Injeannieuity: Helping parents with picky eaters make a healthy difference for their kids

by Tianna G. Hansen

Jeannie Kahley has an inspirational story behind what motivated her to create her company Injeannieuity, which is where she sells her Eat Around the Clock kit to help parents with picky eaters.

Jeannie never expected to become a parent, but she started fostering children in emergency situations as part of giving back to others and doing something philanthropic.

It was during this time that Devon entered her life.

“He was eighteen months old when I started fostering him,” recalls Jeannie. “He was scheduled to return to his biological parents but due to a series of occurrences and challenges, that didn’t happen and he ended up staying with me.”

When Devon was finally put up for adoption, Jeannie knew what she had to do and she adopted Devon and raised him as her own.

“Even at 18 months old, he had still experienced many traumatic events which gave him some difficulties with behavior, emotions, and especially eating. He was a very fussy eater and refused to eat vegetables.”

It wasn’t only in her own home that Jeannie started to realize how many children didn’t have a healthy diet. Working as a teacher and then principal in schools, Jeannie started to notice how often kids would throw out fruits and vegetables their parents packed them for lunch.

At home, Jeannie started to develop a technique to inspire Devon to eat new and different foods.

“I wanted to be such a good mother and do right by him,” she said. “I took a plate and arranged it like a clock, and would place bits of new foods around the clock to motivate him to eat them and try them along with his favorite foods.”

During this time, Jeannie also studied up on nutrition and learned it often takes up to 12 times of trying a certain food for a child to cultivate a taste for that food.

“I’m proud to say, Devon is now 16 and loves going out to eat anywhere there’s a salad bar. He’s willing to try different foods even if he doesn’t like them at first,” says Jeannie. “His repertoire of what he eats is quite expansive.”

Children often miss the nutritional elements of their lunch and this only adds to the national obesity and health problems.

Jeannie was inspired and motivated to help other parents to incorporate healthy foods into a child’s diet, so she created the Eat Around the Clock kit.

This kit comes with a children’s book whose main character is a carrot named Kippy who only likes to eat sweets and salty foods.

Kippy eventually develops a taste for healthy foods and realizes that eating good food makes you feel better and contributes to your energy level as well as giving you shiny hair, a glowing face, greater focus and concentration as well as a general, overall feeling of good health. Nutrients in healthy foods are like putting premium gas in your tank to help your car run better.

Jeannie also created a plate like the one she first used with her son.

The goal is to move a child around the plate, which is designed, like a clock using both preferred foods and new foods that the child may have been reluctant to try.

The kit includes a timer shaped like Kippy that parents can use to encourage their kids and motivate them to finish the plate before the timer goes off.

Jeannie suggests using other motivating factors like: positive encouraging notes, gifts and trinkets once they make progress in eating around the clock.

Gradually, this process incorporates new and healthier foods into a child’s diet and starts to make a difference.

“There’s another book included in the kit that tells the story of adopting Devon and the challenges I went through as a parent,” says Jeannie. “Sometimes as parents we worry if we are doing the right thing. I want to support parents in their efforts and let them know that parenting is a daunting task. Parents need to be kind to themselves, ease up on the worrying and use strategies that make their life, as well as their children’s lives easier. I want to encourage parents in doing the challenging and rewarding task of parenting.”

The Eat Around the Clock kit can be purchased from Amazon, if you search for it under the Books section.

It can also be purchased through the website or directly from Injeannieuity at 1423 Ivy Circle, Jamison, PA 18929, by sending cash, check or money order for $36.99 plus $10 for shipping and handling.

PHOTO CAP: Jeannie shares her Eat Around the Clock Kit with the Warwick Book Club, A Novel Bunch.