Two years ago I was lucky enough to have Karen Le Billon guest blog about her experience in France, which led her to write her first book, “French Kids Eat Everything.” This time around I jumped at an opportunity to read her latest book, “Getting to Yum: The 7 Secrets to Raising Eager Eaters.” It’s no secret that I’m a fan of cookbooks. But “Getting to Yum” is not just a cookbook for families. It’s a guide for parents who have been trying without success to get their “picky” eaters to eat more veggies and even fruits.
The first half of this book is devoted to hundreds of tips and strategies for the desperate parent. Karen’s suggestions are simple and easy to follow. I’m lucky to have two boys who do not fight me at mealtime. I follow many of her tips already. For example, I never made two meals at dinnertime (as in one for my son, Charlie, and one for my husband and me). He has always known that he has to eat what is served.
More recently though I have made an exception with leftovers. Charlie just is not a fan of leftovers of even his favorite foods. So sometimes I will fry him an egg instead of whatever day-old protein I offered. But he can never get out of eating something the first time it’s served. Or he goes to bed hungry. Luckily for him, I never had to worry about his weight. My second son is underweight by the charts. He looks great and all other measures are well in the average range, but the doctor has said that little Daniel needs to be on the “butter and burger” diet to get fatter. Daniel is 18 months old and is a fantastic eater (knock on wood). But whenever he gets sick, he stops eating and this spring we’ve had some illnesses. Because of his size, I have to always make sure that he eats at every mealtime and I offer snacks pretty much constantly. When and if he does hit a “picky” stage, I’m going to have to cater to him, but he does have a medical excuse. I’m lucky though because I can and do use Charlie as a “model” when I introduce a new food and it seems to help.
As a speech-language pathologist, I’ve taken infant feeding disorders so I’m aware of the serious side of a reluctance to eat. I would offer that if your child is eating only 10 or 20 foods, you should seek professional medical assistance. I believe that is beyond the label of “picky” and is most definitely in the disordered range. In graduate school I worked in a clinic that offered feeding therapy. I’m not trained in feeding therapy, but when I was able to observe it, I saw amazing changes in kids’ willingness to try and experiment with new textures and food groups.
Karen Le Billon organized the second half of the book into recipes by veggie, fruit, dessert, and then basic recipes for parents to know and prepare. It’s clever and very useful. This book is made to save parents from their children’s food whims, but it will also save dinner! Not to mention it might get your family out of a rut! If you are struggling with a “picky” eater (or two) and there are no medical conditions involved, “Getting to Yum” is designed for you! It’s quite perfect, in fact. I hate to do it, but I’m giving away my copy of the book. Please leave a comment at the end of this post if you would like to be entered in the giveaway. I will choose a random number two weeks from now on June 10th. Good luck!