Leo isn't a picky eater, exactly. He will eat just about anything if he's in the right mood, but will exercise his free will arbitrarily One night he will heartily eat spinach and sweet potatoes over an artichoke and white bean puree and the next day he will turn his nose up at mac 'n cheese. I get that he has to exert his limited power — but it can certainly be frustrating when there is no rhyme or reason to his tastes from one day to another.
One thing he has been consistent about is that he doesn't like raw veggies. Cooked? No problem. But raw? No, thank you. We tried everything from carrots to cucumbers to broccoli. I'm grateful that he's always (ok, usually) willing to try foods we offer him — but each and every time he would refuse after the first bite.
A few months ago he began accepting some bites of lettuce (preferably purple lettuce), which gave us hope. We continued to offer raw veggies — and he continued to refuse — until a week ago when we ordered a cheese, tomato and spinach panini (as long as the veggies are cooked there's a good chance he will chow down!) at a restaurant and it came with a side of baby carrots.
To my shock he picked up a carrot and started eating it — as though it were no big deal. He ate the entire serving. Since then we've had luck with more and more veggies, and we just conquered the last frontier —raw bell peppers. The kid devoured an entire plate of sliced peppers. I had actually cut enough for both of us to have some and I only got two slices past him. He may have also consumed a cup of ranch dressing — but I'll take it!
Oh, this opens up so many doors for us food-wise! Salads for dinner. Veggies and dip for snacks. Lunch sides that are easy to pack and don't need to be heated. Cucumbers! Oh the cucumbers!
It's also been a good opportunity to talk with him about how our tastes change over time and praise him for being so willing to try not only new foods, but foods he's had before and not preferred. Plus — it's been a good reminder to us to keep offering healthy food even when he goes through phases of refusing anything but cereal.
Sandra Telep is a West Philadelphia mom of two. This post is adapted from her blog, West Philly Mama.