15 Nov What to Do when Your Child Wont Eat.

I have this friend who’s 3yr old loves cherry tomatoes and yoghurt. And polenta. Cries for it all the time.

And I have another friend who’s 7yr old adores sushi and wants oatmeal for breakfast. Rye bread toast for dinner. Her kid’s idea of a fun snack is a boiled green banana dipped in sweet chilli sauce.

Indeed, I know lots of people with kids who like to eat lots of different foods, from a whole rainbow palette of nutritiousness. I watch them eat their tofu and carrots (discreetly, because ogling someone else’s eating child could be construed as weird) and I stand all amazed. Wow.

Because then there’s my kid Bella. Who survives on four food groups – fries, chicken nuggets, bread and jam, and banana chips. Every now and then, like when Halley’s Comet comes back, she will eat eggs. Boiled, but ONLY the white stuff. Scrambled, but ONLY if there’s not a speck of over-cookedness anywhere. She will also eat Sour Snakes, lollipops, gum, Doritos, MnMs WITH NO PEANUTS and chocolate ice cream. Y’know, things that dont actually belong to any decent self-respecting foodgroup in any culture, on any planet in the known universe.

Because I dont want my child to get scurvy, rickets, anemia, or rotten teeth that are very expensive to fix – I have done lots of research (thank you Google) and tried lots of things to get her to eat better. Here’s a few of them. For those of you who may be struggling to get your demon child to eat something besides green eggs and ham.

1. Make healthy homemade versions of their favorite fast-food.
While we’re waiting for Halley’s Comet to visit, Bella’s only source of protein is chicken nuggets from McDonalds. Which as we all know, isnt really any protein at all because according to a very gut-wrenching documentary on YouTube, there’s not much actual chicken meat in a Golden Arches nugget. So I took it upon myself to make nuggets from chicken, wholemeal flour, egg, various alluring seasonings. It was a lot of work but I figured it was worth it. Well, it wasnt. She hated them. I’ve tried lots of different recipes. Still no love. Now we live in Samoa where the one McDonald’s got shut down last year because of rats roaches dirt. Its open again but I know there’s something a bit funny about their food – because Bella spits out their nuggets. “They dont taste right.” Who am I to argue with the chicken nugget expert? So yeah. I dont bother trying this tactic anymore. Dude, I have a life. Things to do. TV shows to watch.
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The dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. What kid is going to be fooled by this?! Ummm, surely not mine.

2. Let your child help cook and they will be excited to eat what you’ve made together.
Maybe that works for children on Pinterest and the Perfect Parenting magazine but it doesnt for mine. Bella’s an enthusiastic chef. She happily makes scones, lemon curd, fried rice and beef curry with me. But wont eat any of it. Ever.
3. Bribe them. Tempt them. This method has had the most success. It means I barter a banana – for an offer to buy fries from Chickalicious. Or EAT THIS APPLE – and you can watch Wreckit Ralph for the kazillionth time. It means that totally wacked sentences like this actually come out of my mouth – ‘You can only have ice cream for lunch IF you eat some Doritos first. Because yes dammit, Doritos are made from CORN which is kinda sorta a vegetable. And ice-cream is MILK so its got calcium. Kids need calcium and corn dont they? (Dont judge me…Dont hate the player. Hate the game.)
4. Be immovable. Be firm. Be strong. If somebody told me I would one day be wrangling, cajoling and pleading with a little person to eat, I would have scoffed derisively. Who me? Let a kid call the shots? Heck no! I am woman, hear me roar. I’m wiser and more battle weary now. We’ve had some showdowns this child and I. Where I wont let her eat ANYTHING unless she eats the nutritious balanced meal I’ve placed before her. Where I tell her, fine starve then. So much angst. Its tiring. And it makes food a nightmare. Aint nobody got time for that.
5. Give her a multivitamin. Also known as Give up If this is your very first kid, then you may never get to this stage. You will have lots of energy and enthusiasm to keep trying to make your child eat quinoa and organic chicken spinach puffs. Good for you. In the meantime, the rest of us will discover the wonders of the chewable multiflavored multivitamin, some that can even taste “just like Sour Snakes!!” Then you can stop harassing your kid to broaden their culinary horizons. And spend time on things that really matter.

Like praying your child doesnt get scurvy. Rickets. And lots of rotten teeth that are very expensive to fix.

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