Picky eaters

When I was pregnant with Isabella, I swore that I wouldn't turn my kid into a picky eater. Like as if it was something I had control over. I have come to realize that kids choose to be picky eaters - all by themselves. It doesn't matter how much you threaten and bribe and coax and threaten some more - I have come to the conclusion that picky eaters choose to be so in order to torment their parents (and grandparents - that one's for you mom!).

I went to read dooce today and happened upon Heather's post about how her daughter Leta is a picky eater and only eats awful food. It is unbelievably stressful - worrying about whether your kid is eating nutritious food. Heck, or even just eating at all.

Isabella is a pain in the ass when it comes to eating. She'll freak if you try to put the tiniest piece of broccoli on her plate. Recently she has become obsessed with ketchup and BBQ sauce. Heaven forbid she eat a piece of chicken not dunked in some sort of sauce. The only way we can get her to eat vegetables is when she eats nacho chips and salsa. This her all-time favourite meal. And I say meal because when she is extra fussy, she will eat chips and salsa for dinner. Breakfast isn't too bad. She will either eat a bagel with cream cheese, cheerios or pancakes. Lunch is more chips and salsa, or a peanut butter sandwich. Isabella will eat fruit - apples, grapes, bananas, berries, oranges, melon and pineapple. She will, on occasion eat the stew I always have on hand in the freezer. Oh yeah, how could I forget - she LOVES McDonalds and mashed potatoes. Many a meal for her highness has consisted of only mashed potatoes.

Simon used to be an amazing eater. He would eat anything and everything. Now he is learning from his picky eating sister. He has discovered sauces and wants them if he sees them on anyone's plate. He's a dunking machine. Occasionally when dunking, food will happen to fall into his mouth and he'll either chew and swallow or spit out said food. Just lovely. Simon will eat more food items than Isabella but the list of items is gradually getting smaller and smaller.

Oh the joys! And this is the end of my rant.


  1. I sooo feel you on this one. My wonderful eater has recently stopped eating anything that is not a carbohydrate. I've started sneaking fruits and veggie purees in where I can because it really is getting ridiculous.

  2. Gabe used to eat everything. (I have a picture after he ate beets in which he looks like he ate a raccoon raw or something. I digress.)

    Now, you just can't tell what the hell he's gonna eat. More often than not, he doesn't eat much at all. Then, he goes through phases where he'll eat a ton of something (one day, he ate half a pound of edamame) and then hates it the next day. I try to give him a few (2, maybe 3) choices at breakfast or lunch but at dinner, he just gets what we have. He either eats it or he doesn't and I try to smash down my guilty conscience at starving my little peanut boy.

    It's really, really hard and very nerve racking. So, I'm with you, sister.

  3. This is my first response to one of your posts, but i could not resist. The more attention you pay to eating issues the bigger problem they will be. We have a policy at our house. We make healthy, well rounded meals as a family. EVERYONE eats what is made for the meal - no questions or complaints. It is understood that some foods will be more liked by some than others but it is not acceptable to have a custom made meal, period. We have had this routine for almost 3 years and it was difficult at first because 2 of our 3 kids were incredibly picky eaters. Frankly, i could not afford to make 5 individual meals every day for dinner. Once we got thru the initial bumps of this routine, things smoothed out quickly. We do not have tantrums or protests. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a vegetarian while my the rest of my family is not. So, our meals typically consist of two proteins, a starch/grain, and a vegetable. It is not required to eat all of the items served at a meal, but all food groups must be present on one's plate (and be consumed). This way, the kids have choices and feel that they have control of what they are consuming while not being allowed to eat total junk. I wish you lots of luck in getting thru this trial.

  4. Megan - I've been thinking alot about purees lately. Not sure if Isabella would notice if I hid pureed cauliflower in her mashed potatoes...

    Collette - there are many meals where Isabella hardly eats a thing and it drives us crazy. I don't want her to get too thin. I also hate making more than one meal at dinner because I'm always so rushed enough as it is (I come in the door from work and start dinner right away. It's a good day if I have the time to change out of my work clothes). I'm hoping Isabella will phase out of the chips and salsa and move on to something else because it's been going on for months! Edamame! Oh to be so lucky! :)

    J Fudo - I like your philosophy and I`m definitely going to keep that in mind. I certainly don`t want the kids to think I`ll make them whatever they want as long as they eat...I`ll lose my mind. Thanks for commenting!

  5. love it! i am quickly learning that i have little control and all those things i said would never happen with my kid are in fact happening (sleeping in bed with us, sleeping in my arms, staying home for fear of a public crying fit etc). i now feel ya sis! good thing my niece and nephew are so darn cute.

  6. i don't have kids, but i have a nephew who is developing particularly picky eating habits. and he used to eat anything and everything. until he was about 3 years old, he had a GREAT appetite. he turned 4 and decided he likes nothing but carbs. it must just be a stage that kids go through (well, hopefully through, like to the other side). my brother is lucky if he gets him to eat one full meal a day.

  7. I'm not completely sure about this but, my little guy used to eat anything, just like Simon, then as he got older (he's now 5) he started getting more and more picky. My theory is, (just the way it seems to me)that their taste buds don't start to develop until a bit later. I don't think Isabelle is teaching Simon how to be a picky eater, I think that they just don't care when they are little as most things just taste similar. Once they are older there are taste distinctions.

  8. Jen and Dave...just you wait. You're only at THE BEGINNING. LOL! It gets...more challenging as time goes on and the kiddos get older.

    raena - I can count on Simon to eat full meals...for now. Isabella is another story. The girl is a good snacker.

    Jennifer - I agree about the older they are the more they 'taste'. Why is it that they lean towards the crappy stuff?!?!?!? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh



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