Monday, May 21, 2012

The Mysterious Case of the 'I can't likes"

Since Miles is now well into his toddler stages, I thought it would be fun to talk about the magical phrase "I can't like it" when it comes to sitting down and eating food. Since we are vegetarians and also started this company, Miles has been our tester for everything from the obvious dehydrated baby food to foods that have tempeh, tofu and curry. He was always a huge fan of Pad Thai when we made it and stir-frys. But for some reason a mysterious case of the "I can't like it" has come into our house.

I'm personally not one to make separate meals, nor am I one to hide vegetables in their food. So what can I do to solve this case, or at least meet at a common ground with my very confident toddler? I have tried having him take a courtesy bite, and if he didn't like it then that was fine. But that didn't solve anything but unnecessary stubbornness on both ends. So as I always do I started doing some research into the matter. I have always personally thought that my child was amazing and would never become that child that threw tantrums or said the word "No.” I gave myself a rotator cuff tear from patting myself on the back because he was always just awesome traveling, going out places and riding in the car with ease. I thought I was driving this bus just fine. Then the word “no" came out as I served him dinner one night. My jaw dropped to the ground and looked around the room hoping that I had served dinner in someone else's house, and that it was somebody else's child that had said “no.” Then he followed with the phrase "I can't like it" put his fork on the table told me it was yucky and went on his merry way to carrying on playing.

How could this wonderful eater and Miles Outside taster go from everything to nothing? What is happening? Control is happening parents, control. They now have a voice and are using it to their advantage, which they should as we are raising them to "Use your words.” I just never thought it would turn against me and tell me this meal I have been slaving over for the last two hours was yucky. So I started to do some research to see how I can tame this problem- or at least calm it down a little bit.

1. Let your kids help pick out dinner ideas for the week, which really sometimes helps me because some days I'm at a loss of what to cook.

2. Have theme nights or meals that coordinate with what they are learning in school or what they show interest in outside of school. When I want to make something that is not normally on their diet, I turn it into picnic night. They love picnics and seem more comfortable trying different foods in that environment.

3. Let them cook with you, and help you read the cookbook. My kids love bellying up to the bar to see what’s going on top of the counter.

4. Put veggies on their plate every time. Just a small amount, even if they don’t eat all of them, they get used to the idea of this is what is on their plate. Research shows they will make better decisions later in life with their eating habits if they were shown what to eat. So parents that means you to need to eat right! Lead by example!!

5. Be excited about the little things they do. If they made a choice to eat their sandwich before chips, tell them "That was a great decision eating your sandwich first." If they have one small bit of veggies tell them "Good job for trying that!!"

Parents you have the control of putting everything on the kids plate, the kids have the control of eating it. Meet them in the middle and make them think they have all of the control. This way you win, they win and everyone is healthy and happy!! We still sometimes get a case of the "I can't like it" but now at least he will try it.

We hope we make your days easier in this hectic world, and let you enjoy Mother Nature with many more Miles Outside!

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