Friday, April 23, 2010

The Picky Eater Dilemma

Day 113.

If you've ever read my blog before today, you're well aware of my Picky Eater. Now, I'm seeking your ideas.

Every dinner table discussion with Picky Eater is a fight about how many bites she has to take, or how she thinks she's a vegetarian, or how she's not a vegetarian, but an omnivore ("Omnivores eat vegetables, too, sweetie,"), or how such-and-such burns her mouth, or, "Remember, Momma? I don't like this."

I refuse to serve "kid foods" at my house. I despise the notion that children should be raised on Gerber Stages and then on to Kid Cuisine and Lunchables. I think that kids can and should be served proper, home-cooked meals and be expected to try them and to eat them -- most of the time.

On a rare occasion, I make something I know Picky Eater won't eat for sure, but the rest of us enjoy it, so I make it anyway. On those occasions, I'm sure to provide adequate side dishes so that there's plenty she'll tolerate.

I don't know how she got to be so picky with a mom who's always experimenting in the kitchen (and seldom makes something that's not delicious to everyone else!).  What I do know is that I'm sick of fighting over food with her. It's been going on for four years now.

The Clean Plate Club doesn't hold its meetings at my house. I never require her to clean her plate. I don't reheat refused meals to serve at the next mealtime. I don't use foods as rewards or punishments. I do expect everyone to at least try what's put in front of them, and I demand respect at the table (no insulting the food or the cook), but I know that not everyone likes everything and that's okay.

What more can I do to ease the mealtime battles? Any advice? Here's a meal that she refused tonight. It was delicious. The sweet potatoes are the key ingredient in this dish. Definitely don't leave them out.

Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers
makes 6 peppers

What You Need:
  • 2 cups (or 1 can) cooked black beans (drained of any liquid)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of a bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, cooked, peeled, and diced
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
How it's Done:
  1. Cook onion, diced pepper, and garlic in olive oil until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  2. Stuff bell peppers until overflowing. Place in baking dish.
  3. Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour.


Lisa said...

My daughter stopped eating all fruits and almost all vegetables when she turned 1, and 12 years later, she still will not eat ANY fruit! She only eats broccoli (loves it thankfully), corn and onions. Go figure! We have had hundreds of arguments over the years, probably have done everything you are and are not supposed to do. She is a STUBBORN little lady. I just pray that her palate will change as she grows older. My brother hated veggies and salad as a kid, but now loves them, so it can happen. We don't make her eat anything she doesn't want to, because that is a no win situation. I just continue to put good, healthy food on her plate, like it or not! Good luck!!

Andrea said...

The stuffed bell peppers look amazingly good! I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with Picky eater. My 3 yr old refuses a lot of what I give her too. It drives me crazy!! I am so sick of the dinnertime fight of take a bite, sit down, etc.

I did see a book in the library about ending the dinner time debate. I'll check it out next week & let you know A. what the title is LOL and B. if its worth the time to read it :)

Anonymous said...

I think that you should let it go. She will eat if she is hungry. I would not fix her special meals. I would not let her snack either. When she is hungry she will eat what is on the plate.

I agree with you. I grew up in a home where we were forced with spanking and pure brute force to eat everything on the plate.

She is not going to die if she misses a meal or two. If she is hungry enough she will eat what is offered.

Your meals look wonderful in the pictures.

Simply Life said...

I love that you serve everyone the same meal, whether it's "adult" or not! Does she enjoy picking out meals or cooking them with you? I really have no idea and am just guessing but maybe if she felt more "ownership" it would help her want to try new things??

April said...

All six of my kids went through a picky stage, five of them eat a wide variety of foods now, but my 12 yo daughter is still clinging to her love/hate relationship with food. I know it's hard, but they do usually outgrow this stage. Just keep doing what your doing, but limit snacking. My daughter is even more stubborn at meal times if she eats a snack to close to meal time. Hang in there. :)

Samara Link said...

Michelle, I made these, too! I ended up doing half yams and half sweet potato for color. The filling was delicious, but the pepper shells were a little mushy and flat tasting. So, I'll cook them for a bit less next time. Otherwise, I thought they were great. Thanks again for the idea. I'm using your blog as a cookbook. If you publish a cookbook in print, sign me up for one. I'd totally buy it. :)

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