Helpful Tips to Appease Picky Eaters

by Mariel on February 24, 2011

As a mother of 5, it’s inevitable that I will have at least ONE picky eater. And, I do. It’s bad. Bad, as in:  hates chicken nuggets, hamburgers, pizza, cheese, fruit, veggies, ketchup, mustard, pretty much everything. Really, everything.

Yes, I accept hugs from strangers.

I was browsing Redbook, the other day, and read about a study completed by The University of Bristol, where they followed 13,000 kids from infancy to age 7.  They found that picky eaters “met the same calorie and nutrient quotas as veggie-loving kids.  And there were no major differences in weight and height between the two group.  Veggies are a terrific source of folic acid, B vitamins, and calcium, but kids can also get those in fortified cereals, bananas, peaches, citrus fruits, peanuts, yogurt, cheese, milk, and orange juice.

Phew!  Permission to take a chill-pill.

Thankfully, I don’t need to fret my little heart out over my kid not loving veggies, but he has got to advance past Ramen Noodles, Mac-n-Cheese, and Spaghetti-O’s.  So, lucky for him, I’m a great nag and determined to open his mind and mouth.
The first part of my plan involves cooking together. I told him he would be making his own cookbook, so he needs to try lots of new recipes and find some he likes.  That has helped tremendously!!  Some of his recent favorites, making it into his cookbook:  Dinner Rolls, Hamburger Gravy, Buffalo Chicken Mini-Pizzas, and Taco Bowls (that he just shared on tv!)

The second part of my plan is to hold little taste-testing events. Basically, I buy several items that he doesn’t like, we do taste-testing, and he fills out a report on each item.  That’s right, I mean business.  But, really…all of the kids LOVE this!  Last month, we did cheese tasting.  My son hates cheese.  But, after this activity, he can name several types of cheese that he likes and/or will tolerate.

Yesterday, was “fruit tasting.”  Here’s the play-by-play…

I picked up several fruits that I knew he hadn’t tried before or needed to try again:  tangelo, mango, pear, plantain, kiwi, and grapefruit.
Cut them all into bite-sized pieces…
Gathered the munchkins and started tasting.  Everyone was imagining they found themselves on a deserted island and the fruit they tasted was from the ONLY fruit tree available.  Did they love it or would they rather die a miserable death by starvation?  Okay, dramatic…but, fun.
After each fruit was tasted, they had to fill out their “Food Critic Review” form…appearance, texture, taste, and rating.
So, the clear winners were plantains and pears.  The biggest loser was…grapefruit.   Being stuck on an island with only grapefruit would be certain-death for my kids.
The kids are already begging for a “fruit tasting, round 2!”  Even little Isabelle had a blast. What??  Oh, that?? Hmmm…it kinda looks like a plantain/tangelo combo and, you’re welcome.


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