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S/O: Kids being 'picky eaters'


Re: S/O: Kids being 'picky eaters'

  • My mom was a "short order cook" when my sisters and I were growing up. If we didn't like what she cooked for her and my dad, she made us mac and cheese (or whatever we requested). I really wish she hadn't done that - as an adult I see it as a total disservice. I hadn't tried pork chops or broccoli until was 19 because I grew up thinking I hated it. Not saying force your children to eat meat and veggies - but I was never encouraged to eat outside the box and grew up in a sheltered world of food. I missed out on some really yummy stuff!
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    For dinner, my kids were served whatever food the adults were eating. One kid was picky, the other two were not. I tried to include a sure thing at each meal for Miss Picky- raw veggies, whole grain bread or yogurt. One of the boys was picky only about his school lunch - he brought cheese sandwiches, fruit and juice every day, but he ate mostly anything that was served at dinner time. Youngest child was easy to please at meal time. When we ate in restaurants, they were allowed to order off the adult menu if they wanted. We didn't make a fuss over their food choices. They are all adults, with normal eating habits. 

  • pinkshorts27pinkshorts27 Oregon member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    My parents didn't eat a ton of ethnic food either and didn't really season things a lot, so I am really sensitive to seasonings, especially anything spicy/hot. So in that aspect I am picky. But I will eat most thing that aren't spicy now. I didn't always, just because I had a very sensitive stomach. And it was never for lack of trying. We always had to try everything, but didn't have to finish if we really didn't like it. For example, I hate cauliflower. I would have to try it, but if I didn't like it I would have to make myself some other vegetable so my parents wouldn't have to do anymore work (this was usually carrots, since I didn't need to cook them).  Most of the time we ate what the adults did.

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  • My name is kmmssg and I am a picky eater...

    I wish I wasn't and I am pretty sure I know why I am.  My bio brothers were much older (15, 12, and 10 years older) and I don't remember any of them as being a picky eater.  I am guessing my dad had something to do with that because he was very strict and grew up in an orphanage during the Depression because his family was so poor.  Food was never ever ever wasted.  I am guessing the boys would have never thought to mention they didn't like something.  Dad died when I was 3 so I don't really remember much from him.

    My mom was a 38 year old widow with a 3 year old daughter.  She was a typical 1940's housewife and never ever worked outside the home.  Her attempts were kinda disastrous.  She was a great cook though.  She went into a terrible depression when my dad died and it was super easy to ask what I wanted to eat and it was chicken and rice soup, hamburger with ketchup, or cereal.  

    When my gawdawfulhorrid stepdad came on the scene 3 years later his rule was you ate everything on your plate whether you put it there or not, and you ate what was served, every single time.  I hated liver and lima beans last week?  Too bad, we are having them again and you are eating it.  

    I do admit that I did learn to like a few more things in those years but my little girl feelings still come out when I think about how horrid he was about dinner and eating what you hated.  Mom wasn't allowed to make anything he didn't like.  A very unchristian part of my mind has thought from time to time whether or not he is in an afterlife, stuck eating what he truly hates for all eternity.  

    My kids had to try at least a no-thank you bite if they weren't interested in something.  After a few months (when they were little) we would try it again.  If they really didn't like it, I didn't make them eat it.  

    To this day, I hate beets, lima beans, any organ meat (cuz I am not even going to try it), fish, fish, and more fish (but I will make tuna salad from the stuff in the packet - no idea why that is ok and other fish isn't), really spicy food, quite a bit of seafood (shrimp, lobster, and crab are ok), okra, and lots of other things.

    I wish I liked all the things my brothers liked - they really ate a diverse list of things compared to me.

    DS is another story all together.  He is picky but he got hit with a double whammy.  First he has Asperger's (I know, they just call it autism now) and textures are a huge issue for him.  No gravy, no soup, no mac N cheese ever ever ever, hates super tender meat, most casseroles don't work if they are wetter/saucy, most vegetables (he will eat raw baby carrots, raw red bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower under duress, spinach cooked in something, and does want to try kale and chard).  He does love fish so I do make it for him.

    His second whammy there is that he is anosmic.  He 100%, completely, no bones about it has NO sense of smell.  I can bake choc chip cookies in the next room and he is totally oblivious to the smell.  One day stuck in traffic we were right over a squished skunk - I was about to throw up and he had no idea what was wrong.  Smell is such a large component of taste so I don't understand how he tastes things, I just know it is vastly different than what I am used to.

    I have tried to broaden my palette but I haven't had a lot of success.  I hate being a picky eater.
  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @kmmssg One of FI's cousins is autistic, and the only food he would eat without having a horrible fit when he was little was French toast and waffles. He said everything else hurt his mouth. FI also has problems with textures (due to Aspergers) - he can't handle anything "slimy", nor can he eat foods when they're mixed together. Everything on his plate is in separate areas and he eats on thing at a time before moving on to the next thing.

  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2014
    I already have next to no patience with kids, so they will eat what I make or go hungry. Picky kids gross me out.

    I don't mind if it's once specific thing they don't like, I would just leave that off their plate if I wanted it. In my opinion, kids still need to develop their palates and have no right to decide if they really don't like something.

    I wasn't really picky but I wasn't a big eater when I was a kid.
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  • larrygaga said:
    I already have next to no patience with kids, so they will eat what I make or go hungry. Picky kids gross me out.

    I don't mind if it's once specific thing they don't like, I would just leave that off their plate if I wanted it. In my opinion, kids still need to develop their palates and have no right to decide if they really don't like something.

    I wasn't really picky but I wasn't a big eater when I was a kid.
    You don't think I could discern absolute hatred for liver as a child?  If a child has tried something a few times (or more in my case with liver) and they don't like it that should be respected.  In that instance I think a child most certainly has a right to decide if they don't like something.  I find the bolded part a bit disconcerting.  My stepfather didn't think I had the right to make that decision either and at 54 I still hate him, partially because of that idea.
  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    For the most part I agree parents really need to try to expand their kids' palettes but sometimes there's more than meets the eye. My sister is Autistic and when she was little she went through a lot of phases where she'd eat this but not that, etc. 

    When she was really little she refused to eat pretty much anything but sweet potatoes, to the point where her skin tinted orange. I remember when she wouldn't eat anything brown, because she made the generalization that brown=burnt, so no more hamburgers, or meat, or a lot of things. 

    It's kind of a fine line. On one hand kids need to eat healthy and the best time to expand a person's palette is when they're younger. OTOH, it's not always a hill worth dying on- and in my sister's case, it really was choosing between a fit over one thing or another so giving her food she liked was usually the best option. 

    I think most kids are at least a little picky, no matter how hard the parents try. I know I had a list of things I didn't like as a kid but now I have trouble thinking of things I won't eat. My sister is still pretty picky but she will at least try things. 
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'll admit to being a picky eater, regardless of my parents attempts. We didn't have a clean your plate rule, but we had to finish our protein, if nothing else. Mom generally tried to make meals that would appeal to everyone, and only did one new food at one time. We had to take two bites, and those bites must be swallowed. If we didn't want any more after that, that was fine. She also did her best to respect when we really truly did not like something. When she figured out that I really really hated broccoli, she was ok with a few raw carrot sticks in it's place. And if she knew ahead of time she was making a meal that neither of us kids honestly liked (like fish), then she automatically planned something else for us. But on a normal night, you ate what was served. I'm still a picky eater now. My sister, not so much. I was diagnosed with mild OCD a few years ago, and I'm sure it contributes to my pickiness from a texture and smell standpoint. I'm also a supertaster, so I taste certain compounds in foods stronger and deeper than most people. I think it extends to smell and texture too. My problem with fish and seafood is not just taste, but smell and texture. When I walk into Whole Foods, for example, the first thing that happens is the stench of rotting sea life almost knocks me over. No one I know can smell it, but to me, it's super strong and gross. Fish and seafood is all always slimy and tastes spoiled. Milk tastes spoiled on it's last expiration date. Cruciferous vegetables taste like mouthfuls of pure sulfur. Curry tastes like a teenage boy's athletic socks. Fennel is overwhelmingly bitter, as is coffee. Dark meat chicken tastes horribly gamy. However, I love tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, vinegar - all stuff that generally supertasters hate. Sister is not a supertaster and eats a very varied diet - and a lot of weird stuff, since she's primarily vegetarian and is allergic to wheat. Sister's kids (7 and 10) eat a very varied diet as well, and have never had McDonalds or Taco Bell, or really any fast food. If they go out, it's to an actual restaurant, or maybe the café at Whole Foods. Nephew could demolish a California roll (with wasabi) at age 3, and consistently astounds waitstaff at Mexican restaurants by shoveling in the hottest salsa they make (his dad can do that too). Niece and nephew both love rare grilled tuna, most vegetables, quinoa. Although, they both do love pizza, and nephew would happily live the rest of his life on cheese and fruit, if allowed to. They both routinely request 'traditional' food when at Grandmother's house (meaning, homestyle food like meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken), stuff their mom doesn't make. ****major apologies for lack of paragraphs...stupid IE....
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Growing up, we had family friends who had the clean plate rule. The parents thought they were great disciplinarians. The kids couldn't leave the table until they had finished the meals that were put in front of them. If anyone objected to an item, the dad gave an extra spoonful of the offending item on the plate, usually canned peas for my little friend.The little girl who was my age would try to out wait her dad and would often fall asleep at the table. When the parents were successful at forcing or bribing her to eat, she'd vomit. As a teenager, she was hospitalized for anorexia, dangerously skinny and malnourished. 

    Encouraging children to try new foods is one thing, but I fail to see how forcing anyone to eat something would make them like it. 
  • Chipmunk415Chipmunk415 at the corner of Wine Ave. and Margarita Ln. member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    My aunt had a method for dealing with my pickiness at the dinner table when we'd visit. I had to take a "no thank you" portion (about 2 tablespoon fulls) of the offending item and eat it. DH occasionally uses the "No thank you" rule on me, unless I tell him that the smell of the item makes me feel ill- he won't force it, but he does encourage me to broaden my horizons. With him, I have.
  • APDSS22APDSS22 O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A is OK member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    @RebeccaB88 Supertasting runs in my family so I definitely understand what you're talking about.  I mostly avoid certain textures in foods because I can't make myself eat them.  If I'm over at someone's house and they give me a plate of food I normally wouldn't eat, I ask for BBQ sauce or ketchup, drown the food in it when they aren't looking and swallow it down with a huge gulp of whatever I'm drinking like a pill so it goes straight down my throat with as little tasting as possible.  I can't stand fennel in particular.  It is the enemy. 

    My parents made all the traditional foods like pork chops, meatloaf, and spaghetti when I was growing up but they also threw in things like stir fry with chicken and jicama so we weren't just eating the same things over and over.  My dad doesn't really do spicy very well but mom loves it so we got a nice medium.  I still have trouble with very spicy but I try it occasionally just to see.  My husband had his vegetables hidden in his food as a child.  Last summer I got him to try asparagus for the first time.  He actually liked it.  In return I bought him a bottle of sriracha and add a little to his portion of food when it will go well so he gets more spice in his food since what I consider adequately spicy he can't even taste.

  • I've got to remember the "No thank you" portion for future kiddos.
  • Ugh, I hate this topic. FI's daughter is very coddled when around his family - his mom has her most of the time (but that is a whole other story). His mom is more than happy to her make whatever she wants. I guess that's what happens when you're a grandma - you're the nice guy. 

    But if we're having macaroni and you want mashed potatoes instead with your chicken - nope, sorry, I'm not making you a special starch. I'm happy to make a salad with no tomatoes, pasta with no sauce, food without too much spice or garlic, etc. We don't force her to eat food she hates - but we're not making a special meal because you feel special that day.

    I'm a vegetarian, started being one when I was a teenager. My parents still never made me some sort of special meal every day. 
  • I am extremely picky, but not via choice for most of my issues.

    I'm extremely allergic to the nightshade family. That was fun to learn. My mom was giving in and letting me live on PBJ as I would puke with a lot of food. Dr figured it was reflux, I'd outgrow it. An aunt hid tomatoes or something in jelly, so I was eating it and my throat started swelling shut. Yay.

    Equally reactive to mushrooms. Another yay. I carry epi for those to this day.

    From the mushroom issue - anything with a similar texture grosses me out. Tofu is the big one there.

    I'm also reactive to citrus. Not as bad, but mouth and throat ulcers aren't fun.

    So, blah. I pretty much ignore 90% of the produce aisle.

    DD however cheerfully eats what is on her plate except cooked peas. Raw peas are fine however. Granted, she doesn't know what potatoes are, but oh well.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited April 2014
    My aunt had a method for dealing with my pickiness at the dinner table when we'd visit. I had to take a "no thank you" portion (about 2 tablespoon fulls) of the offending item and eat it. DH occasionally uses the "No thank you" rule on me, unless I tell him that the smell of the item makes me feel ill- he won't force it, but he does encourage me to broaden my horizons. With him, I have.

    I have never heard anyone else use this besides myself before!  My family swears I make up expressions!  I have used it in regard to the example you used above.  I also use it when someone at work or a social event insists I try something.  It is not necessarily that I don't care for the item in question, but rather a food I am trying to avoid for dieting reasons.  The other "portion size" I will ask for is a "schnibble", which is slightly bigger than a nibble.  This is usually for something I would love to devour but am trying hard to avoid.
  • Kids are way too picky these days! I have seen people bring seperate meals for their children (mac and chesse, mini pizzas) when I have been at big family events and I think it is absolutely ridiculous. That would not have happened when I was a kid! We were told to eat what we were given. I can not image going to someones home and turning my nose up to what they had prepared for me, that is just poor rude. I pretty much like everything now and thankfully my fiance was raised the same way, so he does too. We don't have children yet, but we will do our best to not raise picky eaters. I know sometimes you just dont like something..but at least give it a try.
  • Kids should absolutely try things, they shouldn't be forced to eat a big scoop of something they have tried and don't care for or have to keep trying it repeatedly every couple of weeks.  I do not agree with training kids that taking food to someone else's house is ok.

    Mobkaz - we have also been using "no thank you bites" for many years but I am totally stealing schnibble!
  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Genetics plays a big part in what foods we like and what foods we don't. However, some of our taste preferences do change as we get older, so I think it is really important to not rule out a food item just because you tried it once. (LINK) I had to do a lot of cooking for my younger sisters when I was in high school, and it was incredible how many vegetables I could hide in things like meatloaf and spaghetti sauce.


  • mobkaz said:
    I think a lot has to do with how and when you introduce solid foods into the diet of a baby.  Foods should be introduced slowly, one at a time.  I think a mistake new parents make is introducing foods to toddlers that are sweet in nature, even if healthy (fruits).

    Neither of my kids were particularly picky, but they definitely had their preferences.  If dinner one night was son's favorite meat, but daughter did not like it, I made sure to include a side she did like. They ate what was served and there were no changes or substitutions.  As I told my kids often, "This isn't Denny's".  Much like other posters, I also weaned the kids in slowly.  Sauces began on the side and were slowly integrated.  The concept of casseroles began very slowly, with perhaps only two or three ingredients to start.  Daughter learned to eat just about anything as long as she could drown it in ketchup!  I made sure that every meal had at least one fruit and one vegetable.

    I am not a fan AT ALL of insisting plates be finished.  I am also not a fan of forcing children to go beyond tasting a new food.  Mealtime should be the most important and pleasant family function.  It is not the time to demonstrate control, power, or authority.  
    To the bold portion, I completely agree. However, I have always been careful with portions, so kiddo is more likely to ask for more than leave any behind.  However, it does happen.  For some reason, she is always apologetic, and I always say the same thing: If you are full, there is no need to finish all your food.  

    About eating things she doesn't prefer, if she really hates it, I will give her a bit of a pass.  If she just doesn't prefer it, I will encourage her to eat more so that she is not complaining of hunger later.  There have been no power struggles over food, and I'd like to keep it that way!

  • I agree with the school of thought that kids will eat a broader range of foods if they are exposed to them, and not given the "short order cook" option.  This has def been my experience with kids I've helped raise, and from what I've seen in friend's families.

    To the control point, funny story-  When I was about 8 or 9, my aunt and uncle brought me to visit friends of theirs who had two daughters around my age.  I had spent time with them previously but not frequently.  Now I was not a picky eater but hated, HATED mac & chees, especially the crap in a box with orange cheese.  Guess what was being served?  I simply said no thank you.  Didn't ask for or expect anything else, just figured I'd wait until I got home to eat.  These people flipped their lids!  Why my Aunt and Uncle tolerated this is beyond me, although they don't have kids of their own and are a little kooky, generally.   So this grown man that I barely knew was really angry & INSISTING that I eat it and would have to stay at the table until I did.   Even at that young age, I remember thinking, who does this guy think he is??  So I quietly sat there until it was time to go home.  You should've seen the looks he gave me as we were leaving and the disgusting food was left untouched on his table. 

  • HaileyDancingbearHaileyDancingbear Arkham Asylum member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I think this debate goes hand in hand with the whole nature vs. nurture debate.  I personally believe that our nature/personality dictates HOW our environment shapes us- so I think some cases of being a picky eater are just the way the kid is (For instance, no matter how many times I am talked into giving them another try, I will never like mushrooms.  And while I like the FLAVOR of strawberries, raspberries etc. I CANNOT handle the texture- I HATE the hard seeds mixed in with the soft berries.  HATE IT.)   and in other instances, kids are picky because they get used to a limited diet and never HAD to try anything new.  

    I think it's important to expose a kid to lots of different foods- because food is friggin awesome, and I know I was EXTREMELY lucky as a kid to have parents and grandparents who loved food, and exposed me to lots of different things (Sushi has been a favorite of mine since I was very young!)  There are still things I am "Picky" about (Like texture.  Texture makes or breaks a food for me)  but in general I am open-minded about trying new things, because I was always taught to embrace new foods and enjoy trying new things, rather than to settle into a routine.  

    When a kid is limited to a few foods though, and never really gets to/has to try new things, of course they're going to be picky.  It's hard to be open-minded about eating veggies when you eat nothing but chicken nuggets and french fries!  Also some people kinda suck at selling a new food to kids.  "here, try this vegan gluten free brownie, kid!" doesn't really work as well as "Here's a brownie!  Is it yummy?  Yes?  Did you know it's vegan and gluten free?" And YES, I have a KILLER brownie/ chocolate cupcake recipe that is egg free, and can be made completely vegan and gluten free without tasting even remotely healthy.  We make it at work for birthday parties and cooking classes and everyone LOVES them.  We even had someone try to steal our recipe- which was hilarious because we hand out copies of the recipe to every guest.
  • I am a known picky eater. People are shocked when I tell them what I do and don't eat. Anything I never had, I refuse to eat, until FI convinces the crap outta it to me. That being said, if I didn't eat what my mom was cooking, I made myself a sandwich or something else.
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