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MANN: Can you curb picky eating before it becomes a problem?

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January 17, 2019 - 12:00 PM

OPINION


I don’t pretend to be a great chef — not even really a mediocre one if I’m being honest.

To give you an idea, remember when your mom used to say, 'If you don’t like what’s being served for dinner, go and see what the neighbours are having?' Well that child would be seriously disappointed.

But I am trying.

I am trying to serve healthy meals that aren’t boring, include different proteins and aren’t going to break the bank.

Sounds like the write-up on the inside of a cookbook jacket.

I always imagined when I had kids they would eat all home-cooked meals, veggies right out of the garden, and I would know their little developing brains would be getting what they needed for future successes.

And for the most part my kids do eat healthy, cooked-at-home meals that are reasonably interesting but not at all inexpensive.

Good food is expensive!

And they do eat.

They understand the concept of meals, and sitting together as a family for meals (although usually I am frantically trying to throw something together and on their plates while eating over the sink myself).

Still, even with all the basics in place, I still have a sneaking suspicion they would live off of apples, cheese and buns if they could.

Now I know an apple a day might keep the doctor away due to a dose of vitamin C and pectin, but I think it is implied the apples are supposed to be in addition to other foods.

What I am afraid I might be witnessing (although I am in serious denial) is the development of a couple of picky eaters.

Unfortunately, I think I’m the one to blame.

When I was growing up, we ate three meals a day and if you didn’t eat what was put in front of you, I am pretty sure there wasn’t a second option. Also, that food you didn’t eat was served up at the next mealtime.

So really it was a do you want it now or in a few hours, kind of deal.

So maybe that was my first mistake.

By allowing my kids to have some choices, and to snack during the day (because they have tiny tummies and I would hate to see them hungry), I may have inadvertently created picky eaters.

But maybe I am wrong and it has nothing to do with my parenting and more to do with some inherent hate of anything new and healthy — and anything green for that matter — broccoli, lettuce and avocado.

Believe me, I am not the biggest fan of broccoli, but I choke it down in hopes that little eyes will see mom enjoying her food and think about joining in.

Regardless, whether I accept the responsibility for setting the problem in motion, how can I undo what has already become a monster of its own?

Are kids picky eaters by choice, or are the actions of a picky eater deeply rooted in the DNA?

— Becky is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking.


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