Monday, April 30, 2012

Tricks for a Picky Palate

I have two picky eaters right now, but they're picky about completely different things.

Aiden (15 months) refuses every single vegetable. He won't eat any of them. Even fruit is hit-and-miss with him. I just got him to like grapes of all things, which I mistakenly thought he'd love right away. He didn't. Luckily, that was one of those foods where the old practice of "keep offering it to them whether they eat it or not" actually worked. That's the first and only time that technique has worked, but I'll keep trying!

So, how do I get him to eat veggies? I use to try sticking one in there with a bite of something else. That little goober spit it out every time, but somehow kept the other food in there. Now, I put it in his mouth and say, "Eat it. Chew it up," in my best no-nonsense voice. He fake cries for about a second and then grudgingly chews and swallows . . . unless I happen to look away. In that case, he spits it out.

Clearly it's a flawed system, although it probably sounds deceivingly simple. All you have to do is put it in his mouth and tell him to eat it? Unfortunately, not true. That's been a pretty recent development. Up until about a week ago I could barely even get him to open his mouth for veggies, let alone actually eat them. Even now he only gets a few bites, if that. It's frustrating. I persevere. Luckily, Aiden's great with meat and carbs, so we don't have too many problems in that area.

Asher (2 1/2), on the other hand, requires different techniques to get him to eat. He's usually eating all  his fruits and vegetables before the other food on his plate. Unless it's a meal he absolutely loves (mac and cheese, pasta with sauce, pizza, corn dog muffins), he usually refuses to eat and puts up a huge fight. He routinely covers his mouth with his hands when I ask him to please take a bite. What to do, what to do?

Well, I won't lie, we've resorted to bargaining. "If you eat your food, you can have fruit snacks!" I say, with all the possible excitement I can muster so he thinks it's a grrrrrrrreat idea. Apparently he's caught on, because this rarely seems to work anymore. But, it works sometimes so I keep it in the repertoire. I console myself with the knowledge that I can't possibly be the only one who's done this . . . Right?

The other technique that has been working really great lately is cutting his food into shapes. My parents gave us two sandwich cutters - one's a dinosaur, one's a dolphin - and those really do work wonders. "Oh no, you ate the dinosaur's head! Oh, man!" That usually gets a laugh and another bite. Other shapes are easy to do freehand (triangles, squares, Mickey Mouse, etc.), or if you have cookie cutters lying around use those, too. As I'm writing this, I'm wondering if Asher would like to cut his own shapes out of his food . . . I bet he would. I'll try it and get back to you. Of course, this method only works with food that can be cut - sandwiches, pancakes, French toast, waffles. I've discovered that it's easier to cut sandwiches and get it to stay stuck together if I roll it with a rolling pin before cutting it.

It's still crazy to me how different two kids can be. Their food preferences are almost opposite. That means no matter what I make for meals it'll be a battle with at least one of them, but probably both. Preparing and serving meals is becoming a real pain in the rear. But, on the up-side, it's a fantastic night when they both eat, and enjoy, their meal. I guess it's still the little things in life that make me appreciative.

On a Side Note: Lately, Asher is running around the house saying poopy and peepee. I don't know where that came from. And he's not saying it because he has to go potty. The other night during supper we were all being goofy and when I told him to do something he said, "No way, Poopy!" I tried really hard not to laugh, but it was so unexpected that I couldn't help it. Oh well. Hopefully this phase doesn't stick around too long.

 He's figured out how to do the slide all by himself!
 Getting set up . . . 
 Almost ready for take-off . . . 
 "I did it, Mom!"

 My big boy
 "Let me show you how the big boys do it!"
 "Here, you can play with this ball" . . .
"Changed my mind; I want it!" (look at Aiden's sad face!) 
They play so nicely together . . .  :)


  1. Hey, your kiddos are ADORABLE. And I totally understand the picky eating thing. Jacob has always been a picky eater, especially about anything that is new... I found in the past 6th months that a combination of bargaining with sweets, eating only what is offered when it is offered, and not having ANY snacks between meals has worked wonders. I feel for you. Good luck! Liz

    1. Thanks, Liz - it's nice to know I'm not alone!! I'm trying to cut out snacks, too, even healthy ones. Asher's just a snacker . . . Kinda like his mom, I guess. :)