Tuesday, January 28, 2014

30 New Foods for P.: Mushroom Risotto

My almost 5-year-old is a picky eater.

Not an unhealthy eater, just a very particular one. If she had her way she'd eat a little cheese, a little bread, some raw veggies, some fruit, and - this is the weird one - dried mini ravioli at every meal.

Her weight is fine, though on the lowwwww side. The pediatrician is happy she eats her fruits and veggies because, he says, there are plenty of picky eaters in her age group whose culinary palette is limited to nuggets and cheesy mac.  

Thus far, P.'s pickiness hasn't been a big deal because generally she's ready for dinner at least an hour before the mister makes it home. Making her something she likes doesn't feel like cooking two dinners, and I'd rather mine be fresh so I'd be cooking twice anyway.

But I'm incredibly jealous of friends whose children will not only grudgingly nibble the tiniest possible bite of new foods but also eat nearly everything put in front of them. Seriously, kids like that apparently exist. Maybe they're born that way - I've always said food and the potty are the two battles you can't ever win if your kids are determined to come out on top. Maybe it's better parenting. Who knows.

In any case, I hatched a plan to get P. trying some new things. The deal was as follows: She could take a trip to Build-A-Bear or the toy store if she tried 30 new foods. Trying meant eating at least a no thank you bite. If she liked it, great. If not, I'd make her a sandwich.

And let's make it a family project, I thought. So we made a list of foods together and talked about the ingredients and then tonight she even helped me prepare a nice mushroom risotto by chopping the mushrooms herself.


Well... turns out, P. doesn't like mushroom risotto. We didn't actually find that out during dinner, though, because she spent that time crying first about having to try a bite and then because she wanted a toy (which she knows she won't get if she doesn't keep up her end of the project). I'm talking 40 minutes of crying about having to have a single bite of risotto. Not finish it or even pretend to like it. One bite. Which she finally took after all that belly-aching - and even swallowed though she spent the next minute wiping her tongue with her hand.

Bo, on the other hand, loves mushroom risotto and split my bowl with me before eating a whole bunch of P.'s bowl.


Do you have any tricks or tips for getting kids to try new foods? I'd like to stick to positive strategies - however negative they might be in the moment - but I'm open to hearing anything!

P.S. - Check out Mom Meet Mom on Babble!

15 comments:

  1. My almost-5 is a lot like your P. He's very picky (won't even eat chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese), but eats a lot of different raw fresh fruits & veg, including red pepper. We have a house rule that he has to try a bite of something new, and is free to spit it into a napkin after it's touched his tongue. This 1) introduces him to new tastes and textures and 2) gives him control over the situation and permission to bail on gross stuff, so he isn't forced to COMMIT to food he doesn't like. When he was younger, he'd eat pretty much everything, so I think this pickiness is just a normal stage and he'll outgrow it. We're doing what we can to assist that by continuing to offer him a range of different foods and expose him to new things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely an age thing because P. would eat anything when she was Bo's age and older, but her repertoire of food has gotten smaller and smaller. Hopefully it will eventually get bigger and bigger.

      The reason we don't necessarily let P. spit things out is because she will just spit automatically, like okay see I tried, bite bleah, without even considering what she's eating. Drove me nuts for a while because she'd do it with things it'd turn out she liked!

      (We love red and yellow and orange and green peppers around here - so crunchy and nice!)

      Delete
  2. Unfortunately, with Sean, we finally resorted to serving everyone a small serving of [offending vegetable] and once that was eaten, then that person could have however much of the rest of the meal they wanted. If NOTHING got eaten, then it was straight to bed. (And I would usually choose those nights to serve a fun dessert to the rest of us.) For a while we would have a kitchen timer at the table so we didn't have to sit there all night long and could establish a clear deadline.

    He once spent an HOUR with a bite of mashed potatoes in his mouth, refusing to swallow. Of course, the illogical nature of that is almost the most frustrating part.

    I can add to the chorus of "they grow out of it." While Sean is still not a fan of vegetables, he has finally figured out that the faster he eats them, the faster the process is over with, and eating them without too much grief on our part garners heaps of praise and usually dessert.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the worst part - the 'you're shooting yourself in the foot, kid' aspect. P. wanted a grilled cheese biscuit. I'm like, girl, I will make you one right this second if you decide you don't like mushroom risotto. And I did, too, after 40 freakin' minutes! The whole process could have taken 30 seconds, and because of it she ended up not being able to do some of the stuff she wanted to do before bedtime because there wasn't enough time.

      I'm lucky that at least P. will eat a zillion stringbeans or peppers or romaine or roasted broccoli (the ONE cooked veggie she will eat). I totally also eat way more produce than I might otherwise to be the good example, too.

      Delete
  3. The funny thing is I personally eat WAY more fruits and vegetables when we have the kids since I'm trying to set a good example. :-)

    I figure that them seeing me (and Robert) cooking and eating a wide variety of foods is ultimately the best thing I can do for their lifelong palates and diets.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Luckily for me, Lil isn't very picky. However, if something is for dinner that she doesn't like and doesn't want to eat, I absolutely will not make her a different meal. She knows this. Call me a hardass, but I'm too lazy for any more meal prep than necessary. There will be no other food, kid. I made this food for you, and you will eat it or be hungry. (gosh, I sound like a meanie!) That's how it works in my house. I wish you the best with the 30 new foods! Maybe she'll get a new favorite meal out of the deal. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One thing I'm curious about - once you know she def. doesn't like something, will you still make it sometimes?

      Delete
  5. Sometimes. I can't think of an example right now, but if it's a family meal, the only thing she's off the hook from eating is spicy food. Like I said, she's not that picky though. (Lucky me)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we're going to do the 'you can make yourself a PB sandwich' thing when she's a bit older, but only once she's tried one ding dang bite aaaargh!

      I envy your happy eater :)

      Delete
  6. That's smart of you to start this now - my kids are 12 and 15 and are super picky eaters. I try to make things they like but sometimes I just make them eat or go hungry. When we go on vacation we bribe them to try new foods - a dollar per each food. Now my son eats mussels and it only cost me a buck. I'm not proud, but I did what I had to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do what you have to do, for sure!

      Frankly, if P. wants to stay a picker eater her whole life, okay, but it'd be nice to be able to bring her to a dinner without worrying she's going to make a fuss about the food and there are SO many things we just know she'd like if she tried it. I mean, we're not trying to force her to eat gross things :)

      Delete
  7. I love sticker charts and plans and I agree with you, the potty and eating are the two biggest battles! We just started a sticker chart with my daughter because she's refusing to wear underwear. I don't get it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have any good answers for you, but will say that P. was the kind of kid who had NO probem hanging out in a dirty diaper. She just legit did not care.

      Delete
  8. As the mother of someone with a sensory disorder that affects her eating patterns, I can give you some things that her food therapist does with her that may or may not help.

    When they want her to try a new food or texture, they let her play with it first. Such as oatmeal, they will make it and then let her stir it around with her finger, the goal being that as she gets acclimated to it, she will eventually be persuaded to stick the finger in her mouth. It has worked, but a slow process. Also, they do use a reward food, like a cookie, and they have it there and ready to go once she has eaten the not-preferred food. It is hard for kids this age to visualize that you WILL give them the cookie in some (to them) vaguely defined future, it helps that they can SEE it and they know there will be an immediate follow-through.

    But, my son, who is now 11, was also a picky eater and although he had some texture issues, a lot of it was about control of the situation. The more pressure they feel to eat a certain food, the more they will push back. With him I tried giving him a range non-preferred foods to choose from, but he had to choose one of them. It worked because he felt like he had more say in the situation. He is now eating a pretty broad range of foods, much more than at the age that P. is, so there is indeed hope!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I enjoyed reading this post, and it completely reminded me of our Nancy. She is the child though that won't eat veggies, and I have to sneak them into the one meal that I know she enjoys -- chicken fried rice. Right now, she is strictly sticking with her chicken, cheese, and raisin bread for lunch and dinner. At least the girls eats, right?

    ReplyDelete

Show me some love!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...