Maggie vs. Food

Maggie has been a picky eater since… age two or so? I think? I can barely even remember a time when she wasn’t fighting with us over eating vegetables or something other than noodles and cheese. She has like 8 or 10 foods that she likes and that’s what she’s been eating, because honestly, I gave up trying to fight her. We did, a couple of times- it always ended in tears (sometimes from Maggie AND me) and uneaten green beans.

We haven’t let it stress us out too much. She’s smart, she’s healthy, she’s growing. My sister was the pickiest eater EVER as a kid, and now she eats BROCCOLI voluntarily, which is something I don’t even do. So I know there is hope for Maggie someday. Until then, it’s cheese quesadillas and yogurt. And maaaaaybe a couple of carrot sticks drowned in ranch dressing.

But recently, she’s been having some… um… issues of a delicate nature, let’s say. And my gut (haaaa) is telling me that it’s mostly, if not all, diet-related. NOBODY CAN EAT THAT MUCH CHEESE AND BE OKAY. AHEM. So last week, we had a long talk with Maggie about healthy eating and eating variety and keeping our bellies happy and being a big girl and trying new foods.

She’s a stubborn kid, and she’s smart. She has tried every trick in the book over the years, and some of the tricks were so good that we were actually PROUD rather than angry (like the night I dumped out her milk and found a huge ball of chewed up carrots at the bottom. Well played, you little stinker.)

The first couple of days of our Mission were less than successful. We had a 90-minute standoff over green beans and carrots from a chicken pot pie. She eventually ate them, but only after she went up to her room for a timeout and a short nap (??) and then Dan rinsed the ‘sauce’ (gravy) off of them. Then two nights ago, it took her almost an hour to eat 2 slices of zucchini, a couple of cooked carrot pieces, and a short piece of asparagus. We made a huge deal about all of it though- we told we were very proud of her for sticking with it, even though we KNOW it’s not her favorite thing to eat. And slowly, I think her issues are resolving and she seems to be doing better (if it doesn’t improve, she has a well-visit in two weeks and this will be Topic Number One.)

It’s been slow-going (OH THE PUNS. haaaa) and she’s digging her heels in a lot and it’s really hard for us to stick to our guns but eventually, she comes around and eats what we ask her to eat. Reluctantly.

Tonight I gave her choice at dinner: she could have a taco with beef in it (she haaaaates ground meat) or I would make her a quesadilla. BUT. The quesadilla would have chicken and cheese in it- not just cheese. Imagine my surprise when she said NO to the chicken and cheese quesadilla and said she wanted a taco. Naturally, I didn’t believe it for a MINUTE, so while I was cooking the taco meat, I called her over to show her exactly what it was that she would be eating.

“Yup, that’s what I want!”

O-kaaaaay… ???

And imagine my surprise AGAIN when she sat down at the table and inhaled her taco without a single complaint. Then asked for another one. And ate half of that one.

Taco #2. Whoa.

You guys. I was FLIPPING OUT. Which I know sounds ridiculous because JEN, IT’S A TACO. SIMMER DOWN. But you just do not KNOW what we have gone through with food for this kid. This was a really big deal. Dan wasn’t home so I texted him and told him to get his butt HOME BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS, I ONLY HAD TO MAKE ONE MEAL TONIGHT, AND EVERYONE ATE IT.

Food tastes better from Daddy's plate.

(Audrey usually eats whatever we give her, but she is partial to food on Daddy’s plate.)

I don’t have any delusions that this is the end of our food battles. I mean, she may never eat another taco for the rest of her life! Who knows! But it does give me hope that she IS listening when we talk to her. She hears the things we are telling her.

She just has to do it all on her own terms, in her own time. And really? I kind of respect that.



  1. Melissa

    March 22, 2012 10:10 pm

    Oh, Maggie… lol. This reminds me of the battles my parents used to wage with me. I had to sit at the kitchen table for HOURS over things like green beans, eventually drowning a few in ketchup and gagging them down. And it wasn’t just vegetables–it was just food. I even refused to eat pasta for about 2 years. My mom always said she had to read to me to get me to eat at all. But now I eat asparagus and hummus and quinoa and all kinds of things I wouldn’t have touched as a kid. So there is hope for Maggie, I promise. :) And like you said, she’s healthy and smart and hopefully the other “issues” will, uh, ease up… heh.

    Oliver is super-picky too. He is good about TRYING new things, but not about eating them EVER AGAIN, lol. I can’t complain too much though because the things he loves are healthy (salads, yogurt, oatmeal… suspiciously the same as my diet while I was pregnant with him! heh) and he is obviously not lacking in the growth department (99th percentile for height). So we’ve pretty much done the same things you’ve talked about and now we let him go at his own pace. Andrew, however, eats pretty much anything (*knocks on wood*). Thank God siblings can be so different because having one easy eater is better than none!

  2. Jane

    March 22, 2012 10:47 pm

    Maria has gone through fussy periods. and I admit that we go through a bottle of ranch every couple of weeks. (and the adults don’t do ranch). But I have heard that eventually the kids learn to appreciate the tastes of food that they mask with ranch or ketchup or other flavors. It is starting to pay off and Maria has willingly eaten broccoli without ranch even though ranch was on her plate!

    I think we got very lucky in that her preschool serves a LOT of healthy and a variety of foods that she is willing to try when all of her friends are eating it.

    The one thing we’ve lost on is milk. Maria stopped drinking milk willingly, so I started buying vanilla soy milk and both kids love it. In fact Charlie calls me out by yelling “sa-mik” at me if I give him regular milk. stinker!

    Good luck! Sounds like you are making great progress!

  3. Stefanie

    March 22, 2012 10:52 pm

    Way to go, Maggie! That’s wonderful!
    I can completely relate. Lexie was actually diagnosed with a pediatric feeding disorder, and we’re still struggling. But she’s smart, growing (although more in height than weight), and otherwise healthy. It is so frustrating though! I, too, get excited when she eats something. I felt like throwing a party when she finally ate a vegetable. Still no luck on the fruits…

  4. Meghan

    March 23, 2012 10:22 am

    I can totally relate to this… if it’s not one it’s the other one not eating what is put on their plates. I just keep putting the veggies on there and really encouraging them to try it. If they don’t like it then don’t eat it but at least give it a try. And then I offer lots of fruit like pears and grapes (to keep them regular). They love fruit so this always works and I don’t stress as much. Recently I’ve also been buying V8 Fruitfusions juice…. which has veggies in it and they love it. Win, win. Good luck with the food battle and don’t stress the small stuff!

  5. TwoAdults

    March 23, 2012 10:48 am

    And noooooow I want to eat a taco.

    Food struggles blow.

  6. Erica

    March 23, 2012 11:01 am

    Love this post and love the pictures. Hope everything comes out OK! Ha ha another bad pun.

  7. Laura

    March 23, 2012 2:14 pm

    Yeah, those tacos look really good.

    We finally got Andrew to eat beef in a quesadilla once. And he said he liked it, and we made a big deal of it for a week. Now, he makes sure to say “NO BEEF!” whenever we mention a quesadilla. *head palm*

  8. Cari

    March 23, 2012 3:05 pm

    I hear you on the food issues. I nearly fainted dead away (while driving no less!) when Liam informed me the other day that he ate AND LIKED a hot dog at school the other day. I know, hot dogs aren’t anyone’s idea of healthy but DUDE, IT’S A NEW FOOD.

    For her *ahem* issues, may I recommend Fiber Gummies? I’ve found them at Iggle and Walgreens where ever they stock fiber supplements. They’re specifically for kids and they’ve helped Liam’s *ahem* issues too. Also, if she likes bread (or sandwiches) they make white bread that’s whole grain with more fiber in it.

    Good luck and know you’re not alone!

  9. Lea

    March 23, 2012 5:10 pm

    Those tacos do look really delicious! Would just like to chime in and say that sometimes a probiotic can help with stomach issues also.

    Ava has now gotten in the habit of insisting on eating most of my dinner everyday while on my lap (lasts in her chair about 2 minutes), and it’s driving me crazy! :)

  10. Erica

    March 24, 2012 3:44 pm

    I was so happy when I discovered that Anna would eat a hamburger because at least it’s FOOD that isn’t CRACKERS. So I understand your taco joy.

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