While my twins are still too young to be worry about this yet I know it is something parents face all the time. I know because I was a picky eater for my parents. Mostly not liking things like tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, basically anything my parents wanted to add to food to jazz it up, I liked things plain! Good thing is though now that I’m the cook and grown up I have learned to appreciate some of the things I once did not. Peppers are now a favorite in our home, and I now eat spaghetti sauce. While most of my issues are texture related like salsa, love the flavor hate all that chunky stuff, or onions again flavor good crunchy bad. My close friends know me and my issues and just laugh probably thinking I’m crazy. But now I can use my experience and wisdom to pass on to mothers who may struggle with this as well. Also remember it could be worse, my mothers best friend, her son only ate Ketchup on a bun and spaghetti with fresh parmesan and butter, oh and Cheerios. He is now well over 6 feet and enjoys all kinds of food.
Here are some of my tricks:
- First off don’t stress about what your child won’t eat and focus on what they will eat. I tell my girls to at least try it and if they don’t like it they can leave it. Something I heard all the time. You don’t know unless you try. If they finish what they do like let them have more. No reason to punish because they don’t like something and won’t eat it.
- Pizza sauce makes a great salsa substitute, no chunks and nice flavor.
- Veggies and Dip, not many kids don’t like veggies and dip. Have a nice afternoon snack of it and let them fill up so come dinner if you have to serve a grilled cheese or chicken nuggets again at least you know they ate veggies in the afternoon. Same with fruit. My girls love fruit and veggies. Can’t get enough so come supper I don’t sweat it if they choose not to eat brussels sprouts or squash.
- Also with dip it always helps food go down easier in our house, dip is like a super power. So stock up on ketchup, ranch dressing, and all your other favorite dips.
- Oddly enough roast beef, roast chicken, etc doesn’t get eaten much at supper but come the next day and I’m slicing it on the cutting board cold it disappears. Keep this in mind and go ahead let your little ones fill themselves on it before supper. It could pay off if you get some veggies and dip out too, then if they are too full to eat what your cooking you can then pop a movie on and enjoy a nice meal with just your spouse that is quiet for once.
- Kids can live on KD, grilled cheese and chicken nuggets. When they want a change they will ask.
- Smoothies are a great way to get kids to eat fruit and have some dairy.
- Chocolate milk won’t hurt either.
- Using my cold meat method I put out lots of pineapple while making pizza, they do enjoy it on the pizza but letting them eat lots before hand helps them get the extra fruit. I also mix the juice with orange juice for a special drink at dinner time.
- Let your kids pick what they want to eat out of what you have cooked. They are more likely to eat it if they are the ones who chose what they are to eat and how much.
- Use fruit to make yummy desserts, who says no to dessert. Favorites for us is strawberries and whipped cream, apple crisp and clingstone peaches sprinkled with cinnamon and baked to serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
- Plant a garden, sometimes kids are willing to try new things if they helped to grow it.
- Pudding is another way to get kids to get enough calcium.
- Don’t be afraid to puree some things to keep the flavor but remove evidence of things like onions or peppers.
- I enjoy using recipes from Jessica Seinfeld’s deceptively Delicious. But don’t make a habit of hiding everything, because if you don’t offer the option of trying things and always hide them kids won’t know if they like them. I just hide stuff for an extra boost.
- Experiment with spices if you or someone in your family does not like things like onions or peppers. Sauces also work great too, I use the leftover taco sauce to flavor chicken for quesidillas and then just add cheese.
- Also teach your kids how to be polite about being a picky eater so at least if they are visiting a friend’s house during dinner they know how to respond to dinner. By either taking smaller portions or nicely pushing things to the side of their plate. Also that it is ok to say no thank you to certain foods.
- As your kids get bigger get them involved in cooking dinner it may open the door to trying new things.
- Ragu I have found has the least and smallest onions.
I hope these tips have helped. If you have any to share please do! Remember I’m not a dietitian simply a picky eater myself so all my advice comes from my own experience growing up and having kids of my own.
From our Happy Family to Yours!