Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Picky Eaters

So, got kids?

One of the great pleasures in my life is teaching teens and tweens their way around the kitchen. It is a total charge for me. The best part (aside from the fact that they constantly crack me up)? I loooooove when they try something new. Unusual. Out of their comfort zone. And I'm not necessarily talkin' sushi for 8 year-olds here. I'm talking about any dish they haven't tried before, be it chicken potpie, blueberry pie, or a crazy salad.


Every so often, I get one. A picky eater. And sometimes, just sometimes, they are really proud of the fact that they are indeed, picky eaters.

I don't get it.

I didn't always like what my mom served for dinner. Ham & green beans. No thanks. Broccoli in any form? Double no thanks. Some of it was ooky. But I didn't really have a choice. It was what it was and that was my only option.

Nowadays, folks tend to eat out - a lot. I was thinking about it driving home today (don't ask me why). Have you noticed that children's menus include basically chicken fingers (bonus points if it's real chicken and not pressed and extruded), hamburgers, cheeseburgers, noodles, and lots and lots of fries.


How can we expect our kids to make wise decisions as they grow, if the only options we give them are chicken tenders and noodles? All. The. Time. At home or out to dinner.

What happened to eating the dinner that was made for you.

Most of the kids I know aren't going to starve anytime soon. A meal that's not a fave won't kill them. Skipping one won't either.

When I personal cheffed for a living, I often cooked for parents only. The kids would eat macaroni et al every night while mom & dad dined on whatever I had prepared.

When did things change, and why did we let them?

Just so you know, I'm not thinking of any student or child individually here, more thinking about the state of dinner as a whole.

If I remember correctly, it takes seven times to know whether or not you really like something. I don't know if I believe this, simply because I have never, not once, liked beets and I knew that one right off the bat.

But hey - I didn't like sushi the first time I had it. Or liver/pate. Or asparagus. But I like them now. Woo boy, do I like them now.

So do this for me.

Make dinner. And have your family eat it. Without options. Just dinner. And if you go out, don't let the kids order from the kid's menu. An appetizer usually costs about the same as a meal off the kid's menu, and the options are usually cooler.

It's time to take a stand and take responsibility for children's taste buds around the world. Just try it, 'k?

Just my opinion.


Anonymous said...


smk said...

I totally agree! Although I have to admit I did feed my 11-month-old mac and cheese with hot dogs tonight for dinner. But to be fair, it's what my husband and I were eating too.

April F. said...

Easier said than done when the child's favorite word is "no." At the moment, I am compromising and giving her some of what we're eating (which she rarely touches) and something healthy I know she'll eat (she has a penchant for organic raspberries @ $3.99 per half pint...)

Related info from LA Times -- picky eating may be related to OCD: