With three kids, I am bound to have at least one who is a picky eater. My kids, though, seem to rotate when they want to picky and when they don't. Some days it's all I can do to give them enough fruits and vegetables. Other days all they insist on eating is pizza. And then there are the days when I just can't seem to get it right; Nothing I fix is good enough. It makes menu planning difficult. I never know when any or all of them will be agreeable.
Joe and I decided early, early on that they will eat what we fix, or they don't eat. We just don't have the money, and I just don't have the patience to be a short order cook. I do, though, try to instill in my children a desire to eat healthy. I make most of my meals with fresh ingredients, as I do my best at perimeter shopping (making most of my groceries come from the perimeter of the store...fruits, veggies, dairy, fresh meat, fresh breads, and frozen foods). I have decided to leave a basket of fresh fruit on the table at all times. They are welcome to eat from that at any point during the day when they feel hungry. It works well, and I am constantly having to replenish the basket full of oranges and apples (that's the fruit of the day right now).
When I was learning to cook, my dad passed down a piece of advice that his grandmother passed down to him: your plate should be colorful. Funny how that simple phrase is becoming the new food fad today (heard it on Dr.Oz just last week). So as I was developing my craft of cooking for those at home, I always try to have some yellows, greens, and oranges on my plate. Not only does it make it visually appealing, but it is much better for you. God has provided such a rainbow of food for us for a reason. We should be making our plates an edible artwork. Now that I have random picky eaters, I have tried to not only incorporate the colors and fresh food, but I'm trying to make it fun. I found a plate today (I've seen them before, but seeing it today reminding me of how it is a great idea) that had a face on it. The purpose is to encourage the children to use their food to decorate the face, and then eat it. I am either going to make some plates for my family (using my incredibly talented husband to make faces that look like my kids) or I'm going to buy some plates. I'm looking forward to trying this new thing for our house.
Just like so many other mothers, I want my children to eat, and eat well. Hopefully they will learn that trying new things is fun, and hopefully they will develop healthy eating habits that will keep them healthy and to teach their children to be healthy as well.
Here was my attempt at today's creation (apple pieces with 2 tsp of caramel dip, carrot slices with 2 tsp of ranch dressing, a turkey corndog with all natural ketchup):