Hey everyone! So first off, this isn't a thread to talk about "hiding" nutrients in smoothies or sauces... trust me, I've tried all the tricks. And have gotten great suggestion throughout the years from MDC! I'm more wondering how other mamas who have btdt have dealt with picky eating as to their own reactions to it.
My son is 6 and has been picky since he started eating solids. And I understand him. I was a picky eater, too, but not as extremely picky. I've noticed that throughout the years I've started to make family dinners that suit him, but it's a pretty short list of foods and DH and I would like to branch out a little. We miss eating anything that doesn't involve noodles or rice. I don't believe in forcing him to eat foods he "hates" but at the same time, I want him to eat dinner because if he doesn't, he'll wake up at 5 in the morning starving, wake us up, and that creates a rough morning for all involved. I've tried to gently encourage him to try new foods but he shuts me down. DH, who came from a "clean plate" family is less understanding that I am... and sometimes says things like... "if you don't eat a bite of mashed potatoes you won't get your book tonight". As much as I'm uncomfortable with that approach, sometimes it works, and he ends up liking that formerly disgusting food. DH and I don't exactly see eye to eye, but he will defer to me. It's just that I'm not sure what approach I'm comfortable with. These are my options, I think:
-make whatever everyone else will enjoy for dinner, and if he doesn't eat it, he goes hungry
-same as above, and if he doesn't eat it, he can have a sandwich or something (maybe he'd have to make it himself?)
-continue to make dinners that suit him (again, this is only a noodle or rice dish, with the ingredients separated in some way)
-give him "rewards" or "punishments" for not eating (not cool with this...?) although we had a sticker chart for awhile and if he tried a bite of most things on his plate he'd get a sticker, now he doesn't care about stickers!
He eats a decent breakfast and lunch. Granola, whole grain cereal with milk, sprouted bread sandwiches, etc. We're vegetarians and he doesn't have an interest in meat (if he did, I would accomodate that). So I'm worried about his protein intake as he hates beans (used to eat raw tofu but doesn't anymore) so his only source is peanut butter and dairy, which he's getting picky about too. He's growing (always been 99th percentile for height/weight), so I know he's okay, but I worry about his energy level, which has always been sluggish. He doesn't have any food allergies or other health issues.
So, how would other mamas handle this gently?