Monday, 25 March 2013

The War on Food

I'd like to say that my kid takes picky eating to a whole new level, but that wouldn't be the truth. Truth is she's not that bad, we've gotten her to eat a lot of things people wouldn't think a 1 year old would eat. Things like turnips, hot wings (yes hot wings, don't judge she liked it and we where responsible and only gave her the meat cleared of any bones), asparagus and curry.

Now you would think that a kid who eat all of those things would not be picky, not quite the case. As of late our little miss is going through this phase where she REFUSES to eat 95% of what we offer her, even things we know she likes. Phases such as these can be enough to make you go crazy and turn the dinner table into a war zone where perhaps more than one of you could end up in tears. Here are my tips/tricks to survive the madness:

1) I am not a short order cook what's for dinner is what's for dinner, there are no other options. Right now we have one child but imagine if we had more than one, it would be insane to cook a meal for each individual person. Not to mention think of all the extra dishes you would have to do! A lot of people get sucked into cooking more than one dinner for the whole family out of the primal fear that their child will starve to death. Truth is in the majority of cases that is false, if your kid was really hungry they would eat what you offered them.

2) A little bribery goes a long way, and I don't mean desert! (see #3) Our daughter loves loves loves saltines, so sometimes to get her to try something we'll put a little piece of cracker on top of what we're trying to feed her in order to get her to eat it. Adding a tried and true favourite that your kid adores to a meal that they wouldn't otherwise try can sometimes be the make or brake of dinner.

3) No dessert! Do not give dessert if they didn't give their meal the old college try, because it will teach them that if they hold out long enough their parent will give them delicious dessert. In our house the motto is "if you are too full to finish dinner you are too full to eat dessert". Second reason for no dessert is that it can cause children to force themselves to over eat just to get dessert, this is super un-healthy for many obvious reasons. We don't live under the "you must finish what's on your plate" regime, if you are full then you are full that's it.

4) Get creative, sometimes a little trickery is needed for the extra picky eater. A little creative hiding of veggies or other nutritious foods can really help your kid eat a varied and nutritious diet. My kid is young so it isn't hard, just today I got her to eat her food by stuffing it into a mini pita bread (bread is another one of her favs). For older kids who might not fall for such a novice trick-a-roo there are cook books for you or you can get friendly with the cheese grater and grate veggies into everything you cook, they are far less likely to notice the secret ingredient that way.

5) Don't give up! Just because your kid didn't like it last week doesn't mean that they won't like it today. Keep trying to offer new and different things and don't give up on the previously rejected. You never know today might be the day they love broccoli...