Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Picky Eater Success Story: Oysters and the 3 Year Old

Have you had a picky-eater in your family? Do you have a child who's biggest hang-up is what to get them to eat?  Meet my 3 year old.   I suppose, each child might have their own "issue" that challenges a parent's patience.  Ours has been eating.  As a momma who loves nutrition and food, I suppose this is my "control and worry issue."   Having a child who challenges your passion, your knowledge and your best intentions- can at times be exhausting.  But- Today there was LIGHT in our tunnel of trial.

Yep, that's a oyster in my daughters hand... and guess below to find out!

When she was younger, around 15- 18 months, I remember she didn't have her preferences yet, so she would eat salmon, little pieces of steak, eggs, and many other foods that would make a traditionally oriented food-mama gleam with joy.   Then the age of 2 came around. Preferences made their way in, and traditional foods made their way out- at least of her mouth.

There were times of trial and struggle. And there are still troubleshooting tactics from troubled parents. :)  We test and re-test our methods of "food trial."  She's had her times where she's lived on raw grass-fed milk alone. Times where she'd have a growth spurt and eat willingly.

Today- She ate OYSTERS willingly.  (Yes, No Bribes, No Forcing, No Tasteful Tactics.) Want to hear the story how?  I've never felt "qualified" to give advice about how to get kids to eat, because- it's always been a work in progress for us. But, I think today, It's worth sharing.  
As a family, we've embraced oysters (and other fancy shellfish) into our frequent eating repertoire. My husband and I have grown to enjoy them, and our 3 yr old has enjoyed....watching us crack them open, have a good time in the kitchen working together to wash them, and she enjoys playing with them, holding them and  looking at them....but for a while.....not even close to eating them.

As my husband and I have enjoyed them with drawn butter over the past 10 months or so....  we have encouraged her to try them, but never forced. Started that she'd dip her finger on them, and lick her finger. That was probably the 4th time we'd had them. Then probably the 7th time we'd had them,  she licked them.  Well tonight ladies and gentlemen,  she ATE THEM.  She hopped up on my lap to see what we were eating. She proceeded through all her previous steps over the past 10 months-  hold it, then taste it, then lick it....then  a "YUM" came out of her mouth and she started taking bites.  Yeah... these lil mussels right here! (we told her they were oysters...close enough!)

 And my husband and I quietly  stared at each other in shock and pure parental success- by her own free will, no fights, no bribes- she is eating her oysters happily- and I have evidence in this photo! (You can see the smirk of joy in my eyes!) And she ate about 3 of these!!
 Parents of picky eaters- there is HOPE!  I guess in this one example, I can say-  long-suffering, patience, a tiny bit of encouragement and ENJOYING these foods for yourself- in front of your picky eater- might yield similar results!  

Shellfish and foods of the sea are one of the most nourishing mineral rich foods out there- and having a growing child eat them will help their bodies reach their perfect potential.  The road may not be easy, and I didn't always believe the line "persistence is key"  or "expose your child to a food X number of times and they will eat it"  but hey- it might be true!  And-  it's worth it!

What successes have you have to get your picky eaters eating nourishing traditional foods?

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