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Tales From The Mother Of A Picky Eater

on February 6, 2013

{Post by Guest Blogger, Sarah}

At the end of my last post I exposed a dirty little secret:  I’m the mother of a picky eater. Gasp! I know it could be worse, but with the emphasis on health and nutrition these days (obviously a good thing), it’s easy for moms to feel a little guilty about their kid’s pickiness.  It’s easy to think “I must be doing something wrong because little Sally down the street only eats kale and carrots.”  Hold it right there.  STOP.  Stop comparing yourself and your kids to other moms and their kids. Every child is different.  For all you know Sally is part rabbit, or maybe her kale and carrot consumption will be replaced with Twinkies and Slim Jims tomorrow.  My picky eater is definitely not part rabbit.

Let me introduce you to my two-year-old son Silas.

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Cute as a button, right? He’s a spitfire and always on the go, go, go. With all that go, go, going you would think he would be eat, eat, eating, right? Wrong. Well, he actually does eat breakfast and lunch, but never dinner. Let me provide you with a list of Silas-approved food:

Avocado

Yogurt

Cottage cheese

Cheese

Fruit

Bagels

Pita

Tortillas

Crackers

Pretzels

Scrambled eggs, but only on what seem to be Tuesdays and every third Friday

Oatmeal, but only on days beginning with the letter “T”

Cake, cookies, donuts. Did I mention cake, cookies, and donuts? Pretty much anything that has at least a pinch of sugar listed in the ingredients.

Ok, ok. I know what you’re thinking. “What does she have to complain about? He eats fruit, cheese, yogurt, and avocado.” I’m very grateful that the food he does eat is pretty healthy. (Minus the cakes, cookies, and donuts, of course.)  But can you believe he won’t touch pizza? PIZZA!  That’s pretty much the most kid-friendly food in the world next to the chicken nugget and mac n’ cheese, neither of which he will eat.

Of course he was an awesome eater as a baby, slurping down any homemade purée I put in front of him.  Then when he was around 11 months he just stopped eating the things he normally ate and enjoyed on a regular basis.  Since I’m also the mom of a three-year-old, I know that the abandonment of all things food is not uncommon and that this too shall pass (I’m hoping).  My oldest son, Jackson, also took a brief walk on the dark side and refused to eat dinner, but I am happy to report that he’s back to eating healthy dinners on a regular basis. Welcome back, Jack!

There is nothing more frustrating than spending time preparing a healthy meal for your kids only to have one or more of them not touch it.  Not even a bite.  I don’t accept “I don’t like it” if they don’t try it.  All I ask for is one bite.  ONE!  Is that too much to ask? I’m not expecting them to be members of the clean plate club.  Just a nibble.  So I’ve tried every trick in the book – airplanes, trains, motorcycles, pushing his “open mouth button” on his tummy, but that kid is too smart and quick.  He will play along with your silly train game, then quickly dodge that fork before you can utter your last “choo choo.”

So I finally gave up.  If he’s not hungry, he’s not hungry, right?  I always put dinner on his plate in the event he may feel like eating, but I absolutely refuse to prepare a separate meal for him.  I also do not allow him to have cereal or yogurt as an alternative (like another adult in our household does – I’m not naming any names) because I don’t feel like that’s teaching him anything.  Not that he should be punished for not eating what we eat, but he can’t expect to eat cereal for dinner every night.  I firmly believe he will eat when he is hungry.

I know a lot of parents don’t agree with hiding veggies in their kids’ food because it’s not teaching them anything about nutrition, and I agree that hiding veggies doesn’t allow your kids to discover how tasty vegetables can be.  But if your kid hasn’t touched a green leafy vegetable or carrot since… hmmmmm… I can’t remember, I think a little sneak attack is totally justified and in order.

Since Silas loves cheese and tortillas, tonight’s dinner consisted of quesadillas with sautéed veggies, avocado, yogurt, and pear.  I’ve found that it’s much easier to conceal veggies if you shred them rather than dice them, so I shredded some zucchini, red pepper, and onion and sautéed them for a few minutes.  I added sweet corn and sautéed for a few more minutes.  I then put the veggie mixture in between two layers of cheese and grilled the quesadillas.  And guess what?  He ate it.  ALL OF IT.  Zucchini, red pepper, onion, and corn.  Gobbled it up.  Did I feel a little guilty for hiding his veggies from him?  Not one bit.  I’m not saying I would deceive him on a daily basis, but kid needs some roughage every now and then.

Until the day comes when Silas decides he’s ready to eat dinner again (on a regular basis, that is), I will continue to offer him healthy options that I know he will eat for breakfast and lunch and not beat myself up every time he refuses to eat the dinner I made for the family.  I will also continue to sneak veggies in, but only on Mondays and every second Thursday.

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One response to “Tales From The Mother Of A Picky Eater

  1. […] no secret that I have a picky eater, and my oldest son went through the same phase when he was two.  My kids have never fallen for the […]

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