On Friday, I had the best dinner ever with my family. What made it the best dinner ever? My extremely picky seven year old son at a salad. This is a very big deal to me because I’m always worried about my son’s diet because of how picky he is. My son basically survives on a very limited diet. His staple foods are milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast added to it for the extra nutrients, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pizza, baked beans, bananas, cookies, and French fries. These are the only foods that he will always eat. Did you notice this list is missing veggies? And only contains two fruits. Occasionally, he will eat bread, pumpkin pie, and chocolate cake without frosting. He will also sometimes nibble on carrots, green bell peppers, grapes, and blueberries. But these are very small nibbles but I encourage his nibbling because it’s a start in the right direction.
See, my son has son sensory issues. Which have improved a lot as he has gotten older. When he was younger he gagged a lot just at the sight of seeing other people eat, drink, or even brush their teeth. He also can get very anxious when presented with new foods. We tried occupational therapy, but it didn’t help much.
So, now I just try to allow him to eat new and different foods at his own pace to cut down on the anxiety that usually happens with new foods. But, I still try to encourage him to try new foods without creating a food battle. Because I ultimately want him to have a healthy diet that is full of veggies and fruits.
A few months ago I ordered some knives from Amazon that are specially made for kids. So that he could help me out in the kitchen more. I know the more he handles different foods the less anxiety he will have with those foods. So over the past few months he has been cutting carrots, bell peppers, bananas, apples, and whatever else he wants. Sometimes he will take a nibble as he is cutting and sometimes he won’t, but I still love that he is handling foods and learning to prepare them.
Well, on Friday he decided that he wanted to make a rainbow salad for dinner. He is always hearing that you should eat foods from all the colors of the rainbow from PBS and books that we read (I also look for lots of books about food to help with his anxiety about new foods). So, he wanted to have fruits and vegetables from all the colors of the rainbow in our salad. He wanted red tomatoes, orange carrots, yellow bananas, green lettuce and grapes, blue blueberries, and purple eggplant for our rainbow salad.
I got out the cutting board and he got out his kid knives. Then he and my three year old proceeded to wash and chop their ingredients in the order of the rainbow. They started with red tomatoes and we ended with grilling purple eggplant.
During all this prep work I only expected that my son would only take a few very small nibbles of his salad. Then say how good it was and that he was finished and ready to eat some spaghetti. However, to my surprise he actually ate a lot of the lettuce from his salad. He said he liked the romaine lettuce a lot. He also took more actual real sized bites from the other fruits and vegetables in his salad.
Seeing him son eat and enjoy the salad that he prepared made my day. To say I was happy would be an understatement. I was ecstatic!!! Which is why it was the best dinner ever!
Do you have a picky eater? If so, how do you encourage them to try new foods?