My husband is a chef, I am a foodie, and our child is a picky eater.
This has caused many challenges over the years, but we have learned some things along the way that we would like to share.
Actually, the fact that Kid is a picky eater, kinda means that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You see, Chef and I are a little picky, too. The difference is that we like to eat really high quality and flavorful, gourmet food. Kid prefers the opposite. Still, I insist that we eat high-quality food at home. That means organic, free-range, grass-fed, etc. whenever possible. I just sometimes have to ruin it by frying it or drowning it in ketchup.
The fact that my husband is a chef, means that he’s not around to prepare our meals. He’s busy preparing yours. So I have had to learn to cook. Other people think I’m pretty good, but I still can’t cook the way I like to eat… think Charlie Trotter’s. And Kid likes the kid-staples of mac & cheese (but it HAS to be the blue box… no home version of that! grr.), chicken nuggets, corn dogs, etc.
Since there are no hospitals or research centers for our affliction, I have slowly been expanding his palate on my own. Some of you lucky ones think that you have ‘trained’ your child to be a foodie. I think you were just lucky enough not to get a picky eater. Believe me, I have tried to ‘train’ and let’s just say it never ends well. So if your ‘training’ efforts are not paying off, fear not. There is hope.
There is just one secret: make meals enjoyable. This is the stealth tactic of lulling them into submission. Make sure they are not prepared for battle by eliminating the battle altogether.
For us, it could be taking a new food and displaying it on the plate in a silly way – like make a face or scene on the plate with food. Since Kid is currently a 7 year-old boy, sometimes this means using ketchup for ‘blood’ or ‘lava’. Or, making it look like an old favorite… but not so much that he thinks I’m tricking him. More like making a peanut butter and jelly pizza for lunch instead of a regular pizza. Or my personal favorite, letting them help cook the meal.
So, check back and see what has worked for us, give it a try, let us know how it worked for you. And please, oh please, share what has worked for you with the rest of us!!