Do you have a ‘picky’ eater in your house? Ours is my son, Rocco, whose picky eating is starting to drive me insane with wasted food, tantrums and Pinterest-worthy plate presentations of carrot wheels and letters made out of green beans. I worry all the time about whether he is getting the vitamins and nutrients he needs and I lose sleep trying to plot sneaky ways to get him to try, or even lick, a vegetable. I rush through my own dinner so I can finish before he eats all of the bread or fruit on his plate and starts fussing to leave the table because he hates the meat and vegetables remaining.
My new monthly series will chronicle my attempts to encourage my son to expand his eating habits and I’d love to hear your ideas or just commiserate if you have a similar issue in your house. If your picky child is now an adult who delights in quail eggs and flax seed, please tell me so that I can have hope!
Rocco’s back story is that he ate pretty much everything as a baby in terms of pureed foods. At 16 months, he had major surgery on his mouth for a palate issue. Immediately after the surgery, there was a lot of coaxing and forcing liquids and food to keep him hydrated, and he became very skeptical of trying anything from anyone else’s spoon or hand. His preferences also got way more limited from that point forward.
I was hanging out at Bonbon Break today and found an article from Your Kids Table about picky eaters. I clicked and was instantly sucked into her site, which has a heavy focus on getting kids to eat well. I found her writing to be both helpful and understanding, which is important for me, since I beat myself up on a daily basis for Rocco not being a more well-rounded eater. The author, Alisha Grogan, is a pediatric occupational therapist, and to my delight even disagrees with some of the most annoying advice well-meaning people have given me (starve him until he eats, no snacks ever etc.). I have tried the ‘Let him starve if he won’t eat his veggies’ approach that his pediatrician (and others) gave me, and it doesn’t work – or Rocco called my bluff, in that he didn’t eat for longer than I was willing to accept. The pediatrician said ‘He could stand to skip a few meals’ because he is chubby, but that kind of pissed me off and it just wasn’t that easy.
Rocco WILL Eat:
bread, crackers, beige food
limited meats: uncured bacon and hot dogs; Chick Fil-a nuggets; Canadian bacon
sweets (ice cream and cookies are his favorites)
Milk and Water
Naked Green Machine Juice (his only source of veggies, but I don’t offer it much because of the sugar)
Rocco WON’T Eat:
potatoes (including sweet potatoes) except for fries
any meats (except those listed above)
pasta and rice
sauces, mashed anything, casseroles, soups, dips, condiments
Rocco is Allergic to: peanuts (read about his Peanut Challenge here), almonds, hazelnuts
This month I will be trying several new approaches and foods to see if I can make any progress with Rocco. I will be Googling and even checking Pinterest (something that is difficult for me) in order to get some ideas for things to try. One great idea Alisha provides on her site is to try serving meals family style from the table so the kids can serve themselves and sort of interact with the food. Hey, I’m willing to try anything!
In July my next post will debrief and let you know if he is eating anything new, has made any progress, or has started writing a memoir called ‘The Final Carrot Stick: The Story Of How My Mother Ruined My Relationship With Food At a Young age”
If you have suggestions for recipes, ways to present food, ways to introduce foods or encourage him to try things etc. PLEASE let me know. I will try many of them and report back so you can see how it goes. I am less interested in sneaking a speck of spinach into a brownie so I can claim that he is ‘technically’ eaten a vegetable, so hold off on those please (although personally I never met a brownie I didn’t like).