Ah, dinnertime. Nothing can be more frustrating than dealing with a picky eater. In an attempt to expand my children's dining repertoire from pb&j, hot dogs and mac-n-cheese, I decided to add some refried beans to our normal taco fare. Doing my best to hide the evidence of the unknown substance, I spread some refried beans on a flour tortilla and then added the usually taco contents and wrapped it up like a burrito. To my surprise, Thing One didn't even notice the beans and proceeded to eat two tacos. Thing Two, on the other hand, was not so easily fooled. "What's this icky stuff?" she asked. When told it was refried beans, she refused to eat her meal.
What is parent to do? Too many times I hear parents prepare a separate meal. Research has shown that young children need at least four exposures to foods they initially dislike before acquiring a taste. Do you plan to prepare them a separate meal when they are 15 and don't like the new casserole recipe you were dying to try out?
So, how did the refried bean revolt work turn out? Upon refusing to eat, Thing Two was told that she could be excused from the table and that we would have a big breakfast in the morning. Of course, she was hungry about 10 minutes after leaving the table to which I replied, "I'd be hungry too if I didn't eat my dinner." She proceeded to fuss and rant before being instructed to take the pity party to her room because I didn't get an invite. Needless to say, she tried on several occasions to get more food before bed, but I stuck to my guns (as unpleasant as she was to be around) knowing that she will think twice before refusing a meal. What happened the next time we had meat and bean dry burritos? She ate all her sides and most of the flour tortilla...all but the part that had beans on it!
Do you have a picky eater? What do you do when your child refuses to eat a meal?