I've always fed the kids what I eat, so mealtimes at our house are a really pleasant experience. We have wonderful conversations and eat a variety of healthy foods every night. And if you believe that, I've got a really lovely piece of land to sell you in Florida.
Seems Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld has written a book Deceptively Delicious and the Parent Bloggers Network is going to give me (okay, one of us) a $250 gift card for use at Williams Sonoma (ahh, heaven) for writing up our picky eater stories.
I did the sneaking food in when they were much younger, and I could serve them potato pancakes made with mashed potatoes and pureed broccoli (leftover from baby food days) or, okay, my minds a blur from that time. But perhaps because my mom thought smothering vegetables in spaghetti sauce was a sure fire way to get them to taste good, and I preferred them as plain as possible, I keep the food simple.
We had a rule in our house growing up, we were allowed to choose one thing not to eat. I did have this wierd things about unmelted cheese, but I easily picked my one thing, and I even eat that now. My brother choose something new every night, and had the "I'm full I'll take this for lunch tomorrow" approach down pat.
I'd love my kids to eat like I do, but I'm just hoping I still have a chance there. For now it's all I can do to have at least two nights a week where we don't have mac'ncheese or chicken nuggets. We've got two picky eaters in this house, and one is fully grown so we'll not talk about him. My only rule for dad is he's not allowed to make gagging sounds if he doesn't like something. He can't even follow that rule with cottage cheese, which fortunately both my sons love.
So what does my little picky eater (the 3 1/2 YO) do - well, doesn't eat dinner, for one, how's that for picky? Give him yogurt, cottage cheese or anything sweet and he'll gobble it up, but he's very good at getting me to give him something he can play with (ice cubes to cool the food down, glass of water or bowl of peas) and he pretty much eats nothing, while I tell him 3 or 4 or 100 times not to play with his food. My other son(5) usually eats his dinner, and on the occasions where we have dessert is too full to eat it, wierdo.
What I used to do, especially when they were really picky toddlers, is try new locations. There have been many an after preschool/work picnics in the park with cheese sticks and PB&Js which to me is a pretty darn healthy dinner. The last few times we've tried that approach my little guy actually ate his dinner, then proceeded to throw it all up later that evening. So now I don't even ask him to try something, just plunk it down and eat my own meal, but I do ask him not to fling stuff across the table. And that 15 times thing (kids need to try new foods at least 15 times), that gets real old when one child likes to dramatically sweep away a plate containing something he doesn't like, and the other proclaims his dislike of a certain food in a loud and whiny voice if you attempt to serve it, gasp, a 2nd or 3rd time. So that's still a work in progress.
My kids do like fruit and vegetables, although they certainly don't eagerly chow down on broccoli and green beans every night. But there favorite thing to grab at the farmers market or grocery store is a big ol' carrot to munch. I'm getting their first eye appointment soon, and expect them to pass with flying colors.