When our oldest was a baby, he ate everything! He loved fruits & veggies. Even though Daddy & I did not, we offered a large variety of foods to him, because being a picky eater is definitely not easy - plus it is extremely annoying and frustrating (still as an adult). It was after Aaden’s 1st birthday when he abruptly stopped eating just about everything he once enjoyed. We assumed it was a stage & reintroduced at a later date. Aaden was not having it. That is when things started to change for us. We honestly just wanted him to eat. Multiple trips to the store for different things, ways to camouflage healthy foods, to literally sticking with 4-5 main things he would eat. If you have had a child refuse everything you put in front of him - then you get it. If not, this may be hard to understand. Frustating does not cover the surface because you know your little was just begging for those yummy strawberries just the day before, & months before that...
We got to the point where we were tired of seeing him turn things down & we knew he was hungry. We stuck with those selective foods for a while & started re-reintroducing. Nope. Rejection. Again. By this time we have just about given up - who thinks feeding a little should be this hard, take this much work - we were researching different things to do all the time. So, I became a short order cook for my 2 year old, & by that point, I was ok with it. I was relieved to see him eating, even if it was the same thing everyday. I was happy there weren’t huge fits at each meal & snack time. He was enjoying eating again - & I was enjoying a happy little man.
*Disclaimer - I understand picky eaters do not all have differences*
By the time we were able to get a good list of foods together about 6 months had passed and we started noticing some behavioral things. We had an early diagnosis of OCD - which definitely explained some of the issues with eating. Months & years went on and our evolving diagnosis has grown tremendously. We currently have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), & Aspergers. After learning many things of SPD, we have pin pointed the culprit.
Once we started speech therapy, one of the first questions asked by the therapist was, ‘Does he only eat light colored food?’. Honestly, this was something I never put together. Aaden’s foods are: Cheese (sliced, shredded, string), yogurt, goldfish, chips, fruit snacks, bread, chicken nuggets, cereal, pizza, macaroni & cheese (only elbow noodles though ;) )... It all of a sudden made sense.
I definitely just got a little deep with you guys - but my point is: short order cook, at home chef, non picky eaters, you have to do what is best for your family. What works for you may not work for others. While ideally I would love to cook one meal for my family of 4 - that just isn’t possible at this stage of our life. I still think there may be a time when that happens, but for now - I am good with how we handle feeding time. An extra few minutes in the kitchen to avoid a 30+ minute fit is worth it. 100%. It is what works for us & keeps my kids healthy.