All you moms who have picky eaters at home – I feel ya! My first born thought eating was a waste of time and a chore, especially when we are with friends or have people over. I have come to the conclusion that he has a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out)! Yes, it exists, even when they are that little. The fear of missing out on all the fun that could be had if I weren’t doing this boring chore of eating. Minor technicality that it sustains life, that allows him to have all this fun! But hey that is way too much detail for a toddler who just wants to have fun. It didn’t help that I was a first time mom and him not eating was directly proportional to all my stress levels going up! Every visit to the pediatrician was always nerve wracking because he would be off the charts for height and head size but weight was always “below average”. I LOVE my pediatrician and she is the Yin to my Yang. Every time I wanted to freak out she would look at me and calmly talk me off my cliff. She made sure that I knew that as long as he was meeting all his milestones, it was all good. I was being told by everyone around me that he is a happy healthy child and will not starve himself, just let it go. But I know that a lot of you first time moms and for that matter, most moms will know that Elsa’s Let it Go just doesn’t work very well in some situations – this was clearly one of those moments for me.
So, obviously what did I do, I did not let it go. I had to find a solution to this child’s need to constantly party with or without any food. I know I cannot be alone and so I figured I would share some of the things that helped (on most days!) Pinterest has so many great ideas and I will share some of the ones which were most successful with A.
We went through a phase where he boycotted, yep, not kidding, boycotted all solid foods. Why, you ask? Because he can, because they are born with the birth right to drive us up the wall. He just wouldn’t house any kind of solids, regardless of texture, taste and past favorites. This was our smoothie phase! I loved this, because I snuck in so many veggies into his diet & we continued to do this way past his boycott! Score!!
We also went through the grazer phase – a lot of kids just love to graze through the day over eating the 3 solid meals that we would like to plan for them. A lot of you must have seen the muffin tin hack for getting toddlers to eat. For those of you who haven’t seen this yet, it is basically another great use for that muffin pan. Instead of using it to bake delicious muffins, you can use each muffin container to hold a different food which your kid can use as his own personal buffet. This was another one which worked really well! I truly liked this one also because it was a great gauge of what he liked the most and allowed me to introduce a lot of new items. We would do carrots, raisins, crackers, cheese cubes, cereal, sandwiches, parathas, pasta, broccoli (this child LOVES his broccoli, not sure who he gets it from but it’s not his mama!)
We also try and eat most of our meals together. We encourage them to pick food out of our plates so they were eating what everyone was eating and not so much just the “baby” food growing up. I think this helped in exposing them to new tastes early on and it worked well since both of them love to mimic the grown-ups! Monkey see, monkey do!
Although, today I can’t really classify him as being a picky eater. If I am being completely honest, in a lot of ways, he is a lot better than me too (pretty sure my parents would agree if they are reading this.). He will try anything once and then be brutally honest (yep, I have been on the receiving end of that perfectly innocent honest answer one too many times). He has tried and enjoys more cuisines than I can claim to have tried at his age. He will ask for sushi, relish seaweed (clearly he gets this from my husband, I cannot for the life of me develop a taste for raw seaweed), loves his naan & paneer (my husband will tell you he gets this from him because it is the most awesome creamy Indian curry with soft pieces of cheese in it), requests for peanut curry and Thai rice and will basically tell me he will eat anything that I make, when I ask him every day what he would like for dinner. The one thing that I know helped with both boys is that we introduced them to new and different cuisines early and often. My second thankfully didn’t try me as much with his eating habits. He probably realized there were other avenues he could really challenge me on since his older brother had made so much headway driving their mom nuts over food.
A couple of products which I have found very helpful along the way and are easily available on Amazon are:
- The Dinner Winner Plate – this is awesome because sometimes this lets them feel like they are playing as they are eating! Both of them like to uncover the words or the pictures on every section under the food that is in there. It keeps it fun and engaging and best of all – they are racing to the finish line! Another win for team Mom!!
- These easy cereal dispensers – we have gifted these in the past to folks as a housewarming present and recently bought these for our home. Now, the hope is that these 2 early birds will come down to the kitchen and get their breakfast all by themselves while they let mom and dad sleep in! It hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can dream, right? Let me tell you this, when this amazing event does occur and mama gets to sleep in – it will truly be like hitting the jackpot!
(Neither of these is a sponsored link. I just wanted to pass along some recommendations to items that I have liked!!)
In the spirit of keeping it real though, don’t be fooled, as great as they both are now with eating and will try different things for me, we still have our days. Because like I explained earlier, FOMO! The older they get the better they understand – “eat and then go play”. But it is still hard for them to take a break and eat food because they could be doing other things which are way more exciting to them than eating. I think what has changed is me – they have once again trained the trainer and I know now that no matter what, when they get hungry they will come find me or better yet, rummage through the pantry and refrigerator to get to exactly what they want. So as usual, TODDLER WINS!!!
What are some challenges that you have faced? Sleep is another one of my triggers! But we will save that for another day. We would love to hear if you have some other tried and tested measures which have worked with getting your little humans to eat well! I know I can’t be the only one with picky eaters in house!