Friday, February 7, 2020

Picky Eaters 101

Image result for seven species

For snack on Monday, in honor of Tu B'Shevat, we'll serve the children the Seven Species, or seven special foods native to Israel that are mentioned in the Bible: wheat (pretzels), barley (as long as the store has what I need!), olives, pomegranates, figs, dates, and grapes (raisins). Eaten primarily on Shavuot, they're also sometimes eaten on Tu B'Shevat and Sukkot.

Are all the children going to enjoy all these foods? No. Is that ok? Absolutely. If some children try these foods but don't like them, at least they'll have had the experience of trying something new. If they don't want to try the foods at all, they'll have lunch 90 minutes later and all will be well. And if some children try these new foods and do like them, all the better.

I know from personal experience how worried, frustrated, and angry we can get when our children don't eat what we think they need to eat to be healthy and strong. At some point the anger turns to resignation. And then to anxiety. And then to the worst parent feeling of all: guilt.

There are no easy answers when it comes to how to feed a picky eater. When you're sure your child is starving to death because they've only eaten granola bars for a week, hearing a well-meaning friend say, "Don't worry. She'll eat when she's hungry," doesn't really help.

Having said that, here are some good, common-sense strategies from the Mayo Clinic about teaching your child good and healthy food habits. One promise I can make: it will get better. It always does.

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