It's been nothing short of a miracle, so I'll share the secret: We told him he could have plain cottage cheese if he didn't like dinner. He was thrilled. Problem solved.
Yep, it was that easy.
I read "How Cottage Cheese Saved My Life" over at It's Not About Nutrition (via Fix Me a Snack) and immediately pitched the idea to my son: It can be your choice. If you don't like what I make for dinner, you could have some plain cottage cheese, yogurt, or tofu. No more wailing and complaining. Deal?
Yes! he exclaimed. Cottage cheese! As enthusiastically as if I'd announced Handy Manny was moving in next door.
Do read Dina Rose's full post, but I'll outline the basic approach:
- Make the backup consistent: Use the same thing as a backup every time, no exceptions. Always have it on hand.
- Make it nutritious: No appeasing with pointless food.
- Make it convenient: You're not preparing a special meal -- you're dishing something out in mere minutes. Or maybe your child can help herself.
- Don't make it too enticing: The backup should be something your child likes, but doesn't love -- think unflavored yogurt, tofu, canned beans.
Even better, this kid -- who used to wail about anything that wasn't pizza or pasta sans tomato sauce -- has been trying all sorts of food. Chili, salmon, black bean burritos, roasted chicken -- even spicy dishes at a Singaporean restaurant. Tomatoes, peppers, onions have been devoured with happy exclamations that he likes them!
He hasn't asked for cottage cheese in over a month. I think he's forgotten it's there.