I'm going to admit that as a young mama, I went about raising non-picky eaters completely wrong. Many times I chose the absolute wrong battle, which ended up backfiring and definitely didn't encourage my small people to NOT be picky about what they put in their mouths.
Fast forward several years to now - I'm still not perfect about this. I know my small people would prefer to eat nothing but chicken nuggets and boxed mac & cheese if given a choice. I can say, however, that they do a great job of eating whatever is placed in front of them, especially fruits and veggies. In fact, I even have one small person who will answer "broccoli" when asked what her favorite food is. I count that as success!
Here are some of the things I've done to encourage my small people to try new foods and not be picky about their eating:
- Including them in grocery shopping. They get to see what we're eating and help pick it out.
- Including them in cooking. When they get to chop veggies, snap green beans, crush crackers into crumbs, etc., they are much more excited about what we're going to eat.
- Offering sauces or dressings for dipping food into. If Sassy wants to dip her ham in ketchup, I'm fine with that. It means that she's actually eating the ham. If a little ranch dressing will get them to eat veggies, GREAT!
- Only making one meal for each dinner. I do not have time to cater to everyone's whims when I'm cooking. They've learned that what I am making is what will be offered. If they choose not to eat, then they know when the next meal will be. That being said, they are given freedom to choose what they eat at breakfast and lunchtime.