See Mom Run: Help! My Daughter Is a Picky Eater

What's a mom to do when her kid will eat mac and cheese, PB&J and pretty much nothing else? Robin gets creative.

From the get-go, I wanted to be one of those moms who made one meal for the entire family—no short-order cooks in this house, thank you very much. My kids were going to try new things, be exposed to all sorts of exotic cuisines, and never ever have to take vitamins because they would be such well-rounded eaters.

That worked until they each turned one and then it all went downhill.

While my son, Eli, will devour a plate of veggies and hummus and occasionally try new things, my daughter, Olivia, is a fairly horrendous eater. (Although she will eat fruit—I’ll give her that.) She eats the standard kid fare: pasta (plain), mac and cheese, PB&J, pancakes, etc. Her diet is mostly made up of colorless white food with the occasional cucumber and container of yogurt thrown in there. When I try to get her to try something new she just barely grazes it with her tongue and then enumerates the many reasons why she doesn’t like it. It makes my blood boil.

Now that school is back in session, I am packing her lunch every day—a task made even more difficult by the fact that everything in there has to be kosher. Not that my kid would eat a meat and cheese combo of any kind (or any meat at all), but it would be nice to have the option. Anyway, I started off this year with my standards from the past few years: PB&J, yogurt, bagel and cream cheese, plain pasta. My heart would break with each press of her lunch bag’s Velcro closure; I wanted so much more for her. I had visions of Molly Ringwald’s prom queen taking out her little bento box filled with sushi and wonder when my daughter was going to start bringing pretentious fare to weekend detention.

Something had to be done.

I had seen talk of a site called Weelicious on Facebook so I decided to check it out. I watched a few videos, looked at a few pictures of beautifully crafted lunches that my kids would never eat because cute food does not entice them in any way, and finally decided to try something that I thought might stand a chance: Banana Dog Bites. I even took this easy recipe a step further by spreading some Nutella on there. Who was going to win mom of the year NOW?

I went into the kitchen, pulled out the ingredients, and started speaking in a super-animated voice about how this was going to be such a fun thing to bring for lunch. She helped me spread the PB and Nutella on a Flat-Out, put the banana in, and then roll it up. I cut it into sushi-size bites and then told her to go for it. This was going to be the answer, I just knew it. She sniffed it and eyeballed it, trying to decide where to bite to get the most Nutella, and finally dove in. I must have looked insane—all smiley, bug-eyed, and up-in-her-grill—waiting for her to tell me how much she loved it.

Her first words: “Mommy, I don’t love it. The banana is too floppy.” My first thought was, “That’s what she said,” immediately followed by “I WILL SHOVE THIS DOWN YOUR THROAT AND YOU WILL LOVE IT BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING THEREIN NOT TO LOVE!!!!!” I, of course, ate it myself instead and went to the fridge to get a bagel and cream cheese. Failure.

To make myself feel a little bit better we spent the afternoon making fruit skewers (see the photographic evidence above) for her to bring for lunch, and Weelicious’s Middle Eastern Chicken Burgers for me and my husband, obviously. She has never brought fruit skewers in for lunch so I will take this as a very, very small victory. You have to walk before you can run, and fruit skewer before you can bento box. At least I think that’s how the saying goes …

Mommy’s Corner

Oh, hey! Thanks for stopping by Mommy’s Corner. Swing by here to check out one nice thing I do for myself each week. Because, as we all know, if Mommy’s not happy, ain’t no one else in the house happy.

As many of you know, I started running earlier this year. I was still going strong after my third 5K in June and then, toward the end of the month, things started hurting. What I’d developed (what Google told) were posterior shin splints and some special pain in my left hip that I enjoyed calling “hip flexor stiffness” when in actuality I don’t know where or what my hip flexor is. This all corrected itself when I stopped running for the rest of the summer and then started right up again when I got back on the treadmill. Because I’m so tough, I told myself to (wo)man up and run through the pain. Genius. I kept at it and kept at it until last Thursday, when I had to literally limp off of the treadmill and into the locker room. I was fairly certain that my sneakers had something to do with one, if not both, of my problems, so it was time to seek some professional help.

The very next morning I headed over to Bucks County Running Company to have my gait assessed. I have super-duper flat, pronating feet and I have a feeling that my super-duper bright and fun sneakers weren’t doing me any favors. Rick at BCRC took a look at my feet, watched me run up and down the street (I was only mildly self-conscious and mortified by this), and then gave me his diagnosis. Not only am I pronating and need sneakers with more stability, but my left foot is swinging out, opening up my hip, and therefore causing my “hip flexor stiffness.” He pointed me toward some Brooks and then talked to me about my form and how to consciously, but slowly, try to correct it. There is such a thing as running form? You have to practice running? You can’t just walk and then pick up the pace a little bit? Damn you, Rick, and your superior running knowledge. Now I’m going to have think about things other than “oh my God, please let this be over soon” and “on a scale of 1 to 10 how much back sweat am I currently producing” while I’m running. I’m tying on the new sneaks tomorrow to see what the shins and hip have to say. If they’re a-okay, then I’m going to start training for my first run beyond a 5K. Stay tuned …

>> How do you deal with picky eaters in your house? Share your tips and advice in the comments!


Robin Raskin lives with her family in Bucks County. She blogs Thursdays on Be Well Philly. Catch up with the series here.