The foods Katie will regularly eat are as follows:
- Jalepeno cheetos (no other kind of cheetos – must be jalepeno)
- Mandarin oranges
- Grilled Cheese
- Jelly sandwiches (no peanut butter … really?)
- Ketchup sandwiches
- BBQ turkey
- And most of all … hot dogs
I know, I know. Hot dogs are horrible. But she LOVES them and they are the one thing she will always, consistently eat. And me, in my total mom laziness, let her have them far too often, justifying it as “Well, she’s at least eating something.” (And they’re Hebrew National hotdogs – those are good, right? right?) And I’d rationalize it further that if she ate said hotdog with some peaches, and washed it down with a glass of milk, then net-net, it’s a win!
We have struggled and struggled to get Katie to even try new foods, let alone actually EAT them in any quantity greater than something the size of a gnat. She’s not hungry, doesn’t like it, it makes her throat hurt, she’s cold, did you know that Darth Maul has a DOUBLE-EDGED light saber? and on and on … she’ll do anything to avoid eating.
When finally she does manage to get something into her mouth, if she has it in her head that she doesn’t like it, she’ll get herself all worked up and manage to make herself gag. Which, in turn, brings up whatever did make it to her stomach up to that point. Appetizing, I know.
Skip and I have talked about her eating habits and how to improve them. I’ve always worried that if we make a big deal out of food, she’ll develop an eating disorder. But, as Skip pointed out to me – she has an eating disorder, in that she doesn’t eat! If we put dinner in front of her (and it’s not on her ‘approved list’ of foods), and she doesn’t want to try it, she literally goes to bed without having eaten any supper. And this happens more often than not.
So we’ve thrown down the gauntlet: no hot dogs til she eats a ‘full meal’ (I use that term loosely) at dinner time. “Full meal” means she has to try more than a few bites of whatever we are eating: meat, veggies, fruit. So tonite I tried a new recipe for a skillet beef pot pie. It rocked: peas, carrots, onions, a little gravy-ish stuff in there, and chunks of steak. So I’m getting veggies AND meat all in one dish, it took me about 30 minutes to fix, and bonus – it passed the hubby test.
So Katie tried the steak – and liked it; granted, she’s eaten steak before, so I’m not chalking that up as a significant victory. And double granted, that one little bite of steak was doused in enough ketchup to keep John and Teresa rolling in the green for a while. But she ate it.
She tried the carrots – and liked them!! Major victory! Woot woot!
And then the peas. Damn you, peas.
She managed to choke a few down with steak and with a lot of ketchup (all while holding her nose). But we tried to get her to eat one – ONE STINKIN LITTLE PEA – on its own – and that brought on the full blown gag reflex. So now we’ve lost anything that made it to her stomach – all of it.
At this point, we are well over an hour into dinner. An hour, people. With us alternately cajoling, bribing (you get an Oreo!), yelling, reasoning (you need to eat vegetables to stay healthy! God gave us fruits and vegetables because He knows that’s what our bodies need!), peer pressure (<<insert friends name here>> eats fruits and vegetables!), shaming (babies eat more than you do!), teaching her tricks (hold your nose while you eat it, that’s what I did!) All for naught.
So off to bath – after which, she agrees to try again. The idea of being unable to eat a hotdog on her birthday this weekend is very upsetting – indeed, it’s traumatizing. Out comes some steak and some peas. One bite of steak with a pea – sans ketchup (minor victory, there – although there was a lot of whining to get us there). But the three mashed up little peas … she absolutely, steadfastly, resolutely refused to eat. So we finally gave up, and put her to bed.
So we debate – are we doing the right thing? And most importantly – how do we get her to eat a variety of healthy foods?
What have y’all done to get your kids to try and eat new foods?
(Side note: my parents do not get to respond … I know, I know … this is just that ‘circle of life’ crap and I’m getting back in spades all of the grief and heartache I gave my own parents over countless dinners in Omaha. I get it.)