Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

How I Accidentally Created Non-Picky Eaters

4 Comments

picnicfood

I’m often asked why my kids eat so well or how I keep them from being picky.  I’m fortunate—I never set out to not raise picky kids or to be a food Nazi, but apparently I have accidentally succeeded in raising children who aren’t too particular.  In retrospect, here are a few reasons I think that happened.  Again, it was by accident.  And I’m not claiming it’s foolproof.  I might end up with a picky kid tomorrow.  But for what it’s worth, here’s what I’ve done that has (apparently) worked.

I breastfed exclusively until 6 months. No bottles, no cereal, no fruit; just good mama milk.  I have read that babies’ palates develop through mother’s milk and even while in utero.  This is good news for me (except that my kids must be addicted to peanut M&M’s and Reese’s peanut butter cups.  Oops.).

No baby food. Once they were 6 months or older (a couple of mine have not really cared for solid food till 8 months or later), I mashed up whatever we ate for baby, especially fruits and veggies.  (I avoided high-allergy foods like strawberries, peanuts, and egg whites, of course.)  If they like it, fine.  If not, they were still getting plenty of breastmilk.  I also never gave my babies much juice or other flavored drinks.  If they got a sippy or bottle, it was for water.  They never knew the difference!  Since my kids are developmentally normal, I am really low-key about introducing solids.  They will eat when they are ready.  They are all very healthy and rarely sick.

Once they were older, I didn’t prepare separate “kid food.” When we had spaghetti, I didn’t get them pizza.  When we had grilled chicken, they didn’t get nuggets.  When we had fajitas, they didn’t get nachos.  They ate what we ate.  (If we ate junk, so did they—haha!)  I don’t force my kids to eat stuff they really hate, but I am not a short order cook and I’m not fixing a bunch of separate dishes just because they are kids.  The concept of “kid food” is a modern phenomenon.  If I do require them to eat a portion of something that is not their favorite, I will serve them a tiny amount, like a teaspoon full.  I’m not really into creating food battles.

I make most of their snacks such as cookies, muffins, etc…and I try to make them healthful or at least more healthful than the boxed alternative.  Sometimes I serve fruit or veggies with dip.  My kids love and adore processed junk food, but they also love real food made from scratch because that is what they eat most of the time.  They even sometimes love foods that I think are disgustingly healthful.

They’ve participated in growing some of the food they eat. Most years we have had some kind of garden, even if it’s small.  I have found that when kids “own” the process of food production, they are much more willing to try those foods.  My kids readily eat foods not typically considered kid-friendly such as squash, lettuce, kumquats and Japanese plums because they have watched them grow and then get to harvest them themselves!  There’s so much fun in that!

I get this question a lot, so there you are, for what it’s worth!

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4 thoughts on “How I Accidentally Created Non-Picky Eaters

  1. We’re taking this same path with Lil Man. I sure hope it works! haha

    He does have things he’s never liked, even as a baby. Bananas, Carrots, and Green Beans. He’s not a fan of potatoes either, but he’s getting there.

    I think with the bananas and potatoes it’s a texture thing.

    Another thing he absolutely hates is mac and cheese, even homemade. He’ll eat pasta with red sauce, so spaghetti and goolosh are fine, but mac and cheese, tuna casserole, and alfredo must be an odd texture to him cause he literally gags if we make him eat them. lol

    Otherwise, this kid eat anything. Other couples with kids ask us how in the world we get him to eat things like broccoli. I never really thought about it cause he’s just always eaten them.

  2. I think we’ve used similiar strategies. I do use baby food in jars, but like you, no “kid food” unless we’re having a house full of pint sized guests:)
    I think the real key is just being clear and sticking with it. They won’t starve themselves and will eventually eat when they are hungry.

    I think we would be good friends and our kids would be buds if we lived closer to each other:)

  3. This is a really great post with alot of common sense advice. I feel you have it right and I have written a website for homemade baby food recipes:

    http://www.babyfood101.com

    The site suggests that you just cook for yourself and feed some to baby. There is a 6 month course of suggestions you can sign up for to guide you in introducing a variety of foods for your baby.

    I hope this is helpful.
    Lisa

  4. Keep up the good work moms and someday your kids will want cookbooks like Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and they will make delicious entree’s like “Boeuf Bourguignon” and it will melt in your mouth!

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