Feeding and nutrition are topics that concern parents a lot at well check ups. Here are some exasperated comments from parents that we hear regularly:
- “75th percentile for height and weight? She eats nothing and, I mean, NOTHING!”
- “My son won’t try anything new, EVER!”
- “My daughter will eat at daycare but she won’t eat for me!”
- “Whadaya mean they don’t need to drink milk?”
- “Fruit and vegetables? No. Junk? All day long.”
- “Should I be giving vitamins?”
- “It makes me mad when we fight about food at the dinner table. He is sooooo stubborn!”
- “I’ve given up. He’s so picky. I just don’t know what to do anymore.”
Those are just a few.
Most young children are picky to some degree. Some kids are very picky. Most parents feel their kids could eat better. Some parents think their kids are terrible eaters. I’ve found that asking about a child’s typical daily menu, along with reviewing the growth chart can be extremely reassuring for parents.
Lisa Leake has posted some great tips on her blog, 100 Days of Real Food, that I would encourage anyone who needs help with their picky eater to read here. I like this advice:
Give yourself a pat on the back because no matter where you are in this feeding journey you have been doing the best you can with what you know. This parenting gig doesn’t come with a manual – it’s a “learn as you go” job so go easy on yourself!
And this one:
Trying a new food can be very intimidating for a picky eater. I know it can be hard to understand if you’ve never been a picky eater…what’s the big deal about trying something new, right?! Well it is a very big deal for many different reasons. So when serving something new put the tiniest sample on their plate. When I say tiny I mean microscopic…as in bring a magnifying glass to the table! A teeny shred of lettuce, one grain of wild rice, half a blueberry…you get the picture. I know it sounds silly and actually that’s part of the strategy. Using humor and some fun is a great way to introduce something new. It will improve your chances at getting your picky eater to give it a try and that is half the battle when it comes to picky eating.
One thing I do know is that if you fight with your child, you will lose. So don’t give up. Stay patient and calm. What most kids find yucky today will probably be yummy for them tomorrow. At least, that’s what I hope happens for this little girl: