Friday, February 7, 2014

"Selective" eating

For those who don't know, I've been a "selective eater" all my life.  Growing up I survived on ham & cheese sandwiches and bread...lots of bread!  I never could handle eating vegetables and pretty much ate just your basic fruit - apples, grapes & bananas.  Since I was growing just fine and rarely sick, my mom did not force me to eat everything on my plate or "try at least one bite".  I was (and still am) pretty stubborn, so it wasn't worth the fight.  Once I was old enough to make my own sandwich, it was up to me to make my own dinner if I didn't like what we were having.  Even as an adult, my mom doesn't make special meals around what I'll eat, unless it's my birthday.  It's not that she doesn't love me, it's my choice to be picky/selective, so it's my issue when I don't have a lot on my plate - even though there are plenty of options to choose from.  I'm a meat, bread & potato's girl, so if something similar to that is there, I'm fine.  As I've gotten older I've gotten much better and will now eat a salad, burgers with more than meat and cheese and several other foods that I wouldn't have touched 10 years ago.

A month or so ago, I read a blog post labeled, "12 Things Selective Eaters Want You to Know."  While Mackenzie and Meredith are "selective eaters", I read the article more from my perspective.  I didn't agree with all 12 points, but below are my favorites.
  
2. You know that nonsense about offering a food 10, 12, 17 or 20 times? Forget that noise. If I think food looks like something I might want to eat, I’ll have a go at it, otherwise, I’ll try it when I’m ready. Accept that I may never want to. Telling me “you’ll like it”, “just try a little”, or “you don’t know what you’re missing” will not convince me to eat something that, to me, does not look like food.
This is totally me.  Brandon used to ask me to try things over and over and it rarely worked.  When I'm ready, I'll try it.  I love sauteed broccoli now, but I only discovered that in the last 3 or 4 years.  Same with salads - I think I started eating those when I was pregnant with Mackenzie because I knew I needed to eat more vegetables.  No one forced me and yet I still tried something when I was ready.


3. I have a very sensitive sense of taste and smell. Food can be downright overwhelming, frightening even. I don’t want to look, smell or touch anything that frightens me. I most certainly don’t want it in my mouth. Let me decide when I’m ready to try something new and let me spit it out if I change my mind.
Food doesn't frighten me, but I do have a sensitive taste and smell.  I have yet to find a salad dressing I like - they all taste horrible to me.  And certain foods just don't smell good to me at all - asparagus and fish are two big culprits

5. Embarrassing me (or allowing others to embarrass me) based on my eating habits doesn't encourage me to eat.  I really don't want to be the center of attention.  This only makes me feel uncomfortable and less likely to want to eat in social settings.
I'm already embarrassed enough from my own thoughts for not eating what everyone else is eating, I don't need to hear it from someone else.  When I was working, I actually tried several things that I wouldn't normally have eaten out of embarrassment that I would be the only 30 year old in the room who wouldn't eat tomatoes on a sandwich or basic grilled vegetables.


6. Please stop reminding me that I’ve had the same food repeatedly over the past few days (or weeks). I already know that I will get bored, and I may already be bored with it, but right now, it’s the only thing I can eat. 
I've never had much variety in what I eat and it's never bothered me.  Currently, I eat peanut butter toast just about every morning with the exception of the occasional smoothie or granola bar.  My lunches are a deli sandwich, chips and a dr. pepper.  This used to change up a bit before Miranda was born and I could eat foods with dairy and soy - read "fast food."  As for dinner, we eat things for several nights in a row and they are typically repeated every few weeks. 
 
8. Do not take away what I am comfortable eating in the hopes of forcing me to eat something different. I will not eat because I’m hungry. In fact, I would prefer to be hungry rather than eat something I can’t. Please include me in social eating events by ensuring there is something on the table that I can eat, even if it’s just a basket of rolls. I do not wish to be catered to and I am amazingly easy to please.
This is what I was talking about earlier.  I may be picky, but there is almost always something I can eat - bread.  I've eaten A LOT of bread over the years at different parties, gala's, weddings and family events.  It's much different now that I'm dairy and soy free, but this only temporary.  

12. This is just the way I am, I am not trying to be difficult. When you support and advocate for me, you show me that you love and accept me for who I am, not what I eat. 
Truth.



My girls are like me when it comes to food, but like different things that I don't like.  Mackenzie eats raw carrots and olives - things I've never eaten in front of her.  She will also eat just about any meat (beef and pork are favorites) and bread!  She and I love to watch the Pioneer Woman cooking show, but I would probably only ever make half of the recipes she shares.  Mackenzie once said exactly what I think all the time, "That food looks good, but I'm not going to eat it." ;)  She is so much like me!  Meredith is in the toddler stage where she pretty much eats chicken nuggets or pb&j sandwiches.  She will eat green beans and cooked carrots and most fruits (except melons).  Surprisingly, she still eats "veggie packs" - baby food pouches of mixed fruits and vegetables.  I, of course have never tasted them, but brandon says they are very bland and sometimes bitter.  I imagine that she sucks them down so fast that she doesn't even really taste it much.


So, I'll follow my mom's way of dealing with a selective eater (because I can totally relate) and hope that one day my girls will eat more of a variety.  It might not be until they are in their 30's like me, but that's okay!


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