I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner this year. I know it will be a delicious spread of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and all of the other holiday goodies. And I will enjoy every bite. My youngest daughter on the other hand, is a little more - shall we say, 'selective,' - about what she puts on her plate. And I can already imagine her turning up her nose to many of the typical holiday favorites.
But with a little planning, I hope to avoid any whispered bargaining or meal-time battle zones. With these tips, I think we will both enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.
Do a taste testing. It's great to introduce new foods to kids, but for picky eaters, its best to keep it low key - in other words, not at a special holiday event where they are surrounded by family and friends. Make a few dishes ahead of time that your kids will see on the Thanksgiving table and introduce them one at a time during a normal family dinner.
Put him to work. Kids are much more likely to eat foods that they have helped prepare themselves. So put your picky eater to work behind the scenes mixing ingredients, washing potatoes, or making a fancy cheese tray. The more involved they are in the meal's preparation, the more likely they are to take pride in the meal and sample its selections.
Let her create her own dish. One way to ensure that your picky eater eats something at Thanksgiving is to let her choose - and even prepare - a dish of her own. One caveat: it has to be a healthy addition to the Thanksgiving meal. So no Rice Krispie treats or chicken nuggets. But maybe a veggie prepared just how she likes it will help take the pressure off of the rest of the dinner.
Keep pre-meal snacks to a minimum. There is a fine line between a child that is so hungry by the time Thanksgiving dinner is served that they melt down into a tantrum and a child that has had so many snacks before dinner that they stubbornly refuse to come to the table. As a parent, you know your kid best - and the trick is to find that line and help your kids walk it. If dinner will be a while, a small snack may hold the over nicely, but don't let them fill up on crackers and goldfish if the meal will be served soon.
Give holiday foods fun names. It may sound silly, but studies show that kids are much more likely to eat say, 'Superpower Sweet Potatoes,' than plain-old sweet potatoes. The same goes for 'Magic Mashed Potatoes,' 'Crazy Cranberries,' and 'Groovy Green Bean Salad.'
Don't make it a battle. Thanksgiving is about being together with friends and family and enjoying one another's company. So drop the mom guilt and go easy on yourself and your child. If your child will only eat buttered noodles, then bring along some buttered noodles and make it a peaceful meal for everyone.
Related posts on MNN:
- Adult picky eaters now recognized as having a disorder
- 5 tips for getting kids to eat vegetables
- Help! How do I survive Thanksgiving dinner with my family?