Handling a Picky Eater
Driving with my sister one morning, her 2-year-old daughter excitedly began pointing to her favorite fast-food chain. “She was born with a milkshake straw in her mouth,” my sister quipped. It got me thinking about the so-called foods that kids love to eat these days.
It also brought to mind a recent conversation I had with another mom. She said her young son would “only eat white stuff and pizza.” He would insist, “Nothing green!” “Not exactly a balanced diet,” I commented. The mom shrugged. I could only think that she was making things “easier” for herself now but much harder down the road. And harder for her son, whose lack of dietary adventure put him at risk for nutritional deprivation, not to mention malnutrition.
Her attitude contrasted greatly with the way another mom handled the issue with her son. He did not want to eat the gluten-free, dairy-free diet the family had adopted on his behalf. Holding the line, she put the same gluten-free, dairy-free food the family ate on her son’s plate. He refused to eat...so she excused him from the table. (No snacks later.) The next meal, the same thing. The next and the next. Mom and dad fretted…but waited. For two days, there was a food strike. Finally, on the third day, their son sat down and ate with the family.
“Short-term pain, long-term gain,” explained the mom, tremendously relieved.
Could you bear it if your child went on a food strike? How would you handle a young child who wouldn’t eat a food or food group?