Today's post comes from my good friend and fellow dietitian-turned-stay-at-home-mom, Susan. Susan and I met 8 years ago during our dietetic internship. We were two of four interns and we bonded pretty much instantly, especially since the other two interns were much older. Our internship was very demanding, but Susan and I managed to make it through those 10 months with lots of humor and regular consumption of Little Debbie Snacks. Pretty sure there is no more appropriate snack for a nutrition intern than a Nutty Bar or Swiss Cake Rolls. Ha! Now that Susan and I both have charming and active toddler girls, it has been so much fun to see our daughters develop a friendship of their own. The last time we hung out just a few weeks ago, our daughters were spontaneously hugging each other and holding hands. Both Susan and I were kind of blown away by how sweet it was to watch our girls really become buds.
Today Susan is requesting some help and advice on how to work with her picky eater. I KNOW many of you have been in her shoes at some point or are currently there today. So please comment away with some tips that helped you get through this challenging stage!
Things were so simple prior to my child turning one. She depended on me to feed her whether it was breast milk or solid foods. I made 90% of her baby food myself. She ate everything except for green beans. Meal times were messy—but pleasant. She loved her finger foods—puffs, grated cheese, little pieces of bread, cereal, etc. When it came time to introducing more table foods she was really resistant. At her first birthday she only had two teeth, so I figured her lack of enthusiasm was partly due to some chewing issues. She would spit out anything that needed to be chewed unless it was something dry like a cracker or cereal. So I continued to feed her pureed food as she would eat it. Gradually she started disliking her veggie purees and I hoped that meant she was ready to eat soft cooked veggies. She disliked most but would eat peas, asparagus, and sweet corn. She had great enthusiasm for all fruits and would eat fruit in non-pureed form. I kept thinking that this season would pass and she would eventually like normal food. She is now two and a half and her food aversions have not improved. She still loves all fruit and consumes it in large quantities. The only meat I can get her to eat are chicken fries (chicken strips in the shape of a fry). She loves cheese and breads. Breakfast is her best meal of the day as she likes all breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles, cereal, etc. She almost always likes macaroni and cheese although it can only be the kind from the box. If the macaroni is in a different shape she will not touch it.
Needless to say, mealtimes are pleasant if I give her foods that I know she always eats or they are scream fits where she might not even sit down at the table. I can put other foods on her plate but she will just take them off her plate and say “no thank you!” She refuses to try new things. Lately I have been putting only protein foods on her plate first and if she eats them, then I will let her have some fruit and bread.
Making a nutritious smoothie is not an option as she is deathly afraid of the blender. The other day while I was putting away dishes she started crying and shaking in the kitchen. I could not figure out what was wrong--then I looked in my hand and I was holding the blender jar.
Sneaking meats or veggies into favorite foods like mac and cheese doesn’t work either. Instead of picking out what she doesn’t like, she will refuse to eat at all. “Nooooo! I don’t like it!”
I have a four year degree in dietetics and am a Registered Dietitian and my kid is a crappy eater. I feel like a complete failure. I love cooking and make fantastic meals and she sticks her nose up at all of them. Has anyone been in my shoes? Any success stories for getting over the picky eating? Do I just leave it alone and she’ll eventually get over it? Anyone have a good recipe for meat or vegetable cupcakes? Because she loooooooves cupcakes!