We've recently started a new phase - and have been involuntarily shoved into a group some may call: The Picky Eaters Club. Yes, that's right. After spending 2 hours grating, chopping, frying, and cooking two delicious meals...Lorelei decided she didn't want them. Either of them.
I tried both dishes myself, and I can tell you both were good (in fact, they became my lunches). So, why would she not eat them? Easy. Because they are not the baby equivalent of fig newton bars - fruit filled cereal bars, whole wheat bread, or bananas. Anything else gets thrown off her highchair tray to the dog (who should've been named Hoover).
The veggie fritter? In the floor. Fritatta? In the floor. Pasta Bites? Floor. Sandwich meat? Floor. Baby Food? Floor! All of her used-to-be favorites are no more - they've become very expensive dog food. And, she's left calling out "nana! nana? nana!!!!" - Code for: banana!!! Now! This child will eat as many bananas and as much bread as you will let her - I have a feeling that when this phase is over...she will like neither.
So, what do you do when your kid is a picky eater?
- Keep re-introducing foods. Sometimes it takes several tries for them to generally accept it. Don't try to guilt them or punish them for not eating. Simply offer it, and if they won't eat it, seal it up, put it in the fridge and try again at the next meal.
-Try presenting the same foods in unusual ways. For older kids, you can use cookie cutters to make crazy sandwich critters. Use bow tie pasta (or other pasta shapes) instead of spaghetti if they no longer want spaghetti.
-Give them what you are eating. If you give JR peas and carrots and you are chowing down on pizza, isn't it obvious that they are going to want what you have? So, you should be eating what they are eating - so as not to give the impression that even mommy/daddy doesn't want the food they have to eat.
-Give less liquid DURING or before meals. Hand over the cup after they finish eating...or moderate quick sips in between.
-Introduce new foods along with foods you know your little one likes, and in small amounts. Be sure to introduce new foods when child is hungry, so they are more likely to try them.
-Minimize nearby distractions
-Look for ways to make the foods he/she eats more nutritional - adding fruit to cereal or oatmeal or plain yogurt, making a smoothie, adding veggies to sauces or "hiding them" in foods.