Do you have a child who doesn’t seem to eat at all!  No matter what you serve? (Except sweets and treats of course.)

A lot of people have this problem, and the solution is entirely counter-intuitive: give your child less food.

I’m not suggesting that you starve your kid, or play some version of chicken where you call her bluff about how much food she really needs.  But some children will eat more when presented with less.

Most parents try to solve the situation by “fixing” the food — they search for recipes that are appealing and present food in shapes that are enticing – when the problem is rarely located there. 

Change how you interact with your child around food and you’ll change how much she eats.

Note: Some kids have difficulty chewing or swallowing. If you suspect this is a problem, have your child evaluated.  (Click for more info.)

Why does less work? It depends on why your child eats this way.

  • Some kids get overwhelmed by the sheer task of eating.
  • Other kids are embroiled in a control struggle.
  • Still others just aren’t that hungry.

How’s this for less-is-more?  One reader recently reversed a pattern of non-eating by giving her daughter the following kinds of meals:

  • 3 raisins, 1 tsp of oatmeal and 3 really small triangles of corn bread
  • 3 yellow raisins, 2 oyster crackers, 2 goldfish and 3 bites of a chicken nugget
  • 3 small pieces of muffin, 3 pieces of peach, ½ baby teaspoon of pineapple and 3 more pieces of a chicken nugget

Change won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Two months later, this mom writes that her daughter is …

“doing MUCH better. Her overall volume of eating has increased. I am slowly weaning her from all the sweets- and she is eating more fruits and other foods. The strategy of giving her a plate with like “nothing” on it really seemed to break her cycle of not eating.’ 

Try a big plate and a small portion.  If your child remarks upon the change, tell her that she doesn’t seem to want more food but that she can always ask for more if she’s hungry.

And then imagine how good it will feel the first time  you hear the words, “more please.”

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~