Okay folks, I need your help. Parker is a notoriously picky eater. He’s sensitive to textures, colors and of course, taste. It used to be that he would only eat chicken nuggets, meatballs, plain spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and pizza (none of which I’m particularly thrilled about anyways) as his main sources of protein. While you could occasionally convince him to eat an egg or a turkey dog, it wasn’t a sure thing. Now, he won’t eat anything with regularity and I’m not sure if his eating habits are changing or if he’s just testing his boundaries. Regardless, I’m starting to dread mealtime because it’s become such a battle.
Here’s usually how it goes:
Me: What would you like for dinner Parker?
Parker: What are my options?
Me: Your options for dinner are meatballs or chicken nuggets.
Parker: I want something else.
Me: Would would you prefer instead of meatballs or chicken nuggets?
Parker. Can I please have macaroni and cheese mama?
Me: Sure (I then make the mac and cheese).
Parker: (Takes two bites). I don’t like this, I want something else.
Me: That’s not an option. You requested mac and cheese and now you need to eat it.
Parker: *Cue the whining, arguing, pleading, fussing*
Me: *Cue digging heels in and sticking to my guns*
Now, I’d like to state a couple of things for the record. I’ve tried every variation of this conversation. I’ve forced him to pick from the choices I initially offered, I have removed choice entirely, I have left it open so that he can pick what he eats. Suffice it to say that we always get to the “I want something else” battle.
Now, he will eat carbs and fruit endlessly, but strawberries and goldfish don’t make a meal. He’ll also consistently eat straight peanut butter or a cheese stick, but I feel like we need add in a bit more variety. We always offer to let him sample what we’re eating for dinner, but 90% of the time, he won’t even taste it (even for a bribe). Part of the reason for that is his issue with herbs (of all things). He found a speck of parsley on his pizza and wouldn’t touch another bite until it was removed. I mean, this is the kid that will happily eat boogers, dirt and grass outside. What gives?
I think that I’m doubly frustrated because I’m already offering him things that I consider to be crap. Sure, I can buy the organic mac and cheese and 100% natural chicken nuggets, but they’re still processed foods.
So that’s where you all come in. Please help! How do you get your picky eaters to eat? What foods might work easily that I haven’t thought of? I haven’t tried making cute shapes with his food or going the creative route. Has anyone had success with that? Seriously, any feedback you could give would be greatly appreciated over here. I just want dinnertime to be happy again and Parker to eat the best foods I can get in him.