Food fears!

It has always been hard to get the right foods into my boy. I'm sure that's familiar to many of you. In my son's case, he has a dreadful phobia of trying new foods. It terrifies him, utterly, so I have never really forced the issue. Instead, I've regularly talked to him about nutrition and worked with him to make sure he is getting just enough of the food groups.

Over the years he has occasionally said he is willing to try something new, and I usually try to come up with something similar to foods he already enjoys. Sometimes he will manage to try them, and enjoy them (or hate them). And sometimes he completely freaks out and can't cope. Sometimes this has upset me because I have invested so much time and energy into cooking things "just right" for him. It's hard not to get emotionally involved, but I try not to add that pressure to him of course.

Obviously I have hoped he will eventually get past this issue, but as it's a phobic reaction, I also see that it could be a lifelong problem. 

The whole idea of "if he's hungry he'll eat" doesn't apply. My son truly would starve to death first. He has gone on school camps and not eaten for a full three days, if food wasn't right for him. (I'm sure you can imagine, he is a complete wreck when he comes home). There's a world of difference between fussy and phobic. Phobic isn't rational. Reasonable arguments about why tasting something new is a good idea, don't really break down phobias. A person with a phobia can even accept that they are being irrational, but that doesn't diminish their fear. (I should say too, those camps I mentioned above, in one instance I had actually pre-cooked the meals at home and taken them out to the camp cooking staff, but they didn't present it right, so he had trouble trusting that it was really my cooking. So he wouldn't touch it. The very idea that it might not be trustworthy food was enough to completely freak him out. Suffice it to say I stopped making him go to camps, as they were obviously not a positive or worthwhile experience for him at all.)

He's 15 now, and the other day as he was helping me with groceries, he said, "I think maybe I will try new foods this year Mum. At my age, I really should give it a go." So we went through the freezers at the supermarket and picked out a bunch of Healthy Choice frozen meals, all entirely different to pretty much anything he has ever liked. 

My theory was 
1. He was willing 
2. I don't have to cook them so there's less emotional involvement on my part. 
3. He was willing. 
4. A lot of these meals are softer so he might enjoy them more.
5. He was willing. :)

Here they all are lined up in the freezer. Some of these (the spicier ones) are for me, but who knows? In my dreams I hope he will try those ones as well.

Fingers crossed!

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