Keys to getting that kid to eat, and eat real good: scarcity and coursing-it-out

Pro tip: if the milkshake is too heavy for the child to hold while drinking, don't lessen the amount of milkshake, prop it up on something...

Pro tip: if the milkshake is too heavy for the child to hold while drinking, don’t lessen the amount of milkshake, prop it up on something…

As someone that literally just ate an entire tub of Trader Joe’s guacamole by myself, I am keenly aware that I am unqualified to give nutritional advice. That being said, I think I’m doing a pretty fine job of getting the kiddo both acclimated to new/different/interesting foods and giving her the right amount of it. I think.

She has moved into the Terrible Threes and generally has figured out how to be a total $hit sometimes, especially about food. She was so amazing as a two-year-old, completely willing to eat what the grown ups were eating and plenty of it. Now it has become a bit of a battle royal with the daily 6 pm rallying cry, “I want a burrito!” or “burrito. NOW. daddy!”

Who can fault the kid, the burrito is the most amazing super-food on earth, but if you eat one every day, inevitably you will become… well, I guess you’ll just become like 70% of the rest of the population, but that’s pretty gross.

We as parents walk a fine line between cajoling our kids to eat enough and keeping them from only eating utterly bland, terrible, terrible things that are only white, brown, and yellow. Like german food. Andie actually really loves salads and fresh vegetables and will eat them voraciously… as long as it is coursed out to her when she is super hungry.

These are the 2 keys to making sure your child eats diverse things: scarcity and multiple “courses”

1) Scarcity

Remember that last time YOU were really hungry and ate that entire tub of Trader Joe’s guacamole because it was easy and right in front of you and you were starving? Kids act the same way if they are really hungry. If you can stand them getting to this point of hunger, they’ll eat almost anything you put in front of them! Raw vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, oysters, any other strange delicacies that under normal hunger wouldn’t pass her lips. This will put your child on the path to not only a lifetime of healthy eating, but an appreciation for what’s (no matter what’s) put in front of them – which is just plain good manners anyone can appreciate.

2) Coursing it out…

This is deadly serious. Now, I’m not saying I don’t give her a small “burrito” with almost every meal, but I don’t put all the strange, exotic, and healthy foods in front of her with the one thing she’ll actually regularly eat. If she sees the burrito there, she’ll finish it and nothing else and then ask for more burrito. At that point I’ve lost, and don’t let anyone tell you that parenting is not a zero-sum game. So, like a fine restaurant, course-it-out. If you have to use the desert lure to get her to eat, then do so tactically and always say not until you finish the lutfiske.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you get your kids to eat, and eat well. As always comments are highly encouraged below as I rarely know what I’m talking about.

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5 thoughts on “Keys to getting that kid to eat, and eat real good: scarcity and coursing-it-out

  1. Have you ever eaten lutfisk? I can bring you some when we see you. Fish is always better when it is re-hydrated.
    What’s wrong with a burrito-a-day? At least she is eating, I always say.
    My theory is that by the time they are 18 they will eat just about anything if you just show them you are eating things yourself. Do as I do, in other words. You could do your own refers without the lard. Then it would just be beans and cheese…

    • Goob – does that mean all your kids will be vegetarians?

      Seems like very sound advice, JT.

    • I love the smell of lutfisk in the morning (or is that napalm?). Do as you do? Really? Meaning, let them refuse the meal that’s put in front of them? I say tricking them is better in the long run – but that’s just me.

  2. so enjoyed the blog re:feeding one’s child. A hard thing to do under the best of circumstances. Then they grow up to be picky eaters like me! She looks so much like you. Also has that determined look that Shelagh had/has. Janet

  3. Pingback: Go to Sleep! …Please | World's Best Daddy

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