I have mentioned previously that I am reading What's Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman. I was intrigued by the chapter on picky eating habits. Dealing with Austin's food allergies has resulted in him having a limited diet. Breakfast foods are the worst -- almost all breakfast foods contain eggs. It is a challenge to feed him a well balanced diet of a variety of foods. On top of his allergies limiting his food choices, he is picky.
Austin's diet is typically:
Breakfast - toast, fruit, yogurt, muffins, pancakes, oatmeal
Lunch/Dinner - chicken nuggets, macaroni & cheese, fish, steak, vegetables, fries
Over the past few months his picky eating has progressed to the point of always requiring a separate meal prepared just for him. After reading about picky eaters and how to reverse their habits we have embarked on a mission to undo Austin's picky diet.
The book instructs the parents to STAY CALM when introducing foods that have been previously rejected or are currently being thrown off the high chair. This is easier said than done. The author also tells parents that their child will not starve. If the child refuses to eat the food presented, then do not force them to try it. Doing so will only upset the child, therefore only making it more impossible for them to willingly eat. (This point is one that I struggle with. Perhaps we have gotten in the habit of preparing Austin something different when he expressed he did not "like" the 1st food presented.)
Last Friday night we had spaghetti for dinner. At one point in Austin's life, he loved spaghetti - now not so much. Adam and I stayed calm and placed a plate of spaghetti in front of Austin. He began his usual whine that would have previously resulted in chicken nuggets appearing on his tray. But not tonight - Adam and I enjoyed our dinner, ignoring the constant chatter of our unhappy son next to us. After 20 minutes of waiting, Austin indeed took a bite --and LOVED IT!!!
Sunday night: Adam grilled steaks and potatoes. Austin immediately consumed every bite of steak placed in front of him. But, would not touch the potatoes. Again, we stayed calm and waited. I caved and sprinkled a little shredded cheese on top of his potatoes. Slowly Austin began picking up the tiny shreds of cheese, being careful to not consume any potatoes along with the cheese. As Adam and I were cleaning up from dinner, Austin began yelling "yum, yum". Oh my, he is eating the potatoes - any loving them!
Two nights of winning the battle against the picky eater - we are in the home stretch...right...WRONG
Tonight we failed - majorly. Adam and I both fell victim to Austin's wrath. He wouldn't even allow his plate to be on his tray, wouldn't even look at what we were serving him. We did not "stay calm". We eventually (an hour later) prepared Austin another meal (after all, I didn't want him waking hungry in the middle of the night).
I am still eager to beat this picky eating phase of Austin's life. I feel we made slight progress and perhaps just took a step backwards. I realize that Austin knows how to manipulate me to get "his way". I just have to regain my power as mommy and prove to Austin that I know what is best for him so it is better to do things "my way".