Remember when your baby ate anything you gave them? Me either.

Remember when your baby ate anything you gave them? Me either.

During a play date a mother observed my preschooler eating salad. “You are giving me so much hope right now. You mean my kid might eat a salad one day?” Yes! I am here to bring you hope!

My kids are just coming out of a hard core, year long cheese phase. They ate cheese, cheese and more glorious cheese! From mac and cheese, to grilled cheese to pizza. It was all about the cheese. I was so worried they were missing out on key nutrients for proper development.  But, after speaking with my doctor and a few different dietitians I am assured of these things:

  1. My children will not starve.
  2. My children will not get scurvy.
  3. My children are normal.

It turns out toddlers like control, and lucky me I gave birth to two control enthusiasts. So being out numbered I have to pick my battles wisely. Getting my kids to eat everything on their plate is not a battle I am willing to take up. I’m saving my energy for bigger battles like manners, potty training and just getting through the day.

Toddlers like routine. What looks like a food rut to us is really a toddler’s way of sticking to a routine. Eating the same foods over and over is comforting to them.  I spent a lot of time hiding veggie purees in their mac and cheese, pasta and pizza sauces. The usual tricks did not work on them. They turned their noses up at ketchup and ranch dip, even hummus.

Portion sizes are very different for your toddler. Little ones will still get enough of the good stuff in a small amount.

Repetition is key to introducing new foods. I read somewhere it can take up to 17 tries to introduce a new food to a toddler.  Seven. Teen. Tries.  Serving new foods alongside favorites provides exposure. My kids were so resistant to new foods that it was an entire year before they took their first bite of a carrot! Funny how they’d eat it in baked goods or a smoothie all the time, but a carrot in the raw was a no go.

Often the biggest difficulty with a picky eater is the comments other parents make about it. Let it roll off mamas. What I have learned most is don’t sweat this parenting rite of passage.  Again, as long as your child’s minimal eating habits have been checked out by a doc, they are growing at a typical pace and they will eat something, they will be OK!

At age 3 ½ My kids aren’t eating salad every night of the week, nor are they finishing all of the food put in front of them, and there are nights they still eat just mac and cheese. But after a year of casually sharing new foods they are less resistant to trying new things. It doesn’t hurt that I have a new obsession with making dessert with healthy stuff. It’s amazing how quickly kids will eat anything chocolate! Even when they have no idea there’s an avocado hiding inside.  (Mwahaha!)

What are your tricks for feeding a picky eater?


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