From the moment my daughter started eating solids at 6 months old she was incredibly picky. She hated all baby cereal, no matter what you mixed in with it. She hated most vegetables, especially green beans (she could smell those things coming a mile away). And, it was pretty hit and miss on the fruit too. Can you believe she didn’t like applesauce, what baby doesn’t like applesauce? The few things I could consistently get her to eat were prunes, peas and this creamy wheat and peaches breakfast by Beech-Nut.
Things did improve slightly when we were able to introduce finger foods. Fruit was a big hit, peaches and grapes being way up there on the favorite list. She loved apples too (who knew since applesauce was such a bust). Anything from the bread group was a big hit too. Veggies were still a big miss, except those peas. No go on any diary either, the kid hated yogurt, she wouldn’t even open her mouth for yogurt.
When Maya was around a year old I knew things had to change. Meal times were becoming daily battles and I didn’t want to start a war over food, I knew that just couldn’t end well. So, I did a few things to see if I couldn’t transform her eating habits.
I did 5 things that really worked to transform my picky-eater. They may not work for you, but if you have a picky-eater yourself you know they’re worth a shot.
- I eliminated a few nursing sessions so that she wasn’t eating close too meal time. I figured she was more likely to try something if she was hungry.
- I let her take control of her eating. Instead of feeding her I let her feed herself. I just put the bowl or plate in front of her and let her have at it. This worked wonders.
- I stopped stressing about how much she was eating. I figured if she was hungry she would eat. This was a lot easier to do since I had given her control of her food.
- I made sure that every meal consisted of at least 1-2 things that she really loves. I found she was more likely to try the other things on her plate when they were next to a favorite.
- I started introducing new foods slowly and stopped getting upset when she refused to eat them. I just put them in front of her, if she tries them great, if not maybe next time.
Although she doesn’t have a huge repertoire of food she loves, she does pretty well. Her meals are pretty balanced and she will eat from every food group, every day. She still loves her peas but has added carrots, tomatoes and sweet potatoes to the list of favorite veggies. If given the chance she would eat fruit and bread for every meal, except breakfast which is all about Raisin Bran cereal. Yogurt is her new favorite morning snack. Cheese and chicken have become big hits, as well as cheese stuffed pasta and turkey cold cuts.
It felt good to have her go from refusing to open her mouth to most foods to looking like this after a meal!!
The biggest thing I did was take the stress out of meal time. I found that as soon as I stopped worrying so much about it and let her control her eating at mealtimes things became so much easier.