Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The Summer Picnic talk at ABC and 123 this week is about snacks and nutrition. My daughter is a picky eater. She doesn’t eat a lot of things – anything that she deems “mushy” or “spicy”, eggs, pasta, dishes with sauces. At the same time she inherited a giant sweet tooth of her papa. I am trying not to stress much about her feeding habits. I was a picky eater myself, and I remember all too well the “food fights” that I’ve had with my mom. I don’t want to get into the same type of power struggles with my daughter, so I am determined to stay relaxed and have faith in her own ability to chose what she needs right now and how much. Of course, my relaxed attitude is helped by the fact that she is a healthy child with no allergies, so I can offer her a wide choice of things and see what she likes.

Well, back to snacks. I don’t approve of never-ending grazing. In our house there are snack times and food is not available outside of those snack times. The snacks usually contain some sort of fruit – luckily, Anna likes all kinds of fruit, and something sweet like marshmallows or M&Ms. When we go out, we usually have a couple of small plastic containers with us with dry snacks – Gorilla Crunch cereal, pretzels or pretzel sticks. Anna is a huge fan of freeze dried fruit snacks from Trader’s Joe, but they used to give her a bad diaper rash, so we eat them sparingly. We usually go very light on juices – she drinks water most of the day. She never tried Cola or any other carbonated drinks yet. We gave her simple carbonated water once, and this discouraged her from trying any “juices with bubbles”… for now. She also likes drinkable yogurts and cheese, so we take cheese sticks and yogurt with us if we have a cooler. In a nutshell, we try to honor her sweet tooth but limit processed food as much as possible and give her a lot of fresh produce to eat. My only concern with her diet is low iron, since she doesn’t like meat. She doesn’t look anemic, but I would like to give her more green veggies and beans. Too bad that she is not a big fan of those.


Christy said...

Both of my boys are picky eaters and it can be very frustrating! My daughter, on the other hand, will try anything and likes most things. I try to limit sweets in the house so that my children don't have them as an option but they definitely get their share!

Susana said...

As you can tell from all of my baking, sweets are my weakness and so my kids do get them. However, I limit what they get of these baked goods and eat most of it myself--how awful is that?!

I, too, do not give my kids cola and my daughter is the only one who gets juice (and it is a 100% fruit and veggie blend) because she is not a huge fresh fruit eater.

None of mine are crazy about meat either, neither am I--we eat lots of veggie meats and beans and meat occasionally too. Veggies are loved by no one but myself and my husband:-).

Autumn said...

Tommy will eat just about anything I put in front of him, but Ben is a picky eater. The boy simply will not put a vegetable or any size, color, or texture in his mouth. It doesn't discourage me from putting them on his plate though. I figure someday he'll put a vegetable in his mouth and will actually like it! Luckily he's a major carnivore and loves fruit.

The girl who painted trees said...

I sneak Spinach into my daughter by making her green smoothies - banana, berries, and whatever fruit I have on hand plus raw or steamed spinach (baby spinach is best because it isn't bitter). She loves these smoothies. Great healthy snack.

growinginpeace said...

My oldest daughter had a lot of oral sensitivity to foods, which made her a picky eater. It took 2 years of patient desensitization in order to get her to eat "real" meat of any kind. I don't know if it was a taste or texture issue (or both). I know she was otherwise very cooperative, but when it came time to eat meats, she cried and gagged the whole time we tried to push the issue. I realized this went beyond simple preferences.

I made her whole wheat pancakes with protein powder and extra wheat germ in them and fruit and yogurt smoothies with protein powder and wheat germ in them too (oh, Barilla plus pasta is made with garbanzo beans and other goodies so there is more protein and other nutrients in them, while still having the taste and texture of regular durum wheat pasta) while I started on a long process of getting her to tolerate meat in her mouth (expecting her to put it in her mouth, then allowing her to spit it out, then working up to chewing it and then spitting it out, then working up to chewing it and actually swallowing it). Now, at 7, she still won't eat meat with sauces or in casseroles, but she will eat plain chicken or beef.

Don't rush it, but don't give up either.

You have my complete sympathies.

By the way, I nominated you for an Honest Scrap Award. Check the details out here

Honest Scrap Award.

Diana said...

I grew up a very picky eater, too. I try not to get into power struggles with my kids on food. It sounds like you have Anna on a good eating track. I want my kids to be exposed to different foods, so we have balanced this by letting them choose their own lunch and cereal if we're eating cereal for breakfast. Dinner is only what I am making, and they have to try at least a bite. If they don't want to eat dinner, then they can go to bed hungry and eat a big breakfast in the morning. I also limit sweets, but don't outlaw them. I think we all have to go with what makes sense in our own family.

Jenny said...

my kids love those freeze dried snacks. i like how you said "honor her sweet tooth." :) i try to do that for myself, as well, ha.