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Celebrating a small victory for our picky eater

by Traci Schumacher on Fri, 02/01/2013 - 11:16am

The big news last night when my husband got home from work was that our 3-year-old had eaten mashed potatoes at dinner. I realize that doesn't sound too impressive to most parents. What kid doesn't eat mashed potatoes? What's not to like about mashed potatoes?

Yet for our youngest child mashed potatoes are the newest on a quite short list of foods acceptable for eating. It is not unusual for this one to choose bread and butter over anything else offered at the table. Sometimes he will skip a meal altogether if it is unappealing and he decides he has better things to do.

Living with a picky eater can be quite a challenge, worrying about them getting the proper nutrition but not wanting to force the issue. I try to provide my son with healthy food choices, but it's still up to him to do the eating. Often he just chooses not to.

Experts say there is nothing to worry about as long as the child is energetic and growing normally. Parents should avoid making a huge issue out of eating and should not make special meals for the picky eater. Offer the same meal to everyone, and if Mr. Picky refuses to eat it, then he doesn't eat. It may sound a bit harsh, but it will prevent more issues down the road. Also, a food may need to be offered to a child 10-15 times before the child will try it. We must persevere in the offering!

So last night, my little guy was watching as his sister and I were preparing the potatoes. My daughter asked him if he was going to try some potatoes this time. He thought about it and then agreed that he would. I was pleased but not overly hopeful as he has tasted mashed potatoes before and rejected them. Sometimes he will taste a food, say he likes it, and still decide he doesn't want to eat it. Go figure.

Anyway, he tried the potatoes, ate them, and ate four more small servings. This was pretty amazing for him. My other two kids even worried they would not get enough potatoes because little brother was actually eating!

My little guy ate mashed potatoes and carrots dipped in ranch dressing... almost a complete, balanced meal. Who knows what will happen if he ever decides to really start eating food like the rest of us? I'll definitely have to start cooking larger quantities, planning for five instead of just four. Looking forward to that day...

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