This post is sponsored by Mott’s®. All struggles with picky eaters (and opinions) are my own.
^Adelaide before trying the smoothie "There is a new, possibly delicious, substance within two feet of me and I'm not feeling it."
The struggle of picky eaters
Raise your hand if you struggle with a picky eater. My hand is high up in the air.
Feeding my children, from my horrid nursing experience with Lincoln to this picky eating toddler stage of Adelaide, has always been one of the most difficult parts of motherhood. Finding, preparing, and serving healthy foods three to five times a day is hard enough....and now toddlers decide to HAVE OPINIONS about it?
My oldest is a champion eater. Last weekend we were meeting up with friends in Harvard Square for dinner and I asked if he'd rather have a hamburger from Shake Shack or a salad (that I was grabbing at Sweet Green). He deliberated for a few minutes and picked (and then ate) a salad.
Adelaide opted for a granola bar, and goldfish. I also included in there our new favorite Motts for Tots Organic Apple White Grape Juice, which I had packed earlier for a nice new surprise.
I blame it mostly on myself. Adelaide's prime time for introducing new foods was during the months we were packing up, selling our home, moving across the country, living with my parents, and then moving into our new student life here in Boston. I was not nearly as meticulous about introducing new flavors and textures each day as I was with my firstborn. But Adelaide is also stubborn, opinionated and defiant in ways her brother never was. So maybe it isn't entirely my fault.
However it happened, we have a new two year old who will eat about ten foods (black beans, almost all desserts, frozen peas, plain pasta noodles, whole-wheat sandwich bread, corn, green smoothies, chick-fil-a chicken nuggets, french fries, and occasionally a piece of roasted broccoli or a sugar snap pea).
And I've been getting desperate. I've subscribed to a million newsletters promising "the secret for getting your picky eater to eat" and scoured Pinterest and podcasts for ideas. I've listened to audiobooks looking for tips and suggestions and talked to other moms to see what's been working for them.
Some of the strategies we've already started, but mostly I've just been compiling info and coming up with our game plan while I build up the mental stamina to implement it all. Luckily it seems less scary than I thought (no showdowns at the dinner table with crying babies here).
If you have a picky eater, here is what I've learned:
What to do as a mom when you have a picky eater
As parents, we have two jobs when it comes to what our kids eat. It is up to us to create a positive environment for them to eat in. We are responsible for making mealtimes happy and calm, without stress and pressure. Our second responsibility is to provide healthy foods at meal times (and designated snack times).
Our child's responsibility is to determine how much (or if) they eat.
Sounds simple, right? Just focusing on this has been really liberating so far. If I put a plate of healthy options in front of Adelaide and she eats only one of the five things on her plate, I have done my job. I can call dinner a success (I don't always...but I should).
Here's what we can do: