How to make my kids chowish? They started out that way...... what happened?
I have 21 month old twins who ate very well until recently. They used to eat veggies of all sorts, grains, fruits...while one was pickier than the other, we managed to get good food into them.
They loved quinoa for about a year... and now refuse to eat it. They ate broccolli and sweet potatoes 2 or 3 times a week, and now throw it on the floor. The kid who loved avocados... forget about it now. Tonight's quinoa with tomato sauce with both real and fake meatballs ended up on the floor. I've given up on steamed carrots.
I've tried hiding the veggies in with ravioli and tomato sauce. That's not working. Last night I tried spinach on pizza...and it didn't work either. Cheese isn't working.
Help! I know this is a common issue. What works? I'm really trying to raise my kids to eat well. Right now, all they'll eat is fruit, frozen peas, tuna, eggs, bread, cherrios, yogurt.....Quinoa probably isn't good for the dog either.
Because they are really very young, they will go through periods of tolerating some things then not..when my kids were young, I just kept rotating the food. Sometimes it went over, some times not but just keep at it. As they get older, they'll be more prone to establish some roots where food is concerned but right now, they'll be more pickier.
On another note, giving them broccoli or any food more than maybe once a week might be the problem. They might be bored with the repetitiveness and need more rotation.
I am a bit ahead of you in this ongoing process, my son is 12. What you are describing is totally typical. Our best laid plans and aspirations for our offspring as parents but alas they have other ideas. Just wait until they go to school and get exposed to all the good and bad things their peers are eating!
I agree with cherlotw, you just have to keep trying. But you also need to relax about it. The current selection that you have listed is really good for their age. Children and the species have been around far longer than us and we wouldn't be here if children didn't eventually eat what was put in front of them :) Your attention and concern is admirable and congratulate yourself for feeding your children so well, even if at the moment it isn't up to your ideal.
I troll constantly for new ways of offering "good", ideally organic, well balanced delicious food. I also make my son come with me to the market and be part of the process. I know your children are young and it can be a pain with young ones but it helps, trust me. When we go now he gets to taste, choose and help plan meals and knows that he can't eat ice cream for dinner, etc. We also go to our local Farmers Market at least twice a month.
The fruit and veggie thing is still tricky. He must try whatever is put in front of him and if he doesn't like it he has a fall back choice that he must pick. Right now its spinach. Fruit is tricker because of seasonal choices. The point is you have to roll with it, research, subscribe to recipe sites, read magazines, etc. WholeFoods has great tips for kids, so does VegFamily, Epicurious, the Food Network, Martha Stewart, Michel Nischan, Jamie Oliver, Chowhhound, and loads of other folks. I wish I could say there is an "ah ha" moment or a magic trick that changes them into their former vegetable and fruit eating selves, but its really an ongoing adventure.
I vowed I would never be a short order cook in my family's house and that we would all eat the same lovingly prepared foodie meals that I envisioned, but thats just not reality.
I wouldn't worry about the dog eating quinoa ;) I have never seen it on any 'bad for dogs' list.
At least their current list allows for a balanced diet.
Maybe you could try some expansion around what they will eat. For example, what about canned salmon? Frittata? Ricotta? Cottage cheese? Kinds of fruit they haven't tried before? Black-eyed peas or other field peas?
It is frustrating, I know. My daughter, age 5, eats everything, and I mean everything, and she always has. People kept telling me not to be surprised if her tastes change, but that never happened. She eats things like smoked salmon, pesto sauce, asparagus, lobster just to name a few things that many other kids do not eat. People are amazed at the variety of foods that this kid will eat. And even if she does not like something, she is almost always willing to at least taste something.
My son, on the other hand, is a different story. He is a little over 3. He started out eating everything, like your kids, and then one day, his taste changed. He stopped eating peas, broccoli and carrots. My heart was broken! Now he only eats corn. He eats some fruits (bananas, strawberries, grapes) but, for example, takes one look at a pear and says "I don't like it" even though he has never tasted a pear. I want to scream. I try to remind myself that this too shall change (god I hope so!), but in the meantime, I keep trying different foods.
In my son's case, he is still a moderately good eater despite his quirks. The things that he likes, he will eat a lot of (as opposed to my nephew who take a bite of food and says "I'm full").
You don't mention if your kids will eat chicken or rice, but my son loves most kinds of chicken and he loves rice. One thing that I do is that I make various stir fries (sometimes with ground turkey) and serve them with brown rice. Yes, I know that some may not agree with this tactic, but for my son, I take frozen broccoli and carrots, cook them and puree them in the food processor, and mix them in with the chicken, rice and sauce. He happily eats this. He will sometimes point to a tiny piece of carrot and recognize it as a carrot, but somehow in this format, he likes it and is willing to eat it. I do the same thing with the pureed carrots and broccoli in tomato sauce mixed with pasta (or in baked ziti). I know that you said it didn't work, but maybe if the vegetables were pureed, it would go over better.
My son also loves turkey chili. Another great way to mix vegetables in. Spinach is a tough one. I have tried to mix it into baked ziti or spaghetti and meatballs...did not work.
Tomorrow night I am making chicken with an apricot sauce and serving it with couscous. My son may or may not like the chicken...I have never made it before. He likes couscous, only problem is that it makes a total mess and we do not have a dog! But I find that for my son, he likes most things that can be mixed together. So I will mix the chicken with couscous and sauce together and we will see what happens.
It is a challenge. No matter what anyone says, kids have different personalities. My 2 kids are 2 years apart, raised by the same parents in the same house, and they just have different tastes. I keep going along and presenting new foods to my son, and I keep hoping that one of these days/months/years, my persistence will pay off.
At just under two, I wouldn't be all that worried. Kids go through about a zillion phases, and discerning different tastes and textures is on that list. One of my kids (now 12) lived on Cheerios, milk and peanut butter crackers for almost a year before she started eating "real" food again. There's no telling why, but we couldn't even get her to swallow ice cream.
I'd say cook what you usually cook for your husband/partner and yourself, keep the "try it" mentality going, and let the chips fall where they may. Trust me when I tell you that you have MANY MANY MANY years of feeding them ahead of you. It'll work out.