Friday, February 12, 2010

Mangia, Anthony! : Adventures in Eating

If you grew up in the 70's (oh brother, did I just say that?), this is what you would see during commercials.

I remember watching them and as I look back on them now, I laugh a little bit. This is nothing new, trying to get our kids to eat healthier. It's just something that we forget to do.

I took Nathan to the pediatric nutritionist on Wednesday (the day of the big snowstorm which did not happen). I was already taking him out of school, since his appointment was at 10, but school was cancelled as of 6AM.

We get there early and Nathan entertains himself watching the fish tank. The nutritionist, Claire, comes out to meet us. She brings us back into the office where Nathan is ready to crawl out of his skin. Small space, lots of talking, DS on low battery. A cocktail of lethal proportions! He did manage through all of it pretty well, getting a bit antsy at the end, but he was a trooper.

We went over Nathan's reason for being there (his weight loss) and what he eats. Now, to be truthful, Nathan isn't a horrible eater. But....he could be a better eater. When he lost weight, his pediatrician said, "Get calories in when and however you can." The Concerta makes him not hungry, so he can go hours without eating. So, this led us to him eating Pop Tarts most mornings. I know, revolting. Getting him to sit down and eat dinner was also a challenge. I never know what he would want to eat. Nathan's grazing patterns are not determined by anything. They change on a whim, so I'm stumped when something he usually eats is all of a sudden like poison.

We then talked about how to get Nathan to eat different foods. I told her about his oral sensory issues and she said, "I completely understand and can help you through that." I was relieved that she didn't look at me like I was insane. 

There is a plan. 

And I will share.

I don't know if it works yet, as we've just started, but I'm happy to pass along the knowledge we gleaned.

The first is to make a list of foods you know the child will and does eat. Ours was not bad, considering how limited his food adventure gene is. He does eat salmon and edamame. Pretty exotic for a 7 year old, I think. I didn't eat salmon until I was 18 and edamame until I was in my 30's.

The second is to write the NO WAY, JOSE list and keep it to only 5 things. These are the items that cannot, will not, will never ever in a million years go into your child's mouth. These 5 items can change, but only once a month.  Our list consists of hardboiled eggs, grapes, bagged salad, tuna and bananas. I'm with him on bananas. The consistency is like overly flavored school art paste. Yuck!

The third is a To Be Tried list. You determine what items your child may be willing to eat and in what time interval. For example, our list has haddock, applesauce, yogurt (more adult  flavors), oranges and blueberries. Nathan isn't a fruit eater or fruit juice drinker, so we're attempting the fruits first. 

If your child tries the one food item per week and eats half a child size portion (half the size of the child's fist) and does not spit it out in huge drama like fashion, then they get a check. When they get so many checks, they are entitled to a prize predetermined by you. If the child does not try at least one new food a month, then they are denied privileges for however long you deem it necessary for your child.

If they HATE the food, they can put it on the NO WAY, JOSE list, but they can only do it once a month, so have them choose carefully. If they try it and it's not met with the disapproving stare, put it on the Like list. If they try it and they're not sure, you can put it on the To Be Tried list again.

We tried blueberries on whole wheat waffles. They're small and sweet and easy to eat. I got a little too excited and gave him a half cup serving on top of his waffles. He looked at them like it was hot blueberry death slime. He did eat a few, but then proclaimed it too much. I was a bit down, feeling I had already ruined what I was trying to accomplish. But we talked it over and we said we would try 20 blueberries instead of half a carton. I'm happy if he eats 10 of them. It's getting him to put the good stuff in his mouth, that's the goal. Oh, and the not spewing the food out of his mouth in a dramatic death scene like way. That I can avoid, too.

He's already eaten blueberries twice this week, so I consider that a huge step in this process. This will take some time but I am determined to expand his horizons in the culinary world. She said that as they get older, kids become more picky and less willing to try new things, where I figured it was just the opposite. With a little patience and a lot of love and understanding, we'll eating more healthy and vibranty.

I'll keep you posted and you let me know how you're doing, too!

Bookmark and Share


  1. Oh, blueberries! No way Jack would eat blueberries. But he does love edamame and fish. We struggle with putting weight on Jack, too. So we are official food pushers - in this together!

  2. You bet! I'm surprised he even wanted to try them, so I consider that a red letter day! Keep me posted on how Jack is doing. :)