This Mom Wants to Turn Your Picky Kids into Healthy Eaters

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I recently stumbled on a mom making it her mission to help turn finicky kids into healthy eaters. I have 21 month year old twin toddlers and they have been great eaters from the get-go. That being said, I can see that change is a coming. In addition to saying “No” every chance they get, and changing outfits about 45 times a day, they are starting to show some food preferences.

They used to just shovel anything into their mouths and be thankful that it wasn’t baby mush or milk. However, lately when I hand them the greens, they hand me back some lip. Shaking their heads (in sync I might add) and saying “cheese, cheese, bah, bah.” Now, I’m no expert in early childhood development but I can see where this is going and I want to nip it in the bud ASAP. Let’s be clear, nothing says hard poops like a diet full of cheese and bread.  So, when I heard about Michele Selz’s Kickstarter quest to help kids eat healthy I wanted to help share the good word about good food.

In true busy mom fashion neither one of us had time for a full fledged interview so here’s my quick Q&A with Michele Selz about her book: Eat With Us! is a lift-the-flap children’s board book that helps all parents and children with a healthy and happy eating experience.

Monique: What’s your background?

Michelle: Gary, my two years old daughter, Natalie, and I live in Chicago. Michelle is from Taiwan originally, and she moved to the US 8 years ago for school. Gary spent his whole life in Chicago, and he is a big fan of the Bulls. We are parents who are struggling with feeding our daughter, regardless whether it is healthy foods or sweets. We had our daughter about two years ago and feeding has always been a difficult time for us. When she was around one year old, she spit out almost every bite of food we gave her regardless of the lure of unlimited TV options or toys. For about 3 months, we kept our hope going into mealtime, thinking she might appreciate our new recipe. But our bubble got burst every time. Milk and formula contributed to 90% of her nutrient intake, which is unusual for kids of her age at the time.

Monique: Why do you think starting healthy eating habits at a young age matters?

Michelle: I don’t know if starting healthy foods at young age matters or not, but I do think taste palate changes with the food you take, and the whole experience with food can stay very long time with a person. For example, we all have some sort of comfort food that we would crave or we would have on regular basis. And these comfort foods are usually related to the food we had as a child. Wouldn’t you be rather craving for a healthier food versus a less healthy one?

Monique: What is the best piece of advice you can give to a parents of a picky eater?

Michelle: From conversations with other parents and family, some kids are just picky eaters. They are born that way, so we just have to learn how to deal with it. Be creative. Every child has their own personality, so you have to find a solution that fit into their personalities. For example, we tried to feed Natalie chicken one time, she refused to eat from the fork but she loved it with skewer style (we used the wooden stick that is not sharp).

Monique: What are your top 3 tips for moms and dads of picky eaters?

Michelle:
1. Be Creative
2. Make the food as tasty as your own food
3. Don’t give up

Monique: What advice would you give parents when starting solids? What are the worst mistakes parents make when it comes to starting solids?

Michelle: You have to try all kinds of foods until you find something your child will actually eat. Solids are new to them, so they are going to resist a little. Try to add a little flavor to it. A lot of parents give up too early. We made that mistake, and our daughter didn’t eat solids regularly until after one year old.

Monique: What are the worst mistakes parents make when it comes to feeding toddlers?

Michelle: One mistake might be showing your frustration. Kids can definitely pick up on this, and it just isn’t constructive.

Monique: Anything you think we should know that I’m forgetting to ask?

Michelle:We just think that parents can make eating a fun, healthy eating experience. A lot of kids like books and animals, so we decided to combine the two so our daughter will imitate eating, just like she does with everything else.

Check out Michelle’s Kickstarter info below!

Our Story

Eat With Us! is my solution to help families with little, picky eaters. We are parents who are struggling with feeding our daughter, regardless whether it is healthy foods or sweets. We had our daughter about two years ago and feeding has always been a difficult time for us. When she was around one year old, she spit out almost every bite of food we gave her regardless of the lure of unlimited TV options or toys. For about 3 months, we kept our hope going into mealtime, thinking she might appreciate our new recipe. But our bubble got burst every time. Milk and formula contributed to 90% of her nutrient intake, which is unusual for kids of her age at the time.

If you are parents who struggle with feeding your kids, you probably hear the following advice from doctors or blogs; let them starve or just keep offering various different types of food. However, the reality is parents couldn’t bare the idea of starving their kids and parents don’t have all the time and patience in the world even if it’s for their precious little ones.

One day, we were reading a flip-the-flap book with a monkey eating a banana. All of sudden, our daughter was interested in eating bananas. When repeating this same book, she took one bite every time she saw the monkey eating a banana! She had over half a banana, which was a record for her at the time. I started to search for books dedicated on showing animals at mealtime but couldn’t find anything on the market. So I decide to make my own book!

About This Book

Eat With Us! is a 16 page, full colored, lift-the-flap round cornered board book. The flaps are the most common habitats for each animal, and each animal is enjoying their meal behind the flaps. By illustrating children with yummy mealtime pictures of their favorite animals and the fun of finding the animals behind the flap, the aim of the book is to trigger children’s desire of imitation and to have a healthy and happy feeding experience.

The choice of animals and food is chosen by taking nutrients, potential allergy, and popularity among children into account. There are way more delicious healthy foods out there. We hope to have a second series of this book if it’s a success.

Why Crowdfund?

We are the true believer of the decentralized, peer-to-peer economy. We think it improves the efficiency and cost for both sides, backers and pledgers. There’s no need for middlemen or authorities to decide what’s a good product and what’s a bad product. Normal people likes ourselves and our backers are informed enough to make our own choice with the power of Google! Additionally, direct communications between us and our backers is very important to us. We would like to know the honest opinions from the readers and potentially incorporate those suggestions into the project. On top of that, we have no expertise in publishing nor any connection in the Children’ book space. It’s very logical for us to reach the potential readers directly through crowdfunding.

What Do We Have?

The book is fully complete and has been laid out for printing. Due to the complication involved in the flap feature of the book, we have narrowed it down to a few printing companies who are experts in printing lift-the-flap board books. The eBook is 100% done and published on Amazon. The design for the sticker sheet and coloring book are also ready for printing.

Monique Soltani

Monique Soltani is the Executive Producer and Host of Wine Oh TV. Wine Oh TV is the only weekly wine show on television. Watch Wine Oh TV with Monique Soltani Wednesdays at 8:30pm on Comcast (Ch. 104/819HD).

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PUBLISHED DATE: May 11th, 2017 | WINE CATEGORY: Travel & Lifestyle
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