In November 2009, a mere four years ago (eeps!) I wrote a post bragging about how I had bested the whole picky eater issue. Oh, I was sooooo proud of myself with my “kiss, lick, nibble” trick that worked so well on my the 1-year-old. As long as the food item in question was “cute” and small and I could play the ‘oh! you need to kiss the little baby’ card and usually get my way.
Fast forward four years and that sweet easily convinced baby has been replaced by a 5-year-old who would happily subsist on fruit on candy if I let her.
I don’t let her.
The fight to get protein into her little body starts at breakfast, continues on through lunch, and finally ends after dinner when we get to take a 12 hour break before starting all over again.
I wish I could tell you I really had a trick to get picky eaters to try something new. But I don’t. We’ve tried all the common tips.
- She won’t dip… anything into anything.
- She loves helping us cook, but refuses to try anything we prepare with her.
- She helps me do all the shopping and still shows no interest in trying any of the things we’ve purchased.
I thought about worrying about the whole thing, but since she’s getting plenty of vitamins and I manage to sneak in protein when I can in the form of milk in her cereal or the odd chicken nugget, I just get on with our meals as best as I can. I serve the things she loves when I possible and every so often add things I know she won’t want to try.
If she wants any desert she has to taste everything on her plate. If she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to eat more than one bite.
Fact is, she’s stubborn. Most times she’d rather forfeit desert rather than try something new (and there’s nothing this kid likes more than desert…). And everything she does try is instantly categorized as “disgusting.”
I’d get more annoyed, but I can’t really fault her when, 30 some years ago (ahem!), I was the one making that repulsed face and pushing the proffered fork away.
I remember my mother desperately trying to cajole me into trying something new. I remember being determined to hate whatever it was even before tasting it. I remember saying “YUCK! (or rather “Beurk!” the French equivalent) even if I kinda maybe liked it a little. It was a point of pride. No. New. Foods.
I’ve outgrown that pigheadedness (at least when it comes to new foods) and today I’ll try pretty much anything and usually find it delicious.
So? My latest picky eater strategy?
I’m just waiting it out. One day she’ll get bored of plain vegetables, rice, noodles, and fruit. That day I’ll be ready with new things to enjoy and I’ll try my hardest to not say “I told you you’d like it!” when she exclaims “Oh YUM!”