…make more than one meal at lunchtime. There, I confess! Yes, and here come the mommies all around the world looking at me with arched eyebrows and shaking their heads. Yes, I make a different meal sometimes for my son and I confess to this horrendous crime. Lock me up!
But before you put me in parenting jail, hear me out. I have one of those notoriously picky eaters: you may have heard about them. There are memes about children like my son, memes I must admit I completely identify with, but I don’t have any friends whose kids are as picky as L, so I don’t have anyone to share this with, aside from some online mommies. Practically all my friends have children who would eat basically everything placed in front of them with neither a quizzical look or question. They often boast about their stance of ‘eat or starve’ working so well and I always think, ‘well, shit that method never worked for me because my child is so damn stubborn and strong-willed he will stand his ground and frankly I will break.’ There, another confession; I am on fire today!
In any case, with no one to discuss the potential way/s to deal with a picky child, I had to resort to online research, going with the flow, and finally speaking to our paediatrician. The end result was that I took the ‘easy’ and controversial way out and decided that if I wanted L to eat, I should just give him something I knew he would eat; and that is that. He actually had a fries and chicken nugget phase that we gave into. I just wanted mealtimes to no longer be a battlefield. Yes, it goes against everything that the ‘expert’ parents say to do, however, it was just what the paediatrician said would be the worry-free way to deal with battlefield mealtimes.
In fact, he gave us some really great tips for dealing with picky eating that matched my laid back approach to parenting that we still use to this day.
- They won’t starve themselves, so don’t worry if they aren’t having 3 square meals a day that include all the food groups; fill in the blanks with a good multivitamin if you are worried.
- If they are meeting their milestones, gaining weight and not chronically sick; they are fine and don’t worry too much that they aren’t eating that broccoli and spaghetti squash at lunch and preferred the fries and chicken nuggets instead. The point is that they ate.
- Try to introduce a new food in a casual way, allowing them to not like it. Don’t force eating any food because aversions will occur longterm. They will get to it.
So, we took his advice and ever so often I introduce something new. Overtime L has become more open to trying new things; even old foods he didn’t like in new ways, (Hello pumpkin bread!) and life has gotten a little bit easier…or maybe I have gotten a little bit better dealing with a picky eater.
To the parents with picky eaters, don’t despair; you are not alone. You are doing fine and trust me, your child won’t be upset with you as an adult because you did not force them to eat their veggies (they will start eating them all on their own). What your child would do is appreciate you for doing the best you can and listening to their needs. Keep doing that; keep being that kick ass parent you already are!