As I mentioned yesterday and many other times on this blog, Brooks is definitely my Picky Eater. At first, it was hard to get used to a child who didn’t LOVE and DEVOUR everything on his plate, which is what we were accustomed to with Landon. Like they always tell you, each of your kids will be different. And they are. So eating is something we’ve had to spend a little more time on with Brooks – trying out new things and seeing what works for him. Here’s what we’ve found out:
1. He loves utensils. If he doesn’t have a utensil, he’s not eating. I don’t know if it’s because he sees the rest of us using a fork and spoon but since he was around 1, he’s been adamant about using utensils to eat.
2. Keep it separate. I find that if I make something that has a lot of intermingled flavors, it doesn’t go over well. i.e. potato salad – too many intermingled items and flavors = no eating. So instead, I just pull the most plain looking couple of potatoes out with very little sauce and let him eat “potato” and no “salad”. Another example – when we have pasta salad, I take the pasta noodles and plate them in one space, then nearby – but not touching – I put the carrots from the pasta salad, then the cukes and tomatoes in their own separate piles. If he gets separate flavors he tends to do better. Chicken marsala served next to his mashed potatoes, not on them.
3. Dip it up. This boy loves to dip. If I put some ranch or ketchup on something he’s not really touching – a bun, some kidney beans, etc., I find he definitely is more willing to give them a try with a couple of bites.
4. Save his favorites for last. I know that Brooks is a huge fruit and veggie fan, but if I put them on his plate early, he’ll eat them all and ask for more, but he won’t touch his chicken or carb. I know it’s good to have a healthy eater but a) he needs some balance in his diet and b) he gets hungry again so quickly if he’s only eating fruits and veggies. So I often don’t show him any fruit or veggies on his plate (n0r do I bring them to the table) until he’s eaten some of his other dinner first. Sometimes while dinner is still in prep and I can tell he’s starving, I’ll sit him at the dinner table and give him a small serving of the thing that I think he’s least likely to eat. He’s often so hungry that he’s willing to try it because it’s the only option. Then when I fill his plate, he’ll still eat it because he’s already had some.
5. Mix it up. Brooks likes variety and I find that if he eats something one day for lunch, if I try it again the next day, he often isn’t as excited about it. I have to space it out. So if we have mac n cheese one day, I won’t do it again for a few weeks. If we have grilled cheese, I’ll try something different the next day.
6. Keep the go-to’s on hand. PB&J, yogurt, hot dogs, okra, green beans, blueberries, strawberries, bagels. There are some things that he eats well pretty much all the time, so the days where he seems to be teething and uncomfortable or if he’s had a rough week with little eating, I’ll tend to rely on my go-to’s more. The ones that he RARELY says no to. I don’t like to do them all the time, but when he’s not feeling himself or hasn’t been eating well for a few days, I try to get whatever he’ll eat on the plate, so it may mean 3 hot dogs in one week or okra every. single. night. But I figure he’s not going to die if he goes overboard on one or two things for a couple of days until we can get him back into his groove again.
What about you – do you have a picky eater? Any advice you’d add to the list?