Ideas for a Picky Eater?
January 5, 2011
I come from a long line of picky eaters, and it in no way surprises me that my son exhibits the typical symptoms: demands for the same kind of food every day, a penchant for white flour and sugar, and a strong aversion to anything green, anything cooked beyond recognition and suspicious smells. For breakfast Jack wants [dry] Frosted Mini Wheats with a glass of milk (and rejects the Mini Wheats without enough frosting). For lunch he requests a cheese sandwich - "just CHEESE, Mommy" - and I insist on adding a few apple slices on the side, of which he will maybe eat one or two. Dinner... ugh, we'll get to dinner.
Molly, on the other hand, is a species of child with which I am completely unfamiliar: the child who eats mostly anything. Except, of course, what Jack eats. I know. SHOOT ME NOW.
Seriously. Molly has eaten entire meals of broccoli and mushrooms. She'll try anything at dim sum. She likes strong flavors, especially if they're salty. Her favorite thing is whatever's on YOUR plate. And you know what she won't eat? Sandwiches. Cheese. I've even seen her reject heaping bowls of mac and cheese in favor of her dad's Chinese food leftovers. Where did this kid come from?
I have two things to say about this. FIRST: I no longer feel wholly and shamefacedly responsible for Jack's subsistence on carbohydrates. I mean, they've got the same parents, the same house, they've been offered the same sorts of foods and what else I can I do? No more feeling guilty about THAT! And SECOND: I am tired of making two different meals.
Oh how I CHORTLE over my Eating Ideals when my kids were babies. I even remember snapping at my husband when he gave Jack a toy while sitting in the high chair. "I don't want him to PLAY while he EATS!" I cried, oh so self-righteously because my kid was going to grow up RIGHT and have MANNERS and eat like a GOOD BOY! And now look at me letting my kids color while they eat lunch, reading to them, letting them help me cook, even (GASP) watching Dora during a Daddy-less dinnertime. Because you know what? They eat better when they're distracted!
So all my ideals and pretensions and philosophies (GAG) are long gone. I no longer care about not being a short order cook, fighting my kid over vegetables, demanding that they sit until their parents are finished, whether or not they'll try something. You know what I want? I want to not throw heaps of food away after every meal time. And this is why, internet friends, I have come to RELY on the cheese sandwich. IT GETS EATEN. It's just not a fight I feel like having anymore. And as a former picky eater myself, I think I turned okay. Mostly. Shoot, I didn't eat a mushroom until I was at LEAST twenty-five.
Jack gets his sandwich at lunch and Molly gets... oh, sometimes a hard boiled egg or yogurt or her weight in Clementines or last night's leftovers. But dinner is such a crapshoot. Every night I wonder the same thing: are they going to eat this? And every night I make the same conclusion: Jack probably won't. So I give him our dinner (which I end up throwing away) and one or two things I know he'll eat, like rice or sausage or noodles. But I am getting frustrated. I'm feeding him the same things over and over and we need some variation, some ideas, something GREEN! Perhaps disguised in something WHITE! So I come to you, oh wonderful know-it-all internet. What kind of half-nutritious kid friendly meals are served at your house? I am willing to try a few new things, provided they aren't super labor intensive (I'm looking at YOU cracker-coated, pan fried, chicken/rice/veggie balls, even though you WERE delicious) (not that Jack wanted anything to do with you). I don't worry about Molly, because she'll always scarf down whatever I'm eating. And I honestly don't even worry about Jack, but I would feel BETTER if I was trying a LITTLE HARDER in the food department. Not trying harder to get him to eat, but trying harder to give him some different options to... inspect, I guess. Who am I kidding. He's not going to eat anything that doesn't look like a cheese sandwich.
Even so. Anyone got any recipes?!