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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Picky Eaters

Most moms at one time or another have a picky eater. You work hard to provide good nutritious food and your child turns up her little nose at it and says "Yuck!"  Now, before you get too worked up over this, let's do some thinking.  Is there any food you don't like?  I dislike mushrooms so much that if I am served them, I will actually pick them out of the food.  I won't say anything to anyone around me but it is the one food I will not eat.  How about your husband?  Could children have preferences also?  So, if your child only dislikes a few kinds of food, it's probably best to respect that and not make a big deal of it. Our likes and dislikes of any particular food is purely an individual matter.  One of my children thoroughly dislikes potatoes.  I thought everyone liked potatoes!  We appointed him the potato chef and taught him how to make potatoes taste really good.  He became quite expert and quite proud of his creations.  He still won't eat most potatoes but he makes the best mashed potatoes from scratch than anyone I know!

But what if your child doesn't seem to like anything?  Try to do a little detective work.  Does he like to "graze" throughout the day?  Maybe he fills up on other things and isn't hungry at regular mealtimes.  Does he eat a lot of sweets and other snacks?  Again, he might not be hungry when dinner comes around.  Does he drink a lot of milk and/or other beverages?  Same result...not hungry.  If you cut back on the availability of  sugar-laden food and munchies, your child might actually have an appetite at mealtimes.

Also, it's best not to make mealtimes a power struggle.  I think it's reasonable to ask your child to try something but definitely not reasonable to expect him to clean his plate!   Don't put large servings on his plate.  Sometimes a full plate looks pretty overwhelming.  And you certainly don't want to encourage habits that can contribute to obesity later.

To be fair, this little guy is not a picky eater!
If your child is too full for dinner, then it stands to reason that he's automatically too full for dessert.  Be consistent about that!  Offer to save his dinner in case he's hungry later but don't fix him something else or sneak him his dessert or give in to whining.

The most important thing is to remain calm and respond in a firm but gentle voice.  Your child won't starve if he isn't fed constantly throughout the day.  Mealtimes can be a pleasant just might take a little work and a little time to get there.


  1. Slight correction--I still cannot eat instant mashed potatoes of any variety, but am okay with fake au-rotten potatoes and other things like that...but prefer the fresh stuff over anything else! And yes, I am still Le Potato Chef...

  2. It must be because you're losing your sense of taste :)

  3. On the farm we fed instant mashed potatoes to rats in the chicken barn. It wasn't toxic in and of itself (truly, David!), but it was bad for them. I will spare you all the details of how that works. Real potatoes, however, are a marvel.