Picky Eaters

Posted by  | Wednesday, February 23, 2011  at 5:14 AM  
I have a picky eater. If given the choice, Meredith (four years) would happily eat bread or some form of it for every single meal. She will eat a few vegetables and likes some fruits but generally has to be encouraged to eat anything that isn't carbohydrate based. I used to really beat myself up about it and wonder how I managed to raise such a picky eater despite my best efforts. But, now we also have Jonathan (three years) who is completely different than his sister. He is excited about trying new foods and has a wide variety of favorites. (We also have Lydia, who is eight months and isn't eating much at all right now. It remains to be seen if she will be more like her sister or brother in this respect.) Having two totally different eaters I am now more inclined to think that some children are naturally disposed to being more sensitive to different tastes and flavors (even familiar ones). Meredith is also more sensitive to anything enhanced by herbs or spices, even in butter she thinks it too salty or sweeter things like smoothies. She complains they are too "spicy" for her.

So, what have we done about it? First, I never fix separate meals. We all eat the same thing for dinner and if she doesn't like it, she has to try a few bites and then may politely decline the rest. That being said, I try not to fix a totally weird, adult only kind of meal. There is usually one or two things at ever meal that everyone likes. Everyone at the table has to try a few bites of everything offered (within reason). We usually give them a specific number. Thankfully, she usually will force herself to eat the alloted number of bites with a good attitude and we haven't had any food standoffs yet. (I have found that she thinks it is perfectly acceptable to be expected to eat four big bites because she is four.) There have been a few times when she was around two when she wouldn't eat anything except the couple of bites we asked her to and then we would offer her a glass of milk to round out the meal. If there is an ingredient like tomatoes or onions in a casserole or something that someone doesn't like they can quietly pick it out and leave it on their plate. We have tried to teach them not to complain about what is served and to be thankful.

Mealtimes still aren't perfect at our house and we are always reevaluating our approach as our kids grow and mature. What are your ideas for helping picky eaters? We'd love to hear from you!

3 comments:

Courtney said...

OK, so I never watch Rachael Ray, but the other week, it was on for some reason. She had a doctor on who was talking about this. He was saying that some people's taste buds are stronger and that is why some people are more picky. It was really interesting.

Margaret said...

That is interesting! I wonder if she'll grow out of it?

Katie said...

First off, leave it to my awesome niece to be okay with trying 4 big bites of anything because she is 4 years old. What a great tactic, Margaret! Second, Brianna is much like her cousin Jonathan-she will eat anything you offer her, and will eat a ton of it. That being said, perhaps I'm not the best judge here, but I have noticed some of my friend's who have VERY picky eaters that they are starting to grow out of it. I think it was my Dr. that said that taste buds are always changing, and that simply because kids (or adults!) don't like something now, it doesn't mean down the road that they won't like it. I've noticed some of Brianna's friends eating things that they used to throw fits over, so perhaps there is something to the "growing out of it" theory.

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