It's hilarious now to think about how I expected to be exempt from the picky eating stage. Because I made the majority of my sweet daughter's baby food from scratch I really thought my blood, sweat and tears would magically give me some sort of pass on this phase. I thought wrong. She used to love spinach, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. And squash! Oh how she loved fresh squash. What happened? Now, she loves mac and cheese. She used to clap and cheer for fresh pineapple and oatmeal. Now she's learned she can be picky, and I think she senses refusing certain things gives her some sort of power. As if she needs more of that.
I want my child to be happy and healthy so I often find myself at a crossroads when she refuses to eat the dinners I've so lovingly prepared. I've tried the save-her-dinner-for-later tactic when she asks for a snack. But she'll still refuse it and will continue to let me know she's hungry. What kind of mother would I be to allow her to go to bed hungry?
I exaggerate when I say she only wants mac and cheese, but it's definitely a favorite. I don't expect her to have a mature palate at two and a half, but I do expect her to eat what's in front of her or at least try it. I try to be calm, but honestly I find it very frustrating. I definitely keep her in mind while meal planning and always have at least something I know she likes, but if it's not what she wants she'll pass. I don't want to end up preparing something completely different or caving and allowing her to eat dry cereal.
I feel like I'm in a lose-lose situation. I want her to go to bed on a full stomach, but I don't want to set the stage for her to think she can always manipulate the situation to get what she wants. So I'm asking for help, friends. Please share with me any tricks, tips or advice for having a successful, mac and cheese-free dinnertime with a toddler. I'm all ears.