It was snack time and I put out some celery with peanut butter, something Big A hasn’t eaten in I don’t know how long. She looked at it and took a few bites.
I made roasted veggies for dinner, something Big A might typically take a bite of or touch.
She took several bites.
On cultural day at her school, she took every different type of food and tried them all.
Not to mention, my little carb queen seems into any type of protein right now. She also has been eating a variety at meals instead of focusing on one or two foods (most of the time).
What on earth is happening?
The Grader branches out
Last year when Big A was in kindergarten she called the older kids “graders.” And now that she’s is officially a grader, she’s doing what typically happens at the school-age stage — branching out with food.
When I look back, I can see that Big A has slowly added foods to her repertoire since being in the resistant stage (2-6). She started eating more things around 5 but has had her share of setbacks. But what I have been noticing this time is something different — a big trying spurt. She all of a sudden wants to eat different types of food and isn’t stopping at the one bite.
I also notice an increase in appetite which may have something to do with it. Remember those lunches she barely touched last year? Now her lunches typically come back empty. After returning from grandmas and eating snacky type foods, she no longer picks at dinner — she’s hungry.
My kids have never been particularly adventurous or extremely picky. But I’ve always been grateful to understand what it’s like to have a kid shun food and love sweets. How could I identify with parents if my kids ate perfectly?
I didn’t do anything to get Big A to eat. We have no one-taste rules. I don’t comment on what or how much she eats. I’m horrible at making food into fun shapes. And the times I have tried little subtle things I’ve read about, she always says “Why are you trying to get me to eat mom, I thought you didn’t believe in that?”
In reality, this has nothing to do with me or anything I did. I just got out of the way and let her experiment with food on her own. Easy? NO. Worth it? Definitely.
The wrong emphasis
When I get emails from parents I can feel their frustration. They want an easy answer to their kids’ eating woes. I won’t give that to them or my readers because I just don’t believe in quick fixes. When the novelty of the quick fix wears off, and it always does, you’re left with the reality. So I’ve learned to deal in reality.
One of my mentors growing up used to tell me: “The best things in life are worth working for.” We have a lot of research on what works — exposure, family meals, no pressure and food variety. It may not be sexy, but over time when you see your child grow with food through their own initiative, you get it.
I’m well aware that this stage with Big A may not last, but that’s okay. She’s heading in the right direction and she is only 7 years old after all. We have 11 more years and many, many more meals to go.
So tell me, anyone else experiencing a child branching out with food?