TALK BACK: dealing with a picky eater

I was very lucky with my first child.  He was one of those rare kids who will try anything.  We call him our little "foodie".  He appreciates sushi, goat cheese, tobasco sauce, and any other number of food items most would consider to be more adventurous.  I always thought we had somehow trained his palette by providing him with many food choices as an infant and toddler.  I felt proud of having a child who didn't turn up his nose at broccoli or a salad.

Did I say proud?  Okay, maybe a little prideful, too.

And then came my daughter.

My daughter is about as picky as they come.  She subsists on what I call the "beige diet" - string cheese, bread, and the occasional quesadilla.   She has about ten items on her List of Acceptable Foods.  She won't touch anything green, anything with sauce, any food that is "touching", or anything new.  Soups, stews, casseroles . . . no.  No way.

I am still surprised she is so picky, because in her three years of life I have refused to cater to her pickiness.  I have always assumed that I could starve her out. I've also always felt strongly that I didn't want to be a short-order cook, and that my kids could learn to eat foods beyond the flour-and-cheese variety.

But now, she is going on four, and she's still holding out.  I don't offer her an alternative at meals.  And I would say a good 50% of the time, she goes to bed hungry.

Last week, I offered her peanut butter on wheat bread as an alternative.  Suddenly I had three kids begging for a peanut butter sandwich instead of the meal I prepared.  So I quickly nixed that idea.

I'm curious.  If you have a picky eater, do you offer another meal?  Do you cook to the picky member, or make something separate?  How do your kid to eat nutritious foods if they refuse most meals?


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