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Picky Eaters: Come On, Just Try It!

Real Mom of O’Fallon is tired of dealing with picky eaters.

I’m frustrated! My boys are picky eaters.This includes my husband, too. 

I enjoy cooking, but recently I’ve become more of a short order cook.  On any given night, I am making two or three different entrées for dinner. 

For example, the other night I made a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner.  Luckily, one of my children tried it and liked it, although he picked out every pea and carrot from the pie filling. 

I also ate the Chicken Pot Pie, which was rather delicious, but my younger son and husband wouldn’t even try it. This wasn’t a special gourmet pot pie, but rather a simple recipe from Betty Crocker.  I made Andrew a sandwich, but refused to make another item for my husband, so he was on his own.  I could understand their refusal to try the food if I was a bad cook. But I’m not!  I realize I’m not the next Top Chef, but I can follow a recipe and rarely overcook food. 

I will admit that there are foods that I don’t care for. I’m not a huge fan of seafood, but if someone invited me over for dinner and they were serving fish, I would at least try it.  I rarely cook food I don’t like, so I certainly wouldn’t force them to eat something I won’t eat myself.  However, often times I can’t even get my family to just try some of the foods I cook.   

I can’t blame my children entirely for their lack of culinary adventure, as they are just following the example set by their father.

When first married, I learned really fast that my husband preferred simple, bland food.  I on the other hand, am always looking to try something new, and I enjoy a lot of flavor in my food. 

I have fond memories of my dad making recipes from the Joy of Cooking.  Trying to blend those two styles was a bit tough.  I remember asking my husband what types of meals he would like me to cook and he suggested Sloppy Joes.  I thought great!  That is something quick and easy, but with a lot of flavor.  So, I cooked Sloppy Joes (Manwich style), or what I grew up thinking was Sloppy Joes.  My husband took one look at it and refused to eat it.  He wouldn’t even try it. 

Apparently, he grew up thinking that Sloppy Joes were ground beef, tomato soup and a dash of onion salt.  No offense to my wonderful Mother-in-law, Linda, but that is not Sloppy Joe!  Sloppy Joe has onion, peppers, garlic and brown sugar along with tomato sauce.  They are delicious and can even be made with ground turkey to be very healthy.  However, my husband wouldn’t know that because he wouldn’t even try my version. 

I can see my husband’s pickiness rubbing off on the boys.  The other night I made baby baked potatoes to go with our dinner.  Andrew loves when I make roasted potatoes, which are the same as the baby baked potatoes, except for their shape.  The only difference is they are round in shape versus the square shape of the roasted potatoes.  Dinner ended with tears because I wouldn’t let Andrew have a snack until he ate his potatoes.   

I refuse to raise boys who won’t at least try different foods. I’m not talking about making them eat their vegetables.  I just want them to eat something more than plain chicken, chicken nuggets and pizza. 

So, O’Fallon, I’m turning to you. I need help to get my family a little more adventurous with their food choices.  All I want is for them to try the food.   My oldest son, Joey, is already on board and trying new foods, but I want to encourage that to continue for life.  I’m tired of being a short order cook and want to enjoy dinner, not dread it.

Patti Baratta September 18, 2011 at 05:38 PM
When my kids were little, often times I made things that they didn't like. I let them pick out any part of it that they found "offensive," but made them do the "picking out." I suspect as time wore on and they gained big kid appetites, the desire to pick around food waned because it was too much work for them. My 16-year-old will now try ANYTHING. My 13-year-old still picks around things. My solution is string cheese, yogurt and clementine oranges. If she is still hungry, those are her choices. Hubby, on the other hand... I will refrain from commenting to preserve harmony in my home! (Actually, he isn't too bad, but still makes his likes and dislikes known.)
Trish Feldt September 19, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Thanks Patti! I'll try that. I'm hoping as they get older they will become more willing to try things. Sounds like there is hope!
Amanda September 20, 2011 at 11:35 PM
I thank God that I have good eaters because I know I would have very little patience for picky kids. I like to cook but I refuse to make more then one meal unless I know it is something they absolutely will not like. My brother was a picky eater and one thing I remember my Mom doing was that everyone got to pick one meal a night that they wanted. So he would usually pick something like grilled cheese, or chicken nuggets and that is what everyone ate. Then on my night it was usually tuna casserole or some pasta. Mom got to pick, Dad got to pick, and Fridays we ate out (unless it was Lent) and then the weekends it was everyone fend for themselves. He had to eat at least SOME of the food served on opposite nights but he could pick out what he didn't. Another thing - hide the healthy stuff. If they will eat tacos - puree up a tomato and use that in place of water to season the meat. A friend of mine does this with butter nut squash- she purees it up and puts it in mac and cheese. She also does it with brocolli and puts it in vegetable soup or potato soup - because then SHE can't taste it. And finally you can always plug in the ingredients they do like into a site like allrecipes.com and see what comes up. Good Luck!

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