Picky

September 17, 2011

The kids are picky eaters.  This is sort of a secret shame among moms, and especially odd in our house as neither Sean or I are picky at all.

Here are some Mayo Clinic Tips on picky toddlers:

  1. Respect your child’s appetite, or lack of one.
  2. Stick to a routine.
  3. Be patient with new foods. (It takes them a while to get used to something new, keep offering)
  4. Make food fun.
  5. Recruit your child’s help (shopping, cooking, etc)
  6. Set a good example
  7. Be creative (aka, Jessica Seinfeld it)
  8. Minimize distractions
  9. Don’t offer dessert as a reward
  10. Don’t be a short-order cook

Yeah.  We do all these things.  The girls shop every week, they’re given the option to pick foods and suggest ideas.  If they don’t eat what’s served, they don’t eat.  I don’t offer dessert as a reward (though I do say “Not hungry enough for dinner, not hungry enough for a treat/snack later!” if there’s already to be something later.)  We eat everything, we offer a pretty decent variety and always have, since they were little, and I actually find that they eat better when there are some distractions (and play with their food less).  The ONLY tip on this list that’s worked for us is #7.  They all ate a load of spaghetti last weekend that included sauce made with a ton of okra and onions (pureed).

And yet, the older two kids turned 2 and promptly went from eating everything to eating… not much.  The youngest one has already turned that corner at 1.5.  I’m really left with no choice but to chalk it up to the age group and exerting control.  Apparently they all eat well at school.

I’m not worried.  Their current staples are apples, bananas, grapes, string cheese, pretzels, peanut butter and jelly, most pasta dishes, mini pizzas (we make ourselves, on whole wheat flatbread) and milk.  While we don’t cater to them, I like pasta myself, so we trend that way for dinners.  And they miss a lot of meals.  None of them are starving or have weight issues.

Hopefully they grow out of it, though, since picky eating is a huge huge huge pet peeve of mine personally.  I really can’t stand adult-aged high-maintenance eaters.

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4 Responses to “Picky”

  1. Deb Warren said

    I have a confession to make:
    I am a picky eater.

    That said, I do try different things, and if I don’t care for something, I try something else. If I’m going somewhere for dinner (or another meal) and I will have no control over the ingredients in the menu, I will bring an offering with me. I do this 1- to be polite to the hostess (because my grandmother taught me to never go to something like that empty handed) and 2- because I know that there will be something there that I do enjoy to eat, along with the new foods that I will be trying.

    When I invite others over, I tend to ask if there’s anything they don’t particularly care for or if there’s a food allergy or sensitivity. Personally, I don’t care for onions. For me it’s a texture thing, and I have to fight very hard to get them down. I use a lot of powder or puree in my cooking to adapt to it.

    When I go to someone else’s home as a guest, I will eat what they have served me. They have gone through an awful lot of work to provide a warm and welcoming environment (and lovely meal), so the least I can do is set my pickiness aside and try it.

    And who knows? I just might have to ask for the recipe!

  2. Thomas is way less picky than he was. Such a relief. I think it has to do with age a lot, and time. And not offering dessert or something else as a reward for eating. He finally understood that if he doesn’t eat what’s in front of him, he won’t get anything else (took about 3 meals). Sometimes he truly doesn’t like what I’m serving (he gagged up mushrooms the other day because he listened and tried it, poor kid) and that’s fine, as long as he tried it. And he always has choices on his plate, like cheese, bread, veggies, meat. I rarely serve a one item meal. And he can have as much as he wants of one item (although I tend to ask him to try some meat before he can have more cheese) and not touch another if he feels like it. And it’s true that offering a zillion times the same thing might lead to some taste development. He’s started to eat cucumbers this week, after about a year of offering it from time to time. I was happy.

    And of course, he’ll eat anything at daycare.

    Alexia would only eat bread if she could. She’ll fuss and cry until she gets her piece of bread at the end of the meal. I think she’s starting to understand that she has to endure the spoonfeeding of the meal before she can enjoy some finger foods. Unless she can self feed on what I made, but it’s sometimes impossible.

    I guess the point is to not stress about it and not make it a power struggle.

    • I’m glad mine aren’t the only ones who eat everything at daycare, and are picky at home.

      We usually have choices out, too. Though I’ll give a piece of bread and a bowl of spaghetti, but you’re not getting seconds on either (i.e., no more bread!) until you finish both.

      I do keep offering the same thing a zillion times, and will almost always put at least a small bit of everything in front of the kids, even if they swear they won’t touch it. Maybe someday they will.

      I skipped almost all spoonfeeding with the younger two kids, went from nursing almost straight to finger foods. There was a little spooning in between, but not a ton. I don’t care for mushes and it’s just easier…

      And I’m with you that it’s not worth stressing about. The girls are doing just fine even though they skip dinner half the time.

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