I gave the little miss a brownie for lunch.

And she ate it (surprising no one). She also ate a fair amount of the other foods on her plate after devouring her treat. This is one of the first meals at home in weeks where she has ingested more than condiments and bread.

I often feel that because I’m a dietitian and I’ve had training in managing picky eating in kids, doing it with my own kid should be a breeze. And frankly, it was a breeze until about the time she turned 2 and realized that she has some autonomy in the world. Since then, I can literally count on two hands the number of times I’ve seen her spontaneously reach for something remotely resembling a plant. Husband and I do not require that she try everything offered or that she clean her plate. We still offer it, and try to demonstrate healthy eating habits (at least when she’s around). But it’s hard to watch, night after night, the only thing passing by her lips is salad dressing and parmesan cheese.

But the worst of it are the tantrums. My kid, like myself, has a decent set of pipes on her and is not afraid to let the entire neighbourhood know when she is displeased that there are vegetables on her pizza and no, mommy will not pick them off for her. We really just dread mealtimes. And then how do you deal with occasional treats? We don’t want to develop a punishment/reward relationship with treat foods, but we also don’t want to be inadvertently condoning mealtime shenannigans. Like manna from the heavens, some RD friends happened to post and article with some suggestions I had totally forgot: if you’re going to offer dessert/treat, you can offer it with the meal. I love this idea but I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it since it goes against everything I heard from every adult as I was growing up. So today I tried it: I put a toddler-sized brownie portion on her plate along with her baked beans and veggie dogs, corn bread muffin, and celery and carrot sticks. And she ate some of all of it. Hallelujah!

Maybe today’s lunch was a fluke, and my next post will be about my further failed attempts at nourishing my child. But maybe not. In any case, the two of us finally had a meal that neither of us hated. And that’s worth something.

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