Help for a Picky Eater

My 2,5 year old son will only eat carbs and then drinks his hunger away with water. I´ve until now let him choose what to eat from the table where I offer a balanced meal and this is the result. Recently I started using water and carbs as bribes for eating proteins (veggies and fruits are still a no way). I hate this method but he now eats a much better balanced meal. Am I on the right track? How else can I get him to eat protains, veggies or fruits? Have peanut butter at every dinner table?

I’ve always felt that there are times for a little “bribery,” as long as the benefit greatly outweighs the potential damage. I defer to your best judgment there, as long as it’s not candy.

It seems to me that the carbs, veggies and proteins should just be combined in every dish; spaghetti served with the sauce already stirred into the noodles; brown rice steamed together with veggies (the frozen bags of mixed vegetables work very well here); beans and rice stirred up together with mango chunks; or a potato hash cooked up with mushrooms and onions.

He’ll eat peanut butter? That’s an awesome food. What about pumpkin bread made with walnut butter? Will he drink a smoothie? It’s amazing what can be hidden in a fruit sweetened, blended delight. It’s fun to make animals and cars out of fruits, cooked beans, and veggies, and these are happily consumed by some children. Helping you to grow some vegetables can spark an interest. Develop a bond between your son and some farmers at your local farmer’s market and spend extra time in the produce isle at your grocer discussing various facts about the foods there. Ask your child to help you select the best fruits and vegetables. Flip together through nicely illustrated cookbooks until an image sparks your child’s interest and solicit his help in developing a shopping list, selecting the foods, and preparing the dish. Help him serve it in an ornate fashion to family or friends. 

Though higher protein foods contain other good nutrients, your son will obtain plenty of protein from grains and potatoes alone and he’ll be getting some fiber and even some antioxidants. The nutrients a complex carbohydrate diet is lowest in would be vitamins A and C. I’d love to add something like Mason’s orange flavored chewable cod liver tablets with vitamins A, C, and D to your son’s diet. (Would he run me out of the house?) 

If no efforts work, just see that many of those carbs are whole grain and some are vitamin fortified. Your son will do fine on this diet for however many months and his palate will likely expand before you know it.