Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I know, I know. That sounds like some really outrageous claim like if Pampers diapers were to suddenly say "How this diaper will change itself AND throw itself away!". But I promise it's 100% true and essentially what it means is that we've raised Penelope to not be a picky eater.

This doesn't mean I force feed her things she's not particularly fond of. Or that I have screaming matches with her and end with "or ellllsseee!!!" It doesn't mean every mealtime is a huge battleground. Or that I make her clean her plate off when she says she's full.

It does mean that she eats all types of food we give her. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It does mean that she has times she decides she just doesn't feel like eating what's given. And she always has a choice, two choices actually. You get to eat or you don't.

I've been very interested in researching parenting "methods" in other countries. Especially countries much less fortunate then the US. I find it very interesting that you don't find picky eaters in areas where food is They aren't picking and choosing and making their parents into their personal chefs. They are simply eating what's being given because they have two choices: eat or don't eat. 

Some yummy dinner!

Now, I will admit with the access of food available in our country it was difficult at first to get Penelope to understand this concept. For example, we had carrots that needed to be eaten soon before they went bad and so I cut them up and brought them with us as snacks. I had to do that for a week straight because the first two days Penelope would refuse to eat them, ask for something else, have a tantrum when I didn't supply something else. That was an all day cycle. But I kept at it, and the third day she realized that she could either continue to be really really hungry...or just eat the carrot. The last few days of the week, she ate them happily.

We don't make her anything separate from us for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So if what we are eating is clams, brown rice and broccoli, Penelope will be eating clams, brown rice and broccoli. In the beginning she would decide she didn't want to eat it. I never push the issue, I ask her one more time if she wants to eat it? She says no, I take her out of her highchair and she's free to go play. Then not too long after she would come back and say she wanted a snack, I would hand her the meal she didn't eat. She'd refuse, run off angry...and the cycle continues. Until it didn't. Until she finally ate it, and from that day forward she always eats what's given to her.

Penelope helping cook dinner

But what happens when she really loves something? Like she absolutely loves pasta. That's awesome! And she can definitely have some more of that. But only when she finished what's been given to her on her plate. This essentially means she isn't going to learn to eat a whole gang of chicken alfredo and then leave the vegetables. Because let's be honest, nine times out of ten, chicken alfredo for the win in the taste department right?

And now, she really does eat everything. If it's something I see she doesn't love (like zucchini), when she's done eating everything on her plate, I will give her more of what she likes better. Carrots, brussel sprouts, clams, fish, liver, spinach salad, curry, oatmeal, name it, she's eating it. I almost forgot to mention that I do think that is a huge component. Not tailoring your meal to be "toddler friendly", but really offering up all types of different flavors and textures. Taking advantage of the variety of food we have.

The coolest part is seeing all of this amazing, nutritious food that she is loving. Another amazing aspect? Not making my job as cook and parent harder then it needs to be. Because any mother knows that we have enough on our plates as it is, without adding our jobs or other commitments in the mix. What are your thoughts on this? Have you tried something different with the same results? I would love to hear about it!

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