When my son turned two years old, we were very concerned about his eating, or lack of it. He survived on carbohydrates that began with the letter “P”: pizza, pasta, potatoes (usually the fried variety) and porridge (aka oatmeal). He refused to eat meats, vegetables, fruits, etc. I was extremely worried about his nutrition, so I would give him a daily vitamin. I am of the opinion that it is best to not give any medicines, including vitamins unless it is absolutely necessary. However, since his diet was so limited, I felt I had no choice.
Then I read an article that made sense to me. It said that kids need to taste a new food 15-20 times in order to get used to the taste. Children’s senses are magnified compared to adults and new flavors and textures are difficult to for them to adjust to. So, the challenge is to get them to try a new food, that they do not really like, over and over again until they become used to it. But how to accomplish that?
About that time, I noticed that my son really liked condiments and sauces, even those with quite strong flavors. This included ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, etc. I also noticed that he enjoyed cheese, because after all, pizza is basically a big piece of bread covered with tomato sauce (similar to ketchup) and cheese.
With that in mind, I started to give him foods well covered with condiments and cheese. I would make a small salad consisting of lettuce and tomatoes. I would cover it with ketchup or french dressing and grated cheese. I can not say that he loved it, but he would eat it. Similarly, I could make a “vegetable pizza” and cover it with ketchup and cheese. In this way, his diet slowly expanded to include foods such as olives, green peppers, even onion and garlic, things that many children will not touch.
He still is a very selective eater and I imagine he will be until he grows up. Although he would rather avoid it, I can now get him to eat a salad without gagging. He actually considers that a turkey sandwich packed with fresh veggies, like lettuce, green peppers, olives and onions, is a treat, as long as it is covered with a sauce like ranch dressing!
The best part is that, I have been able to cut back on the daily vitamin dosage, because I am now convinced that he is getting sufficient nutrition from his diet.