Sunday, September 30, 2012

Picky Eater Update

Several months ago, I lamented my frustration that Sweetie Pea was turning into such a finicky eater. It was driving me bonkers, and I fell into the trap of making him a separate meal at dinner just so he would eat something. I knew that wasn't what I wanted to do, but being the worrywart that I am I couldn't deal with him going to bed without a hot meal in his tummy. After months of keeping my freezer stocked with all-natural chicken nuggets, I decided enough is enough. The kid is going to eat what we're eating. End of story. Mama has enough to do without being a short-order cook.

Breakfast and lunch aren't generally his problem areas, and I also find that it's easier to prepare healthy, kid-friendly foods at these meals than at dinner (not the healthy part, but the kid-friendly part!). But then I read Ellyn Satter's Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense and it totally changed the way I think about feeding Sweets. Here's the reader's digest version: it is my job to put healthy food on the table in front of my son. It is his job to determine what and how much of it he will eat. She makes the point that as long as all of the options I have provided for him are nutritious, it doesn't matter what he chooses, and he's not going to starve himself. So now, he gets what we get. I will sometimes modify something a bit to make it easier for him to eat, for example, if I'm serving taco salad, I'll make him a quesadilla with beans, cheese and avocado. Though I still sometimes get frustrated ("you ate this last week, why are you throwing it on the floor today?"), on the whole this approach is going pretty well. I've found that most foods now fall into one of three categories:

Nope, never, under any circumstances
Green beans
Raw vegetables

If you're lucky and/or they're camouflaged reeeeeally well
White potatoes
Mandarin oranges

Sure things
Any carb (bread, cereal, pasta, pretzels, crackers, even dirt, is dirt a carb?)
Cheese, in any form
Ok, why don't I cover all my bases here and just say the entire dairy family is a safe bet
Peanut butter
Scrambled eggs
Chicken, turkey, fish
Dried fruit
Tomato sauce
Sweet potatoes

It's when you start mixing any of these foods to create a main dish that you may be met with Sweets' skepticism. The other night I made scalloped potatoes and ham in the crockpot and he was looking at me like "you expect me to eat this?"However, a little squirt of ketchup and we were in business. He is also getting to the age where you can reason with him, which is FANtastic. We definitely use the old "if you can't finish your dinner, you probably don't have room for dessert" logic and it works like a charm. Ellyn Satter does NOT recommend this, by the way, but whatever. My mom used it on me and I turned out fine ;) The bottom line is, we're sticking to our guns, even if we got off to a rocky start. Does it stress me out when he eats two bites of something and insists that he's done? Absolutely. But he's trying more and more things, and I'm not cooking two dinners, so I consider that progress!

No comments:

Post a Comment