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#1 Posted : Sunday, January 23, 2022 7:48:51 PM(UTC)

Anyone else on here have young kids that are picky eaters? My five year old is so picky it makes it so hard to cook anything because he will not eat it! Any ideas or thoughts on how to use this website when meal planning with a picky eater? 

#2 Posted : Sunday, January 23, 2022 11:41:15 PM(UTC)

My son was (a) allergic to 12 groups of food and (b) a picky eater ... down to insisting on a particular brand of some items he would eat. I took a two fold approach -- if he was picky when we were at friends' houses, he chose something to eat or went hungry. At home, I found ways to trick him into eating a more balanced diet than he realized. I'd be embarrassed to admit how many meals were a bacon and corn taco in a corn tortilla, or how much lassi he drank. What I basically did was make a list of foods he would eat and look for recipes or presentations that would keep them interesting. Unfortunately, neither of his sons are picky so I never got "revenge" ...

#6 Posted : Monday, January 24, 2022 1:55:56 AM(UTC)

I'm not sure if this is helpful but reading Child of Mine was a lifesaver for me.  It's a book by a therapist and eating specialist focused on dealing with eating issues with kids.  Here is a summary of her advice but I would recommend reading the whole book for more detail:

Ellen Satter recommends making whatever you were planning on making for the family and that's what your kid eats, too.  She also suggests: having something acceptable to your child at each meal (like rice or bread) but not planning the meal around their likes and dislikes; not pushing kids to try anything or finish anything, just make it available on their plate; and don't give kids constant snacks between meals.  I followed her advice and it worked for our family.  In fact, it turned my kids' picky behavior around very quickly.  My kids don't love everything but they are now 9 and 12 and eat almost anything. I make new foods at least 3-4 times a week and they are fine seeing and trying new foods on their plates. The book and advice were a lifesaver to me and I hope it can provide some relief to you, too.  

That said, I hope you aren't offended if this wasn't the kind of advice you were looking for.  Wishing you strength, as I remember how exhausting and dispiriting those battles were!

#7 Posted : Tuesday, January 25, 2022 8:23:14 PM(UTC)

Lepa. I was raised in a "you eat what is put before you" family in which each of us could refuse to eat one food - I refused ham, a brother refused fish ... but Mother understood why we didn't eat it. I hated ham because the school lunch program had served a long run of bad ham - tasteless, water-filled ...; my brother refused fish ... at four he tried to eat fish -- he liked the flavor but literally was unable to swallow it While the older two kids joined my parents eating breakfast when they first got up, the younger brother and I refused to eat until we'd been up a while. My niece showed her mother why --when forced to eat immediately on getting up she always threw it up.. My point is that picky eaters may simply be spoiled and used to getting their way in which case, your advice is solid. But other children are picky for legitimate reasons and if you force them too far, they may develop a very unhealthy relationship to food.

Note: my son outgrew his allergies and we figured out that it was the texture of certain foods he disliked -- change the preparation and you solve the problem. 

#8 Posted : Tuesday, January 25, 2022 9:41:22 PM(UTC)

I have 3 young kids ages 7, 4 and nearly-2. The older two ate almost anything as babies and then there was a sharp increase in pickiness around age 2 or 3. But they're not too bad really. Youngest is still eating anything. I ocasionally use EYB to get ideas for recipes using their favourite ingredients.  Having them flip through a book or magazine and pick something for dinner can help to get buy-in. 'For dinner' are the key words as they invariably will choose a dessert. Or have them scroll through a blog (I will browse with them) or a list of recipes ( has a weekly newsletter that often have lists of '100 week-night meals' or '150 after-school snacks' or some such) . I just use that to get ideas of the kinds of things that are appealing to them. But really, I choose what goes on the plate and they choose to eat it or not. Have you heard of the 'division of responsibilities'? The parent chooses what is served and when, and the child chooses whether they eat it and how much they eat. I kind of have that as a loose guideline, while also encouraging them to try new things. In that regard, graduated exposure helps - my preschool-teacher mother-in-law taught me this - get them to look at it (just look), now smell (just a smell), now lick (just a little lick), now taste. This has really helped my 4 year old discover new tastes that he auto-rejected just because they were new. I will usually encourage them to try a little bit of everything on the plate before they can have a second helping of their preferred component. Check out the Feeding Littles instagram page too! It's more geared to babies and toddlers but they have lots of good ideas that will still be relevant for a 5 year old.

#9 Posted : Tuesday, January 25, 2022 10:53:23 PM(UTC)

With my picky kids, I tried to find healthy foods that they would eat and just served them.  EYB is useful to search for different ways to serve the foods they like.

My teenagers still like their food plain (minimal sauce/spice, foods separated, raw veggies, etc) so I will serve them the components of the recipes while I use those components to make something more interesting for my husband and myself.  For example, Cajun shrimp pasta for us is pasta + plain shrimp + raw veggies for them.

My only other tip is to use peer pressure.  My kids would voluntarily try what their friends were eating but wouldn't if we asked them to.  If they did like a new food, I had to keep serving it otherwise they'd kind of forget and stop eating it.

I couldn't bring myself to force my kids to eat everything because my parents insisted that we eat a bit of everything.  Fifty years later, I still hate peas and green peppers.  My husband keeps hoping that I'll suddenly start liking olives. It's unlikely but it does encourage him to take me to Italy and Spain and Greece in search of great olives.

#10 Posted : Thursday, January 27, 2022 5:46:12 PM(UTC)

I never had to contend with extreme picky eating, although my youngest did go through a phase of only eating hotdogs and macaroni & cheese. That's when I resorted to spiking her chocolate milk with prune juice to get some fiber in her. I also came up with some silly names for things like spinach num nums. And when in doubt, toss some chocolate chips into zucchini muffins or banana pancakes! 
I also reminded myself that a diet does not need to be 'balanced' every meal or even every day. 

#11 Posted : Monday, July 18, 2022 6:11:23 AM(UTC)

Mine is not so picky, but he can become addicted to some products and eat them in enormous quantities until he hates them. This is not a good strategy because I don’t want him to have any allergies or just hate food that he used to like.
Their latest addiction is organic granola because he wants to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily with no day-offs. It worries me because I don’t know how to explain to him that it’s not the best idea. I try to talk to him, but he won’t listen. Of course, I don’t allow him to eat this granola all day long, but he keeps asking me to give him some and starts crying if I don’t.

#3 Posted : Monday, July 18, 2022 6:18:05 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: mjes Go to Quoted Post
My son was (a) allergic to 12 groups of food and (b) a picky eater ...

mjes, I am curious, can you give examples of 12 groups of food your son was allergic to?  

I understand that some infants are highly allergic to dairy but most often grow out of it by age 4.  My nephew's son is going through that now.  

I am also being told that one nephew is now having food sensitivity issues with fried chicken of all things.  He and his gf were eating lot of this.  He cannot keep it down anymore.


#4 Posted : Monday, July 18, 2022 9:14:38 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Rinshin Go to Quoted Post
mjes, I am curious, can you give examples of 12 groups of food your son was allergic to?

I can't name them all any more but: wheat, eggs, chocolate, citrus, potatoes, tomatoes

#5 Posted : Tuesday, July 19, 2022 9:13:59 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: mjes Go to Quoted Post
I can't name them all any more but: wheat, eggs, chocolate, citrus, potatoes, tomatoes

Fascinating how we can have all sorts of true food allergies such as to nuts, daily, and certain melons as well as all sorts of food sensitivities.  

Apparently there are tests you can buy through Amazon to find out what foods you may be sensitive to.  My nephew did that and found he is sensitive to chicken. 

#12 Posted : Wednesday, July 20, 2022 1:06:32 AM(UTC)

Sensitivities and allergies are odd things.

25 years ago, I had a co-worker with fraternal twins, one boy, one girl. Both were lactose intolerant (a sensitivity). Each was fully allergic to other's milk substitute. One drank soy milk, one drank almond milk. Fortunately the cartons included different strong colors, and the household color matched cups, cereal bowls, etc. so accidents didn't happen. It worked for them, but having to stock multiple milks, and to cook with none of them and so on, was tiresome and draining.

I myself am sensitive to galangal. I'm normally okay when it is used to flavor a broth, but more than that, as ginger might be used in a dish, and I am in for some unpleasantness. Oddly, I'm not sensitive to ginger, to which galangal is a closely related. To add insult to injury, I love galangal and a favorite Thai dish is Beef with Galangal and Citrus Leaves, which I allow myself just once every few years and as a solo dining experience, know what will rapidly follow.

Several years ago I read about a theory that the increasing sensitivity to gluten is due to the huge amount of hybridization that occurred in wheat during the 20th century. The wheat humans had been eating and adapted to for thousands of years, has in a few decades doubled or more in genetic complexity. There's lots more there to react to.

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