Tonight at dinner I said something quite unexpected. I said, to baby E, "you have to eat something other than just vegetables!!!". And then I realized the oddity of what I'd just said and chuckled. My toddler was refusing to eat pasta or cheese in favor of vegetables. I smiled and let him go at it. He did eventually eat the pasta, too.
I am so grateful to have 2 kids who are awesome eaters. The kid certainly has a sweet tooth, and baby E would eat his weight in crackers some days, but, overall, they'll at least try anything. And generally will pretty much eat anything.
Though I believe that overall the boys' themselves are just built this way (to be great eaters), I do think we've had a small part in this. First, there's only one meal. It's what we're all having. So eat it or don't, but don't expect anything else. We (and by "we" I so mean hubby, because he cooks 90% of our meals) do make sure that every meal has something that everyone likes at least minimally well.
The boys are expected to take a "hello bite" of every food on their plates. If they don't like it, fine, they don't have to eat anymore. Generally, though, one bite leads to several more. Each of the boys certainly has a couple of things he isn't at all fond of. We continue to offer those foods, and they're expected to have one bite, but no more.
Now, if we were ever to stumble upon a food that made one of them vomit (i.e. me and canned beets - I feel nauseous just thinking about them), we wouldn't encourage them to continue to eat it. Also, this isn't a fight. Because it's an expectation that's been there from day one, there is no argument; they boys simply do it, sometimes with a single, gentle reminder.
We have exposed the boys to lots of different foods from an early age. I think this is a big part of why they're such adventurous eaters. Though the kid did have traditional baby food (as you know, we did Baby Led Weaning with E and he never had any store-bought or homemade baby food), we supplemented it with loads of table foods from early on. They've both had lots of tastes and textures from the beginning.
We also don't do the "clean plate club" in our house. But that's a post for another day.
I'm going to eat some pie now. Because it's yummy. And I had hello bites of everything tonight. Also, pleasebabyjesus, don't let my kids prove me wrong on all this tomorrow and refuse to eat anything but crackers and cookies for the rest of their lives.
Today's Lesson: Hello bites are a great tool to encourage all kinds of eaters to experiment with new foods. You never know what you might try and love!