So many books, "experts", say to stop a picky eater in their tracks, involve them. Let them help choose and prepare meals. Sounds easy enough but does it work? Prior to age 3..5 for us, no, not at all.
I tried when my son was 2. He could choose breakfast and lunch, I choose dinner. Well after a week of only choosing waffles and grilled cheese I ended it. Around this time my son also started having constipation problems. I spent the next year and trying to control his diet so we could avoid or reduce medical intervention. We have gotten over it, but it really helped teach my son about the relationship between the food that goes into his body and how he feels.
Now back to choice. I have started offering again. However I learned you can't say "what do you wan" instead we say you can have this or that. We are teaching him about food groups and balanced diet. So now if he wants a grilled cheese we remind him he needs protein to grow and offer him protein options to choose from that either go into or with his sandwich.
Our biggest breakthrough was this week. My son has always loved looking at cookbooks, since he was very little. I have mentioned how much we love Everyday food magazine, and he loves hit because it's "his size" and has lots of pictures. So this week when I was working on our weekly menu I let him help us plan it and look at the magazines with me. I did not intend on the consequences!
First there was a picture of a scrambled egg dish. I pointed it put and said it looked good. I said, "we should try that sometime and you can mix whatever you want in it". Well Saturday morning when dad said "is it a pancake morning" my son answered "NO DADDY! It's a scramble morning!" and ate a one egg scramble filled with broccoli, sausage, cheese and carrots on the side! It was amazing! He had been boycotting eggs for like, 2 years!
Then dinner. We were making a risotto with leftover roasted chicken and he choose carrots because there was a picture of one in the magazine. Well he used to love risotto, it was one of his first finger foods but lately it's on the "I don't like it list". Well he pulled that again and wouldn't even taste it. Until I reminded him he picked it out and showed him the recipe in the book. He went on to eat the whole rest of the bowl!