked the right way. But they can just all it’s easier for them to say no, I don’t like that. So we are constantly fighting with the how do I introduce new foods when they don’t like green or they don’t like vegetables are they don’t like XY and Z right? So it’s there’s the 10% of kids who and parents of us who are struggling with the clinical side, you know, there’s an underlying issue and Then there’s a 90%, who is really just we need to learn how like my therapist told me, Laura, you need to parent and be the parent at the table. And I was like, what? But I am, you know. But that’s a lot about the behavior at the table as opposed to the physical underlying issue.
How long did it take before there’s a few questions, I want to ask you about how you bring nutrition to, you know, how you make sure that family meals, what are the tips that you have to make sure the entire family can eat together? But before that, there’s a question that I often get that how long does it take? So I’m specifically talking about about your kid who was a, you know, an extremely, I generally don’t like to use the term picky eater, because when some of the older people, the adults that I’ve worked with have said that they were never picky, it was just that there was there were self restricting their food to kind of it was an avoidance tactic to kind of save themselves the trauma of whatever the eating process was. So I’m going to put picky in quotes. We’ll use that term anyway. Because that’s a term that’s familiar to most people piggy or self selected eating. How long did it take for for you to get over the hump to a place that you were comfortable with?
Yeah, so I will tell you that it took a few weeks and a few months. So the reason I say that is because it took a few weeks for me to learn to translate the visual cues into action. And then it took a really a few months for it to become automatic, right? Where I was no, like, even I was programmed to jump on, like, What do you mean, you don’t like that, but I made it the way you like it, right. So it really took a couple of months to unprogrammed the behavior that we had been doing at the table for a while. And it took a lot, mostly on my part, right? Because I can’t control a four year old, or a five year old, it’s a lot easier to control us as adults. So it really took a while for me to go. Okay, once I make the food, I That’s it. Like I did my job, I’m going to put up a table, it also instead of focusing on the food, I shifted to focusing on conversation, or everything else other than the food, right? So it also took a little bit of planning on my part, right? Like, beforehand, I in order to not fight and avoid that discomfort for my child, I would make him something else, right. But now it took a bit of planning for me to go, Okay, I’m only going to make one meal one recipe for the whole family.
It has to be one element that every person will eat, right? So it’s easy when you only have one, but it’s a lot tougher when you have three kids. But now the rule of thumb in my family is I make one meal, and you can pick from what’s served or what’s out there. And that’s it. Right? Because I’m not cooking something else. We’re not heating up, like a different food option. We’re not cooking anything. And so now I’ve put the responsibility on them to pick from what’s at the table, right. So when they’re younger, you pretty much says, This is what we have to eat. And you can pick whatever you like. There were days that my son would only eat rice. And that I had to learn that that was okay. Right? There were days. So a lot of it was me not. But what about the protein? what about this? what about that? It was a lot like I was so like, you just have to look at nutrition as the big picture. Because if you look at it from a meal to meal, you’ll run yourself crazy. Right? Right, your your kid will have more protein in the morning with their milk, probably. And then they’ll have more carbs in the middle of the day when they’re running around and playing.
Like I really had to trust that process. And stop micromanaging the meals, I had to take a step back and go okay, I’m going to look at this from a bigger picture, like the whole week. And that was really framed for me, and I’m pretty sure it was also really framed for my child. So absolutely. It was in a few weeks, I learned those very essential, the mindset that I had to have, but then it really took a couple of months to really, you know, be more chill about the whole situation because I had to unprogrammed my entire family.
Can you give us I find that really interesting that just one meal and that’s fabulous. Right? That’s great. That’s exactly how it should be. Can you give us an example of a meal that would normally work for your family? Or not works but
Right. Yeah, so a lot of for example, and I will go back to tell you about the texture situation but like last night, but I’m just gonna bring last nice example. I made for dinner was I filmed a recipe that was a chicken stew. And the chicken stew is all in one pot. This is for many family like the one pot meals or the everything’s mixed. This is like the biggest obstacle to the one meal situation. We parents that are cooking, we love the one pot things because it’s like, okay, less to clean and everything is in one thing. But actually, it’s for food averse kids, it is their worst nightmare. Including my three, right? So I know that my two sons cannot handle peas. They just detest them. But you know, I had already made this recipe. Normally if I make it for my family, I may omit it. But I was filming. So I did not omit I follow the recipe to a tee and just stuck with it. And so when I served and when I serve my sons, I said, Hey, I tried to not put peas on your bowl. But if one snuck in there, you’re just going to have to take it out or leave it on the side.
So you just scoop out the part of the stupid out
When I when now my teenager he served this my problematic my extreme God boy, right? Like he’s now 1314. So I said to him, hey, when you serve yourself, the peas are in there. Sorry, but but like, just leave out what you don’t like, most of the time. Now, I don’t even have to verbally say that. Right? But they know that they have permission to just not pick what they want, right? Like the food is made. Now I have another one that has the severe texture issues still. And funny thing is he does not like soft potatoes. He likes them. Like in this too. The potatoes are just not. It’s not a thing, right? Like it just feels mushy. Mashed potatoes are not good for him either. Like there’s a like that kind of texture. And so now that I know about using texture as a way of introduction of nutrition, I basically scooped out the potatoes from the soup bowl, and then I put them in the blender real quick, and mixed it back in.
So that now the soup was the stew was really thick. It had the nutrition. He knew that were in there, he saw me do it. But he knows he doesn’t like it. So it’s a place of meeting him halfway. And so it takes took, you know, one extra step. But he I do know that he eats potatoes in different forms, right? We can tell our kids that French fries are potatoes until there’s no tomorrow but for them it’s like that’s mashed potatoes and French fries are two different foods. Right? So um, so the experience really goes is like, Hey guys, I made this is what we’re having for dinner. There may be things in it you don’t like you’re free to leave them out. And so what do you know, actually, my youngest, who is very averse like the potato kid, he ate a couple of hate the peas in the soup.
He was like, You know what? You know what, when they’re in here, they’re not so bad. I do not like them on the side. But they’re not so bad in here. Right. So that is my cue that he will take some of the things that I think he doesn’t like cooked differently. Right. So when I talk to the parents in my community, I tell them hey, I know your child may not like peas, but they may What is it about peas they don’t like is for us to find out. And then how can we change the texture or the look or the flavor? What it’s cooked in, right? So now all of a sudden, they’re not really peas, right? They’re just in the soup, they’re part of the soup? Or maybe they do like them on the side? Or maybe they like them roasted. But we often fail to try because we’re so emotionally invested in the food we don’t want to be let down. Right? So the one pot things is an example of things that do not go over well at my house at all. Okay, I like the soup last night but there’s a lot because
It’s harder to pick things out and it’s it’s harder to separate what you like and what you don’t like.
yeah, but like skillet dishes, anything that has like rice on the side or even you know, you will put rice at the bottom and then like chicken and vegetables or whatnot. Even if the chicken and vegetables are mixed like a sotae in the same pan that gives them the opportunity to just leave the vegetables they don’t like right? I’m in my house with one of my kids steamed goes over better than roasted she says that things that are roasted don’t they taste charcoal, they taste funny to her so she doesn’t eat roasted vegetables but she’ll eat vegetables in fried rice in on the side on the earth with with you know beef and broccoli but she won’t eat roasted broccoli. And so that’s just something that I know through cooking it in different ways and
This is one of trial and error, and
The key here, if you’re listening, is cook the recipes cook what you love Like, cook what you and your spouse or your partner likes at home and allow your kids to say yes or no to what you cooked in, if they don’t like it, that’s okay. Because when we go out to eat, we don’t always like everything that the restaurant has to offer. So just cook it.
I think we, a lot of the moms, or the dads that are listening to the podcast, at least right now probably come from a generation where food was held in a very different light. So it’s it’s very traumatic to waste food to to have food not like because when I was growing up, there was obviously no such thing, right? My my parents won’t let me waste one grain of rice. I mean, that that that wasn’t, I wasn’t even an option. It was, it was terrible shame to rice. It’s like, How many kids do you think are starving in the world? Right? So that kind of thing. Many of us have grown up with that thing. And we realize that the world is very different now. And what you’re telling me is that in order to not be not step into the trauma yourself, you need to be in a state of like a detective. So you you are a food detective that’s constantly trying to not figure out but experimenting, perhaps in a state of hopefully in a state of dispassion, joy, whatever you may call it, but not feverishly.
Yeah, just, it’s really about paying attention, right. And I’m not saying that parents don’t pay attention, but because by the time we get to the this is the most problematic thing. Of course, kids can be very selective on what they like for lunch, and what they do, you know, but the most, we all have heard, I’m sure you too, that like dinner time is just so problematic. And the reason is, is because it’s the end, we have to give ourselves a little bit more grace, we have to give our kids a little bit more grace, because it is the end of a long day for everybody. Right? And so and we just have such high expectations, right? We place begin oftentimes, it’s because it’s the only meal that we really get to have together. And so we wanted to have a vegetable, we wanted to have like the perfect food plate or the pyramid like no, like, it’s okay that it doesn’t have all the elements.
if we just take a step back and look at it for big picture, right. But we put so much pressure on dinner, both on ourselves to make something that our family will eat, and on our children, right. And so it really is a lose lose for everybody. So my biggest thing is I the one of the reasons meal planning works so well for families is that, you know, you can just say, This is what the plan has for today, let’s give it a go. Right? It helps it actually defers the, the responsibility of like, I picked it as a parent, I chose the foods and all this stuff into, you know, some of the parents, my community say that when they use our meal plans, for example, they’re like, Miss Laura, pick this up. This is what she picked, and we’re going to give it a go. And I have a couple families that they’ve been subscribed for years. And they send me emails once a week, their kids, here’s, here’s Mary, Kate’s feedback, she said next time, please Like she’ll take note or they’ll send me messages, right saying like, because it takes the pressure out of the parent, or you or when you write a plan, you know, this is what the plan, it’s now it’s a third person.
It’s not this is what I just decided tonight. It’s this is the plan for the week. So it it removes it from internalizing the mom pick this or dad decided to this is what’s been decided, right? It’s just right there in the pandemic. We have to wear masks now because mom said so but because, you know, it was mandated. And so we just we complied. So we’re not it’s just kind of like that with food. You can do that, to release that pressure of mom. Well, now it’s a battle against mom. No, I tell parents blame it on me or blame it on the plan, right like read a plan for five minutes. And then when you create a plan, it also helps you look at it big picture, as opposed to a meal to meal. If you’re struggling with picky eating, or even or eating healthier, really creating a plan that goes okay, well maybe this night is not super veggie-heavy, but it really is protein-rich. And look, it’s lean and whatever. I’m going to try this in tomorrow.
Look at this, I’m actually trying this chili recipe where the veggies are chopped up, they’re real small. And so that kind of gives the opportunity to try and incorporate more veggies in this method. And then the next time maybe we’ll try it roasted and then so when you create a plan or subscribe to a plan, you really look at things from a bigger like week to week as opposed to meal by meal and so and it’s really really freeing so be there if you are struggling. That will be my biggest piece of advice is to step back from the meal to meal fight to take 10 minutes or use one of the marbles meal plans to kind of take a look at nutrition as a as a whole Right.
And I was going to ask you is how can families incorporate more nutrition into the into the entire family’s meal plan? And I think you’ve already given us a few answers. Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about? What what is the first thing that comes to your mind when we talk about making your family’s meal more nutritious? Yes. So if you’re just starting out and you find yourself buying the same groceries every week, I would actually look at my family and go, no matter how old your family is, and say, Hey, I need two different vegetables to buy this week. So let them tell you what veggies they want for the week, right? And then we’re going to I said, I promise you, I’m not going to steam them, I’m going to figure out a way that you’re going to, to make these tastes good, right? Or, if last week you bought apples, we just get in such a rut of buying the same things.
So one way is like, hey, last week, we bought apples, apple slices and grapes for snack times. Or for afternoons. If you put something new in the afternoon, I’m like my family. What should I buy this week? For afternoon? Fruit? Oh, Apple, the apples are fine. No, no, we had that last week. I need another one. Right? It’s almost like, I don’t know. Okay, that’s Yes, I know. Of course, we might have some apples, of course. But like, what is the thing that we can try this week? Right. So I asked them for feedback. And that’s really been helpful.
The other thing is outside of dinner, the last thing is lunch, right. So we also make the same lunches often because that’s what our kids will eat. And so that’s what the that’s with a mentality of, I just want them to eat something anything. I’m going to make what they will eat. So I’m going to dictate what it is, right? So what I was told to do is ask my child, hey, what kinds of things are your friends eating at school? What kinds of lunches are they bringing? What? So they would tell me like, oh, so and so brought this. And so like, instead of asking my child, like, what do you think about the food I pack for you everyday? Or did you eat your lunch? That’s kind of like very pointing a finger. Because, you know, as I open the lunch, and if it was uneaten, I’d be like, Hey, I see that there’s some leftover that it Ah, did your friends have something that was more appetizing? Right? Like, did you not eat because you stole a bite of somebody? But no, like? Or did you know I was I just chatted most of the lunch.
I’m like, Okay, well, what, what did you like, when you ask what their friends are eating it, they start, maybe they didn’t notice the first couple of times, but they start telling you because then you’re like, oh, maybe I should buy that for you. Maybe I should make that for you. Right? Like, I have gotten my kids to try vegetables and fruits that they would never try at home. Just because their friend had that. And I’m like, so a lot of it is just asking, and honestly, it’s not.
It’s just having a conversation, right? Instead of asking about how was your day, ask about their friend. What did they pack? Was they talk about? Was there something exciting? What was the conversation at the lunch table like that they get to go play? Because a lot of the those are like those who will tell you cues are they going to be more hungry, right? Like if they barely, I barely had time to eat because I went to the bathroom. So I only had five minutes at the lunch table. And then I went straight to recess. I’m like, oh, that tells me my kid was very active, right? And he didn’t have time to eat. So he’s definitely gonna need a bigger snack when we get home. Right? Without asking them? Are you hungry? Do you want this? So ask questions and ask what their friends are eating. So you can say hell, maybe I could make that for you.
What I’m hearing is that with, with everything you’ve been sharing, you’re building more mindfulness and intentionality, not just in yourself, but in your kids too. So now they’re looking at food, regardless of what if they’re eating or not. They’re curious about food, they’re making decisions about food. And, and hopefully, they’re expanding their repertoire of food whenever that happens, right?
So but it’s about making them observe that the 10 foods that they eat are not the only foods that the world eats, right? It’s about because kids really do learn through social pressure through observation, through they’re less hesitant to try things if their friends are doing. We all know this about teenagers but with younger kids, it also applies to food, right? And so when we and most importantly, when we ask them questions, like there are open-ended about their friends and what’s happening, it’s it no longer becomes questions that are judgy.
Like, how was your day? Oh, my days are late, or why didn’t you eat your lunch? Like that’s really, that puts some shame or blame as if they did something wrong. Instead of like, oh, How was lunch that did you guys get to play? Did you talk to somebody interesting. And then it shows your kids it builds that relationship where they also there’s a lot of things I learned in therapy, but it’s It also takes the pressure out of the food, and why they didn’t eat into an interest in their day and interest. And kids, our kids just want to know, they want to know that we’re interested in them. when they’re really young. That’s how they call attention at the table. And as they grow, and they can communicate, they, they given the opportunity, they’ll share some of those things, but it takes open ended questions in taking the shame and blame out of food to discover those things.
Absolutely. Well said, thank you for all your, you know, wonderful tips and want to also thank you for Taco Tuesday, but your books,
I came out of necessity because okay, I wanted Tacos. Tacos are a great vessel of building a meal for kids. Absolutely, so I was like, people are like, Oh, you must be taco obsessed. I’m like, No, but tacos are something that you build. It’s an interactive food. And if you saw in the book, there’s 52 recipes, one for every day, over to sale them of the year. But it’s similar ingredients in different ways, combined differently, and they can build it, they can leave out something they don’t like they can choose just the meat. So that was a lot of trial and error. And it’s a fun book. But there’s also some thought into Hey, this is why because my kids really enjoyed building their meal.
That’s interesting to know. Where can where can parents find you or work with you?
Yeah, so the big the best hub for you is to go to mama bulls.com to put this on the show notes. And that really, if you’re just wanting to start, get letting somebody plan your food to help you introduce family friendly meals in a different light, or the Bible’s meal plans can help you do that we, you know, work with the same 50 ingredients, we face them differently, you’ll never notice. But that’s our way of the reintroduction in a different way of ingredients, adding variety. So Mama was calm, and the meal plans are really a great start for that. And then of course, on social media ad mama balls or Laura Fuentes is you can find me there.
Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time. Lord, I was wonderful talking to you.
I really enjoyed Laura’s focus on awareness and observation of food. And a couple of quotes from my favorite teacher, take no time come to mind. I quote, spend time with your food. Every minute of your meal should be happy. Not many people have the time and the opportunity to sit down and enjoy me like that. We are very fortunate. Another quote goes eating is not only nourishing for the body, but also for the mind. Coming back to Laura’s talk. I also love how Laura brings the focus back not just to the child but also to the parent when she talks about stress free meal prep, keeping this idea of being stress free. I hope you find value in the picky eating toolkit that is free at www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/eatwell. Well, and I hope you and your family eat very well for the rest of this year and beyond. I can’t wait to meet you again next week with a brand new podcast. Bye.