I created HealthyChart because I live with a fussy eater.
I use HealthyChart because it makes my life easier.
You use the chart to plan what your child is going to eat, drink and do for the day. Or you can place tiles on the chart at the end of the day to review how your child did, which is particularly good if you are encouraging independent decision making.
My children usually fill the chart out after each meal (or when they get home from school), and at the end of the day we look at it together and I assign an incentive tile based on how they did. "Eat more veggies!"
Before we had HealthyChart I use to argue with the Fussy Eater over every meal. It was a test of wills and she was breaking me. As a Mum, I knew I had a responsibility to ensure that she not only developed good habits, but that she has a positive relationship with food.
Unable to find a tool to help me out, I developed my own.
Many of my early designs focused on the meals for the day - breakfast, morning tea, lunch, etc. But as I played around with designs and did more research, the answer became clear. I am trying to achieve a balanced diet, lots of water and as much physical activity every day.
I have been asked why I chose to use photos of individual food items and physical activities, rather than just use a few generic tiles (which would make the product lighter and cheaper). The answer is twofold.
First, I wanted to make the product engaging to children. My children would loose interest quickly if they only had a "Generic Veggie" tile to place on their chart. Now they spend a few minutes looking at all the food tiles in search of what they ate. This familiarises them with foods and reminds them of what else they could be eating. The same goes for physical activites and sports.
Second, I wanted to educate children about different foods (new foods) and activities (new sports). I regularly get asked to identify basic fruit and vegetables at the checkout counter of the grocery store. There is clearly a problem when the humble zucchini cannot be identified. So I chose to use pictures of real food.
If it is a problem for you to have so many tiles on the refrigerator, then put them in a pencil case.
The most important result for me and the Fussy Eater is that HealthyChart gives her a sense of control and stops me from having to give repeated reminders throughout the day.
We are both a lot happier.
Using HealthyChart has also helped to keep the whole family on track when things get really busy. We can glance at the chart and see where we are up to in our day and make choices based on that information. "One more glass of water" or "No TV, let's go for a walk instead!"
Disclaimer: I am not a super mum and I do not arrange my children's food into cute faces. I like to procrastinate. I hate planning menus and prefer to live life on a whim. Having said that, it is my attitude and behavior about eating and exercising that will set the framework for my children. This blog is not about being a super mum, it is about making the job of living with a fussy eater bit easier, and HealthyChart is part of my solution that I want to share.