My four year old is a picky eater. Or I should say, he has become a picky eater. He used to eat pretty much anything except green beans. These days he only likes (according to him) cheese pizza, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and sometimes hot dogs. And those things are yummy, I agree, but there's no way in heck I'm going to let him get away with eating such a limited menu.
There are people who proclaim "I'm not going to make my child eat something he/she doesn't like!". And that's all well and good, except that I KNOW he likes other things. How do I know? Because last week he was scarfing it down and saying "Mommy I like this. Can I have some more please?" But this week it's "Mommy, I don't like that. I want chicken nuggets." Sorry buddy, not happening. Of course if it's something that I know he really doesn't like, I'm not going to make him eat it. I don't eat things I truly don't like and I'm not going to force my kids to. Like those green beans. Even as a baby he hated them. For the longest time there was a green bean stain on my wall because he spat them out so forcefully.
So, how do we get him to eat other things? Easy. We don't make him anything different. I make one meal and that's it. You eat it or you stay hungry. Some people may say that makes me mean. I don't think so, especially not when I know that meal is something he really does like. And like I said, I do not force him to eat foods that I know he truly despises. And in case you're wondering, no, he's never gone hungry, he eventually does eat it after the initial grumblings.
When it comes to new foods, our rule is you have to try it. If you don't like it, that's fine, but you have to give it a try. Now, obviously we don't enforce this for really out there things like roasted scorpion or fried grasshoppers. And we don't make them try things that will singe their tongues off either, but you get my point. I think that's an important rule, especially when you have a picky eater. There have been quite a few things that he has sworn he hates even before he tries it. But then he tastes it and he ends up loving it and it ends up being one less food we have to fight about. That day anyway.