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'Mommy, Mommy, I Want Pizza': Coronavirus with Picky Eaters

For anyone on a special diet or with a picky eater at home, these are especially trying times.

Dalia Colón, producer of The Zest podcast, is one of countless parents trying to keep their kids entertained and fed during the coronavirus outbreak. She sends this report from her home in Riverview:

My 3-year-old son basically lives on string cheese and strawberries. For my 7-year-old daughter, yogurt is its own food group. So explaining to them that I can’t find all their favorite foods at the grocery store hasn’t gone over well. And favorite foods can be a comfort for kids, especially when the rest of their routine has been upended. So I was looking for some ideas when we invited Benji's preschool friend Heather and her mom, Lauren Rozier, over for a playdate.

We sat on my patio, the kids playing with water toys while Lauren and I traded war stories.

"Heather’s been real big on soup, so we have princess soup and ramen, so that’s been a real winner for her," Lauren told me. "And always breakfast for dinner, like sausage gravy biscuits or something with eggs on the side. I don’t know. We’ve been doing easy, easy meals."

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Find recipes to make with your family.

I lament the lack of fresh fruits and veggies. "I should’ve planted a garden, like six months ago," I said.

But I didn’t plant a garden six months ago. So for lunch, we ordered pizza. I called our local pizzeria, relieved to learn that they still delivered

"Mommy, Mommy. I want pizza," Benji whined as I placed the order.

While we waited for the pizza to arrive, we made fruit smoothies with what little fruit I had on hand. But Benji didn't want to participate in that activity, either.

"I don’t want to do it!" he screamed.

Did I mention the kids aren't exactly chipper these days?

THE ZEST PODCAST: Catch up on season 1.

While Benij sulked, Lauren and I made smoothies with the girls, triple-checking that they'd washed their hands. When the smoothies were ready, I poured the liquid into plastic champagne glasses in an attempt to raise everyone's spirits.

Then the pizza arrived. We sat around the patio table, and my daughter, Norah, said a prayer for the food.

"Dear God, thank you that we get to eat pizza with some of our friends who got to be here today," she prayed. "Thank you that we got to make smoothies and have a nice afternoon. Amen."

The kids munched quietly, as Lauren and I savored a few minutes of delicious silence.

"We'll call it a win," I said.

At least until dinnertime.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.
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