The Cult of Grazers

We have an on-going food issue at our house. It is, in a word, grazing.

Grazing is not necessarily all a bad thing. Many scientists are now suggesting multiple smaller meals a day vs three monster meals, but in our house it’s an issue.

Particularly with the boys. Shelby’s no angel, she loves her some junk food, but she also loves apples and oranges and a few veggies. And she always eats regular meals.

Joey and Will would be okay if they would at least occasionally consider something other than well, crap. If I allowed them to live off of saltines and dry cheerios, they would be happy. But let there be chips, or anything sweet…it has to be hidden. And they don’t forget that it’s *somewhere* in our house. I have tried to incorporate healthy alternatives like carrot sticks and apple slices to no avail. We’ve even tried frog on a log (my kids, it turns out, HATE raisins with a passion). No, my little boys are content to stick with a limited and mostly processed diet. And they would rather complain of starvation that choose between carrot sticks or a piece of fruit.

I realize my brothers and I were probably like this too. And I realize I am incredibly blessed that Shelby is as good an eater as she is. I see all these cute ideas to get kids to vary their diet. Expensive Bento-style lunch boxes, stories that go along with the lunch and all the foods in the lunch are incorporated into the story…and they all seem like so much work.

Which reminds me of a story I heard one morning on NPR a couple of years ago while on the way to drop Shelby off at pre-K. And this quote from Ellyn Satter:

 “The rule of thumb is the harder you work to try to get food into your child, the less likely your child will eat.”

I keep offering healthy options. I typically request one bite to try a new food. However, if it is something you requested, you better eat it all. I am tempted to ask for the Bento-style lunch boxes or at least inserts as birthday gifts from grandparents because I think Will would really enjoy the idea of everything being in its own spot and I KNOW it would be right up Shelby’s ally.

And although we have struggles at home, I know it’s not a complete failure. Joey typically eats everything offered to him at school and tries all new foods. And Shelby has been known to test her palate quite a bit at school. So, there’s hope yet Will will follow in their footsteps and who knows, maybe their habits will find their way to our dinner table…until then, the cult of grazers we are.