May 31, 2012

Toddler Eating Habits

Alright. So, I admit it. I've been a bit smug about what a great eater Evie is. Other than mango and watermelon, my kid has always eaten just about anything we've put in front of her. She's loved guacamole since she first tried it at six months and will stand at my feet tugging on my pants saying "Momma! Momma!" with her mouth open like a baby bird when she sees me chopping avocados. She's chowed down on Indian food, Greek food, Mexican food, Italian food. You name it and she's been all about it. Oh, and let's not forget sushi. My fourteen month old had her first sushi last week and pronounced it to be "Mmmmm!".

We've always believed that the best way to help Evie establish healthy eating habits was to teach her that good food tastes good and to offer her a wide variety of flavors from different cultures to help her develop a diverse palate. We agreed we would never go down the road of "eat your broccoli and you can have the yummy ice cream!" Instead we have always said, "Oh broccoli is delicious!" And it's true. Chris and I both love broccoli, we believe that it is delicious. I've never a day in my life been a picky eater. I dislike tomatoes and that's about it. Chris, while a picky eater in his youth, is pretty open to trying anything.

On Monday we took Evie to lunch and ordered her chicken tenders and steamed broccoli.

I immediately stopped patting myself on the back when she wouldn't touch the damn green stuff. If we did get her to take a bite, she spit it out immediately. I tried dipping it in ranch dressing, putting cheese on it both to no avail. She still spit it out. She wanted those chicken tenders though. The same thing happened when I offered her cucumber and greens from my salad. One taste and she spit it out. Last night we had stuffed peppers with salad for dinner. I chopped up some avocado for my salad and for her, which she ate fine. I also gave her some of the stuffing from the peppers, and right in the middle of that stuffing I placed a small broccoli floret from the salad.

That little sneak picked all around that broccoli and wouldn't touch it. Avocado: gone. Pepper stuffing: gone. Sippy of milk: gone. At some point she picked the broccoli up and squeezed it super tight in her fist, like she was trying to make it disappear. It didn't work, but I didn't make her eat it.

So far, she's not really pulled this with anything else.

{I'll eat hummus and LOVE it, but don't you ask me to eat broccoli!}

Any advice on how to handle this random and unexpected refusal of broccoli? I don't know what to do, but I definitely don't want her to become a picky eater or start refusing all green vegetables. And, may the good Lord help us, she's got a double dose of stubborn from both her daddy and me.

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