About a month ago, I wrote about my toddler’s propensity for eating. No matter how much food we placed in front of him, the boy would keep asking for more, more, more until I eventually figured out a system that seemed to work. Hooray for me… and the four other parents in the entire world who have this issue. Because based on your comments, I gathered that most of you would gladly trade in my problem for yours: what to do with picky eaters.
For instance, SSBE reader Lyle, from Ramblings of a Lyle wrote:
He’s getting into that picky stage where getting him to eat anything new is like pulling teeth. It’s frustrating because he used to be such a good eater when it came to trying new things. Now it’s “I don’t like it” before he even takes a bite.
Believe it or not, my toddler went through a semi-picky eater phase. He started denying certain foods (pretty much anything that wasn’t a sweet potato or a fruit). And just like Lyle experienced with her toddler, mine also pushed the spoon away before even taking one bite. Thankfully after a few weeks, he resumed eating a variety of food, and below are some tips I would offer Lyle:
- Serve the “yucky” food along with the “yummy” food, even mixing them together if you have to. Why pasta and strawberries on the same spoon seemed appealing to my toddler, I’ll never know, but he somehow convinced himself that this was delicious. By putting something he liked on the same spoon as the food that I wanted him to eat, I was able to make sure that he ate something else besides fruit. Eventually after about five spoonfuls of mixed food, I started alternating between the two, so that one spoonful was the pasta, and the second spoonful was the strawberry, and he seemed fine with this.
- Sneak vegetables into his mail meals. I borrowed Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious book from the library. When I first heard about this method, I smugly thought, “No way am I going to trick my kid into eating vegetables! They’re going to see it on their plates and know they’re eating vegetables… and they’re going to like it.” Um, yeah… sorry Mrs. Seinfeld for dissing your method, but I resorted to the cookbook to see if there were any recipes that my toddler would actually eat. And it seemed to work! Somehow these recipes were okay in toddler’s book, and we got to sneak in some pureed veggies as well.
- Don’t be a shirt-order cook. When my toddler rejected a food, I’d quickly run to the kitchen and whip up something else. I realize now that while he has the choice to eat the food in front of him or not, he can’t demand other food than the one I already prepared. Doing this exacerbated the problem and contributed to his picky eating.
Nowadays, my toddler is a champion eater. A bit too much for my taste, but I won’t rub it in. So while those techniques seemed to work for LO, I’m not sure if they would stand against a pure and true picky eater.
So readers, I turn to you for advice: how do you deal with a picky eater? What tips can you offer Lyle to get her toddler to try new food? How do you deal with kids who will only eat certain foods, or kids who won’t eat a lot? Chime in on the comments below.
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