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July 25, 2008


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The idea of making a list of foods they will eat sounds like a great idea. Incentives are always good too. Also, a little of the "eat one bite of everything whether you want to or not" never hurt either. Maybe it's a combination of several strategies?


It's so interesting to truly realize how so many parents are sure that their children's dislike of certain foods will lead to starvation and eventual death. I was a picky eater as a child and I'm a picky eater as an adult and somehow I managed to get by. My mother never acknowledged my dislikes. I was also not allowed to have an alternate snack or meal. If you want to eat, the food has been provided. I guess too, if parent's stop introducing fish sticks instead of real fish the kids just might learn to eat. My kids eat california rolls, salad, green vegetables and the like. Every combination isn't the most desirable, but they manage to find something on the table worth eating (protein, green vegetable, and a starch). Desert is almost unheard of after dinner.

Buck-up Mom, you're being worked by little pros.


Another strategy might be to try having a food tasting session, getting them to take little tastes and make comments on the comparisons -- just like adults do at a wine tasting, for instance.

Okay -- you've said your kids like pasta with butter. So perhaps you fix pasta, then give them a taste with butter and slivered basil... another taste with marinara sauce... a Thai peanut sauce (not good if you have a problem with peanut allergies, obviously)... some grated carrots and zucchini, which would give some contrasts of color and of texture to comment on...

Just a bite or maybe two of each -- the point here being as much to get them to explore some new tastes. Get them to describe what they taste -- as well as what they see. (Again, as in a wine tasting, you want to involve the senses: sight, smell, as well as taste.) Put on a chef's hat and play it up so you can all have some fun, if you're so inclined.

Hopefully, at the end of all this, you'll hae gotten them intrigued by the prospect of trying a variety of foods, even if it's on a very simplistic level. You can encourage them to learn to make objective comments about what they see, smell and taste. And you can get a feel for what they really just don't like, as well as what flavors they DO admit to liking.

Eating a variety of foods is important, but enjoying eating a variety of healthy foods is critical, too. I don't like bribing my kids with desserts -- "Eat your spinach or no chocolate cake for you!" But they're at a real disadvantage when they go to friends' homes for a meal if they won't try anything they don't already know they like. And since you've commented on your son's good sense of manners previously, perhaps for him that's another tack you can take: it's good manners to try what's served us, especially when we're not at home but at someone else's house.

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