How I Got My Picky Eater to Try Different Foods
“You’re going to get back what you’re dishing out!” said my mother as I sat stubbornly at the dinner table refusing to eat what was on my plate. “I don’t understand why you don’t like vegetables. You’re missing out on really good food. You’re going to get it back girl. God is going to give you a child as stubborn as you are,” shaking her head as she leaves the kitchen.
Boy was she right! I have not one, but two picky eaters. My oldest son, Kevin, wouldn’t eat carrots, or anything green. Even corn…who hates corn? I was at my wits’ end trying to get him to eat something other than a hamburger, chicken, french fries, or macaroni and cheese.
One day we were at my mother-in-law’s house and Kevin was refusing to eat. I was getting angry. “Kev, if you don’t eat your food, I’m going to take all of your toys” I threatened. “No! Mommy please I don’t like this food!” he cried. “Kev, you need to eat something other than macaroni and cheese” I said when my mother-in-law strolled in.
“Don’t make him eat what he doesn’t like” she said. “His daddy was just like that, and I always made a different meal for him if he didn’t like it.” That’s the day I gave up on trying to get Kevin to try new foods and began cooking two or three different meals for dinner. Big Kevin had a short list of foods that he ate, and little Kevin’s list was even shorter.
When Devin was born, I vowed that this child would not be picky like his brother or father. When it came to baby food, I fed Devin everything, green beans, peas, squash, carrots, etc. Things were going well until we went to adult food.
with different textures of food. His list of foods was oatmeal, rice with gravy, french fries, green beans, and apple Toaster Strudels. I felt like a total and complete failure as a mother. Neither of my sons were healthy eaters. During this time Kevin was in middle school and Devin was in his second year of pre-kindergarten.
Devin had a wonderful teacher named Miss Raquel. One day in our little notebook of conversations she wrote to tell me that Devin likes grits. Say what? She must have him mixed up with another kid because my child would never open his mouth if grits were on the spoon. I had to see for myself, so I made him a bowl of grits with cheese. He ate every bit of the grits and even asked for more. I had to write to Miss Raquel to find out how she got Devin to try grits.
Raquel wrote back, “I have Devin and the other children try new foods by taking ten bites. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it again.” My mind was blown! I had to try it.
At home, I said, “Devin, I want you to take ten little bites of this yogurt.”
“No, no, no” shaking his head.
“Devin, you do it for Miss Raquel so do it for mommy, too,” I said.
“No, no, no” covering his mouth.
I was desperate so I started to sing and dance, dipped the spoon in the yogurt and sang “one bite!” Devin smiled and opened his mouth, tasted the strawberry yogurt, and sang “two-bite!” By the time we got to ten the yogurt was gone.
I started introducing Devin to a variety of foods. Some he liked and others he didn’t. Over the years Devin’s list of foods has grown and has exceeded both his brother and father’s lists…combined. Devin loves green beans! He eats fruits and vegetables, and shrimp is his favorite.
If you have a picky eater, don’t stress out. You are a fabulous parent. If you plan to do the ten bites with your child, be true to your word! If you say, “you never have to try it again” don’t make them try it again. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the foods your child will want to eat again.
- Trying New Foods
- Do You Struggle With Planning Healthy Meals for Your Family?
- Dinner’s On: How to Cook Once and Feed All Eaters
- My Baby Won’t Eat! Tips from a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist
- Most Popular Gluten Free/Casein Free Products and Where to Find Them
- Benefits of Special Diets for Special Needs Children
- Dinner Time Chatter
- Being a Role Model
This post originally appeared on our November/December 2021 Magazine