Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adventures in Picky Eating

I used to be what one would call a "picky eater." When my husband met me no matter where we went to eat, it was chicken fingers and fries for me, thank you very much. My knowledge of vegetables ran only as far as the tuber family could take me. Anything green, forget it. Over the years though, my palate has expanded broadly. I merrily order steak cooked medium rare (emphasis on the rare). I bake kale chips whenever it is in season and gobble them down. I could eat butternut squash roasted all fall and winter long. I will kill a platter of crab cakes before you can blink. And, (this totally blows my husband's mind) I've even been known to spread roasted marrow on crusty bread and sprinkle it with sea salt before downing it. Chasing it with a swig with a dry, spicy, punch-you-in-the-mouth red wine. Yes, I said marrow. As in bone. As in, we ordered a giant porterhouse steak for the two of us, and I had heard the marrow was good. It was. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Needless to say, I am not that picky anymore.

However, there is a picky eater in our house. Our son. I shouldn't be too shocked. After all, I come from a family of four kids, and three of us strained the "bits" out of sauce before it hit the plate (the fourth kid just ate the "bits" from the other three on top of his!). But our son used to eat anything you put in front of him-with glee. With gusto. With abandon. He loved any and all food. We still talk about the time he was with us at a fancy Italian restaurant and had part of our braised lamb shank and cannelini beans. Then he hit a wall. I can count the foods he will stuff in his face on my 10 fingers. We worry about nutrition. We fret over anemia (he really just wants PBJ). He even will go 1-2 days with hardly consuming anything other than liquid. Of course the next few he eats like someone hired him to, and he's getting paid in M&Ms and matchbox cars.

This summer our goal is to re-expose him to as many tastes as we can. The school year is so crazy, that meals can be hectic. We have gotten our stubbornly picky eater to consume the following:
Hamburger
Grilled red/orange/yellow peppers and zucchini
Baked potatoes
Hot Dogs (that was a first! Always claimed to hate them before!)
Steak
Strawberries
Peaches
Raspberries
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Ribs
Baked Beans

Most everything he gagged down at first, and other than the baked potato, he pretty much likes it all. This look comes over his face, kind of shock, and he says "it's good!" Like we were trying to trick him or something. We have all sorts of tactics-we "race" him to get bites in, we threaten to drink his precious juice box, we have been known to get treats after dinner and he doesn't if he didn't eat properly (but the next few days shoves pretty much everything into his mouth). Maybe by the time school starts he won't be so picky, and will actually eat the school lunch? One can hope. I just know how crippling it can be to be a picky eater, and don't want my son to be held back in the same way I was in my youth. The world is your plate little man, eat up!

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