Try, Try Again
by Angela Matthewson
“Oh, no! My child is going to be that kid who will only eat mac’n'cheese and chicken nuggets!!” Naturally, this has been my internal monologue every time my little one rejects a new food, especially a fruit or vegetable. On the outside, I calmly tell my husband that we’ll just keep trying. We smile & clap when she eats the broccoli and try (mostly without success) not to laugh when she spits it out with great gusto. Here’s the thing though, sometimes she eats the food and other times she doesn’t. I’ve tried & tried to analyze when/why/how. To no avail. Kids are enigmatic. End of story. It’s obvious that we need to set good eating examples for our kids, both by what we give them and by what we eat ourselves. But it doesn’t do any good to get all freaked if she doesn’t like this or that. What has worked for me (so far & sometimes) — trying again & in different ways.By different ways, I do not mean pureeing vegetables and putting them in spaghetti sauce etc. That’s all fine & good, but I’m going to try not to go there myself. (Note: try.) I just mean different veggies & fruits and in different forms, with different flavors & settings. Also, just trying again in exactly the same way can sometimes do the trick. (Note: kids have more sensitive palates than adults, so take care not to over season.)Daphne refused to eat the fresh fruit at school every morning, and pretty much still does. I despaired. I tried spoon-feeding applesauce & other baby foods at home. Then one day she got grabby with my apple core and chowed down on it. I tried the same technique with bananas, giving her a big enough chunk to hold on to – success!
For the most part, that’s how she rolls. She wants to feed herself, she’s not awesome with utensils yet, so she needs big pieces that are easy to grip. That’s when it comes to fruit. Veggies are a different ball of wax; those can be tiny – peas are a favorite. My best guess is it’s a texture thing. But hard to say – she still won’t eat peaches, no matter what. Like I said, enigmatic.
The take home point is don’t give up. If green bean casserole doesn’t go over, try plain green beans. Serve them with a different main dish. Try them in a bowl, on the tray, with and without a fork. Go read “Green Eggs & Ham” if you need inspiration.
The picture is of her with her second watermelone slice in two days. She likes to share.
Angie and her husband Barry, have an 18-month-old daughter, Daphne. She works full time as a clinical dietician in a mid-size acute care hospital. She is also taking online classes towards a Master’s Degree in Public Health, and tries to maintain a bit of a social life too. Angie went into nutrition because she loves helping people lead healthier lives, but she now mainly works with malnourished patients. Angie blogs about food & nutrition, plus parenting and finding the joy in simple things at I Sweat The Small Stuff.