Feb 1, 2010

Picky Eaters

Just something that has been on my mind. I was reading in a recent parenting magazine an article about helping your picky eater and this one I actually liked because the list of foods that it gave that your child might actually like included things like yogurt, fruit, veggies with dip and smoothies and not "macaroni and cheese with goat cheese and butternut squash chunks." That doesn't even sound good to any right minded adult. I digress. But one thing that it mentioned to help your picky eater learn to try new foods was to sneak them into things that he or she already likes, like adding pureed carrots to spaghetti sauce and then after they eat it telling them that it had carrots in it and that they ate them and that it didn't kill them. My thought is, "do they really need to know?" I like the idea of sneaking foods into other foods. I do it-sometimes even to help me get enough veggies or other healthy foods in. I add pureed cauliflower to banana bread and macaroni and cheese or scalloped potatoes. I add carrots in with tomato sauce things. I put a cup of whole wheat flour in with the muffins or pumpkin bread. But I say put it in there and let the kids eat it and go on with life. Then some day when you are making it and they see you adding the carrots and they say, "but I don't like carrots" you can say, "I always put carrots in this and you have been eating them for a year." I don't like the "a ha-I got you, I fooled you and see you liked it and you lived" kind of mentality. Maybe it is because that has happened to me too often. I was a picky child, and I am still a picky adult (though there are worse) and I don't think it is the end of the world. I remember when I was like 14 or something and my best friend and came to Utah to visit my aunt and uncle. I was shocked they said we could come and then the first day we got there at dinner when I didn't want to eat one of the things she had on the table (though I ate everything else) I got the, "if you are going to stay here for a few weeks, you are going to have to learn to eat everything" lecture. And right then and there I knew the reason why she said it was okay that I come, because she was planning on breaking me of my picky eating habit. Well I showed her. Years later when I was a senior in University and was student teaching and finishing up a couple of classes I ended up living with said aunt and uncle and once again my aunt thought that I just needed to eat everything including mushrooms. And I do not care for mushrooms at all, I think they are rubbery and slimy and gross and don't want to have anything to do with them. But she was determined. She told me flat out (and she doesn't read this blog so I can share this) that everything in my life would be better if I ate mushrooms from my acne clearing up to getting more dates. And she put mushrooms in everything for an entire week and I took those slimy suckers off everything for an entire week and she finally gave up and I did get married, my skin cleared up and I have two beautiful kids-no thanks to mushrooms I might add.
My in-laws also pulled the "I'll trick you" idea with lamb. They got this lamb and wanted to know if we wanted some. I said we didn't. We had very little room in our freezer and what room we did have I wanted to fill with meat I enjoy like bacon, hamburgers, chicken, steak, ribs, ham-not lamb. So I said I didn't want any and that besides that I didn't really like it anyway. I had tried lamb before and it wasn't on the top of my list. Well they invited us over for "roast" one afternoon and after it was finished my father in law said, "wasn't that great lamb" and I said, "it wasn't lamb" and he said, "oh yes it was." Well I admitted full well that it was good, but I didn't ask for any lamb for my freezer then nor have I since or will I. It did nothing to make me want it more. I don't like those trick you kind of games. I don't think they work. Well, I know they don't work on stuborrn kids/adults like me.
So my point is-just because we are parents doesn't mean we have to exert some power trip over our little kids and say, "I will show you that you like....," just cook the darn food, add the secret ingredients and get on with life. Put some carrots on the table too, offer variety, try new things and lay off the guilt trips if your kid doesn't want to eat everything. Trust me, even those who are picky eaters graduate from college, get married, have jobs and children and do just fine in life.
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  1. Great Blog! Very well put I like that perspective a lot! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I totally agree with you! I have used purees for sometime now in my kids food and in my own. I don't feel a need to bust out with "fooled you". I plan to do exactly as you are doing - if they see me make it then we'll chat but I'm not trying to torture anyone.

  3. Forcing anyone to eat something they don't like or fooling them is just nuts. Why should anyone feel they need to get anyone else to eat something they don't want is so not right. I did not believe in making kids eat things they didn't want, and yes they were picky eaters, and there were times I wished they weren't, but they grew up, married, and are wonderful parents, and great people. And I don't care that they don't want to eat everything. Who really is the controller of what other people eat. What a waste of time. You would never insist that an adult has to try this or that, why do it to a child. Love, Mom


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