Will this year’s Thanksgiving meal be feast or famine for your child? Moms of Picky Eaters (MOPE), like me, dread another food-focused holiday where well-intentioned relatives shove a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes in your toddler’s mouth and wonder why he won’t just “try a bite.”
Here are 10 tips to help your child (and you) enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner or at least get through it! MOPE – Nope, don’t mope!
- Have a pre-Thanksgiving feast to introduce your child to unfamiliar foods that will be served.
- Don’t feed your child anything an hour to two hours before eating. The likelihood he’ll try new foods will be higher.
- Invent fun names for the Thanksgiving foods on your table. The appetizers, entrees, and desserts can have a theme, e.g. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sesame Street, Paw Patrol, etc. Put a baggie of pre-made name tents or toothpicks with flags in your diaper bag. You could also imagine the foods saying funny things like: “Because you know I’m all about that baste.” I’m stuffed.” “Piece out.” “Roll with it.”
- Create a “I tried it!” foods checklist with “Liked it”, “Loved it” and “Need to try again” columns. Reward your courageous eater with stickers or other small prizes.
- Carry along a bib in case your little Pilgrim or Native American spits out an unwanted food.
- Get a bottle of red. Red ketchup for your babe and red wine for you. Many kids like ketchup, and you can squirt a little on scary meats! Barbecue sauce works too.
- Bring a bag of microwaveable rice to toddler-ize the turkey main dish. Chop up the turkey into bite sized pieces and mix into the white rice. Dinner is served.
- Worst case scenario: Pack a few items from home that you know your kids will eat. No one wants a hangry kiddo. Just be sure the food items don’t require you to be using the host’s kitchen! Ideas: yogurt, fresh fruit or fruit cups, cereal mini cups, etc.
- Print Thanksgiving themed coloring pages and bring some washable crayons or no-mess coloring books/doodle pads, if your kiddos won’t sit still at the table.
- Seat your child as far away from you as possible, preferably near a kid-loving childless aunt/uncle or a doting grandparent. Haha. Just kidding. Not really.
Holidays can bite for parents of picky eaters.
So before you tell everyone (and everything) to “go pluck yourself”, while you stuff a roll in your mouth, try one or more of the above tips.
Do you have a picky eater? Did any of these Turkey Day tips work? What helped, what didn’t? I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving stories.