We don’t want our kids to be picky eaters, so we have a rule: whatever you refuse to eat at dinner gets saved and reserved to you for breakfast. This worked beautifully on our 6yo: after the first re-serving, he has been fastidious about finishing his food every meal even if he doesn’t like it.
Our 4yo? Not so much.
She is in almost every way a compliant and obedient child, laid back and easy-going. But food is the one area where she is truly obstinate. Dozens of times we’ve served her a dinner only to have to re-serve it to her for breakfast, and sometimes again for lunch.
Yesterday was a little different though. The night before we gave her dinner which she didn’t touch at all. We then re-served it for breakfast. And then lunch. At which point she hid in her room rather than face it. But after that, she wouldn’t talk or play or laugh. She just sat around listlessly for a couple of hours until I caved and fed her a couple of granola bars.
I’m guessing her blood sugar got really low because she perked up a few minutes after eating and returned to her normal self. Looks like we’re gonna need a new rule, ‘cause this one clearly isn’t working. Our little girl would apparently rather faint from hunger rather than eat (in this case) barbecue chicken and croissants.
So. Any good ideas?
I find it amusing that you’re trying to prevent your kids from being picky eaters, given the certain particular eating quirks in your adult family members (artichoke hearts, turkey, something else I’ve forgotten that surprised me). But I guess nobody likes to think of themselves as picky eaters, though my mom will certainly admit to it (she likes her cheeseburgers to have only one additional topping: ketchup).
I’d like to give you some magic advice, or be able to tell you that our approach of making them at least try some of their food, but not requiring them to finish their plate (much less coming back for a second or third go-around) works better, but it doesn’t. Both our kids are choosy about what they’ll eat, and even more annoyingly, *differently* choosy; one loves milk and pasta but has to be cajoled into eating meat, the other mostly loves meat, but pastas and milk are a struggle to get past her lips. We definitely do see a deeper strain of stubborness from our 4yo daughter.
We do try to accomodate their tastes in our meal planning, but mostly that results in bland food that bores us, so we try different things. But even taking their current likes/dislikes into account isn’t always successful either, as their tastes change over time, often quite rapidly. I just try to remember that I was the same way as a child, and, while I’m certainly have strong preferences when it comes to foods, I do have a reasonably open mind when it comes to trying new foods and recipes.
Mostly with our kids, we’re just trying to not install long-term food anxieties in them, but it’s tricky. Despite not having much pressure put on us as kids to clean our plates or anything like that (okay, we were at times required to eat a small serving of vegetables, but that’s about it), I still feel a compulsion to finish everything placed on a plate in front of me. I have *no idea* where that came from.
Like most things in life, you’re probably just screwed.