Before & After Lunchbox

Love It, Like It, Learning It Lunchbox:

LOVE IT FOODS: satsuma, pretzel thins, organic raisins

LIKE IT FOODS: hummus, carrot sticks

LEARNING IT FOODS: grapes (cut in half)


Before & After Images:

Observations of an Apprehensive Eater:

Such an apprehensive eater move...

The kid loves grapes. But apparently as I am learning this season, only when offered WHOLE. While the safety-concerned mom in me doesn't love this, the RDN in me realizes how food jags can take such bizarre forms as this.

I remember one of the family's I was a nanny for in high school had an EXTREMELY apprehensive eater. He would only eat purple grapes, directly from the stem. So like, "don't pluck them off in advance and don't you dare slice them to be safe, Nanny Ashley." Can you imagine?! I remember thinking it was CRAZY, and yet, completely fascinating at the same time that a kid could have such clear, strong, and conclusive opinions about a food depending on its form.

Fast forward 15 years, and here I am experiencing the same "crazy" particular food preferences with my own kid. It is a bit humbling considering being a nanny for that child was one of the first experiences I had that peeked my interest in becoming a pediatric dietitian. Here I am now out of high school, college educated, and with an advanced degree, and I still am facing these grape dilemmas.

So how should I have handled it back as a nanny versus how do I handle it now?

Back then, I am pretty sure I tried to talk the child into eating something he was visibly uncomfortable with. While with good intent, I had no idea the dynamics of working with an apprehensive eater. I prematurely assumed it was as easy as convincing them the food was "fine," "exactly the same," and as easy as "just hold the two halves together to eat it whole then."

Now, I know better. While maintaining a division of responsibility in feeding, I offer grapes. Then, I leave it at that. My daughter more than knows what they are, so this fruit takes no explaining, prompting, or probing in order for her to eat. Instead, it is a matter of repeated exposure and the opportunity to explore this "new food" (due to its form) without pressure.

Since she didn't eat them, I later offered to them again as a snack to see if she felt any differently. They remained untouched. I think in a few more days after eating some WHOLE grapes, she and I may cut them in half together with her Curious Chef knives. I am curious to see if that helps her be a bit more comfortable with them when cut???



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