I was thrilled to learn that Elizabeth Pantley, author of the “No-Cry” series (parenting books that offer sensible advice on topics such as sleep, discipline, separation anxiety, napping and potty training), has published a new book! This book, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution, came out just in time — when I felt like I might lose it if we had one more tear-filled, dramatic “discussion” about food at our family’s dinner table!
People who see my kids eat might be surprised that we have tears at our table. Both of them like most vegetables, fruits and whole grains as well as dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt. But, when it comes to those icky, disgusting foods such as chicken, onions or eggs, both of our boys can pull out the gag reflex faster than you can say fried green tomatoes. (For those who might be curious, the sound of the gag reflex in stereo at your dinner table is not appealing. At all. Trust me.)
Below are just three of the many tips I gleaned from Elizabeth’s book. One of the great things about the No-Cry series, and this book is no exception, is that you can put what you read into action right away. So for each tip that I gleaned, I’m including an example of how I was able to implement it.
- Work with your child’s favorite foods to build a well-rounded meal. In our case, our boys love tortillas. Tonight rather than forcing them to eat the chicken and rice casserole I made, I gave them the same chicken and cheese that was in our casserole but in the form of…a tortilla! (I just realized I should have included the brown rice in their tortillas, too. Next time!) At dinner tonight there were smiles all around — I wasn’t making two meals and they were able to eat two of their favorite items (cheese and tortillas) along with one “icky” item (chicken). You’ll be happy to know, there were NO gag sounds to be heard. My older son even said, “Wow. With the cheese, I don’t even taste the chicken.”
- Keep small containers of veggies in the fridge so that your kids can access them any time, without permission. Can you see the light bulb turning on above my head? Our boys love both fruits and veggies (yay!). Our just-turned four-year-old son regularly helps himself to fruit out of the fruit drawer. This week I’m putting Elizabeth’s veggie option into action and I can’t wait to see the results. This freedom to make good snack choices is something that will benefit them for a lifetime. And it will save me time discussing snack options and non-options. Want a snack? Find your veggie in the fridge!
- Recipes! I love that Elizabeth’s book includes recipes. On Friday night I tried Treasure Triangle’s (using phylo dough, black beans and bananas…as well as onions). What’s not to love in that ingredient list? My sons would say, without a doubt: the onions (Duh!) Both my sons took two bites of the Treasures and stopped there (I think the younger might have kept going if not swayed by big brother’s reaction), my husband liked them as did my mom who is in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m the first to admit, when I cooked these treasures they looked pretty weird. Disclaimer: it was the first time I’d ever cooked with phylo and I was not able to recreate the triangles that were illustrated in the book — mine would more aptly be named Treasure Blobs. I am curious about phylo dough, though, as I had no idea a) how to use the uber-thin sheets (should I have used several together rather than a single sheet?) and b) how to create a triangle (!) with those thin sheets. Bottom line: the recipe didn’t disappoint — the “triangles” I put on the table may have looked hideous, but they were tasty. And that’s what really matters. Next week? Mexican Lasagne will be on our menu – stay tuned!
So, if you’re struggling with a picky eater at your house, I recommend the No-Cry Picky Eater Solution. Like me, you are bound to find some tips and support that will help your family meals become more manageable.
And if you can figure out phylo dough, or have tips about it, please send them my way!