How I’m Going To Try To Handle My Picky Children

I was a very picky eater growing up. My poor mother. Every day I’d come home from school and ask, “What’s for dinner?” She’d answer with some lovely gourmet meal of some kind, and my automatic response would be, “So what am *I* having for dinner?” I said it almost every night. On some occasions I’d be happy with her choices: meatloaf, salmon, chicken kiev, steak. But for the most part I poo-pooed most of her culinary choices.

And so we’ve come full circle. I now have kids who enjoy mac ‘n’ cheese, Spagettios, chicken nuggets and (strangely enough) steamed mussels. Red meat? Cootieboy will only eat burgers and meatloaf, but not steaks of any kind (although he does like BBQ). Cootiegirl will eat turkey, but not chicken (unless it’s in nugget form). She loves shrimp but won’t try any other kind of seafood.

At the beginning of the summer we warned them that the days of apple juice and hot dogs were ending once school started, and that from now on they’d be eating what Daddy decides to make for dinner. We didn’t stick to the date, but we are slowly having them try other foods in order to determine just how outside the box Denis can go with his cooking moving forward.

A few months ago I read on a blog about a food log for kids. Oh how I wish I had saved that link so I could give credit for this idea. The idea is to have the kids try a food and write down in a book whether they liked the food or not. This way, the kids can solidify in their minds the foods they like, the foods they love, the foods they will tolerate and the ones they absolutely hate.

I mentioned to CB and CG last night the idea of the food journals and they were completely on board. So when I’m out later today I’ll be buying a couple notebooks for them to use for their food journals. Not only that, but CG tried salmon for the first time the other night and liked it a lot. They both tried the pork chops that Denis made last night and liked those as well. CG is anxious to write those foods down in her food journal and to try new things.

The good news is that while as a child I HATED fruits and vegetables (potatoes and lettuce were the only veggies and I’d eat all the canned fruit in the world but not fresh except celery and red apples), my kids like them. They eat corn, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, potato, sweet potato, just to name a few veggies. My hope is to get them to eat brussel sprouts (which I now love), beans (which I don’t eat, but maybe they’ll like them), peas, and anything else that Denis might like to prepare. They also like apples, celery, cherries, grapes, pineapple and tomatoes. So it’s not like everything they eat is terrible for them. *lol*

My hope is that the journals become a great reference point for them. For example, if CG really likes salmon a lot, but only sort of likes monkfish, she can give salmon 4 stars in her notebook and 3 stars to monkfish. This way she knows she still LIKED monkfish, just not as a favorite like salmon might be. My hope is that as they continue to try new foods they’ll see just how much they DO like versus how much they DON’T like.

And just so you know – I’m branching out too. A few weeks ago I tried asparagus and green beans for the first time. I didn’t like them, but I did try them. And now I know I don’t like them. I also had corn on the cob for the first time about 2 months ago and while it wasn’t terrible, it also wouldn’t be something I’d want to eat a lot.

Maybe I should have my own food journal.

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