Thursday, June 28, 2012

Picky Eater

Zoltan is a picky eater. He will clap his hand over his mouth rather that put a new food item into it. Alex will complain about everything and start whining that she doesn't like the food before it has even gotten onto her fork, but in the end she will taste everything and sometimes rarely (hello, chicken corn chowder) actually like it and ask for more.

Dinnertime, understandably, is a bit of a nightmare. We had held for a while that they can have the dinner we cook or they can have the raw chopped veggies we usually have on hand (thank you, nannies!), and that's it. Living outside the USA, though, means that produce purchased on the weekend doesn't last until the end of the week so by Thursday if I don't get to the market we're out of alternatives.  Last night I decided to follow the "experts" and try the "if you don't eat dinner you'll see it again at breakfast" thing, assuming as all the expert assured me that they wouldn't starve themselves and after 16 hours on nothing more than a cup of milk they will indeed eat the food I prepared.

Or not.

I had even enlisted their help in preparing the meal, another piece of advice that is supposed to make them more amenable to eating the resulting creation.

So I went looking for some better advice. It turns out that Zoltan's pickiness is genetically attributed, according to this NYT article. Just ask my mom about the months that went by that all I'd eat was a piece of cheese on a piece of bread - and only at a particular friend's house - and we can see which parent might be that genetic carrier. And I turned out pretty OK culinarily. Eventually.

Even the Mayo Clinic weighs in on how to avoid dinnertime battles and what a parent need and need not worry about. The National Network for Child Care explains that a portion of veggies is a tablespoonful for each year of age; a portion of fruit is generally a half piece. It also turns out that my childrens' love of fruit, a few select veggies, pasta, nuts and yogurt set them up for much healthier eating than the average picky eater. "Hiding" zucchini in their muffins is also apparently not damaging to them and the tablespoons of squash they get from that is probably all they need, serving-size-wise, for good nutrition.

And tonight, when they are eating their plain pasta and apples, I'm going to smile and relax.

1 comment:

MOM said...

Actually it was a piece of cheese - no bread