Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A declaration of war

We have a war in our house. It’s the battle over food. And when did I miss the first strike?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always somewhat smugly wondered why other people’s kids didn’t eat healthy food. Did they not introduce them? Did they not put their feet down? Did they live on McDonald’s fries? What was the deal?

And then karma happened.

My 3 year old, one day, decided she wasn’t hungry at dinner. But she wanted a snack 30 minutes later. And the game happened the next day. And the next.

So we offered her meal for snack time. No luck.

Frustrated, we declared no dinner, no snack. She’ll be hungry tomorrow, we reasoned.

Hardly. Instead, she’s insisted on cereal and milk only for about two weeks. I suppose it’s fortified, but it’s not a particularly varied diet. This morning at breakfast, I offered her a nectarine, which she was practically drooling over last night in her “I want a snack” mode. She ate two bites.

Dinner is hardly different. My resident green thumb, who loves to pick out and grow vegetables, declared last season she liked to grow tomatoes but not eat them. Since then, the "grow-only" list has expanded to green onions and shallots – and that’s just what she’ll admit to. The sweet potatoes she used to not get enough of? Sunday she declared she no longer would eat the “orange part.” The lettuce she loves – and loves to grow? “I don’t want that at my party,” she said, when choosing her lunch choices.

So we have a pint-size dictator declaring war on virtually anything healthy. And I’m just sure what to do. Any brilliant ideas? I’d love to hear them.


Corie said...

We have one of those in our family, too! :o) I've always heard you're supposed to do exactly what you have done - offer the meal as the snack later. That's what we do, and if she doesn't eat for the rest of the night (which is the case 90% of the time), she doesn't starve. She's back to "normal" the next day. Bottom line is, food is one of the only things they can control at that age, so probably no matter what you do, she won't force herself to eat something she doesn't want to. With any luck, she'll pass through the stage quickly. My son now surprises us with all of the healthy stuff he'll try, regardless of the fact that we don't offer it enough!

Birthblessed said...

I find that from the time they start table food until about age 4-5 it's easier to feed them off my plate. And just not worry about it. Have you seen the muffin tin idea? It's especially great with the new colorful silicone muffin tins-- you put a bite or two of various items in each hole in the muffin tin, and then let them go at it.

Mostly just relax. Your job is to offer healthful, fresh, nutritious food. It's their job to decide how much to eat.

Green Bean said...

We have two of those. But my older one, 6, has gradually expanded his palate and will now try anything. That doesn't mean he'll eat it but he will at least try. Now, we just make everything available and if they want to eat it, they eat it. If not, their loss. More for us. Mom and dad scarfing down the asparagus or tomatoes usually sparks some comment and one of the two may even ask to try it again.