There was a short window in time when I bragged, "Ah, don't worry about it. My kids will eat anything." Our dinner hosts would fret and fuss about having hot dogs or mac and cheese on hand. "Nope," I insisted. "They'll have what we're having." And they would. They had grown up eating homemade purees of spinach and squash, apples and oats, fresh-cut fruits and veggies, organic dairy. I had prepared their palates from birth to accept any foods put into their mouths. Hadn't I?
Then a little age called two came along and with each second birthday, my daughters magically morphed into picky eaters. Healthy food by healthy food went out of their diet, and in went a bland, carb-based substitute. I thought that if this ever happened to my kids (certainly it wouldn't!) I would just say, "This is dinner. Take it or leave it." But that Jenny had not yet experienced the wrath of a hungry two year-old. Or the wrath of a hungry two year-old coupled with the wrath of a hungry three year-old. Mealtime became a nightmare.
What do you do when your kids won't eat healthy foods and they're cranky and screaming because they're starving? You just give them any damn food they'll eat. And I'm sure I'm not alone here. You must have an iron will if you hold out and let that little one starve until he eats an apple. I just never thought my world would be filled with sugary granola bars, fish crackers, freeze-dried fruit (somehow this form of fruit was ok), and mac n cheese.
Luckily the bell curve softens as they age, and right now we're at a point where they're still picky, but they also love fruits and veggies. They eat whole grain bread, whole milk yogurt with berries, spinach (raw!). And then their dad takes them out for ice cream.
Your kids will never turn out exactly how you want them to. Feeding will never go smoothly every single day. They won't always make healthy choices on their own. Your agenda is not their agenda. But that's the beautiful thing: they're these tiny, independent little beings, deciding what's for them and what's not. Watching them grow is a total blessing, even if feeding them is a total headache (sometimes).
Is your child a picky eater? What do they eat or not eat? Do you have any tricks to sneak them healthier foods?