Last weekend I was teaching a parent and tot cooking class for kids ages 3-5. While we were waiting for the food to come out of the oven, I had a great conversation with one of the moms. The conversation started with her telling me that she hoped her son would try the breakfast cookies when they were done cooking. She told me that her son had recently become a picky eater and that it was something she really struggled with as a mom who considers herself a foodie and loves to cook healthy meals for her family. I had noticed her before we started our conversation, because as I was walking around the room handing out ingredients, I noted that she was talking to her son about each of the ingredients and why we might be adding them to the cookie dough. I loved that she was taking this extra step with her son. As this mama and I talked I learned that she is doing everything right to combat the picky eating and I’m sure that this is a phase that her soon will quickly outgrow.
What do you do if picky eating isn’t just a phase and it stretches on and on and on?
When my daughter first started eating solid food she would eat just about anything. My husband and I praised ourselves at all the different foods that we were exposing her to. We spent many evenings making homemade baby food together and inventing new flavor combinations. We watched her face with great interest as she tried new foods, ecstatic each time we added yet another food that she loved to her diet.
Then she turned 2 and everything changed. Suddenly our adventurous baby girl became cautious about food and foods that she once loved, she suddenly refused to eat! Frustrated I went to my family doctor and asked her what we should do. Her response was that it was our 2 year olds way of exerting some independence in this world and that the last thing we should do is start a food battle with her. She said to let it be and that she would soon outgrow it. We took that advice home with us and waited, and waited, and waited and… she didn’t outgrow it. In fact it continued to get worse and worse.
I was a picky eater when I was a child, so I could relate, but it was so frustrating. It got to the point that I no longer wanted to cook meals for my family because I knew it would turn into a food battle.
I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until she started to influence our “adventurous eating” son’s opinion on food, that we decided that enough was enough. My son has a veracious appetite, and always digs right into his food, but he started looking to his sister to see her reaction first, and if big sister didn’t like something… suddenly little brother didn’t either.
It was time to make “eliminate picky eating” our number one priority, put some rules into effect in our house and say goodbye to picky eating!
A couple of years ago I went back to school to get my Culinary Nutrition Expert Certification from The Academy of Culinary Nutrition. While in the program I focused my study on childhood nutrition. It’s an area of interest that I’m passionate about and marries with my “handmade, homemade, heart-made” motto so well.
I remember when I first moved out on my own. I was always cooking at home and was shocked to learn that so many of my friends didn’t know how to cook and relied on takeout, frozen pizza and microwave meals. They asked me how I learned to cook and I was almost confused by the question. I didn’t know that people didn’t know how to cook. I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen, I thought that everyone did.
I’m passionate about helping to raise the next generation of people who make things from scratch and that goes so well with what I learned at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.
That’s one of my 6 Rules For Saying Goodbye To Picky Eating– Get Kids Involved In The Kitchen. Want to know why? Want to know my other 5 rules that will help you eliminate picky eating in your home? Head over to my blog post at The Academy of Culinary Nutrition and read them all!
I don’t know if we will ever 100% eliminate picky eating in my home, but we are 90% of the way there! My daughter has come a huge way in her battle with food! One of her favorite foods is my steamed broccoli and every month we add new foods that she loves to her diet– this month is was tobiko sushi, aka those little red flying fish eggs that you find at Japanese Restaurants! She amazes me!
You can find my 6 Rules For Saying Goodbye To Picky Eating article at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition Blog here.
Tell me… Have you experienced trying to feed a picky eater? What worked for you? What didn’t work?
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Victoria Ess says
Great blog post! It’s hard to keep from getting frustrated with picky eating!
Brenda Haines says
My 4 year old is super picky, this has gone on for almost 2 years now. He is showing more interest in cooking things with me and that helped some. But, I swear he forgets he likes things lol, “Yes, you do to like green beans, you ate them all last week” is a constant sentence lately. Thanks for the tips, we keep plugging along.
I know my niece was a picky eater, she just liked certain foods. She finally grew out of it, and now likes just about everything. You can only cater so much when there are several kids, so her mom did the best she could.