If you have a child who is a picky eater, you are undoubtedly aware of the myriad resources available to you to remedy the situation; there are thousands of books, recipes, articles, and seminars geared towards dealing with the subject.
You could try introducing a new food slowly and repeatedly until that food is consumed, under the assumption that it is simply fear of the unknown that is leaving Brussels sprouts untouched on the plate. Once the Brussels sprouts are a regular part of the evening meal, your child will certainly devour them!
Alternately, you could instill a three-bite rule in which your child will be required to eat a minimum of three bites of everything on his or her plate. Possibly you could puree unpopular vegetables and hide them in a number of tasty dishes – from everything to pasta sauce to cookies to chocolate cake. Speaking of chocolate cake, there’s always the bribery method: if a child will clean their plate, then dessert is on the way. Or, if you prefer not to use dessert as a bribe, then you could use a sticker chart for every new food tried.
How about changing the family’s diet to accommodate the picky eater? Perhaps the whole family will enjoy dinners of macaroni and cheese or homemade chicken fingers. On the other hand, maybe a firmer hand is required in this situation. Maybe the child should remain at the table until the plate is clean.
You could try any combination of the above strategies to deal with your picky eater. Or you could just relax. Picky eating is, it seems, a part of childhood.
As the mother of two picky eaters – and, if I’m being honest, a picky eater myself – I have found that the best strategy is to take a deep breath and relax. If the children are growing appropriately, if the pantry and fridge are filled with healthy food, if the family meals contain at least one nutritious item that the children are certain to eat, then does it really matter if broccoli is never consumed or kale is never touched? We all know, anecdotally, at least, a child who will eat everything that is put in front of them, but let’s face it – that child is the exception, not the rule.
Don’t worry! Picky eating is not forever – unless you are like me and still shudder at the thought of potato salad.