13 Questionable Things We Do to Get Picky Eaters to Eat

toddler eatingAny parent of a picky eater knows the stress that comes along with it. And I don't just mean a kid who won't eat broccoli. I mean picky to the pickiest degree of pickiness. I have twins -- one eats like a champion and has given me more grey hairs at mealtime than I care to admit. Sometimes a whole day goes by where he refuses everything except milk and a few peanut butter sandwich crackers. And then I try calming myself by saying, Well at least it was some protein.

When I talked to our pediatrician about it, she did calm me by saying how we have to look at a toddler's food intake by the week, not the day. If they don't eat well for one day, but then eat better the next, we shouldn't worry. In fact, a couple of days could go by with some major pickiness and food refusal and your child will likely still keep up with the kid who eats everything.

Still, parents of picky eaters get desperate. And we do things to get our kids to eat out of desperation. Questionable things ....


And we parents of picky eaters ... we aren't proud of all these things. But in our worry about our children potentially starving themselves, we do some wacky things. Things some of us wish we never attempted. Things that created new, bad habits. But gosh darn it, some of these things worked even just for one meal and in that moment it gave us hope that these picky eating days were over.

A day we cannot wait for. Until then, these are some of the things parents of picky eaters have done to get their kid to eat. Even just one more bite. Judge not lest you have a superbly picky eater as well.

  1. Feed them cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because it's the only thing he'll eat.
  2. Keep the TV on for all meals because for some reason watching Super Why gives your kid an appetite -- or just zombie enough to open mouth when you put food in front of her.
  3. Let them sit on your lap since that's the only way they'll eat.
  4. Try the Alicia Silverstone "ABC" food method
  5. Make the characters in books "eat" the food first so child thinks it's cool when the Lorax "munches" on fish and so she eats it as well. Just be sure to wipe book off after.
  6. Dip everything in yogurt since yogurt is the only thing the child will eat.
  7. Dip everything in ice cream.
  8. You've heard of hiding broccoli in things like pizza, but when that doesn't work, you get creative and hide things in cookies.
  9. Painstakingly cut food into fun shapes or arrangements.
  10. Call spaghetti "worms" or beans "fart machines" and laugh your way through hopefully at least a few bites.
  11. Stay at the table for an hour or more if that's what it takes to get child to eat.
  12. Make up elaborate stories about the food complete with song, high fives, and dancing if that's what it takes.
  13. Not flinching when they eat something off the floor only because hey, she's eating something!

Remember, I'm not saying to try all these things, but these are things parents have tried, mostly to little long-term success. Picky eating is just one of those stresses we may have to wait for our kid to grow out of.

Fess up! What questionable things have you tried to get your picky eater to eat?


 Image via CarbonNYC/Flickr

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