Let’s Talk: Picky Eaters

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Dinnertime.

This is an old picture, taken from the days when my babies were still small enough to sit in booster seats at the dinner table (the date on the photo is Feb. 10, 2009), but it still serves my point very well: my kids can be very, very picky eaters.

Really, it’s only a couple of them who are still pretentious about food. The other two are much better about eating, but are still picky every once in awhile. I’m really into serving healthy meals most of the time and sometimes those meals include things that typical children might not eat. All four of the kids love (!) broccoli, for instance, but I cannot get Emma to eat any kind of fruit and Jaylen only wants to take PB&J for lunch. Emma prefers dairy above all else: cheddar cheese cubes, Cracker Cuts, string cheese, yogurt. Jaylen doesn’t like yogurt, he won’t eat things like english muffin pizzas or pigs in a blanket at lunch because they’re cold. Jenna prefers fruit above all else and actually always makes really healthy choices, she has a very healthy appetite, but I cannot get her to eat very much at lunch. Jaiden eats just about everything, but wouldn’t eat the english muffin pizzas, either, and she hates tomato soup.

I’m just touching on this a little bit, but you get the idea. Four kids, four different palates, four different lists of dos and don’ts.

So let’s talk about this: how do you get your picky kids to eat their lunch?

I’m an advocate of giving kids choices, of sending them with food they like in hopes they eat it, but I am getting frustrated right now. I’ve been making lunches for 3-4 children every day since the beginning of August and I’m not only beginning to run out of ideas, but also out of patience. I’ve let them choose things for the menu, I’ve let them pack their own lunches, I’ve let them help me prepare bentos, I’ve let them decide between things I’m considering while I pack; each of these suggestions works one day and not the next (plus I really don’t have time to let four kids dictate their desires in the midst of a busy morning or evening). I just need a little less stressful situation with the lunches.

How do YOU get your children to eat? Did it take awhile for your children to get used to healthier/different choices in their lunch boxes? Are they over it now?

If you have any ideas or tips please comment and let me know!

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