[00:00:12] Speaker A: Welcome to Carpool Q and a podcast for Empowered to Connect, where we talk about one topic, one thing, one question that we've been getting asked or that we have ourselves. These podcasts are not our long form interviews that you'll find on Tuesdays on our feed. This is just a conversation to help get you from point A to point B, maybe when you're dropping off at sports practice or dropping off at school or heading to pick up from rehearsals or whatever. So with all that I said, every week, one person in our circle of Tana Odinger, Beckham McKay, or myself bring a question that the others have no idea is coming. And then we just talk about it together for a little bit. So today, Becca, you're up and you're going to share a question you've got and then we'll talk about it.
[00:00:57] Speaker B: Okay? My question today comes from my grandmother, who had a phrase that she always used, which was, I won't abide picky Eaters.
[00:01:08] Speaker C: So my question is.
[00:01:11] Speaker B: My question is, what do you guys do with picky eaters? How have you guys handled that?
It can be a big thing for some families like mine. And so I'm curious. Yeah, what could we think about? What could we do to support kids in trying different kinds of foods?
[00:01:30] Speaker C: I love that we brought Grandmother into the conversation.
[00:01:33] Speaker B: Grandmother. Do not call her grandma or me grandmother. Carlton.
[00:01:38] Speaker C: I do not abide picky Eaters. Picky eaters. Like, I'm not making any sort of adjustments.
[00:01:47] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah.
[00:01:49] Speaker C: Right. Man, oh, man. Okay, so this sounds like my. Now, we called her granny. We called her, um.
Okay, I think you just came up to my house and asked the question, JD, what do you. I'm feeling feelings. What do you. Let's do a little feeling and then we can get into it.
[00:02:08] Speaker A: Well, OK. In the effort to just keep it real first and then try to give some answers, where this conversation has been tough for us is, I think it is real easy as a parent when you get into this world to know that there can be with trauma, with sensory issues, with all that comes with adverse childhood experiences. There can be some like, and I'll use the layman terms that I think of to help me to understand some cold, mechanical, under the surface, not intentional food stuff that comes.
And then there can also just be some personality pickiness where kids can get over it but don't want to for whatever reason. So that's where we have struggled sometimes, is in identifying those things and being like, all right, is this like some sensory stuff, like something deeper, or is this like, I just really want cinnamon toast crunch for dinner, which, I mean, who amongst us?
So, that being said, I feel like where we have found our groove is the sentence that we will use and qualify that we don't currently have any huge under the surface food issues that are happening. So this is not a prescription for everybody listening. This is for the Wilson family. Like, what has worked is, hey, you got to try it. Like, if we're going to have something for dinner, you have to at least try it once. If you don't like it, you hate it. No big deal. We'll figure out something else that's going to help you to build your body the right way and be nutritional. But it's not a free pass for ice cream for dinner. It's not a free pass for, like, just go get candy or whatever. We're still going to be mindful that we're helping to build our bodies when we eat. And so you got to try it once. And once you try it once and don't like it, no big deal.
That's kind of as far as we've had to go. And then within that, I mean, there's some battles, obviously, but that's been our approach to this point.
[00:04:18] Speaker C: I just took about three pages of notes.
Okay, so food is a thing, and it can be a thing in so many families, and unfortunately, it can be a place where relationship breaks down.
So I don't mean to take our little carpal Q A and go like, Tana just deflated the balloon. I don't want to do that. But I do want us to think about that food. What? You're right. It builds the is there's a role that nutrition plays that I never want to undersell, that when I start advocating for a different way to think about food, I want to say, we know that healthy nutrition is a part of whole person well being.
We know that's true.
And then there can be this place where we totally lose our kids along the way, where nutrition trumps, like, relationship and respecting their personhood and understanding, or seeing them with eyes of compassion.
And we have had really significant food stuff in our family. Like, we've needed the help of therapists, and we've done feeding clinics and we've done feeding therapy, and we run the gamut. And then we have some kiddos that are, like, the most adventurous eaters and love, like, all wonderful food. So we run a gamut here. And I think maybe if I could advocate for anything at all, it would be like food is supposed to, even from the way that children are born, needing adults to feed them, to keep them alive. It is a place of beautiful relational connection. It is a place where laughter and joy. I believe in that food is a gateway to community.
I just believe that in the core and essence of who I am.
So the only posture I've known to take is food should not be a place where my relationship with my kids is sacrificed. It should be a place where it is flourishing.
And they are seeing me as the person who gets the essence of what they are and who they are. You're right, JD. That does not mean that a kiddo that could eat and would enjoy spaghetti and salad should get cinnamon toast crunch.
[00:07:01] Speaker A: Okay?
[00:07:02] Speaker C: But if you've got a kiddo that literally can't swallow salad, we have to come up with a different option. You know what?
Sweet. I would love your grandmother Becca, but she and I would be, like, on probably pretty polar opposite sides of this, know? And I would respect that. There are reasons why that would be ingrained in her DNA.
And then I've had to just change my mind. I remember the first time, it was so many years ago, and one of our kiddos had some extraordinary needs. And we had a precious little right out of school speech therapist. And she was coming to our house at the time, and she was explaining to me how to Introduce textures, and she would have me bring all of these different kinds of food that were all the same shape and color, but different textures.
What's coming to my mind is, I remember one time, and y'all, this was like, 1516 years ago, and we were preparing for a feeding therapy session, and I brought a crunchy cheeto, a carrot stick, a thing of, like, string cheese, squeezed cheese, and maybe like, a goldfish crack, like, all these long, skinny orange things.
And she would just educated me and respecting the biology connected to food and the sensory sensitivities.
Anyway, so I feel like I've been educated out of necessity on how to really support food.
I don't want to say issues, because I don't really see them as issues. Maybe preferences or needs.
Maybe I would say needs, because it does feel like a need to me to respect my kids actual biological repulsion against some foods anyway. And we've done it for years and years and years, and you know what? We've made progress. But for some of our kids, we're not where I wish we even were.
But what I've seen build over time is resilience. So, JD, you're right. We've gotten to. Can you try it once? But that was not last week. That was, like, ten years ago. Ten years of work, too. Can you just smell it? Can you take a little nibble?
So, I don't know, respect the kid. And I do make many dinners. Like, the Oddinger kitchen is different.
Family dinners are not. We don't all get to sit around the table and eat as a big family. There are just things we've had to change over time that I still grieve and I'm still sad about. And I still second guess.
I still second guess if we're always making the right decisions.
So I don't know. That's a big one. Becca, thanks for coming.
[00:10:11] Speaker B: And we have episodes on the podcast with speech therapists and professionals. The three of us are just speaking, like, what our experience has been. So I think not to take the conversation a different way, but if we think about the why. My grandmother grew up in the Great Depression. If you think about the why of, like, you can't be picky when this is what it is, or you don't eat about my parents kind of reinforcing it. Well, we lived overseas, and a huge part of our life was eating with people who cooked ethnic foods that were different from what we were used to. And so a big thing that we had to learn was how to kind of, like you're saying, Judy, if you don't want to eat it, you don't have to, but you don't need to say, this is nasty. This is disgusting. Ew. A huge part of it wasn't really about eating the food. It was about being kind to people that made food for you. It was just about thank you. And then not eating it. It was just about kind of the social skills. So I'm just thinking of a little bit of, like, why? And I wonder, for people listening, if food is a battle for you, just spend some time asking, why is this a battle for me? Is it because I'm scared that they won't get their nutritional needs met? Is it because I'm embarrassed that you're not eating? My best friend, who we've gone over for dinner for Thursday nights for our whole life, and now we go with our kid, and you're, like, making her feel bad about her chili or whatever. It. What. What's going. Like, what are the things that are making this a battle for you? And then you said it, Tana. But I think the biggest piece of advice that I've heard, which I think is really true, is just taste buds change throughout your life. So just lots of exposure, lots of at bats. Lots of just having stuff available.
I have a little sweet niece who loves every single vegetable. I mean, like, vegetables and fruits. I was on the phone the other day with her, and she's like, I'm eating guava. I'm like, why are you eating guava? Because my sister's decided she's going to have tons of fruits and vegetables available. Not everyone has the means to do that. Stuff is expensive, depending on where you live. But when you can try. They bought a star fruit because the kids wanted to try it because it looked fun. When you can make it this fun thing. Out of my three nieces and nephews, not all of them like it, but one of them now asks, can I have avocado? Can I have guava? Can I have, like. So just you don't know even their preferences if you don't expose them and just have it around and have it available. And also, we are huge models. So if your breakfast is coffee and you're trying to make them eat, know, maybe they're watching you. Do you know what saying?
[00:12:59] Speaker C: Totally. Well, okay, so one quick thing, JD, before you move on. You said something, Becca, that I just want to put a little pin in. And it's a phrase that one of our speech therapists taught us, and I love it so much. And it goes back to that, respecting other people's food, if you've got a sensitive eater, then it's don't yuck their yum, which is a fun way to teach that respect moment where it's like, you can decline if you really can't go for it. But how do you do that? Respectfully? So that was our substitute. Like, we can eat all kinds of things, and this kiddo doesn't need to say, that's so disgusting. It's don't yuck their yum. So it's learning. If you want people to respect your preferences, then how do you teach respect of other people's preferences? Okay, sorry, JD, what were you going to say? I didn't want to miss the.
[00:13:53] Speaker A: I think. Yeah, I think we each get to come at this from a really unique perspective. And so, you know, Becca, with kind of the missionary perspective of being in a different cultural setting, how do we teach our kids how to respect other people while still holding some connection? Standards and boundaries within your family is really helpful, and you kind of thinking about, hey, we've got unique feeding needs or food needs, so we're just going to meet those needs, period. And it's going to look different, and that's cool. That's great, too. So I think in all of our situations, I love to cook, but I'm trying to think back. If this is an honest statement, I typically don't have any kind of insecure reaction. If the kids don't like my food, I usually am like, well, you have bad taste or whatever.
We can be playful about it, but it typically does not offend me if they don't like something that I make. But what it has led me to take on the challenge of is if they don't, well, then I'm just going to try to figure out, let's try different things in different ways and different food types and textures and how do you like potatoes? Or how do you like pancakes? Or how do you like whatever it might be? Let's figure out ways, because I want them to learn, too. They don't have to be trapped in certain routines if they don't have to be. So you don't have to be the chicken fingers person at every meal if you don't have that by necessity, right. If you get exposure to different things, you might learn that you like sushi. Or we have friends on staff, their kids, their version of McDonald's, can we please go with it? They're like, can we please get sushi or poke?
My kids have never once in their lives, right? But after they heard their friends say that, they were like, when can we try? So, you know, we started off with Kroger Sushi because we were not trying to break the bank while finding out they like it or not. But one of our kids does like it. So now that's something else that's added into the equation. So I think just being willing to try different stuff as a parent, too, being willing to try different foods, being willing to try cooking things different ways. Or again, the goal is connection. So if a distaste or a dislike of certain kinds of textures of food doesn't have to offend us, but we can experience that together and be like, oh, man, I hate that. You don't like that? Well, I don't know. What do you want? Let's find something that you do like to have back to the nutrition part for us again, without there being distinct food needs that limit that within our family, we've just tried to be creative about meeting those nutritional needs in ways that you like. Because I'm a firm believer that healthy food doesn't have to taste like cardboard, right? So we can find ways to prepare food that is good for us, that we like. And so if I can teach that to our kids as well, then they can know I don't have to just. It's not like there's food I like and there's food I have to eat to stay healthy or whatever. If you can merge those two together, I think that's also a really helpful piece.
[00:17:10] Speaker B: Can I say one of my favorite current TikTok trends is Toddler moms posting pictures of, this is what I offered my toddler. This is what they ate. And basically, it's like looking at two pictures and being like, what's different? I have to look really close to see what's different, because toddlers just don't eat a lot. So also, if you're listening to this and you have, like, little, little ones, don't be surprised at how little. I mean, it'll be like four bites of waffle, and then the next picture will be, like, three and a half bytes of waffle left. That's kind of what you're dealing with. So if you're in season, you're definitely not alone, and your kid is probably, as a toddler, getting enough. Again, this is not professional medical advice, but that's right, it's trending on TikTok. Like, there's so many moms that are.
[00:17:59] Speaker C: Like, look at this.
[00:18:00] Speaker B: This is like, I gave them four grapes, and we ended the day with three and a half grapes. Like, this is what we're.
[00:18:05] Speaker C: And they liked grapes yesterday, and they don't like them.
[00:18:10] Speaker B: Exactly.
[00:18:11] Speaker C: And I know you bought a whole bag of grapes, and I'm sorry, they don't like them anymore. One of my dear friends is like, how come in the grocery store, they said they wanted that, and every time I offer it, there's a meltdown. I'm like, oh, my gosh. Offering it. I mean, I don't know, because you offered it in the wrong moment, in the wrong way. In the wrong.
[00:18:36] Speaker A: $8 a pound.
[00:18:38] Speaker B: Totally.
[00:18:40] Speaker C: So I just think, like, come at food and with relationship connection and nutrition in mind. Again, I'm not saying you have to throw that out. I loved your perspective, JD, of, like, can you get them in the kitchen cooking? One of our kiddos that is very. Is a super taster, diagnosed that way. I have them help prepare food for other people that I know will never go in their mouth, but we're just exploring food and talking about it and getting in the kitchen, and it's just connected. And then they eat their other thing. Just figure out how to make food, not be a place where we fracture. And if it is a deep, deep struggle, then my encouragement would be for you personally. Just explore that a little bit more and maybe see if there's some support you might need to figure out. Why is this a barrier between us? What's happening in me that's making me take it personal or feel feelings or feel discomfort inside for some reason and push into that a little bit.
And honor grandmother, maybe my closing thought is, and honor grandmother.
And that grandmother has her reasons. Like you said, Becca, we all have reasons and a history from our perspective.
[00:20:03] Speaker A: That's great. Okay, guys, thank you.