Welcome to Moms Talk, a new feature on Patch geared specifically toward busy moms (and dads!) like you.
Need help with a screaming baby? Don’t know which college to pick? Having trouble with a bully? You’re not alone. From co-sleeping to college, every mom could use a little help now and then.
We’re inviting you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for local families on the coast.
Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council will take your questions, give advice and share solutions.
Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.
Moms Talk will also be a place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. Do you know a local mom raising her children in the Tiger Mother's way? Is it the best way? Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about the Tucson shootings? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?
Meet our moms:
Genevieve Suzuki has one 2-year-old daughter. In addition to having her own law practice, she writes feature stories for Encinitas Patch. She is also the author of "The Original Poi Cats on O'ahu," a children's book published in Hawaii.
Anastacia Grenda is mom to a 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter who never fail to make her laugh every day. She is a longtime writer and editor.
Jennifer Zeglen is a mom to two imaginative girls, ages 4 and 6. She is also a local naturopathic doctor with a family medicine practice.
The question up for debate this week: How do you deal with a picky eater?
Anastacia: My daughter tends to be picky, so I try to introduce new foods in concepts that are familiar to her. For instance, she’s in a dipping phase, so I cut up vegetables to accompany her guacamole and give her hummus with her favorite pita crackers. I pair up whole-grain noodles with her favorite pasta sauce and add the blueberries she loves to yogurt.
I try to serve her small portions as well—either she eats it all and asks for more or we don’t waste a lot if it’s not a success. Of course, if I could figure out how to make all food in cookie form, my picky eating problems would be solved.
Genevieve: When it comes to picky eaters, my daughter, Quinn, really left me no choice. She had a severe intolerance to dairy until recently so we couldn’t give her milk, cheese or yogurt. To make up for it, we bought her soy, almond, and coconut milks. We also bought Soy Dream treats, soy-based yogurt and treated her to whatever fruit she liked, particularly Cuties. She actually eats better than my husband and I do!
Now that she can tolerate a little dairy, we’d like to ease her into regular milk and cheese, but so far she’s refusing it. For now, we’ve chosen to stay with her current eating habits, because we don’t believe in forcing her to eat.
She’s never had candy and doesn’t like chocolate, so her only real vice is apple juice. While we may give her more juice than we probably should, because she eats so healthily, that’s a vice I’m willing to indulge.
Jennifer: This is exasperating, but it's also such a critical thing for a family to deal with. A picky eater run amok can lead to poor nutrition for the child and a crazy mealtime routine for the parents. Sometimes a physical issue, such as food allergies or poor digestion, can play a big part. Often it has little to do with the actual food and more to do with the child asserting control.
My 4-year-old is trying to be a picky eater. I say "trying" because I can mostly stay ahead of her game. My ideas? A daily picture chart can help them track foods they eat from each food group. They need to choose a food they like from a group they haven't eaten yet before getting the thing they want (this gives them balanced nutrition and a sense of control).
Offer a mostly healthy food they like with each family meal (applesauce in our house) so they feel successful. And most importantly: Make sure they are hungry at mealtime.
Do you have a question for our Moms Council? E-mail them to editor Jennifer.Reed@patch.com!