Posts Tagged: Guest Post

Kids and Condiments

By Theresa Albert, www.myfriendinfood.com

When I am faced with parents who are desperate with a truly fussy kid I advise them to help their child find their condiment.  Choosing at least one flavour that is loved makes just about everything go down a little bit easier. Of course it isn’t the perfect way but it does unbuckle the power struggle and help get more foods into the diet when everything tastes like at least something your child loves.

Not all condiments are created equally, though, and it helps to think outside the squeeze bottle.  Most have their pluses and minuses but their key feature is that the favourite should be freely available whenever “whine” is served.

Be prepared to be creative and flexible when you take your child shopping for his or her choice. Let him choose one bottle each time to try out new flavours and try to guide toward the higher ranking options.  This can be a palate expanding expedition or a hopelessly expensive tromp through the bottled goods aisle.  If the flavours and choices grow with your child, you are on to a good thing! Condiments are not marketed to kids with licensed characters so they are less likely to be swayed by their favourite smiley face.

The best fridges are loaded with many flavours of mustard which is the condiment that is lowest in calories but high in nutritive value. All you have to do is avoid the honey mustards and mustard blends and you can’t go wrong.  Mustard is always made from mustard seed which is a high anti-oxidant spice that has anti-inflammatory properties. If it is coloured at all it is usually with trace amounts of turmeric which is another potent anti-cancer spice. Rarely made with sugar (thus the “avoid the honeyed versions” note) and only mixed with vinegar and very little salt it offer zing for a caloric pittance.

This yogurt dip is in my fridge at all times, it goes on everything from chicken to fish to carrot sticks at snack time.

Condiment Pro Con Nutritional Rank
Mustard zero calories but high nutri sharp taste

1

Applesauce best if unsweetened good dip/poor dressing

2

Honey Mustard 10-20 calories/tbsp sodium

3

BBQ sauce tomato based too much sugar

4

Ketchup more tomato per tsp high salt/sugar

5

Relish/chutney Sneaky pseudo vegetable high salt/sugar/calories

6

Dill relish lower calorie high salt

7

Bottled Salad Dressing gets veg in high cal/bad fats

8

Mayo ok if gets more nutri foods in 100 cal / tbsp

9

Cheese sauce good for cooked veg saturated fat+salt

10

If and when parents get push back about a new or particular food, it is a worthwhile technique to have up one’s sleeve.  “Go get your condiment, Jojo!” sounds and feels much better than some of the alternatives.

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a nutritionist and food communications consultant. Her Food Network show,Just One Bite! aired for 5 years on both Food Network and BBC Kids. She is currently a trusted on-camera correspondent for CTV Newschannel as well as CBC and regular health expert on the daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris which airs internationally.

Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Tweeters by Today’s Parent Magazine and one of Savvymom.ca’s 35 Favorite Bloggers, she is called for comment from every major magazine, newspaper and television outlet in Canada. She has a weekly column in the Metro Newspaper and regularly writes features for Today’s Parent, Canadian Family Magazine and blogs at Huffington Post.

Dealing With the Toddler Who Dawdles By Refusing To Make a Decision

Are you frustrated by a child who keeps you hanging while they refuse to make a decision?  We are supposed to give children choices but do we have to sit like hostages while they make up their minds?  Their indecision does not come from uncertainty, but rather from a sense of power and control they feel when they dawdle and keep you in their service.  Below is the script of what to say to ensure your child both gets the respectful opportunity to make their own choices, while also respecting your time too.

 

Day One (the current way)

Mom:  Ben, do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt today?

Ben: (No answer, ignores mom – jumping about on the bed refusing to make eye contact and fooling around)

Mom: Ben, listen to me! Ben, stop fooling around and get dressed.  Come on – which do you want? The red one or the blue one? Get off that bed this minute and come choose your clothes! (This goes on for 20 infuriating minutes.)

 

Day Two (the suggested improved way)

Mom: Would you like to choose your shirt or shall I?

Ben:  (Continues ignoring and playing)

Mom: I see you’d like me to choose, here you go – I’ve picked the blue one for you.

Ben: (Suddenly freaks out on mom): No, no, no I want the red one!

Mom: I am sorry, the time for choosing has come and gone, you can choose next time.

Ben: (Continues having a hissy fit on the floor)

Mom: I am happy to stay if you want help getting dressed, if not I’ll go start on breakfast.

Ben: (Still flailing about)

Mom:  Looks like you’re choosing to get dressed on your own. I’ll see you downstairs.  Come find me if you need help.  (Mom leaves)

 

Day Three

Mom: Ben, do you want to wear the brown pants or the blue pants today?

Ben:  (No answer, ignores mom – jumping about on the bed refusing to make eye contact and fooling around)

Mom: Would you like to choose or shall I ?

Ben:  (Remembering his mother offering him this choice yesterday and knowing now that if he doesn’t answer he is forfeiting his option of choosing for himself, Ben decides he’d rather make his own choices.) The blue pants!

 

You can adapt this to suit a variety of situations: 

Would you like grilled cheese or macaroni?  Would you like to decide or shall I?  I see you’d like me to decide, lets have macaroni.  Sorry you’re disappointed, the time for choosing has come and gone, you can try again tomorrow.

Would you like to read Flopsy Bunny or Good Night Moon? Would you like to decide or shall I? I see you’d like me to decide, let’s read Good Night Moon. Sorry you’re disappointed, the time for choosing has come and gone, you have a chance to choose again next time.

 

Give it a go and let me know if you find this improves matters by sharing your stories in the comment section.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schaffer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Why Parents Shouldn’t Force Their Kids To Say Sorry

Parents find it shocking when I give the advice “don’t force your child to say  “I’m sorry” after an incident”.  They think I am letting kids off the hook. Not true! Let me take a moment to clarify my reasons.

First, to be clear, I want your children to have good manners and develop a true sense of empathy and compassion for others. Yes,  I want them to take responsibility for their actions and to make amends when someone has been wronged. All of those pursuits are important. I am only suggesting a different means and method to arrive at that end.

When parents simply force a child with the ole’ parenting chestnut “Come on now, say you’re sorry” they invite that classic nasal and sarcastic reply “ I’m saaaawry”.

Step into the child’s mindset and emotional state. You can imagine that any empathy that they were feeling because of their wrong doing, just flew out the window as their parents put the spot light on them and their screw up, which is now on public display.   Embarrassing.

Next, you are commanded to apologize (as if you wouldn’t have capacity to do so of your own volition).  Well, its humiliating and degrading, frankly.

Why They Do It:

The child’s use of mocking tones serve to help them save face and keep a shred of dignity in the moment.

The child is saying with their behavior “I won’t be forced against my will.  You can’t make me.  You might be able to force me to say “I’m sorry”, but you can’t make me feel it – HA! I win! I defeat you!”

Sadly, it becomes a war between parent and child, a total distraction from the actual task of learning from their mistake, helping the harmed party feel better and ultimately making amends for the incidents.

The child begins to feel angry at their parents and instead of owning the responsibility for their behavior they feel the other party actually got them in trouble with their parents, so they don’t feel empathy or remorse anymore. In fact, they now feel justified and not responsible!

What to do instead?

1)   Modeling.  If you are one to say “sorry” when you err, they will mimic you.  Trust me on this one.

2)  Pause.  That’s right.  Give kids a moment to volunteer a genuine response to a situation before you jump in two guns a’blazin’.  You may well discover that your children do say they are sorry, if given a moment to compose themselves.

3)  Focus on the future:  Instead of forcing them to say sorry about the past, which they can’t change, put the focus on their commitment to do something differently in the future.  “Can you let your friend know that you won’t take his bike without asking again.”

4)   Ask your child “what should happen now?” If they broke a neighbor’s window playing ball, letting the child think for themselves of how to right the situation helps build empathy, internalizes the lesson, and generates positive feelings about rectifying the situation.    Replacing the window with their allowance and writing a letter stating it was an accident and promising to play in the park in the future feels restorative when they come up with the idea.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

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