When my kids were very young, they tried just about any food. Once they grew into toddlerhood, they started being a little picky. Often, they didn’t want to try something just because it was new.
I’ve never been one who requires my kids to clear their plates. To me, that’s just opening the door for learning to eat more than you need.
I also didn’t want to turn into one of those moms who makes special meals for picky eaters. I knew one mom who was driving herself crazy making three different things for dinner every night!
When it came to new foods, I had to be patient. When I made chicken tetrazzini, my son decided he didn’t want to try it because it had mushrooms and green pepper in it.
I told him he didn’t need to eat the mushroom or the green pepper, to just pick it out. That responsibility was his. The only expectation I had was that he needed to eat at least one bite.
Much to his chagrin, this casserole was a favorite for the rest of the family and he had to deal with it at least twice a month. He faithfully plucked every bit of mushroom and green pepper into little piles on the side of the plate.
Instead of just one bite, he started eating more of the creamy noodles. Eventually, he grew to like chicken tetrazzini and has even requested it as one of his favorites.
Whenever I introduced new foods, my kids were expected to take one bite. I wasn’t even strict on how big the bite was, but over time, with patience, the picky eater learned to eat a variety of foods including a wide range of vegetables — just a bite at a time.
Photo credits: Howard Dickins