After years of picky eating and mealtime meltdowns, we're finally where we want to be — around the table together, ADHD and all.
by Sarah Kaczmarek
There are statistics tied to eating dinner as a family. Kids who do are less likely to be overweight, will make healthier choices overall, and have better grades. I know this, as I am sure many of you do. I also know that over the years I've had to learn to pick my battles to manage mealtimes.
Don't get me wrong, some nights we ate our meals with the kids, but it was easier to feed them first. On top of that, I think Hadley has had peanut butter and jelly every day for lunch and/or dinner since her third birthday. (Had she agreed to try it before age 3, it probably would have spanned more years.) Sure, one of us might sit with them while the other parent cooked our meal, but I knew it wasn't the same as eating the same meal as a family. I worried about the benefits we could be missing.
But after seven years of frustration, I am happy to say that more often than not, we're finally eating the same thing together. To my relief, Hadley has slowing started eating what we eat. Fruits and vegetables have always been a battle for us, but she's started eating chili, chicken noodle soup with veggies, vegetable beef soup, and meatloaf packed with veggies, just to name a few. I knew we'd hit another food milestone this week when she asked for broccoli and strawberries for a snack. Sure, she only ate one strawberry, but she ate all the parts of her broccoli.
I wish I had a secret to share with other families who struggle with this. All I can attribute it to was not giving up, repeatedly trying to introduce foods, hundreds of meltdowns — oh, and a lot of bribing. So to anyone who has a "picky eater," I feel your pain — but don't give up.