Most children are fussy eaters at some point in their lives. Both my girls ate really well until they turned three years. Suddenly, they were conscious of the ‘bits’ and would often pick the offending items out of their food.
I never stopped adding theses ‘bits’ to their food and eventually they got over this phase (well, middle daughter still has her moments) and they are generally open to trying most things. They knew that the food I put in front of them was what I expected them to eat. I wasn’t going to pander to their needs and the rule in our house is that you have to eat what you are given, or at least give it your best shot. There is nothing else waiting for you in the side lines if you don’t.
Child number three, the boy, threw a spanner in the works completely and gave fussy eating new meaning. He could pick out a whole pea from his mouth, despite our attempts to disguise it in a mouthful of shepherd’s pie. He could literally throw up his whole dinner if that ‘one more mouthful’ had something in it that he didn’t care for.
We went on to find out he had a dairy and wheat intolerance, so it is no surprise that food made him ill and perhaps explained his sensitivity to different tastes. He is five now and with his food intolerances under control; he is much more receptive to trying new tastes.
However, we still have issues with ‘bits’ and also with peas (and sweetcorn, for that matter). You know how kids work their way around the plate eating each component fully before moving on to the next? I frequently explain that if you eat a mouthful of food that contains a variety of what is on your plate, you won’t really notice the individual ingredients. But as yet, he is not convinced.
I made risotto the other day – one of my favourites. It contained butternut squash, peas and salmon. My son was having a picky day and spent so long at the table that he ended up sitting there on his own after the rest of us had finished and moved on. This is what I found when I eventually told him to give it up as a bad job (it was bedtime by then). I think we can safely say that he likes salmon!