Thursday, October 02, 2014

Tips for Parents Dealing With Picky Eaters or How to Get Your Kid to Eat...Something.

1. Speak french all the time. Play "La Vie en Rose" on a loop and wear jaunty neck scarves whenever you are around your child. Prepare elaborate, cream-sodden, multi-course meals each night and drink as much red wine as possible. At the very least, after this much effort you should be able to get your kid to at least take a bite of a chocolate croissant and at least you get wine. If all else fails, you could just move to France because everyone over there is perfect and immediately upon arrival on french soil your jeune fille will be eating aubergine and betterave and channeling her inner Amelie.

2. Plant a large, organic vegetable garden with your little one. Children enjoy digging in the dirt and seeing where vegetables come from. After hours of backbreaking labor, a fortune spent on seeds, compost and god knows what else, this method is guaranteed to get your child to eat...dirt. While gardening your kid will definitely eat some dirt. And possibly a snail he found while playing in the mud while you attempt to prune your zucchini, but that's great because ESCARGOT! See #1 again. Escargot are french.

3. Do not engage in power struggles with your child over food. Mainly because you will lose. Every. Single. Time. You are powerless over mac and cheese from a box, frozen waffles and gummi anything.

4. Leave your children at someone else's house for a brief time. They may shriek with terror and act like you are trying to poison them if you so much as offer a single green pea but for your sister? They'll gladly eat marrow braised broccolini with sea urchin beurre blanc. They do this to screw with your head. They think it's hysterical when your sister says: "I don't know why you think they're so picky. They ALWAYS eat for me."

5. Take your pre-schooler for a ride in the car. Guaranteed he or she will find an entire meal of stale, half-crushed goldfish, old Cheerios and lint-covered fruit snacks in the crevices of the car seat and chow down. 

6. Let your child help you prepare a meal. Children love to assist in the kitchen and after you spend a whole night in the ER (relax, she only got 3 stitches from the paring knife, could've been worse) you'll both be starving and you can stop at the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru on the way home. Your kid will exclaim with glee "Mommy! Can we cook together more often? Stitches were totally worth getting to have chicken nuggets and waffle fries!"

7. Never use dessert as a reward. Serve them dessert at the same time as their meal and let your young one moderate his or her own food choices. This method really works if you want your kid to eat. He or she will definitely eat. The dessert. The kale will remain untouched but the vanilla pound cake with strawberry frosting will be gone in less than thirty seconds. Remember that old Bill Cosby routine about chocolate cake being healthy because it has grain, milk and eggs? Yeah. Go with that. Bill Cosby is a wise man.

8. Small children love dips. Customizing their food gives them a sense of control! It also ensures that at some point you will utter the phrases: "Ranch dressing isn't a beverage!!" and "That hummus is NOT hand lotion!!" But ranch is kind of nutritious, right?

9. Make a tasty nibbler tray! Spend an hour carving several healthy vegetables and fruits into fun shapes and adorable cut outs. Arrange them beautifully in an ice cube tray (does anyone have those anymore??) and set it out where your youngster can graze as he plays. On crayons, sticker paper and pretty much everything in the general vicinity of the tasty nibbler tray EXCEPT what is in the tasty nibbler tray.

10. Get a cat or a dog. Pets are great for children and playing with a beloved animal will help them work up an appetite. Kids simply can't resist a nice bowl of cat or dog crunchies, especially if they've been sitting out for several hours and have lots of dog slobber and pet hair stuck to them. Kibble is even better when dipped in the pet's water dish. Fear not, have you seen the ingredients in pet food these days? Salmon? Brown Rice? Kale? Omega 3s? Shoot, they even make GLUTEN FREE cat food now.

11. Don't give up. Keep presenting unwanted vegetables to your children and eventually they will become familiar treats. Of course by then your kids will be 19 and away in college and said vegetables will be offered by Hare Krishnas at their free vegetarian dinners, but whatever. Hare Rama. Your son and daughter finally ate some broccoli and cabbage. They're vegans now too and so what if they're wearing bindis and smell like Nag Champa and are threatening to follow a jam band around the country? You've done your job, Mom. Just look at them tearing up those veggie burritos.


Arthur said...

Love it! The there's always pizza....

Steve B. said...

I am anxiously awaiting your article on how to get your kids to take medicine.

Anonymous said...

Funny! Glad you are posting again. I always wonder about the toddler eating thing. Surely this could not have always been a problem?, say a century ago?

Mrs. D @Chewing Crayons and Delaware said...

So funny. The other night my 7yo daughter got up from the table, picked up her broccoli and threw it all in the garbage can.

It was in the middle of saying "grace" and thanking God for our food.

Oy. I've got a blog post in there somewhere. Yup.

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