Picky Kids - They Really Won't Starve Overnight!

The other day I asked for emails regarding picky kids and boy did you all respond.  Here I thought I was the only one dealing with this day in and day out.  Now I must tell you that many of you provided lists of what your "picky kid" will eat.  I was jealous.  Seriously.  These lists were in the double digits!  And actually included things found in nature.  I was blown away.  So I guess "picky kid" is a relative term.  Now because I'm big on disclosure, I'll tell you this about my very newly five year old son, Luke.  When I say he is picky, I mean he is picky about EVERYTHING. 

That's Luke on the far left and that is as close as you can get him to a cake.  Even a cake that he has begged for to the point of getting us banned from the bakery section at the grocery store and talked about to every single person within earshot for the last 3 months straight.  But ask him to take a bite of said cake?  No way.  He looks at you as if he is quite sure that you are attempting to poison him.  Now some would argue that such a cake, black frosting and all, is a kind of poison.  Right, but you're missing the point.  All I'm saying is that if you have a picky kid, I'm not going to tell you to hide the spinach under asiago cheese and all your problems are over, okay?

More Please Plate
This little trick works wonders with my three-year-old.  What I give him is a tiny plate with a tiny bite of each part of the meal.  Now assuming one of those things is something he likes, he is going to gobble that up and ask for more.  I love hearing a kid ask for more of anything as long as it is healthy, so this is good.  What we say is, "Eat your other bites and then you can have more of anything on your plate." 

More Please Plate
Now you can probably guess that the watermelon went first.  The watermelon was a plant, friends.  Not a plant as in a garden plant that grows, a plant as in a strategically placed item.  You have to outsmart these little suckers.  The watermelon is only there to entice my son to eat the rest of the food.  Say your kid loves mashed potatoes and they are on the menu that night, then that's your "plant" and you don't need to add something like this.  You do need to have something on the plate that he already likes and will not suspect has been poisoned by foreign spies.

Food Trains
Now you may have read that and laughed and thought I was insane as your kid wouldn't touch that plate with a ten foot pole.  Well sister, I feel your pain because that was my Luke's plate an hour after dinner.  Sometimes the more please plate works with him, but not always.  With Luke we are working on increasing his list of acceptable to him foods.  His main source of protein is peanut butter.  So let me give you an idea of the food train concept.  Luke will happily accept peanut butter and jam on wheat bread.  My next step would be to get him to accept the peanut butter and jam in a different vehicle - say a tortilla.  Now you might say that the wheat bread is healthier than most tortillas and I'd agree.  But this is about getting him to accept something new.  Now say he accepts a peanut butter and jam roll up.  Great.  Now you need to offer that often enough that it becomes as acceptable as the bread.  Now we're going to mix it up.  We are going to offer jam and cream cheese rolled up in the tortilla.  Once that is okay, we do cream cheese and turkey.  Then turkey and cheddar cheese.  Now the tortilla is acceptable, so say you are having tacos for dinner?  Roll up your meat and toppings and offer it that way.  You see?  There are many ways to do this.  Feel free to email me by clicking here if you'd like help building your own train for your kids' particular tastes.

In my house these tips are tailored to preschoolers but both of these strategies will work with older kids and even husbands.  Just don't call it a More Please Plate or Food Train to them, okay?

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