Jimi has got to be one of the pickiest eaters, EVER. Well, that is not exactly true. He will eat almost any baby food offered to him. But if it is not mush, it is not going in his mouth. As soon as Jimi sees "table food" headed towards his mouth or placed on his high chair, it is met with pursed lips, head shaking, and throwing of the food. Occasionally he will shock us and allow something unexpected into his mouth. Such as, he once ate a tuna fish sandwich but refuses to eat spaghetti. What kid doesn't like spaghetti?! This is going to become a problem as he is becoming increasingly uninterested in James or I feeding him. I'm worried he won't be getting enough nutrition when we won't let us feed him anymore.
Anyway, while force feeding Jimi his lunch today I got to thinking about all of the "tricks" we have to do to get a full meal into our picky kid's mouth.
1. Always offer the new food first and keep offering it throughout the meal.
If we give Jimi food he knows and is comfortable with right away he won't even bother trying the new item.
2. Be quick!
Toddlers are pretty impatient little people (weird, I know). If we're not completely prepared with his meal when we get him in his high chair we make sure we have little snacks on hand. These are also helpful when your kid decides you aren't shoveling food into their mouth fast enough and get upset.
3. Always do the "green" food first.
Even if your child started off loving peas, green beans, etc., they will soon be able to tell the difference between the green colored tubs of food and the orange"or fruit ones. We always start off with a "green" one if he's getting a green and orange veggie or the orange veggie before fruit if he is getting a fruit and veggie. Kids will almost always prefer the sweet stuff, we try to get down the less desirable flavors first.
4. Yogurt is your friend.
Usually by the second container of food Jimi gets tired of us feeding him but since we do not just want him eating Gerber puffs all day we have to get that second veggie or fruit in him. We've found that one spoonful of yogurt to every two spoons fulls of whatever else we're trying to get him to eat works. If not a little of both on the spoon is satisfying enough. Say what you will about GoGurt but it is the perfect size for kids, easy to spoon, and freezable to make a healthy treat. Also, they make a GoGurt Simple now which is all natural flavors and less sugar junk. It's a life saver in this house.
5. Don't talk to them.
It sounds weird but whenever we get excited over the amount or what Jimi's eating and give him praise, he gets mad. He does not like any distractions from his food. Also, if he is finally trying some new "table foods" and we tell him good job, he will immediately stop and drop it for the dog. We keep it nice and quiet (or talk to each other) during meals times and just keep spooning that food in his mouth. If that's what it takes for him to eat, so be it!
6. Let them get messy.
Feeding a toddler is never going to be neat ordeal. Give up the battle to keep their face clean and let them enjoy their meal. I wouldn't let them dump food on their head, but constantly wiping their face is only going to distract the picky kid from eating. We always wipe Jimi's hands and face with a warm wash cloth after the meal. We do, however, try to stop him from throwing food on the floor. Wasting is not cool and our dog is starting to get fat from all of the extra free food.
(On a side note, in this house when James is feeding Jimi, it is always twice as messy as when I do it. Why is that?)
(See the orginial post on forbetterORRworse.com)
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