One of the only five reasons kids misbehave is physical needs. When our kids are tired, dehydrated, or not getting the nutrition they need, their brains won’t have the fuel they need to make good decisions.
The tricky thing about helping our kids get the proper nutrition is that we can find ourselves in a control battle. After all, you can’t force your child to eat what you want them to.
Here are a couple of tried and true ways you can prioritize nutrition without creating control battles:
Take what your child is already eating and boost the nutrition. Does anybody remember the Sneaky Chef? If they’ll only eat Spaghettios, add a tablespoon of carrot baby food into the can before serving. When you make brownies, you can add purees of blueberries, spinach, and/or black beans. This one can kinda be gross, but puree free-range chicken livers or grass-fed beef livers. Freeze in ice cube trays and pop a cube or two into the pan whenever you’re cooking ground meat for tacos or meat sauce. Protein powders hide well in milkshakes and smoothies. And fiber powders hide well in oatmeal, cookies, and pancakes.
Give Choices and Shared Control
It seems counterintuitive, but your child will be more likely to try new things if you flex some of your mealtime rules. Ellen Satter outlines a suggested division of responsibilities on her website. One parent reported, “My son is cautious in all things, and offering him new foods wasn’t much fun at first. If I am careful not to push him, however, I have found he ever so slowly pushes himself along to learn to like new foods. He is so proud when he tries something new!”
Even if your child ate the recommended food pyramid at every meal, they’d still benefit from a whole-food supplement. Current soil conditions and modern eating habits make it almost impossible to get all the micronutrients needed just through food. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about supplements and a lot of contradicting advice about what’s good for our kids, and us.