Picky eating: a post where I confess my control issues

by Lesley on October 29, 2012 · 7 comments

in food,motherhood

Naturally, after Anna refused her lunch today, I’m all set to talk about FOOD.

Here’s the thing: I really, really, really want kids who grow up to be good eaters. My definition of a good eater is someone who eats a wide variety of foods, enjoys healthy foods, knows how to moderate “bad” foods, and has a healthy relationship with food (i.e. they know when they’re full, they don’t eat when they’re bored, etc.)

Anna is 15 months. Sooooo I know we have about 17 years left to work on all the things listed above. There is no need to panic. That being said, I shared with you last week that I’m all about start as you meant to go on. 

As we raise kids, I don’t want to be a short order cook. I want to cook meals the whole family will eat and enjoy, not prepare additional chicken nuggets or mac & cheese because it’s the only thing Anna will eat. It’s very tempting to force Anna to eat foods I prepare for her. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, more frustrating (at this point) than spending a bunch of time on dinner only to watch her refuse to take a single bite.

{Some of you are thinking to yourselves: Anna has a Santa Clause belly. Clearly she can’t be starving. Why are you so concerned?}

When it comes down to it, I’m not really concerned. To be honest, I know the issue is less about Anna and more about me. I like feeling in control. I like feeling that my cooking (and the work associated with it) is validated.

A few rules we’ve been trying to follow around here come from the Raising Healthy Eaters website. I think I’ve maybe shared it before? Anyway, I keep reminding myself:

Pickiness is normal.

We decide what food and when; she decides how much.

We will not force, bribe or beg.

If she doesn’t eat what we offer, we don’t prepare something different. We’ll continue to trust that she knows when she’s hungry, and it’s okay to send her to bed with only a few bites of her dinner eaten.

Another thing I am trying to keep in mind is that things will change (a little bit) once she better understands us. My parents always made us TRY whatever was on our plate. We didn’t necessarily have to eat all of it, but we had to try. I read it can take between 8-10 times before many toddlers will try a food they don’t recognize. Crazy, right?

I’ve love to hear about your thoughts on raising good eaters. Are you a picky eater, and why do you think that is? Did you raise children who are now good eaters–and if so–what’s your secret? Any other must-read books around this topic?

p.s. My whole blog header disappeared last night and I can’t fix it! Please ignore the lame look of my site right now. 

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