Help! My son doesn't eat fruit!
When I was little, I was forced to eat prunes everyday despite the fact that I hated them. I had to sit and eat three prunes every morning to be "regular". The prunes would sit and slowly dissolve in my mouth for what seemed like hours, and I would try not to gag. Of course, I vowed never to impose foods on my own children. Little did I know that I would face myself in spades.
When my son was a baby, I breastfed him and then followed all the rules about introducing foods. He had rice and oatmeal cereals, followed by organic fruit, vegetable and meats. He loved every type of food when it came in a jar, but transitioning him to the real solid food was a challenge. At first, he first he would eat a variety of foods, as long as they met his texture requirement. Slowly, but surely, he started refusing various fruits, from bananas to blueberries. At age 2, the only fruit he would eat was pears, skinned and sliced into triangular and rectangular pieces. Finally, he refused the pears as well, and I found myself trying to push the pieces into his tightly clenched mouth.
It dawned on me that history was repeating itself, forcing a child to eat. He simply did not like fruit. I tried apple sauce and smoothies to no avail. For a while he ate raisins, but then the dentist said they were bad for his teeth, like gummy candies. He doesn't like jelly or jam or even fruit-flavored ice cream or sorbet. He doesn't even like to drink juice except when he is sick or ordering a drink on the plane. He runs from the room if he smells a banana.
I got lucky with vegetables because I found a secret weapon - soy sauce. He had a special dipping bowl which he was allowed to dip his vegetables. He still claims that broccoli "makes me want to barf", but drowning it low sodium soy sauce still gets it down. And thankfully, he does like taking his children's multivitamin and fiber pills, although it's no substitute for the real thing. He's healthy and growing despite the lack of fruit.
When my son was three, his baby sister started to eat solid foods. She loved all types of food and ate almost every type of fruit from berries, apples, oranges, stone fruit and even pineapple. I made the important realization that the fact that my son didn't eat fruit was not a parenting mistake, but simply his own preference. So I laid off fruit guilt trip and let him be. I still offer him fruit with the rest of the family but even at age eight, he still refuses.
My son has been an avid soccer player since he was five, and at every game, he was the only player that did not partake in the soccer oranges at half-time. No amount of peer pressure was going to persuade him. Finally, last year, he started having one orange slice per game. Hallelujah! He hasn't ventured beyond one or two slices per game and won't eat oranges outside of soccer games, but it's a start. Maybe, just maybe, he'll try other fruit someday.
Contributing editor Angela blogs about her kids and their idiosyncrasies at mommy bytes.
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