This amateur blog post is in no way meant to replace the advice of a licensed physician.
There is value in letting your kids eat whatever they want. According to my kids’ first pediatrician, even junk food is fortified with tons of vitamins. Chocolate milk has a lot of sugar, but it’s a great way to get kids their calcium and their brain connection-making fats. Even pizza and hamburgers are full of nutrients. While there is much concern lately about childhood obesity, I have a kid who is actually underweight and can use all the calories she can get. I know not everyone is trying to get their kids to gain weight, but for the picky eaters out there, sometimes you’ll take what you can get.
Preemie, who is now three, has a hard time gaining weight. Her main staple is waffles so I make sure I keep the freezer full of Eggos, the fridge stocked with syrup and I slather on the butter. She loves peanut butter but not peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So when she asks for just peanut butter on a spoon I keep the refill scoops coming as long as she’ll take them. It’s kind of weird, I know, but hey, it gets her plenty of fat and protein. It’s either that or she won’t eat lunch at all. I let her have chips whenever she wants them and gladly give her chocolate whenever we have it.
This poor child is also very, very constipated (TMI) so to get her to drink her prune juice *shudder* we bribe her with brownies, cookies, soda, anything we have on hand that will give her motivation AND calories. Since Preemie is only 10 1/2 months younger than Princess, Princess gets to eat whatever Preemie eats, too. I figure it’s not fair to tell her “No” when sister gets to eat it. She’s too young to understand Preemie’s nutritional needs, she just knows that sister gets brownies and she wants some too. Luckily Princess is at a healthy weight and eating too much isn’t a problem for her.
As for the boys, they are repulsed by 3/4 of the food that I make and although I refuse to make everyone their own dinner I have no problem with them refusing to eat (hey, one skipped meal won’t kill ’em) or making their own dinner (if they’d rather make Ramen that’s fine with me).
Thankfully, none of my kids struggle with obesity and I hope they never will. I don’t know how I would handle that situation. But for now, I pretty much let my kids eat whatever the heck they want. Not only does it help keep the peace, but it also keeps the picky little eater eating something.