I can now completely understand why there is such a big market for cookbooks geared toward feeding children, and "sneaking" healthy ingredients into the recipe. The cookbooks that immediately come to mind are Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld, and The Sneaky Chef by Missy Lapine. I haven't gotten to the point of actually purchasing these cookbooks, but I'm inching closer by the day.
My little Juliet has become the typically picky toddler. Her repertoire consists of mainly of dairy (milk, yogurt, string cheese) and pasta/grain (spaghetti, rice- both with a tiny bit of butter, no other sauce; some oatmeal for breakfast).
I can make a quite short list of the remaining items she will sometimes eat. Off the top of my head:
Vegetables- only the tops of brocolli florets, and occasionally steamed spinach.
Fruit- She will eat bites from an apple, but only if it's a whole apple. No slices! She will also eat oranges and clementines. And homemade fruit smoothies (with a bunch of spinach added along with flax seed- sneaky mommy!)
Some things that you would assume were kid-friendly are completely rejected 100% of the time, like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or grilled cheese. Actually, bread of any kind.
No meat, poultry, or fish of any kind. No beans of any kind.
She has a sweet tooth so she will eat chocolate or candy all day long if it were allowed. Chocolate seems to be her favorite. That part must come from her mother.
I have tried a few strategies for encouraging a more diverse diet. Some friends of mine have had good luck trying the "toothpick" method, i.e. by putting vegetables or fruit on toothpicks and/or allowing the child to eat her whole meal with toothpicks. So far, that hasn't worked for us.
Juliet's health is good, as is her development and growth. I'm not particularly concerned about this stage, but I'd like to reduce her dairy intake since she is still drinking so much milk and I'd like to shift her to other foods. It's a tricky prospect, and I'd love to hear other thoughts on the subject.
If you have children, what strategies work in your home to encourage a well-balanced diet? And if you don't have children yet, are there things that your parents did when you were a child that you either like or didn't like?
Update: This subject happened to come up last night on FB among my Seattle friends who were in our midwifery birth group, so our children are all born the same month. And all 4 of them are also experiencing the same thing- their toddlers have drastically changed their eating habits in recent months, eating very little and very little variety, while still drinking a lot of milk. It's nice to hear others going through the same thing!