A Mom asked “I want my 4-year-old son to drink Orgain Kids™ Protein Shake, because it’s so nutritious. But he will only drink regular chocolate milk, and way too much of it!  How can I help him make the shift to something healthier?” We asked pediatric feeding expert, Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP to answer this one – and she replied with some great tips! First, my hat’s off to this mom for seeking help on ways to provide her child with delicious, organic nutrition!  It’s so easy for kids to get stuck on a preferred food – even a favorite drink. Kids sometime need a gradual introduction to new drinks and foods. The best approach is to help your child adjust to new tastes in step-by-step increments, offer plenty of tastes over time, and gradually “fade in” the organic nutritional shake. New tastes are better accepted via straw drinking, because the “new” milk will land toward the back of the tongue and be swallowed easily. Ideally, use the expandable straw from the Orgain package. It’s the perfect diameter to ensure that a “just right” amount lands on taste buds. Wider straws deliver a larger amount and distribute more fluid across taste buds. Picky eating habits can apply to drinks, snacks or mealtimes. Choose a drink that adds an extra boost of nutrition and that can be transitioned into the daily routine in a short amount of time. It can ease a parents’ mind when they are worried about their child’s nutritional health! Keep addressing overall picky eating habits in a positive, proactive manner – you can do it!  Here are five tips for helping picky eaters get on the path to adventurous eating:  
  1. Create a meal and snack time schedule for your kids. No grazing! When kids come to the table a little hungry, they are much more likely to try new, healthy foods.
  2. Keep snacks small (no seconds). One 8.25 ounce carton of Orgain Kids™ Protein Shake provides 8g of organic protein plus 21 vitamins and minerals, including a fruit and veggie blend. It’s the perfect size snack to tide kids over till mealtime, without spoiling their appetite.
  3. Begin to expand the variety of what kids will eat by changing a few characteristics of the preferred foods. Try transitioning from chocolate Orgain to vanilla. Next, experiment with new recipes of familiar foods like the chocolate pudding recipe (with avocado blended in to make it super smooth!) or the frozen probiotic protein pop recipe on the Orgain blog. You’ll find lots of creative ideas on the blog to expand your kid’s palate over time.
  4. Know that learning to become a healthy eater takes time! Research shows that it can take upwards of 15 exposures just for to enhance a child’s acceptance of a new food. Don’t give up! Offer kid-size portions, over and over, varying the choices each day. Choose recipes that you can freeze and present in small samples with any meal or for a snack, like these peanut butter and jelly protein bars.
  5. Avoid using the term “picky eater” in front of your…um…picky eater. Kids tend to live up to the labels we assign to them. Try “learning eater” of “food explorer” instead. It’s a journey, not a race, and with steady, patient parenting, kids will learn to love all kinds of food! 
Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, is an international speaker on parenting and an expert on feeding babies, toddlers and school age kids. She is the co-author of the award-winning Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating (2015) and Baby Self-Feeding: Solutions for Introducing Purees and Solids to Create Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits (2016). The tips in her latest book, Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 101 Easy Activities and Recipes (Oct. 2017) are based on the latest research and Melanie’s 20 years of success as a pediatric feeding therapist. Visit her at www.MelaniePotock.com for more articles, professional tips, and helpful videos to raise your adventurous eater!