Friday, March 18, 2011

Encouraging Eager Eaters

Reagan literally eats everything. Mediterranean olives. Colcannon. Camembert. Roasted pear & prosciutto w/ mozzarella. Brussel sprouts and broccoli and asparagus. Granted, he's recently revealed his propensity for sweets in the form of marshmellows, pilfered licorice, forbidden cookies and, just yesterday, an entire package of chewing gum (sigh). He is three, after all.

This article by Sara Kate about not tricking your kids into eating well totally sums up how I feel about this subject. Yes - most of my (and her) success can be attributed to cold hard luck (Reagan has always been a blessedly lovely little man). But there's an important trained behavior element to it, too. Sara Kate mentions how important it is to introduce kids early to great foods, to make every new food an exciting event, and to let kids in on the action in the kitchen are all great ways to help them be eager eaters.

Reagan loves to cook - and eat what he cooks. A few weeks ago he helped me to knead bread (mind you - this was a novel event. I am not a bread-maker). So yesterday when I made soda bread he practically begged to help me make it. He makes scrambled eggs all on his own (well, except the cooking part - I draw the line there). He can make his own peanut butter sandwich - even if one half of the bread boasts a tremendous mound of peanut butter while the other is practically devoid of it. Al this he eats it whole-heartedly. He even asks for brussel sprouts and asparagus - but I think this is probably due entirely to Jordan's cooking methods - they're practically addictive (brussel sprouts, of all things!).

And in line with early exposure to great food - when Emeryck's time for solids comes, I'll be making it myself. For us, it just makes sense - it's obviously cheaper than buying manufactured tins of baby food and because I can cook and blend and freeze in large batches (thanks to perfect baby size ice cube trays), it's also more convenient. And of course, it means he gets to taste all our favorite things - like mozzarella and pasta alla norma and butternut squash and homemade applesauce - right off the bat. No goopy rice cereal for these boys; it's all about the good stuff.

I'm hoping our luck holds out and that we've inherited - and are nurturing - another eager eater. By the looks of things so far - Emeryck definitely falls into this category. He's 16 lbs 13 oz at 3 months. whew!


  1. I only wish it was that easy for us. I thought I had it all figured out..

    At 18 months my DS1 ate anything. He was exposed to everything we ate, ate 95% home prepared foods. We did 'babyled solids' etc.

    At 3.5 he is quite picky. He loves to collect the eggs from our chickens and make scrambled eggs -- but he won't eat them! Same happens with veggies etc.

    Our second son is 18 months and eats everything still and I have fingers crossed it doesn't change again!

  2. I am a foodie and a dietitian - our two svelte daughters are in college now - always adventurous eaters - there was no choice in our house. Some foods got a thumbs down, but at least they were exposed to it! Sounds like your son is on his way to culinary creativity! Congrats!

  3. Melissa - oof! I'm still just so glad we've got the 'luck' of it still running strong. Sometimes I wonder what I'd do if I suddenly had a picky eater on my hands (yikes!) Frankly, he'd probably go hungry - I don't think I'm patient enough to coax him through that stage - more power to you!

    Lisa - thanks! this is great inspiration!