How to Feed Your Picky Eater

by Trish Weese

Okay, so if you are like me, when your child started eating solids, you swore you were not going to be one of those parents, you know – the one whose child ate the same meals over and over. Ohhhh no… my child was going to have quite the mature palate. She was going to try and love new things because, well, she just was. I was going to make sure of it.

Uh huh.

Consider this recent conversation. After combing foods she loved and had no problem eating by themselves (tortillas, cheese, pinto beans), I combined the three and rolled them into a burrito (because, HELLO, who doesn’t like burritos?)

Me:  Allison, eat your dinner, I made you something new tonight.
Allison:  But I don’t like it.
Me:  You haven’t even tried it yet!
Allison: Yeah, I know, but I still don’t like it.
Me:  Well, sometimes when we try things we think we don’t like, we find out we do like them!!
Allison: Oh yeah?  Well then why don’t you try liking laundry?

In order to protect the not-so-innocent, we will just say an unnamed child took a quick timeout after this conversation (as that unnamed child’s mother did her best to look upset and not laugh out loud while immediately logging onto Facebook to recount the conversation for her friends).

While I was not pleased with my child’s ability to try to get out of trying something new by using sarcasm as well as my disdain for household chores against me, I also realized a hard truth about young children: they just do not like trying “new” foods.

But… they do like dinosaurs. Kids loooove dinosaurs and, in fact, we’d just visited a museum in search of dinosaur bones the week before. This was the perfect opportunity to use the new dinosaur cookie cutters I’d purchased at Tuesday Morning a few weeks prior.

Me:  Allison – I made you something new for dinner!
Allison:  But I don’t like it!!
Me:  You don’t even know what it is!
Allison: Yeah but I don’t think I’m gonna like it!
Allison:  YAY!!!!!… uh… what are dinosaur bites?

I took the same basic meal–whole wheat flour tortillas, low fat shredded cheese and mashed pinto beans–but this time, instead of making it into a burrito, I folded it, quesadilla style, and used my cookie cutters to cut dinosaur shapes. Now she had “dinosaur bites” for dinner and loved them!  What a difference a shape makes!

If you start with whole wheat tortillas and cheese, you can make all kinds of creations. Add corn, chopped tomatoes, shredded or chopped chicken, black or pinto beans. Cookie cutters of all shapes are a great way to make food fun! Can’t get your kid to eat any kind of sandwich other than peanut butter and jelly?  They might if it’s shaped like a favorite animal or flower! Egg, chicken or tuna salad are easy to cut through, as are thinly sliced cold cuts. In the winter time, spread cream cheese and thinly sliced cucumber on bread and use small snowflake shaped cutters to make snowflakes for lunch!

The possibilities are truly endless. Copper cutters work best, but plastic cutters work as well, as long as they are fairly deep. Try this for your own family and leave us a comment to let us know what creative shapes you came up with!

I want to send a special thanks to Monica, a busy mom of three from California, who emailed me last week after I posted the chicken nugget recipe. She suggested using honey instead of mayo to bind the cornflakes to the chicken. I tried it and it is awesome! I’d love to hear from you, too! Email me at oneupskimom at gmail dot com and let me know what you’d like to see in future articles, what you think about what you’ve read so far, or just to say hi! I’d love to hear from you!

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