Since the day Ev was born, we haven’t had any trouble getting him to eat. We have dealt with food difficulties, like reflux and lactose intolerance, but he always ate. Once Ev turned 1, we started encouraging him to try new foods and on most occasions, Ev eats what we are eating or at least a variation of it. There’s almost nothing he won’t eat. Pickled beets? Cranberry salad? Broccoli? Bring it on.
However, Ev is starting to exert his independence at the table, just like our pediatrician warned us he would. He has always eaten his foods in the order of which ones he likes best. For example, if he had cheese, peas and chicken on his plate, he would eat all the cheese first, then all the peas and then all the chicken. Lately, though, Ev has asked and signed for more of his favorite foods and tries not to eat the rest. While we don’t want to “trick” Ev into doing something, we do have to get creative if we want him to eat a well-balanced diet.
We had hamburgers, potatoes and corn the other day. Ev ate all of his bun and potatoes, but wanted more before trying any hamburger or corn. When he thrashed and whined at me after I told him he couldn’t have more before eating the rest of his food, my husband went with a new tactic. He pressed the bun into the hamburger to pick up some pieces and handed it to Ev. Ev not only ate the burger (and bun), but started to do the same thing with his bun pieces. (That shouldn’t surprise us because he emulates everything my husband does).
Another “trick” we have tried is to combine a less favored food with a favorite food, like green beans in macaroni and cheese. And sometimes all we have to do is eat a particular food ourselves and make “yummy food” noises and Ev will eat it right up. When Ev gets difficult, we just don’t give in quickly and keep an open mind about encouraging him to eat everything. We don’t stress at dinner time. The pediatrician also told us that one good meal is all that’s important at this age and if he gets a good breakfast and lunch, we let Ev eat what he eats at dinner. And it’s paying off! This past weekend, we had our first Thanksgiving and family members marveled at Ev’s eating habits and how he cleaned his plate. It was a proud mommy moment.