Monday, February 7, 2011

Kitchen Success

I have a confession to make. I’m a terrible mother.

My 3yo girl is picky picky picky. She’s a pale-faced, sweet-toothed, carb-loving strong-willed cookie. Before meals she prays, Dear God, help this to be a Happy Meal – the whole “turn this water into wine” sentiment. I’m obviously doing something wrong.

I have a hate-hate relationship with my kitchen. There is absolutely nothing in there that I want to cook. I menu-plan and slave away anyway because I’m a mom, you know? It’s all about blessing my family? And then my (healthy) food doesn’t get eaten. So I eat it and get fat(ter). And I throw away what would solve a continent’s food shortage crisis. And I have a slew of dirty dishes afterwards.

So – how do I get Esmé involved in the kitchen?  Does she eat what she makes?  Head on over to Preschool in the Kitchen over at The Homeschool Village today – and if y’all have any advice or sympathy, leave a comment!


Julieanne said...

I'm so sorry that you are dealing with a picky eater. That can be really rough! My girls both love almost all foods, and most especially the healthier foods.

I guess what I did was not provide junk food or trips to McDonald's when they were young. We didn't have the money for that, anyway.

I don't know if your daughter is quite thin and needs to keep some meat on her bones. If so, that can make this challenge harder. I've noticed when I was in foreign countries where food was expensive for poorer families, that those children aren't fussy about any foods. They'll eat anything, because they are very hungry. I personally feel like American children are not hungry enough! If they were truly hungry for food, they would gladly eat what was set before them.

I wouldn't want food to be used as a punishment or to withhold a child from food in an abusive way at all, but it doesn't hurt for a child to skip a meal once in a while if they are throwing fits about eating it, or just plain refusing to eat what is served. We always told the girls that I am not a restaurant chef, so what they will eat is what they serve. They could control the quantity of the food that I served, but they HAD to eat two bites of each food, whether they liked it or not.

Because they knew that I didn't get emotional about this problem (of not liking foods), and because I was firm on it, they have learned to love foods from all over the world - I intentionally have regularly served recipes from many nations. They love sushi, chicken paprikash, hot Mexican food, and almost everything.

I know that not all children are going to like all foods, no matter how you approach this. There are some neat websites in helping children get over their picky eating. Have you tried any of those? I saw one mentioned somewhere recently, but I didn't make a note of it because we don't deal with this.

Just keep remembering that YOU ARE THE MOM! :) And you are in charge of the kitchen and foods. If your child becomes hungry enough, and you and your husband are agreed on how to handle misbehavior and disrespect with foods that are offered at the table (for that is what picky eating is all about except for children with autism, etc.), then I think you will eventually see some changes.

You could also serve up small amounts of several foods she doesn't like, and when she eats those, she can have a bigger serving of foods that she does like.

Sorry this is so long. I've just always found it interesting that many countries in the world do not have children with problems of being picky eaters. It's a "rich culture" problem, except for in situations like I mentioned when some children have autism or disorders that cause them to hate the textures of many foods.


Julieanne said...

Oops, what I meant to say is that they will eat what I serve!