The following post is from Aimée of Simple Bites and is the third guest post in the Breaking Picky Eaters series. We’ll start to look at different reasons why a child might be picky and solutions and methods to try with your “particular eaters” at home based on what has worked for all of us, what hasn’t worked and what might work for you later this week.
I am no stranger to the fussy eater. If I looked back and evaluated my journey as a mom so far, coping with my two picky children would probably top my list as the single most frustrating aspect of parenting.
My first, personal blog was born out of a desperate attempt to connect with other moms after seeing my lovingly prepared meals continually flipped off the side of the high chair. A foodie, or ‘gourmande’ as we say here in Quebec, myself, I always assumed my children would eat everything – as long as I introduced a wide variety of foods to their young palates early enough. Right? Right? Wrong.
It has now been five years since that first spoonful of solids was obstinately pushed out of my firstborn’s mouth. Things are better. Much better. My eldest now eats meat, green vegetables, and many fruits. Yes, cheese is still limited to one variety (marble cheddar, SVP), berries are disdained, and orange vegetables are pushed aside, but he eats a myriad of ingredients most kids his age won’t touch. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are all popular, served up in burritos, soups and curries. Fish disappears faster than the side of home fries, and cooked cereals are gobbled up every morning.
As I look back on the headway we have made over the years, I’m happy to report that as slow as it was, progress was made. Perhaps that is the encouragement you need to hear today.
Here are a few things I learned along the way. They didn’t solve all my problems, that’s for sure, but made for smoother meal times and helped ensure my kids were getting the nutrients they needed.
- Go big for breakfast
Serving up a well rounded, hearty breakfast will help replenish low energy reserves, especial if supper was minimal the night before. Try and include whole grains, fruit and dairy. If your child isn’t big on breakfast, be sure to serve up a solid mid-morning snack.
- Allow healthy grazing
Keep healthy snacks around for quick handouts, but don’t allow them to snack close to meals. The only exception here is if I know that dinner is not one of their favorites, I’ll pass out carrot and celery sticks for snacking in the late afternoon.
- Get kids in the kitchen
Get kids involved with meal planning, meal preparation, shopping, growing of vegetables, and preparing healthy snacks. Be sure to invite them to pull up a chair next to you when you’re cooking dinner and let them taste and nibble during the prep time and encourage them to try new things.
As parents, we have a responsibility to make eating about more than just loading up our forks. Take the time to make the gathering and preparing of food, as well as sitting down together around the dinner table, fundamental to eating.
- Choose the best ingredients for the food your kids DO love.
Is your preschooler on a P.B & J kick? Then provide him with organic whole grain bread, all-natural peanut butter and sugar-free jam. You may not be able to control his likes and dislikes, but you can ensure the food he does consume is whole, natural and the very best for him.
- Relax and have fun
Over the course of a week most kids eat a fairly balanced diet (if you offer them one). Don’t sweat it if one day there is no progress on the meat or milk front. Tomorrow they’ll eat a bowl of yogurt, nibble down a few meatballs and carrot sticks and it will be fine. Don’t sweat every meal.
Bottom line: The fact that you are still reading this post is a good sign, because it shows you care. Hang in there. Things do get better.
|Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is the editor of Simple Bites, part of the Simple Living Media Network, which dishes up real food for the family table. Cooking has always been her preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation, and growing up with a “real food” upbringing shaped that passion. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop. She is mother to two children and wife to Danny.|