· My oldest has always been a pretty easy eater. She seems to enjoy a variety of foods. My second…not so much. She eats cheese. Oh sure, there’s other things she eats, but if you ask what she likes she says, “Macaroni and cheese, toasted cheese, tortilla and cheese, cheese sandwiches, crackers and cheese, string cheese…” We have tried the best we can to try and get her to at least try other new menu items, but we have failed. She eats all kinds of fruits, grains and yogurts too, but just attempt to put something “new” in her face, and it hasn’t worked. In her lifetime, she’s maybe had one bite of chicken (forced in a battle) and one bite of beef (a meatball, which was of her own choosing). She struggles to put anything new in her mouth. A friend recommended the book, “Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense”
We don’t engage in the battles with her anymore, and meal time has become more pleasant. Is she eating chicken? Not yet. However, she did eat a meatball the other night, and she tried and loves peanut butter now. She also tried pasta for the first time…without the sauce. Small victories. I’ll try to break down what we do in the most simple way I can. We don’t make our kids eat anything. We offer healthy choices at meal times. We do meals family style. They can take as much or as little of each item as they want. If they don’t want anything, they don’t eat this meal. We have scheduled meal and snack times. I try and provide something healthy they will enjoy at each meal, but I don’t cater to it too much. The author of the book said that you create what you are trying to avoid. So, if your child doesn’t eat much, and you try and force them to eat more, they end up eating less. If your child eats too much, and you try and force them to eat less, they eat more. If you are concerned about a child’s weight, you should be concerned about what kind of foods are on the table. I heard someone once say, “I’ve never seen anyone become fat off of vegetables.” Meal times should be centered on enjoying each other and feeding our bodies. We want meal times to be pleasant. We were battling Kenzie every day, and it wasn’t pleasant. Now, we have a nice meal together without the crying and the stand off. The author of the book said that your child wants to be successful at eating. She will observe you enjoying food and will EVENTUALLY try it. It may be her putting it on her plate for a bit. It may be her trying it once and then not trying it again for a month. However, eventually, they’ll branch out more. We have seen that with Kenzie. She’s tried a few new things. She looks at new things very carefully, and you can see her brain working. She’s allowed things on her plate. She’s considering new things, and we’ve had small successes. We also all sit at the table together until meal time is over. The kids have always been more interested in playing than eating. I don’t get it, but they’d ask to get down quickly so they could return to their activity. So, the rule is we all stay at the table together even if you’re not eating. I try and sit with them at every meal, which is hard because I loved using breakfast and lunch time to empty the dishwasher, do dishes, clean up the kitchen, etc. I just find they eat better when I’m sitting with them. I love that the battle is over. Yes, there have been meals where she hasn’t had one thing. However, the next meal she will eat. The kids are learning not to ask between scheduled meal and snack times. I was a picky eater when I was a kid…horrible. I ate tortillas and Top Roman. Throw in a hamburger or pizza every once in a while, and I was good to go. Now, I enjoy a variety of foods. I trust this will happen with my children as well. It’s what is working for us right now, and you’ll have to gauge if it might be the answer for your family as well.