My kingdom for a clean plate

Having a picky eater can be one of the most frustrating aspects of parenting. But, as always, I’m here to help. Instead of squabbling about squash or haggling over how many bites of broccoli is enough every time you sit down at the dinner table, remember this simple phrase: 2 B’s and 2 not to B’s.

Catchy, right? With apologies to Shakespeare, let me explain…

The first two B’s – You’re the Boss and you’re the Brains.

A boss makes one meal for the entire family, no exceptions. You’re not a short order cook (unless your kids are big tippers, and if they are, have them call me). The management’s policy in my kitchen is You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Be the boss.

Next, use your brains. As a smart parent you know you have to be a good role model. That means your kids need to see you eat and enjoy a variety of healthy foods, not chow down on In and Out burgers. Also, play it smart by stocking the pantry wisely. If you don’t want your kids to eat junk food, don’t have it in the house.

Now, the 2 not to B’s. No Begging and no Bribing.

Begging your child to eat tells them there’s wiggle room in this process. We don’t negotiate with terrorists.  If he doesn’t want to eat, don’t say anything, let it go. Don’t offer options. Don’t trade it out for something else. If he’s stubborn enough to go to bed hungry, fine. The truth is it often takes 10-12 times before a child may even try a new food. Be patient. I promise he won’t starve to death.

Bribing only makes the problem worse.  To a kid’s ears “If you eat your vegetables you can have a treat” sounds like “This broccoli sucks so I’m going to pay you off in chocolate so you’ll choke it down.”

And then your little grifter will expect a payoff every time you even think about serving vegetables.

Finally, know that putting pressure on kids to eat only makes picky eaters worse. Relax and think long term.  Give them a variety of healthy meals and stick to your guns. They’ll come around.

And remember, Two B or Not two B isn’t the question. It’s the answer.


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