Using the Division of Responsibility to Expand Your Child's Palate

Using the Division of Responsibility to Expand Your Child's Palate



Every parent has experienced the frustration of dealing with a picky eater. The daily struggle to get your child to eat their vegetables or try new foods can be exhausting. However, there's a proven method that can help alleviate this stress and encourage your child to become a more adventurous eater: the Division of Responsibility (DoR) feeding approach. In this guide, we'll explore how this method can transform your child's eating habits and offer practical strategies and delicious recipes to make mealtimes enjoyable for the whole family.

 

Understanding the Division of Responsibility:

The Division of Responsibility, pioneered by registered dietitian Ellyn Satter, outlines clear roles for both parents and children when it comes to mealtimes. According to this approach, it is the parent's responsibility to provide nutritious meals and snacks at regular intervals, while the child is responsible for deciding what and how much they will eat. This simple mantra, "I provide, you decide," fosters a sense of autonomy and empowerment in children, encouraging them to listen to their bodies' hunger cues and make independent food choices.


Challenges Faced by Parents of Picky Eaters:

Parents of picky eaters often encounter various challenges, from mealtime battles to concerns about their child's nutritional intake. Picky eaters may refuse to try new foods, stick to a limited range of familiar options, or exhibit strong preferences for certain textures or flavors. These behaviors can lead to frustration, stress, and even conflicts at the dinner table, making mealtimes a source of anxiety rather than enjoyment for both parents and children.


How the Division of Responsibility Can Help:

The Division of Responsibility method offers a refreshing alternative to the traditional approach of coercing or bribing children to eat certain foods. By respecting the child's autonomy and allowing them to choose what to eat from the options provided, parents create a positive and relaxed atmosphere around mealtimes. This approach eliminates the power struggles often associated with picky eating and encourages children to explore new foods at their own pace. For more guidance on implementing this method effectively, check out the resources provided by Serenity Kids.

 

Practical Strategies for Introducing New Foods:

One key aspect of the Division of Responsibility is gradually exposing children to a variety of foods in a non-threatening manner. Here are some practical strategies to help expand your child's palate:


Start Small: 

Begin by introducing small portions of new foods alongside familiar favorites. Encourage your child to take just one bite or even just to touch and smell the new food without pressure to eat it.


Make it Fun: 

Get creative with presentation to make new foods more appealing to children. Use cookie cutters to shape fruits and vegetables into fun shapes or create colorful and engaging food art on their plates.


Get Your Child Involved: 

Involve your child in meal planning and preparation to increase their interest and investment in trying new foods. Take them grocery shopping and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try.


Lead by Example: 

Set a positive example by enjoying a variety of foods yourself. Children are more likely to be open to trying new foods if they see their parents modeling adventurous eating habits.

Delicious Recipes to Try:

To inspire your child's culinary curiosity, here are some delicious and kid-friendly recipes to try:

Veggie-packed Rainbow Pasta:

Ingredients:

  • Colorful spiral pasta
  • Bell peppers (red, yellow, green), chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Broccoli florets
  • Grated cheese (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Cook the colorful spiral pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add chopped bell peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, and broccoli florets to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened but still crisp.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the vegetables.
  5. Toss everything together gently until the pasta and vegetables are well combined.
  6. If desired, sprinkle grated cheese over the pasta and vegetables mixture.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy this vibrant and nutritious veggie-packed rainbow pasta!


Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip:

Ingredients:

  • Assorted fresh fruits (such as strawberries, pineapple chunks, grapes, kiwi slices, and melon balls)
  • Wooden or metal skewers
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Honey
  • Vanilla extract

Procedure:

  1. Prepare the fruit by washing and cutting them into bite-sized chunks or slices.
  2. Thread the fruit onto skewers in any desired pattern, alternating between different fruits for a colorful presentation.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine plain Greek yogurt with honey to taste. Add a splash of vanilla extract for extra flavor.
  4. Mix the yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract until well combined, creating a creamy and sweet yogurt dip.
  5. Arrange the fruit kabobs on a serving platter alongside the bowl of yogurt dip.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy this refreshing and nutritious snack!

Mini Veggie Pizzas:

Ingredients:

  • Whole-grain English muffins
  • Tomato sauce
  • Shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, or your preferred cheese)
  • Assorted chopped vegetables (mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, onions, etc.)

Procedure:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Split the whole-grain English muffins in half and place them on a baking sheet, cut side up.
  3. Spread tomato sauce evenly over each English muffin half, covering the surface.
  4. Sprinkle shredded cheese generously over the tomato sauce layer.
  5. Scatter a variety of chopped vegetables (mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, onions, etc.) on top of the cheese layer.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the edges of the English muffins are lightly toasted.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the mini veggie pizzas cool slightly before serving.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy these delicious and nutritious mini veggie pizzas as a snack or light meal!

Apple Nachos:

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Chocolate chips
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chopped nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
  • Honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Arrange the thinly sliced apples on a serving platter or plate.
  2. Drizzle peanut butter or almond butter over the apple slices.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped nuts over the apples.
  4. If desired, drizzle honey or maple syrup over the toppings for extra sweetness.
  5. Optionally, sprinkle cinnamon over the apple nachos for added flavor.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy this fun and healthy twist on nachos!

Rainbow Fruit Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Assorted fresh fruits (such as strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and grapes)
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Wash and prepare the fresh fruits by cutting them into bite-sized pieces, if necessary.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the assorted fruits.
  3. Drizzle honey or maple syrup over the fruits, tossing gently to coat.
  4. Optionally, tear fresh mint leaves and sprinkle them over the fruit salad for a refreshing touch.
  5. Transfer the rainbow fruit salad to a serving bowl or platter.
  6. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for a refreshing and nutritious dessert or snack option.

Conclusion:

By adopting the Division of Responsibility feeding approach and implementing practical strategies for introducing new foods, parents can help their picky eaters transition into adventurous eaters. Remember to be patient and persistent, as it may take time for your child to develop a taste for unfamiliar foods. With a little creativity and encouragement, mealtimes can become a fun and enjoyable experience for the whole family. Consider the following tips to further support your child's journey to becoming an adventurous eater:


  • Offer a variety of foods: Continue to expose your child to a wide range of foods, including different colors, textures, and flavors.
  • Involve your child in meal preparation: Encourage your child to help with meal preparation, such as washing fruits and vegetables, stirring ingredients, or assembling dishes. This involvement can increase their interest in trying new foods.
  • Be a role model: Demonstrate positive eating behaviors by enjoying a diverse and balanced diet yourself. Children often mimic the eating habits of their parents, so set a good example by eating a variety of nutritious foods.
  • Make mealtimes enjoyable: Create a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere during mealtimes by avoiding pressure or coercion. Instead, focus on engaging in conversation, sharing stories, and enjoying each other's company.
  • Celebrate small victories: Acknowledge and celebrate your child's efforts and successes, even if they only take a small bite of a new food. Positive reinforcement can motivate them to continue exploring new foods.

By implementing these additional strategies, you can further support your child's development of healthy eating habits and cultivate a positive relationship with food for years to come.

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