Do you have a picky eater? Does your kid refuse to touch anything green? Or does she only eat one or two things?
Google “How can I get my picky eater to eat more?” and you will be bombarded by articles giving you advice on how to get that picky eater of yours to eat. Whether it’s how to expertly disguise vegetables in their favorite foods or tips for involving them in the preparation of the meal- it’s all there.
Sophia was a great eater when we introduced her to food. She tried everything from avocados and sweet potatoes to chili and corn on the cob.
Then she turned 2, and pretty soon, everything turned into “ewww”. She refused to try new foods. She hated bread (this child is not mine, I swear!) and anything that wasn’t plain. And heaven forbid if different foods touched on her plate!
We tried everything.
We tried getting her involved by helping us prepare the meal, we tried the, “take x amount of bites” method, we tried bribery, and trickery, and finally, we tried being the tough guy.
One thing I can say for sure, that child sure isn’t letting anyone fool her. No siree.
Sophia only ate chicken, pork, sausage, corn (on good days), apples, pears, buttered noodles, and yogurt. That’s it. And you better not try mixing her noodles with sauce or meat.
After we had done everything we could think of to get her to eat, I tried a different approach.
The approach is what I like to call, “you eat what you eat and it’s no skin off my back” approach.
I decided I wouldn’t let dinner time turn into a power struggle over food.
I also didn’t want to create any issues for her around food, so I taught her that when her tummy feels full, to stop eating. With that in mind, I didn’t have the expectation that she clear her plate.
She would eat what she wanted, and if she didn’t want something, I wouldn’t take it personally.
I knew she wasn’t going to starve. If she asked for a healthy option, I would let her have it. And if she didn’t like what we were having, I always made sure there was at least one thing she did like (yogurt or fruit), so she was at least getting something.
I continue to serve the same thing to everyone, even if that means half of their plate gets dumped into the garbage.
Sophia is now six, and guess what? Her food choices have expanded!
She tries new foods—in her own time—but she tries them. She now eats pizza, peas, broccoli, all kinds of fruit, any kind of chicken, and she loves a good taco!
After experiencing two types of eaters (one picky and the other a human garbage disposal), I think you can try lots of tricks, but at the end of the day, kids eat what they want.
Sure, you can help guide and encourage them to make healthy, varied choices, but if you’re dealing with a picky eater, I am here to tell you- it most likely won’t last forever. My once very picky two, three, and four year old has considerably expanded her food choices, and all I did was continue to offer healthy, varied choices.
So mamas of picky eaters, hang in there! Keep offering your little one who suddenly has very strong opinions on what he will and will not eat different foods.
Chances are he won’t be a buttered-noodle lover forever. And if he is? Is it really that bad of a thing?
Oh, and the one food she still won’t eat to this day: Bread.