So you are sitting at the dinner table and your four-year-old refuses to even take a bite of the roasted broccoli that is being served that night. You take a breath and lightly say, “Ok. Well, if you change your mind the broccoli is here.” Then you try to focus on enjoying your own broccoli in the hopes that modeling an enthusiasm for vegetables will help to change things over time.
The next night the same thing happens with peas. And the night after that with salad.
These days, one of the common themes that often comes up in discussions about how to raise healthy eaters is that we shouldn’t force our kids to eat certain foods because that risks causing deeper issues with food later on. Many argue that even the “you need to try it” rule is a risky undertaking. Instead, we are encouraged to offer the foods in a relaxed manner, over and over again, and prepared in as many ways as possible. Some encourage making the food more fun by decorating it or cutting it into special shapes. But overall, the main messages are: 1) don’t fight with your kids about food and 2) don’t insist that they eat something they don’t want to eat….