Definition of a picky eater – children who only eat vegetables when forced to or coerced with a huge dessert. When you are a first time mom, you want to do everything right. When my son started eating real food, I bought all organic vegetables, steamed them, and then pureed them in a blender. Every meal was a health lover’s dream. I thought I was a genius. And then he learned the word “NO” and that was the end of that.
He Didn’t Like MY Green Beans
For years I sat at the dinner table prodding (actually begging) my son to please eat the teaspoonful of greens that were on his plate. Invariably, he won as he would gag and I would feel guilty. One day he had dinner at a friend’s house and when he came home he told me what they had for dinner and he said he ate GREEN BEANS. I immediately called my friend to see what the story was. She confirmed that he had eaten green beans and loved them.
I was sure they weren’t in cahoots together, so I asked, “how did you make them?” It hit me – maybe it’s not the green beans he doesn’t like, it’s my green beans he doesn’t like. Soon thereafter, I made green beans, a la my friend Ellen, and the rest of the story is history, a success story to say the least.
Of course, you can’t give your kids the one vegetable they do eat every night, so you have to get creative with your vegetables. For instance, at our house we love Asian flavors; typically with soy, ginger, garlic and a splash of sesame oil. I find that those flavors work for us. At your house it may be Italian, and you may want to incorporate those flavors into your vegetables. For instance toss your broccoli with a little olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. Take it one step further and serve those flavors over pasta and you can be sure it will be a hit with the kids. Snow peas are a vegetable kids usually love to eat and if not, try sautéing them in a little olive oil with julienne red peppers and toss with pine nuts. Or, sliver them and add to a stir fry.
Maybe You Don’t Have a Picky Eater After All
The point is, maybe you don’t have a picky eater after all, maybe you just haven’t figured out the right way to get your kids to eat vegetables without saying “ugh” first. Once you find your “secret ingredients,” mr. or ms. picky may turn out to be not so picky after all.