Friday, September 7, 2007

Picky eaters - time for the good stuff

This whole week, I have noticed more and more how my 3 year old is very picky with what she eats. Every meal that has been prepared for her, she would automatically say "Ew! That's yucky!" without having ever placed it in her mouth. She automatically judges based on the site and smell to see if it good. I know that I want to expand her palette beyond McDonald's chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. I have tried very hard to see that she gets good nutrition and a variety of choices.

Yesterday evening, I was trying out a recipe in a new crockpot recipe book, a chicken tortilla soup. I thought it has chicken (which she likes) tomato sauce (which she likes) tortillas (she could out do me on a bag of chips anyday) and cheese (yummy). Anything a kid would like, right? Wrong! She smelled it and curled her nose YUCKY! I told her she had to have at least 2 bites before she left the table. She had two tiny bites and opted for the small box of Trix instead. Okay, I know the Trix is wrong choice, but I felt like she had carrot sticks and a banana in her lunch box that she ate at school, so it is not all that bad of trying to feed my child well!

Again tonight, a "healthy" pizza from Pizza Hut (the thin crust Chicken Supreme is something the South Beach Diet even endorses) loaded with green peppers, chicken, onion and mushroom. And do you know, even with a food like pizza, and the tomato paste crust, the child turned her nose to it!

My 7 month old is starting to become picky..well I know she is only 7 months and she had only started to eat solids for a couple of months now, but even the foods she has tried and seem to like, she does not like anymore. Green beans puree was a delicacy for Ella. Now she frowns and cries when she has it. I think the only food she had consistantly liked is my breastmilk.

Have I set a bad example for my daughters in actually trying to get them to try new foods? I know that I have moods when it comes to food, I mean after a stressful day, I could eat a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies! Perhaps they are in moods, and want some sort of control and defining for themselves what they like and don't like. They still have alot of growing up in the taste buds and in the belly!

I know when I was young, I could not stand spinach, though my parents consistantly put it on my plate, whether I ate it or not. Now it is one of my favorite foods! Maybe my daughters will start eating healthy if I just gave it to them as an option, constantly. Maybe they will be picky enough to try those "yucky" foods and think of it as a great alternative. Maybe I should get rid of those chocolate chip cookies and start eating those same carrot sticks I put in my daughter's lunch box when I feel a stress spell. Maybe I need to "grow up" my palette too!


NoVA Dad said...

Yes, I see them getting pickier as well. You can look at my belly and tell I'm not too picky, though. I didn't realize the pizza was endorsed by South Beach; I feel better about that.

I think she'll grow out of her phase. The more she sees us eating certain things, the more she'll try them -- notice how she does do a bit more when she sees you or I eating it.

Kristen said...

I agree with your husband. :-) My 3-year-old was completely refusing to eat vegetables of any kind. And, we were down to just a few dinners he would eat: macaroni and cheese, rice with mushroom gravy, spaghetti and meatballs, and peanut butter and jelly. He was eating a lot of fruit and whole grain bread - that was our consolation. It was easy to freak out about it and to try to reason with him/bribe him, but we just decided that eventually he'd learn to eat healthy again since my husband and I generally eat well (until after dark) and the choices would be in front of my son. I'd also heard about a research study that found that, over the course of a year, if kids are offered good choices, they will eat a balanced diet. They may not eat a balanced meal every day, but over a year, they'll get enough veggies, fruits, dairy, etc.

And, just last week, my son reached for a slice of green pepper off a plate of vegetables, ate it, and announced, "This is really good! I like this!" So there is hope. :-)

Wayne said...

I think every child goes through this phase in eating habits. When I was a child, so long, long ago, I refused to eat. My mother took me to the doctor to see if there was any physical reason for my not eating. He told her to put the food on the table, serve my plate, and then leave me alone. "He'll eat when he's hungry." And, of course, I did. It took me quite a while, though, to get used to the taste of turnips and/or cabbage.

With cabbage, it was only when a girlfriend's mother cooked cabbage as part of a meal that I tasted it and really liked it. I was sixteen! I think I was probably trying to "please" her mother that I ate it. Surprisingly, her mother cooked it exactly like my mother!

I have a dear friend who has a 15-year-old son. When the son was a baby/toddler, the only thing he would eat was green beans - every meal, nothing else, just green beans! Try as they might, the parents just couldn't get him to try anything. But he turned out all right!

Children are more in touch with their bodies and what they need, although they can't express it. Sometimes as adults, we "crave" certain foods (yes, even chocolate chip cookies) and we can't explain why we "need" those foods! But your body knows - there are certain elements, apparently, that are needed by the body for whatever reason.

So, don't give up on those angels - they will "eat when they're hungry." Provide the good food that I know you do and they will come around - yes even the South Beach Diet pizza!

You both are doing just fine with the girls and I know you love them and want the best for them. It all works out, believe me!

Kansas Bob said...

As I often tell my wife: We are all picky eaters ... some of us won't eat spinach and some of us won't eat hot dogs.