After taking development courses and nutrition classes, I knew I was going to make perfect meals for my kids. They wouldn’t eat white bread, sugary cereals, or sweets of any kind.
My Way Or Else
As Emily entered into the tricky world of solids, I allowed only vegetables thinking it would stop any sweet tooth from forming. She refused, politely and not so politely, to accept my diet plan. So I caved and started giving her fruits. By that point, she was well beyond purees and wanted textures. And then she wanted the stuff on my plate. Soon she refused any sort of food that I offered and demanded what she wanted. These power struggles were leading no where. I was getting more frustrated and Emily was becoming more picky.
Stick To Your Guns
Meal times often felt like a battle field. With me and my prepared meal on one side, and Emily on the other. We converge together in the middle and the victor (usually Emily) chooses the outcome.
I am learning to let go of this fight mentality and let meal times be enjoyable. I give Emily options on her plate. She has the fruit, the vegetables, and the grains placed in front of her. If Emily chooses to pick out all the vegetables in a dish, so be it. If she wants cereal rather than what I’ve offered, okay. In avoiding these fights, Emily has become more open-minded when it comes to eating. She, my ever independent daughter, feels like she is getting what she really wants: choices.
A Different Approach
With Andrew and solids, I tried a different route. I gave him fruits to start, then added rice cereal, included a few vegetables, and finally a little meats. He had no qualms with my approach and has quickly become the best eater in the house, maybe only beaten by his father. I am sure his personality comes into play, but I also feel that by being less authoritarian in how I supervise his meals, I make him feel safe in eating so he can enjoy it rather than dread it.
Though I have kept our breads limited to wheat and our cereals non-sugary, I have let my kids splurge on the occasional, gasp, sweets. (Ok. Let’s be honest. During the holiday season, the “occasional sweet” is actually an every day sweet. Hey, it only comes but once a year!) At the end of the day, I feel less stressed more empowered as I allow more options.
Frankly, I’m proud of how I feed my kids.
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