Last night was the second night of the jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Normally I’d worry about what my almost seven year old picky eater was going to eat — or rather, if he was going to eat anything. This year my husband and relaxed a little and decided not to stress about it. He’s really started to eat more, but I’m trying NOT to make food an issue anymore. We told ourselves that it was okay if he didn’t eat that much.
The First Night
My picky eater considers himself a vegetarian, but doesn’t seem to really enjoy vegetables and will eat turkey, chicken, and ham. But there are times I’ll tell him something is soy or fake meat, when it really is meat (don’t judge, the kid used to exist on air). The first night of the holiday, he ate matzoh ball soup and challah with chopped liver spread on it. We told him that the chopped liver was special peanut butter. Then he ate some egg noodles and some red pepper. This was the most he ever ate at a holiday meal, so we were happy.
The Second Night
My son ate Matzoh Ball Soup, challah with chopped liver spread on it, two stalks of asparagus, roasted red pepper, several roasted mushrooms and 4 bites of chicken. While I would have liked if he ate more, I let it go.
Tips for Getting Through Any Holiday With a Picky Eater (These tips can work for any holiday meal)
1. Explain the dishes being served– kids may need to be reminded what certain dishes are (ie. Matzoh Ball Soup). A picky eater may get nervous and forget that they actually liked brisket the year before.
3. Make a Plan – what does your child have to eat to be excused/gain dessert/get nutrition? A protein, some veggies?
2. Non- Eating Consequences? What will you do if your child refuses to eat anything? Will you offer a alternate meal choice, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Will they still be able to get dessert?
3. Praise and reward – encourage them to try a variety of foods, even if they know they won’t like it. Even a bite makes a difference and set them up to try more foods in the future. My picky eater tried the Gefilite Fish (but didn’t like it) and then tried grilled mushrooms because I was eating them (and ended up liking them).
4. Subtle Competition is not a bad thing – you can say that they need to eat 5 different foods in order to win (and get dessert). My niece and my picky eater are both competitive and their eyes lit up when I announced that I would give a dollar to the kid that ate the most. Did I end up giving the dollar? No, but they both ate decently (which was the goal).