Two children; two completely different personalities. Especially when it comes to eating habits. Leah is willing to experiment with new foods, often more so than I am. She’s always been a good vegetable eater, and she likes meat. My youngest daughter, however, is – and I hesitate to use the word – picky.
Ava never did like her vegetables, even all smashed up in a baby food jar. She’s the only kid I know who doesn’t like mashed potatoes; the only potato that comes near her is a French fry. The one meat she’d consider was chicken, usually disguised as a nugget of some sort. Forget Chinese food – it’s too spicy, too saucy, too different, too anything that takes on a negative connotation. Fruit was her food of choice, and only fruit.
Since summertime, Ava has now decided that she’s going to be completely vegetarian. She began asking questions like “Where does chicken come from?” or “What’s a hamburger made of?” and she was done. No more chicken of any kind. The frustrating irony is that she doesn’t realize being a vegetarian means you actually eat vegetables. Therefore, she’s gone from being a difficult eater to animpossible eater. Finding protein sources for her are limited to eggs and peanut butter (tofu is too “weird,” she says). Ava loves pasta, but macaroni and cheese can only be served in so many ways. And my peanut butter creativity is dwindling — thank goodness she doesn’t have a peanut allergy! So it’s back to fruit. Protein-less fruit.
I have to trust that over time her body will let her know what she needs, and that this vegetarian phase will be short-lived. She is only 7, after all. I am certainly not opposed to a vegetarian eating style; I prefer a mostly vegetarian diet myself. But I actually eat vegetables, whereas Ava will not. So until she changes her mind, I will give her a daily vitamin, pack her snack box with nuts, and hope that this, too, shall pass.