So as many of you know, I often like to wax poetic about how wonderful my child is, or dole out tips on how to be as awesome at parenting as I am. (Ha!!!) But I am now humbly asking for your advice, because there is one parenting subject which I’m convinced I am totally failing: My son, Owen, is a ridiculously picky eater. No, like seriously. He’s the worst. And, with the holidays fast approaching, I am having actual anxiety over what to feed my kid amidst all of the typical holiday fare. I really do not want to be the mom who has to bring a cream cheese and jelly sandwich to Thanksgiving dinner.
I want to preface this by saying that I’m not super concerned about my son getting enough nutrition: he eats just enough of a variety of proteins, carbs, and fruits/veggies so that I’m, like, 92% sure his growth isn’t going to be stunted due to vitamin deficiency or anything like that. But what bothers me is that he doesn’t even eat a lot of what you would typically consider to be “kid” foods. He won’t eat macaroni and cheese, for one. What kid doesn’t eat macaroni and cheese? That seems against the laws of human nature! He won’t eat dips, sauces, or condiments of any kind, except ketchup. I can’t fool him by sneaking veggies into his meatloaf or hiding them in a smoothie, because he doesn’t eat those things. He also is very, VERY particular about brand: food has to look completely familiar to him, or he won’t even try it. He will only eat a certain kind of waffles and a certain brand of yogurt. If he sees the packaging and it looks wrong, forget it. The other day I tried to get Owen to eat a turkey sandwich. He likes (deli) turkey, and he likes bread. But when I put the turkey ON the bread, he cried as if I had just told him there was no Santa Claus. I gave in and took the turkey off the bread, but then he wouldn’t eat the turkey because it had “bread parts” on it. Did I mention that he’s the worst?
So, Thanksgiving looms before me like a recipe for imminent disaster. Owen does not eat mashed potatoes, stuffing, or cranberry sauce. He will only eat raw carrots and raw spinach, so salad might happen, but no other vegetables will gain entrance into the party in his tummy. And I have never been successful in getting him to eat turkey that wasn’t in lunch meat form, or chicken that wasn’t in nugget form (he won’t even eat the home-made nuggets that I’ve tried to prepare for him. It’s Purdue or nada.) He won’t even eat PIE! Also, he’s not all that polite about not wanting to try new foods. He will have no qualms about telling my family members that the food they’ve made him is “ridiculous,” “disgusting” or “evil.” Embarrassing! (And also, tough not to laugh about!) Owen is so fearful of new foods that it’s kind of alarming. He will only attempt to try something new if I bribe with with chocolate or ice cream, which I know defeats the purpose, because that’s teaching him to value those sugary junk foods over the healthy ones I want him to love. But I’m totally at a loss at this point.
Does anyone have any tips on how to cure my picky eater? And what should I do for the holidays–make him eat what is served, or just say to heck with it and pack him a special, Owen-friendly meal?