Disclaimer: I was hired by The Women Bloggers to participate in this campaign led by Kendal King Group on behalf of Nestle. As usual, all opinions and stories are my own. Thank you for your support! #GerberLilBeanies
Jamie and I recognized early on (when she was around seven months old) that Hadley was a picky eater, but we brushed it off that maybe she simply preferred the bottle as her primary food source and would become a better eater once she could eat more of what we were eating. Wishful thinking. We had no idea that her refusal to try most of her baby foods would become a habit that would stick around.
Hadley is almost 2.5 years old, and she has progressively become the pickiest eater I’ve ever heard of. I wish that statement was me simply being dramatic, but her pediatrician as well as our family and friends all agree that unfortunately she’s one tough cookie in this department.
I know first-hand that I feel and perform my best when eating a cleaner diet (though I don’t always eat this way), and though in my perfect world Hadley would enjoy eating a cleaner diet as well (yeeeeah right!), I’m also realistic and know that occasional “junk” isn’t going to kill her either. After all, she’s a two year old. I believe that being too strict with her food would create a monster!
Right or wrong, my general food philosophy for Hadley is that if she puts checkmarks in the nutrition boxes she needs (protein, some fruits and veggies, etc.) that I don’t mind rewarding her with a meal or a snack that she considers a treat. I have no issues giving her dessert if she would just eat the dinner I make.
The biggest dilemma
Things get frustrating for me (and for her) when she downright refuses to eat what I’ve given her for that particular meal, and then I’m left with the decision of do I send her to school or to bed hungry because she didn’t eat or do I eventually give in and feed her what she wants just to make sure she’s eaten? People say she’ll eventually eat if she’s hungry enough, but I don’t find this to be the case with my kiddo. I also hate giving in to what she wants because I feel like I’m encouraging these bad habits.
Things then turn emotional where I feel downright defeated when this goes on for days and days in a row. Her behavior goes downhill, her whininess turns up a notch, and my fuse becomes short. We are not our best selves on these days.
I had no idea that having a picky eater would cause such issues in our household. Sheesh!
I recognize that as far as parenting issues, things could be much worse, but at the same time this is still an issue and a daily battle that I have yet to figure out how to navigate. I want to raise a healthy kid who develops good eating habits, and I don’t feel like I’m being overly “crunchy” or unrealistic. This is just a tough one!
What can I do before I lose my marbles over this issue?!
Here are a list of foods that are hit or miss with Hadley that I can count on her to eat 25-50% of the time. It’s such a guessing game (we waste a lot of food).
- frozen waffles
- Yoplait yogurt cups (must have a Frozen character or Mickey Mouse on the cup)
- chicken dipped in ketchup
- american cheese slice (only the kind from an individual wrapper)
- scrambled eggs with melted shredded cheese
- assorted nuts
- pasta with spaghetti sauce
Foods that I’ve tried to give her 100 times that she refuses to eat:
- lunch meat rolled up with cheese
- hot dogs
- any vegetables (I frequently try red peppers and carrots served with ranch or hummus… nope)
- squeeze pouches of fruits and vegetables
Here are the foods that she will always eat an unlimited amount of (it’s quite the short list).
- mac and cheese (preferably Panera’s)
- a spoonful of peanut butter
- Chewy granola bars
- Ice cream, candy, anything chocolate, cookies, cake (duh)
- Lil’ Beanies
If you’ve never heard of Lil’ Beanies, it’s because they were just recently launched and are available now at Walmart. I’m really thankful we can add these to this very short list of foods that she’ll never refuse because they’re a snack that packs in much more nutrition that many other snacks geared toward toddlers and young children.
They’re more than an empty snack or a “filler” food because they contain 2g of protein per serving (she could eat five servings in a sitting honestly), a gram of fiber, and no GMOs or preservatives. They’re made with navy beans and rice flour (versus the canisters of Crunchies she used to eat that were made with corn) and have no artificial colors or flavors (awesome). Speaking of flavors, there are two kinds: White Cheddar & Broccoli and Original (Sea Salt). She thankfully devours them both.
Two more bonuses that make this snack a win/win in my book: they’re cheap (roughly $1.86/canister) and don’t make a mess (no sticky fingers). Canisters of Lil’ Beanies hit shelves at Walmart recently, so go scoop some up!
- If you’ve dealt with a severely picky eater, I would love love love to hear from you. What tips and tricks can you recommend to combat these issues as she gets older?
- What can I do as her mom to help her and encourage her to learn better habits?