I learned how to let go of my anxiety-ridden control tactics, and my daughter found her appetite and learned to eat happily and independently. But that took time, patience, and a lot of help. And looking back, there is one thing that I would tell that tired, frustrated mom who skipped Thanksgiving dessert to cry in the bathroom.
A safe eating dynamic is one in which no one feels pressured, neither caregivers nor kids. There is room to explore food, to enjoy it, to be heard and respected when you say "no thanks" and when you say "yes, please." In a safe dynamic, your eating is not the focus of people’s attention, and no one is trying to impose any agenda beyond having a relaxed meal.
There is little that is more frustrating than when your child only accepts 5-6 foods – especially when most of those foods don’t contain enough nutrition to function as pillars of a caloric, nutrient-dense diet. But there are ways to help your child to expand his or her repertoire, and one way to do that is to identify foods that are related to the preferred food, and to offer them together.