“My kid only eats three things!” Many parents say. Today’s article in the New York Times speaks of a company that now can analyze your DNA and find out such specific information as to why in fact, you might have never wanted to drink milk when you were a kid. (Lactose intolerance tells your body to stay away!)
Parents can pull their hair out, worrying about their kids who refuse to try any new foods. These kids will fight you on it, and short of World War three erupting at every meal time, parents capitulate and feel guilty or inferior with other families, or relatives whose kids are more adventurous. (Or of course with grandparents whose attitude is critical of your parenting if you are not more dogmatic about it!) Also, you have the “try it once, twice, three times, and then you can say you don’t like it rule’, but your kid still eats only three things, or fights you each time.
For you parents who don’t want to fight it, don’t worry. Look at your kids’ food over the course of one to two weeks, not just each day. (What nutritionists advocate.) There is more room for those days your kid barely eats anything, or it seems like they really do only exist on mac and cheese. Teach them about the major food groups and what they do for their body. Get them to go grocery shopping with you and pick out the ways they want to eat their protein. Let them pick the fruit, if they won’t eat veggies, that they are interested in, to get the vitamins they need. If they won’t even do that, challenge them to find another way to get their vitamins. Make it into a game. They are the expert on their body, but they do have the job of taking the best care of it that they possibly can, you say to them. Empower them to take more responsibility. Get them to do some of the work. Most of all, remember that there is alot of evidence to help you as a mother, not take it personally. Think of your own and your husband’s background. Were you a picky eater? Are there any food allergies in your family? After all, it could just be in their DNA, not that you are doing a bad job. Happy mealtime!