Salvage Sister was a picky eater!
The girl who loves Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, kumquats, brie, asparagus, ETC. NOW, did not necessarily like it all early on in life.
American cheese was a top favorite.
No cheddar cheese….too strong!
Ground beef only!
Plain food, please!
And the thought of going to someone’s house brought about anxiety……
“What will we have?”
Do you know any picky eaters?
Is it a struggle to get them to eat?
Here are some tips from this former picky eater:
- Get them in the kitchen. You hear this a lot because it puts the picky eater in control. I learned to try lots of things by cooking them.
- Learning how to cook or improve cooking. Honestly, this is a hard one but there are times when people may not know how to cook certain items. Be honest if you don’t know how to cook something and try to improve or get your picky eater in there to tackle it. Canned asparagus verses grilled…no contest. I found out sometimes I just didn’t like badly prepared food. (America’s Test Kitchen is a great resource for consistent and good recipies.)
- Take the fight out of the dining room. Fix a little something different right before dinner and set it out for all, not just the picky eater, to come by and try if they want. In this situation, everyone is not watching and they know dinner will be coming up so this isn’t their main meal. At the same time, they are hungry and may not want to be left out of this snack fest.
- Shopping! Play a game where they can look for one new item to try in a certain section (cereal, produce, meat). Shopping also allows for education….reading of ingredients, nutrition, price, etc. You can also play another game, look for the most similar item. If they like ham, have them pick out the closest item to that to try.
- When going to restaurants, go somewhere that’s a stretch for them. If they only want hamburgers, don’t go to a hamburger place…..eat Mexican. They will be forced to try something new on their own terms. If the restaurant has an alternate “hamburger” menu, call ahead and ask them to help you out and say they are out today. If the restaurant staff is good, they might even have a recommendation of something the picky eater might like.
- Have them be part of planning the menu. Have them scour a cookbook for something they would like to TRY.
- And even though it is difficult, don’t avoid dinners at someone’s home. It may give the picky eater some anxiety, but they will get through it. Either they will learn to overcome a fear, which is never a bad thing, or they will stand their ground…. but in a socially acceptable way. When a person is in the comforts of home, they won’t push themselves like they will somewhere else. (DON’T tell the host to cater to the eater. Not only is this rude, but it will not challenge the individual. In life they will encounter circumstances that will not go their way. If they won’t eat there, they can eat at home.)
There is a fine line between being patient and helping the picky eater through it, and a battle of wills.
Usually in a home two things happen:
-The picky eater gets their way all the time
-There is a fight all the time
Hopefully these tips provide an opportunity for the control to be shared in resolving the issue as much as possible.
One last commentary – Sneaking in certain foods may not help your cause. It can backfire in trust and may not bring the same empowering feeling of overcoming the fear on their own terms.
Do you have any tips for helping picky eaters?