I have picky eaters in my family. In fact, as we speak one of my older children has been sitting at the table for the last hour and half trying to choke down his dinner. I’m at a loss. I don’t want to raise my children to be ungrateful for the food they’ve been given or to be wasteful. We want them to be appreciative of the person making the food. But this is the second time this week we’ve had this struggle.
We have tried a number of strategies when it comes to eating. We’ve tried taking away snack and dessert after supper if you don’t finish, or at the very least eat as many bites as you are years old. We’ve tried taking away privileges, or sitting at the table until said amount has been eaten, there were nights we sat at the table until bedtime.
So for the last year or so we’ve had a “veto” rule in our house. Every member gets one veto food. That means they don’t have to eat it if mom makes it. They don’t get to complain about how it smells, or that they hate it, or that everyone else is eating it and it’s grossing them out. They just don’t have to eat it. The veto food can’t change, except for once a year on their birthday. Otherwise, we’d have a new veto food every week. Our current veto foods are Mom: Carrots (I was made to eat them as a child, but have never liked them, I do eat them once a year just to make sure). Gabe: Green beans, Otto: Verenika, Zeke : Onions (although he’ll eat them if he doesn’t know they’re in something), Titus: We haven’t found anything he won’t really eat yet. Dad eats everything even if he doesn’t like it so he doesn’t have a veto food.
The veto system has cut down on the number of struggles we have at dinner time about what to eat and the expectations when we’re eating, BUT it hasn’t ended them completely.
For the record we don’t make them eat everything on their plates, at minimum they eat as many bites as they are years old and I don’t make wild exotic foods that no one would like. I make regular stuff like fajitas, stir fry, chicken casseroles and grilled cheese.
I don’t want them to be served a dinner that someone (me, dad, grandma or future wife etc) worked hard to prepare and turn their nose up at it and then ask for a peanut butter sandwich. Not only that but I don’t want to raise a kid who only eats 3 foods by the time they’re 20. I mean seriously did you see the article about the girl who only eats chicken nuggets?
I also don’t do the “if they don’t eat they go hungry” stuff either. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me.”They” say you have to introduce foods 21 times before kids acquire a taste for them. But I’m not sure I believe “them”. I’m really not sure what the solution is here or even if there is one.
So what are your solutions for picky eaters? I need suggestions.