I noticed when my 2 children transitioned from being a toddler to a preschooler; they went through a very finicky stage with food. At least it worked that way in my family. I made their baby food from scratch because the jarred stuff was not appetizing and this saved us money. A book called Super Baby Food guided me on when to introduce certain foods along with preparation and storage instructions. As babies, both my son and daughter liked several different fruits and vegetables with porridge made from ground brown rice or oatmeal.
When my son was 3 years old, he would only eat “dinosaur chicken”, rice and beans from the Mexican restaurant, and my homemade split pea soup. This did not worry me too much because I knew he was getting a great deal of nutrition with those foods. When my son was 4 years old, he promised he would eat the same meals as us when he turns 5. After his 5th birthday, he kept his promise. He ate everything we did and was willing to try things most children would never eat. As a result, my son’s favorite foods are shrimp dumplings, sushi (with raw fish), jalapeño poppers, and spaghetti and meatballs.
After my daughter came along, I decided to repeat the baby food-making routine because my son thrived from it. For the first few months, she loved bananas, sweet potatoes, avocado, and butternut squash. She also loved egg yolks. However, as soon as I introduced meat, she then refused all vegetables I previously introduced, stating she did not like them. We learned very quickly that the only foods she would eat were cereal, pancakes, oatmeal, baked beans, American cheese from the deli, or peanut/soy butter sandwiches. When we went to the Mexican restaurant, she devoured the chips and salsa (made from VEGETABLES!). The days she decided to try macaroni and cheese and pizza were major milestones. Once we convinced her the only way to get dessert was if she ate vegetables, she started to eat raw spinach leaves with croutons several times a week. We tried to offer her all the kid-friendly salad dressings, but she refused.
Throughout her preschool years, my husband and I would try to only offer her the food we were eating, but we noticed she was not eating dinner. As a result, we made her a peanut butter sandwich for dinner every night. For months before her 5th birthday, she swore she would try new foods “when she turned 5”. My son kept this promise so I was hoping my daughter would too. Regardless , my husband and I decided to stop making her sandwiches for dinner once she turned 5. We figured she would eventually be hungry and eat the same food as the rest of the family.
Since my daughter has been 5, my husband and I kept our end of the bargain and only offered the food we were having for dinner and a glass of milk. So far, she has not eaten much for dinner but she has tried avocado, sweet corn, broccoli, and chicken in very small amounts. Instead of masking food with sauce, cheese, or dressing, my daughter puts a salad crouton in her mouth with each bite. Earlier this week, I spoke to our pediatrician about this challenge and he supported our plan to make one meal for the family. He concurred she will eventually eat if she is hungry. The doctor also spoke to my daughter about how different foods will give her the energy she needs to learn, dance, and play.
I know many people out there will have a lot of advice for me and I am willing to hear all ideas. Chances are, I have tried many of them. In the meantime, I was very happy to hear during my daughter’s 5 year old check-up, she is healthy and growing. I am also extremely grateful she is happy, has a great sense of humor, is fun-loving, and extremely smart. One day soon, I hope she gives food a chance because there are so many things she will like if she will only try them!
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