I was working on a printed version of my blank Mix & Match Meal Chart to give to some parenting groups here in Colorado, and I was writing up a list of ways to use the blank chart when I came up with a new one!
You see, one of the worst things we can do when working with a picky eater is to reward them with food—telling the kiddo he can have a cookie if he eats his broccoli, for example. It teaches that the cookie is desirable and the broccoli isn’t, which is almost exactly the opposite of what we want to teach. (I mean, we’d all love it if our kiddos desired broccoli over cookies, right?)
But when getting kids to even try new foods is a challenge, sometimes a reward is in order. Coming up with non-food rewards can be super-tricky, though.
So I thought, why not use the blank Mix & Match Meal Chart as a reward chart for your picky eater?
Here’s what I’m thinking:
Fill in the chart with foods you’d like your kiddo to try in all the different categories. With older kids, I would definitely suggest including them in the process of selecting the foods they will try—they’ll be much happier to taste new foods if they had a hand in picking them.
Then, any time they willingly taste a new food from the chart, reward them with a sticker in that square.
You might offer a reward like a toy or an outing (or even money for older kids) when they get a certain number of stickers, when they get a straight line across or down (think BINGO!) or when they fill up the whole chart.
Be sure to agree ahead of time on what constitutes a “willing taste”—do they have to eat a whole portion, a certain number of bites or just a single taste? Do they have to swallow it? This will depend on where you are with your picky eater and HOW picky they are. If you’re just starting out with a very picky eater, I would suggest rewarding for even a single taste, even if they don’t swallow it. In that case, you might negotiate that they need to taste each food a certain number of times before they get more than a sticker. 😉
If you’re interested in trying this out with the Deluxe Mix & Match Meal Kit, which is already filled out for you with five weeks of new foods to try, or with the Autumn Mix & Match Meal Kit, which focuses on seasonal foods, I’d like to offer you a discount! Just enter the code REWARD at checkout for 15% off either chart!
What do you think? Is this something you would try with your kids? Is it something that might work at your house? Let me know in the comments below!
And if you haven’t gotten your FREE blank Mix & Match Meal Chart yet, just enter your email address below to get it!