Author: Amber French
Dealing with picky eaters effects all people. Whether you are veggie or not you probably have a picky eater in your house. Some of the pickiest eaters I know are actually adults who didn’t have the chance to explore foods when they were children. In this article I will focus on the Kids. Get them while they are young and poof no more picky adults.
Most people have heard that you need to expose children to a new food over 20 times before they can actually determine whether or not they like it. Living through those 20 plus times and knowing they won’t starve and/or live on noodles and butter for the rest of their lives is the hard part.
Giving in is the worst thing we can do, but what can we do….
Persistence and options are what I have found to work (some times). In my house there are days I pick the veggies they loved yesterday and think that dinner is going to be smooth sailing, Instead I am meet with folded arms and that look on their face.
The biggest thing I learned is not to take it all too seriously. When they say they don’t like something, don’t immediately add it to the list of Things-Johnny-Won’t-Eat. Over half the time they are upset about something else, not hungry, tired or a whole list of other situations that effect their dinner time mood. Also, don’t rely on the easy… noodles and broccoli are great but they build ruts and just prolong the arguments when broccoli finds itself on The List.
Involving the kids is cliche but it works. From the grocery store to putting groceries away (so they know where the healthy snack are kept and can help themselves), to making dinner and cleaning up afterwards. If I was catered to I would certainly be more picky and demanding than if I had a hand in the meal, kids (and husbands) are no different.
I have a new juicer and have been trying to get my youngest to experiment with her choices to no avail. Yesterday she saw me juicing a lemon by hand and said she wanted to try that and make her own juice. She picked a very healthy (very tart) concoction, that I thought for sure I was going to end up drinking. She picked the produce, she juiced the lemon by hand, she put the rest in the juicer and drank the whole thing!!!!!
The other trick I rely on is hiding the fruits, veggies and other healthy add-ins. Blending veggies in to a creamy (with no cream) pasta sauce work wonders. Making soups in the blender allows me to add in veggies that normally would get picked out. I even add the pulp from the juicer into muffins, loaves and soup bases. I add things like flax and chia seeds to oatmeal and smoothies. We always play guess the secret ingredient (after they have eaten most of it!!) My middle one says “I don’t want to know until I am done”!!!! That way they can learn to like certain veggies for their taste and avoid the visual and textural ick factor.
My last tip allows me to cater (somewhat) to my family’s like and dislikes. A lot of my meals are ‘build your own’. Tacos, bowls, salads even pastas lend well to this premise. I make multiple options to go on top of the main base and let the kids pick. I set the rules ahead time (sometimes it must include 3 toppings or 2 toppings must be vegetables etc) I also offer different sauces so that the more adventurous can have the spice and heat they like.
Most importantly I tell my kids they must take 5 bites of everything they are taking even if they don’t like it. I explain the science behind it and let them know that they can change their tastebuds and acquire new favourites and they don’t know what they don’t like because they haven’t tried 20 times yet!!
Good Luck! Have fun in the kitchen it makes the occasional show-down with your kids easier to handle.
About the Author: Amber has been in the fitness and recreation game for over 15 years (not including school!!). She made fitness her life because as the age old saying goes, study and teach what it is you need to learn. In other words, she’s battles with some weight issues for many years and wants to share what she has learned along the way.
You can follow her @TheVeganHouse