Ep. 66: How to Get a Child To Eat When They Refuse with Jennifer Anderson

How to Get a Child To Eat When They Refuse with Jennifer Anderson PIN

How to Get a Child To Eat When They Refuse with Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer Anderson is a registered dietician, wife, mom of two exciting boys and potato chip lover.

She helps hundreds of thousands of parents reduce their mealtime stress and get their kids eating better through the Kids Eat in Color movement and Better Bites program.

The Unspoken Topic

  • We care so much about our kids growing right and healthy that we think we need to force them to eat right. But the pressure leads to problems for us and them.

What We Cover

  • Jennifer offers some simple but mind-blowing shifts you can make when it comes to your approach to feeding your little ones to help take the pressure off eating.
  • The one thing to measure to see if you’ve won the game of getting your child to eat.
  • Key phrases you can say to promote healthy and happy mealtimes.

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Key Takeaways

  • When it comes to feeding our littles, our instints don’t always help.
  • Pressure looks differently in each household. Phrases like, “you’re doing so good eating your veggies,” or “take 3 bites and then you can have dessert,” or “finish your entire plate before you get up from the table,” are all forms of pressure.
  • Focus on the environment around meal time rather than what’s on the plate for a more pleasurable experience for all.
  • You are still in control because you are structuring the environment, regardless if your child eats or how much they eat.
  • When children throw food, maybe it’s because they’re bored.
  • 2 year olds have about 2-4 minutes of being able to sit at the dinner table. So be sure to give them time and space to run around and get their wiggles out before everyone sits down to eat.
  • 4-6 year olds can sit for about 15 minutes.
  • Always offer an empty bowl next to your tot so they can put the foods they don’t want in there rather than wanting to throw it.
  • Screens block a lot of intel children get during mealtimes. Things like social skills, sensory exploration, language, etc.
  • You win when you put the food on the table, not when they eat it.

Actionable Solutions

 How to Take The Pressure Off At The Dinner Table

  • Tell your child, “hey, you don’t have to eat it.”
  • That immediately releases the power-struggle.




What You’re Doing Differently You Didn’t Think You’d Do

Jennifer is doing everything differently. She didn’t think she would serve dessert with dinner. Didn’t think it would be hard or complicated. Didn’t expect to run into so many challenges. Thought it was going to be easy to have a no-sugar diet.

What is the Hardest Decision You’ve Had to Make

Taking her own advice has been really hard. Her child was underweight and she knew not to over-pressure but you want to so badly go against the research.

What Are You Most Excited About

Her work. She loves Kids Eat In Color.

Mama Has a Minute 

  • Favorite form of self-care:  Salt Baths.
  • What is the best parenting advice you’ve ever received: Wait til they’re ready.
  • Share your favorite parenting hack: Saying, “I’ll race you to the…” to get her kids to move.
  • Share 1 product your children cannot live without: MagnaTiles
  • Share 1 book: The Whole Brain Child.
  • What motherhood means to you: Motherhood is the ability to love someone beyond yourself and invest in their well-being.


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