I Was The Picky Eater At Holiday Meals. Here’s My Best Advice For You.

Inside: Are you worried that your child will only eat a bagel for special holiday meals? You shouldn’t be. This is why.

When I was a kid on Thanksgiving, I didn’t eat stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, or even pie.

I had a bagel, maybe a few bites of turkey, and of course my grandmother’s famous jello. (She mixed two flavors. The resulting color wasn’t always great, but the flavor was!)

As a registered dietitian and former extremely picky eater, I’m here to tell you this: If your child only eats a bagel on Thanksgiving, that’s Well.

It doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a parent.

It doesn’t mean your child will only eat a bagel at Thanksgiving when they’re 25. As an adult, I now eat most Thanksgiving foods.

(Okay, green bean casserole still makes me cringe. But my plate is a lot more diverse than it used to be!)

I’ve come a long way!

The holidays can already seem like a time when your kids and parents are on display for everyone to watch (and maybe judge).

But when you have picky eaters, the thought of big holiday meals can make you squirm: your kids refusing to eat the special foods your mother-in-law spent all day preparing, the disapproving looks from well-meaning relatives, the perfect meal from your cousin. Children who seem to eat everything.

If you dread those dinner parties, here are some things to keep in mind:

Your children should not be taken by surprise.

It makes sense to have a quick chat with your kids before holiday meals about what kind of food they can expect to see, as well as what their expectations are (and make sure you and your partner are on the same page, so a disagreement in the table does not increase stress!). For example, you could assure them that they won’t have to eat anything they don’t want, but that a polite “no, thank you” can go a long way.

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED: Should you force your children to take “just one bite”?

Or pointed out.

When I was younger, I was ashamed of my picky eating. I certainly didn’t want to be called out in front of a crowd about what I was eating (or not eating, so to speak). And sometimes the best attack is a good defense: If there is a habitual offender, talk to them ahead of time and ask them to avoid making comments, even if they say it’s just for fun.

Aunt Doris is not your boss..

Your family members may think they have the answers, perhaps some form of “When I was a kid, we had to clean our plate or else!” But are the father of your child. Politely tell them you’re not worried (even if that’s not entirely true) and redirect the conversation.

fancy butter

Christmas meals are not the end of everything.

There are only a handful of holiday foods between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but your kids will eat over 100 more meals during that same time. Eating a bagel for dinner one night will not cause your children to suffer from a nutritional deficiency or slow their growth. If your child’s half-empty plate really bothers you, bring a plate that you know your child likes.

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED: Don’t micromanage what your children eat during the Christmas holidays

There are more things to love than food..

Yes, Christmas meals have special family recipes and dishes that are prepared once a year. But Christmas gatherings are about much more than food. Do your children play with their out-of-town cousins? Spending quality time with grandparents? Creating memories with your friends’ children?

You deserve to enjoy.

Following your child around all day, taking cookies out of their hands and counting bites of vegetables will definitely ruin their day. Take a break from thinking about your children’s food intake and enjoy what’s there his leaf. And eat a muffin. Your son is right: they are delicious!

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