The proverb “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” describes the fussy or picky eater to a tee because I was one myself
If your toddler is a picky eater, chances are that either your spouse or you was one too!
Of all the challenges of motherhood, feeding our picky eater is the greatest one of all!
I’m surprised he’s a fussy eater because he was a natural, super-easy (i.e. ferocious guzzler), right-on-the-dot baby to breastfeed.
When we had McDonald’s for dinner last night, I’m amazed to see how far he’s come.
His favourite meals are boiled, white rice and Chinese dishes – the ONLY McDonald’s he’ll eat are 4 chicken nuggets dipped in tomato ketchup or a quarter of my Big Mac.
At 6 months, he liked
- pureed potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, ripe banana, potato and carrot, stewed pear/apple;
- plain rice cereal by Heinz mixed with breast milk or mixed with stewed fruits and
- and HATED pureed brocolli, spinach, stewed prunes, banana-flavoured rice cereal and NONE of the Heinz or Gerber baby jar foods!
As my Mum was taking care of him then, she thought it made more sense to boil soft porridge for him from fresh and natural rice grains. Home-cooked goodness
At 7 months, he was enjoying yummy soft porridges of potato + spinach, potato + carrot, potato + pumpkin, spinach + carrot etc. A typical Chinese, my Mum added one little scallop in the porridge stock but when rashes (eczema) popped out on his calf the next day, she went back to fruits and vegetables.
At 9 months, she introduced the Steamed White Pomfret, which becomes his absolute favourite (even up till now!). Mum reports that he’s the *easiest* to feed when there’s fish or potato in his porridge.
I have to laugh at my Mum’s experiences of feeding this ultimately fussy baby because she is a very accomplished cook and had fun trying out various soups and recipes in his porridges:
“You don’t know how nervous I feel when I’m mixing the porridge! I’ll put bits of the fish/meat and vegetables in, drizzle a bit of the gravy and put just the RIGHT amount of porridge, meat and vege on the feeding spoon.
Do you know what he’ll do? He will NOT open his mouth when he sees the heaped spoon coming. I can see that he’s sniffing it and if it smells good, he’ll open his mouth halfway and have a tiny taste.
That first taste is VERY IMPORTANT. If he doesn’t like it, he’ll clamp his mouth shut and refuse to eat!”
That’s my little Anton Ego
Through the months and months of cooking and feeding this fussy eater, I find that he likes:
- porridge or rice softened with soups ,
- lightly-flavoured soft protein e.g. steamed fish, fish in sweet-and-sour-sauce, steamed or claypot tofu,
- hard-boiled eggs (not the yolk), half-boiled eggs on buttered toast (NO to French toast),
- soft and mild-flavoured vegetables like brocolli, cauliflower or spinach (accompanied by the favourite fish, rice and soup),
- noodles in chicken soup,
- sweet or bland fruits like banana, papaya, grapes, watermelon, avocado, dragon fruit, honeydew melon.
NO EATING OUT
Unless we can find a restaurant serving decent Chinese food, I’ve had to cook almost every day.
Sometimes, he’d still refuse to eat what I’ve prepared even though Hubby and I feel that it’s OK!
One of my good friends said he’s TOO fussy with food, which is not good for him. She was amazed at how patient I was with him…
Eating out, Hubby and I take him to try out new foods at restaurants (usually Western) but we end up worrying about his empty little stomach because he wouldn’t eat much.
While most toddlers would take KFC’s whipped potato, he wouldn’t. Can you believe that it’s only now when he’s three-and-a-half that he’s eating an entire McDonald’s happy meal?
Since we don’t believe in older babies and toddlers guzzling only milk, Hubby and I always end up at Chinese restaurants serving rice and steamed fish, claypot tofu or other soft foods just to ensure he has a decent meal!
Hubby is THE BEST because he’ll always let me order both our meals – at least we have a back-up meal the fussy toddler will eat in case he rejects one.
MILITARY MUMMY IN ACTION
Thus, he became quite scrawny (because he’s so active!), pale and sickly. One night, I got really FED UP and scolded him for not wanting to eat the meal I’d prepared. He cried and yet refused to eat. I brought out a stick and rapped it on the table.
Finally, I slapped his thighs when he still wouldn’t eat. When I asked him if he’ll behave himself and eat, he nodded.
I kept my fierce face throughout dinner and although I was rejoicing inside, I waited till he finished the last spoonful of rice before praising him for finishing his dinner
Now, I’m happy to say that he accepts it that lunch and dinner mean rice with 2 side dishes, which must always include a green veggie! The challenge is which side dish and green veggie he’ll accept…