Posted on October 19, 2008
In several aspects of typical toddler behavior, we are extremely lucky with Chloe. She is generally mild mannered, very sweet and cuddly, her “fits” don’t last long and are easily controlled through hugs and threats of “time out”, she is skilled in basic manners, and seems to enjoy learning new things.
However, her eating habits are the stuff of nightmares. Now, I am willing to take quite a bit of blame with this personality trait. I mean, I am a vegetarian primarily because I never really liked the taste of meat. Her daddy is also picky when it comes to food. Together, we created one heck of a picky eater.
This being said, I never really worry about Chloe’s nutrition. Our pediatrician has assured me that she is getting everything she needs (and this is even after I described what she is willing to eat in detail.)
She gets all of her fruits and vegetables by pure deception on my part. I give her juice laced with vegetables (the product is called “Vruit.”) I sneak fruits and vegetables into pancakes and muffins because the ONLY meal she is adventurous with is breakfast. I am lucky, she’ll eat any kind of pancake, muffin, waffle, and cereal. (She’s been known to enjoy a snack of Frosted Mini Wheats, sans milk. She just crunches away!) I recently discovered “Veggie Crisps,” chips made with vegetable puree. And the only mac and cheese she will eat is geared for the toddler pallet, and has carrots in it.
When it comes to protein, she gets everything she needs from milk, yogurt smoothies, cheese, chicken nuggets and fish sticks. That’s it. I never intended Chloe to be a vegetarian, so I have tried various other meats, but she won’t even TRY them.
It is just so frustrating that the child will not TRY anything new.
I can’t tell you how many people have given me suggestions on how to improve the variety of her diet. And, I have been more than willing to attempt a majority of these suggestions. Our latest (and thus far failed) attempt is to only cook one meal for dinner, and she is given what we are eating. Our child is a rare breed of stubborn, and she will opt to go to bed hungry then even take a SINGLE bite of what we offer her. Then, she eats like a maniac the next day, only to refuse to eat dinner again that night.
I have limited or omitted any snacks after 3pm (we eat dinner around fiveish.) As I mentioned, she is only offered what John and I are eating. And all we ask is for ONE bite. My philosophy has always been: One bite, and then “No, Thank you.” She has, thus far, refused. I even tried my somewhat pushy method of getting some of the food on her finger or on her lips so she has to lick it off, and still, she refuses.
So, this is my question: Should we just accept that she is going to be a picky eater, and try to get the nutrition into her that we know she will eat, or do we continue to push food with the hopes that eventually, one day she’ll give in and try it)? And if we should keep pushing it, any suggestions on how to make this more successful?
My gut tells me that Chloe is WAY too stubborn, and will only do things when she is ready. But, I also don’t want to bring up a child that is allowed to “call the shots.” And, quite frankly, I am tired of making two dinners every night.