Getting Out of a Food Funk

When do kids stop being so darn picky?

When do kids stop being so darn picky?

Last night was just one of those nights. I didn’t have adequate time throughout the workday to get my work done — much less take a break for meal planning. After work, I stopped at the grocery store. Frazzled, stressed, still thinking more about work than dinner, I wandered the store aisles.

Here’s something interesting, I’d think, holding a vegetable we haven't had in a while or a tempting marinade or sauce. Then, I'd consider different preparations ... pasta, stir fry, tacos, the grill. Followed by: Who cares? It’s not like my boy will eat it anyway.

Between my son’s allergies and his pickiness about food (yay, toddlerhood!), I get into rut after rut. Then, I find something that I think he’ll like — like a gluten-free taco pasta! And I'm always wrong. (Though, I guess, to his credit last night, he did TRY the pasta. That’s a victory in our house. And my husband, after complaining about the presence of onions, had two helpings.)

So, to all the busy, tired mamas in a dinner rut, I get you. Big time.

I know this isn't the end of the world. I know I shouldn't get so worked up about it. But when I get excited about a new dish and my son wrinkles his nose without even tasting it, I don’t know whether to cry or get angry. And on evenings like last night, when the stress of the workday carried into the dinner hour, it’s hard to not get flat-out depressed over meal preparation. Ugh, then, I have to clean up and do dishes? Adding insult to injury.

But we press on.

Does my son have to eat, I wonder? Yes, I guess he does. Sigh.

OK, now we press on.

So, tonight I will not worry about introducing or re-introducing some new food. Tonight will not be about getting creative. Tonight will be something I know he’s eaten in the past. That’s not to say he’ll eat it tonight, of course. But I shall try to minimize the pain and aggravation of mealtime. With toddlers (or is it all ages?), though, this is hard.

Maybe I'll see if he wants to help cook the meal. Getting him involved in the kitchen has failed to prove to be any sort of barometer as to whether he'll actually eat the meal. But at least if he doesn't eat, I can go to bed mildly irritated by his eating habits yet confident he had a positive experience with food today.

And maybe — just maybe — I'll get over this darn rut.

Wish me luck.