Episode 60: Finally! Less Meal Time Stress with Ashley Smith

Memories in Moments

Got some picky eaters in the house? It’s time to finally win the meal-time battles and have less meal time success and more feeding success! Pediatric nutritionist, Ashley Smith of Veggies and Virtue, is on the show today to teach us her best tips for helping us let go of and give kids control over their diets and actually enjoy family dinner again! This one is JAM-PACKED with tips to try tonight with your families! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Listen below or head on over to iTunesSpotify, or Stitcher!

Where Do We Even Start with Fighting This Food Battle?

First Steps

It all starts with control…both letting go and regaining as parents.

The division of responsibility is where it’s at. It’s a feeding philosophy that is very heavily researched by pediatricians and nutritionists. It basically boils down to who is in control of what.

Parents are in charge of what, when and where food is offered. The kid gets to decide if whether and how much they eat.

For this wanting to regain control when it comes to food, we need to be asking ourselves “is this something I can control?” Forcing them to eat, shoving something down their throat, opening the doors to threats or bribes is never going to work and is a vicious cycle thats hard to get out of.

What is the problem? Who is in control here?

Getting Kids to Try Something

The number one question I got from my Memories in Moments Facebook group Insiders was “at what point do we force them to take a bite?” I know I think this all the time, I offer, I try and give them control but I could put a healthy food in front of them their whole life and I don’t think they’d ever willingly eat it so at what point do we step in?

First, try to not go down the forcing, bribing or threat slippery slope. As hard as it is, it’s not effective and it doesn’t work, so stop doing it. It’s changing the tone of the mealtime and immediately putting stress on you and them…and that quality family time is completely shot. There will never be progress during a power struggle. Protect the mealtime.

Once you’ve decided that meal time is going to be protective and there aren’t going to be major power struggles that ruin the night, it’s time to be playful in the approach of them trying a new food.

We can’t beat logic with magic, we can beat magic with magic. Love that. Time to bring the magic back!

-back off with control at mealtime

-make it a bit more playful

-continue exposing- no different meals

Love It, Like It, Learn It

This process has changed my family’s meal time. At every meal, is there a food that my kid likes or will eat, and something newer that you think they won’t but you want to expose them to. That means they have something on their plate that they will eat…while giving them the opportunity the see and experience something new.

Love It: foods they totally love and will always eat

Like It: food they may like today but don’t the next day, but they will eat it for the most part

Learn It: new foods, something they’ve told you they don’t like, a like it food in a new way- we want them to learn how to like/love it

Family Style

Have meal items available for kids to serve themselves. This helps with a bunch of different skills like self serving and regulations. This is another way we can give kids that control too.

I’ve actually been doing this since my interview with Ashley and let me just say…GAME CHANGER! Hudson in particular has been WAY more willing to try learn it foods. I have them each choose at least one learn it food for the plate, and then they have control on the amounts of the other foods. Really cool to see them control their plates and they feel really empowered too!

Ashley has these amazing Combination Cards that I am obsessed with. They are such an incredible resource for introducing new foods to your kids and in different ways. For example, oatmeal. Ashley shares how to start it as a learn it, then move to like it and eventually love it with great visuals. Then on the back of the card are suggestions for different ways to expose kids. So oatmeal bars, overnight oats, colored oats with fruit, etc. Really cool resource and my kids like looking at them and making suggestions a well!

Ashley is generously offering 10% off combination cards to listeners with the code ALLISON10! Shop them here!

Connect with Ashley and Say Hi!

Website: Veggies and Virtue



Shop Combination Cards: Use code: ALLISON10 for 10% off!


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Head on over to my free Facebook group, Memories in Moments Insiders! There you’ll find additional resources to support each episode, more information on guests and how you can connect with them, visual and video tutorials, and best of all, connection as we navigate parenting and making memories together!



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Pin for Later!

Kick picky eating to the curb and finally enjoy family dinner with the tips and tricks taught by Veggies and Virtue pediatric nutritionist, Ashley Smith.
Kick picky eating to the curb and finally enjoy family dinner with the tips and tricks taught by Veggies and Virtue pediatric nutritionist, Ashley Smith.

Join the Winter Memories in Moments: Unwrapped Waitlist!

  1. […] Listen to Ashley talks about meal time battles and picky eating on Episode 60: Finally! Less Meal Time Stress […]

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