My children don't eat well balanced meals.
When it comes to getting children to eat, I don’t really have that much to offer.
My children never ate well when they were toddlers and my pediatrician always told me not to worry about it.
Well, I sometimes say that no vegetable passed their lips when they were growing up. The only things I could get them interested in were raw carrots and broccoli with ranch dressing, which I didn’t consider exactly winning that battle. If I had to do it over again, I would probably work harder to get them to eat better at a younger age.
Now, one thing I could not abide was all the special treatment, special meals, special everything that I saw parents do for their kids at mealtime. One of my young relatives absolutely governed every meal his family had. If we went out to eat, his parents stopped at a drive thru to get him a hamburger to take to the restaurant we were going to. At Thanksgiving, his parents would bring him his special food to eat. I once witnessed them take spaghetti, boil it, then put it in a frying pan on top of the stove and cook it till all the water was out and it was crispy again because that is the way he like to eat it! And this was when he was older, like ten years old.
Are you kidding me? They returned the spaghetti pasta to its original state! Why didn’t they just hand him the box of spaghetti? Wait, I can see the mess that might make.
We weren’t around this family very often, but it was very telling that once, one of my daughters about the age of 12 said, “why can’t he eat what we eat?” She was exactly right. At a Thanksgiving dinner, there are certainly enough choices for even the pickiest eater to find something to eat. All emotional issues aside, for this child it was truly a control issue, as mealtimes often are. And quite a tiresome one. And quite an embarrassing one as time goes on, for both the child and his parents.
It cracks me up when teenagers come to my house and say, "I don’t eat this, or I don’t eat that," and say it like a badge of honor.
Now, I know they are just exerting their individuality at that age, and may actually think someone is interested. But, imagine if you went through young adulthood like that? Job interviews like that? Meeting the girlfriends parents like that? Is that the impression you want your child to leave?
When I said my children were picky eaters, that didn’t mean they were catered to. They were offered a variety of foods to try. And eat. And what they ate is what they ate. As the old saying goes, if children are hungry enough, they will eat. Never comment. Never make it an issue. Of course, you can make their favorite things, but don’t make separate meals. Only as a last ditch measure, if they had not eaten much during the day, I would give them a bowl of healthy cereal at bedtime.
The pediatrician said nothing is wrong with cereal and milk. That’s what.