Oliver Parenthood

Try Three To Love It: Adventures with a Picky Eater

I think I’ve talked quite a bit about how Ollie is a picky eater. He sure didn’t start out that way. We used the French method of introducing solid food when he was a baby and we made most of his baby food from scratch. That was back when we had a CSA which meant we had tons of fresh veggies each week. We made many different purees and he was a champion eater. There wasn’t much he’d turn his nose up at except for cucumber and melon (I agree kid, I’d prefer those items stay in lotion format).

We never bragged about his great eating…well too much anyway. People used to tell us, “oh things are great now, but just you wait.” I hated that phrase. I try to never use that phrase on another parent. Repeat after me, let’s not use that phrase. Even if it’s true. Because once Ollie turned two, he realized he had a voice and an opinion and suddenly our amazing eater was the pickiest eater. We also kind of blame a two week period where he cut his two year molars and had a really nasty cold virus. During that time it was pretty much let him eat what he wants to get anything in him. And then when he was better, it was like no going back. He only wanted the stuff he really loved.

Over the last couple of years we’ve tried some different ways to expand his pallet, but none with much success. He likes what he likes and we’ve just kind of adapted, but it can be frustrating when Nate and I are kind of adventurous eaters. About a month ago, Nate found an article that I cannot find to save my life so I can’t cite it but I am giving all the credit to, that talks about a very simple way to try to introduce foods to your kids. It’s called Try Three To Love It.

The idea is, you give them something on the plate that you know they already like. Then you let them choose one new food that is being served to try three bites of. The bites can be as small as they want, we call them cheater bites at our house. They don’t have to finish the item after the three bites, but they have to at least eat three bites of something new. I was skeptical, but agreed to try it. We told Ollie it would be kind of a game we’d play at meal time. To my amazement, it’s actually working.

I’m not going to say he’s eating everything we put in front of him again. Nine times out of ten he says he doesn’t like the item he’s chosen. But in the last month he has realized he likes peaches, pineapple, pepperoni and basmati rice. Compared to where we were before we started this, that’s pretty huge that we’ve added four new foods. He actually gets excited about it, we make sure to talk about what we’re having for dinner well in advance and he’ll start talking about what he wants to try.

I think what makes this work for us, is that it’s giving Ollie control. He gets to pick what he gets to try. He knows he just has to do three small bites, which for whatever reason sounds better than one big bite. He also knows he doesn’t have to do more than that if he doesn’t like it. And, he knows there will still be one food he does like on his plate. We’ve made it fun, so he really does think it’s a game. I am so pleased with his progress. We’ll keep at it and I think we will slowly see his palate improve. But even if it doesn’t, I was a picky kid too and there’s very little I won’t try now. I think he’ll there.

Of course, donuts are always still OK too.

4 thoughts on “Try Three To Love It: Adventures with a Picky Eater

  1. This is a great idea. I’ve read different articles about getting kids to eat healthier, or try new foods, and they all kind of agree with this premise – have them try things, but don’t push it, and eventually they’ll start to enjoy more.


  2. I love this idea Beth!! I might have to try that with Jona. He has been a very picky kid since right after his first birthday. He ate everything as a baby, but at around the 13 month mark he started to assert his dislike of most things…ugh. I like the idea with this that he can pick what to try, but that he knows ahead of time that he has to take 3 bites. I feel like there can be so much bargaining involved when you’re trying to get kids to try stuff, and that makes it so frustrating. But this would get rid of that. So smart. Of course I’d have Violet play along too, although she’s a bit young to really get the concept. And also she’s not very picky… not yet anyway. 🙂

  3. Good job Ollie!! Getting them to try new foods is half the battle! Donuts are always a win!! Can’t wait to hear what he tries next 🙂

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