For the first 2 1/2 years of Mason’s life we were beyond lucky as far as food goes. He would pretty much eat whatever we put in front of him.
He especially loved Green Beans and Broccoli. I know. Strange right? I don’t think I even liked those things until I was well into college!
But not only did he like them but he would devour them and ask for more. And then around 2 1/2 things started to change. He wasn’t eating everything we put in front of him. He was still eating healthy things but apparently he had had become picky.
- He loves carrots but refuses to eat COOKED carrots.
- He wanted to eat the beans inside the green beans before eating the whole thing.
- He would only eat chicken and only arbitrarily seems to know the difference between chicken, beef, fish etc.
- He doesn’t like casserole type dishes. For example. He’ll eat Mac and Cheese with a side of broccoli and chicken but he won’t eat it if it’s all in one pot.
Now known of these things are crazy annoying but they can get frustrating especially since it seems like some days these picky habits that he’s established have gone out the window and he’s back to eating the way he used to. Toddlers are fickle.
These aren’t foul proof but so far they seem to be working for us!
- Let them “play” with their food–Sometimes it’s what works for us. We encourage Mason to “open the portal to space” so that his Toy Story Alien Forks can fly his green beans to “outer space”
- Let them choose what plates/utensils they use– I have a bunch of different plates for Mason and they’re all themed, I got most of mine at Target but you can get them pretty much every where. When Mason’s having a “I don’t want to come to the dinner table kind of night” I let him pick the plate he wants to eat out of and then we use it to help him finish his food. i.e “Eat all your fruits so you can see the bunny”.
- Give the Veggies/Fruits First. We usually put the vegetables or Fruit on Mason’s plate first once he’s eaten a good amount of those he can have some Chicken (or whatever meat) and then finally the starch which like most people he tends to enjoy the most but isn’t exactly the best for you.
- Make Food Fun: There are so many great websites out there that show fun ways to present food to your children. Make faces out of everything and encourage them to eat the “eyes”, “nose” etc. They’ll get a kick out of it! Here’s some ideas from Pinterest.
- Give Choices: I’m not about to make different breakfasts/lunches/dinners for every single person in my family but that doesn’t mean that I can’t give choices. It can be as simple as saying “do you want strawberries or bananas on top of your waffles” or do you want your chicken nuggets whole or in pieces? Kids LOVE when they feel like they’re involved so get them involved!
- Pick Your Battles–I think it’s so important that Mason gets his fruits and veggies but if all he’ll eat some nights is the baked chicken that I made then that’s all he eats. I don’t want the dinner table to be a battle ground. It causes more trouble than it’s worth.
- If all else fails, hide it–I’m not a huge fan of hiding fruits and veggies in my child’s food. I want him to KNOW that he’s eating them because they’re good for him. I don’t want to trick him but sometimes that’s what you need to do. Is your child on a Pancakes kick? Throw some Mashed Bananas into the mix. Summer time? Make some “ice pops” that are made of fruit juice, yogurt and fruit.
- Finally? It’s okay to go let them go through phases: Kids will only be kids once and letting them go through their little phases were they only eat Mac & Cheese or Chicken Nuggets is OKAY. It’s not okay FOREVER of course but it’s okay for a little bit. Just do your best to make that Mac & Cheese or Chicken Nuggets the healthiest that it can be! Pay attention to ingredients. Add your own special touches that doesn’t set your child off into the most epic tantrum ever. Just make sure they’re eating okay?
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