Picky? Not on my watch.

I am determined to not raise a picky eater.

I hear the horror stories all the time. I have seen these kids in the restaurants I’ve worked at over the years. The ones who eat the plainest things or fuss about food on their plates. The teenagers are the worst, with their plain hamburgers and boring pizzas.

I don’t want my son, or any other kids I may have after him, being afraid to try new things, or frustrating other adults because he’s so hard to feed. I want an adventurous eater, who knows what he likes, but braves any new thing with the hopes of adding to that list.

Of course, he’s allowed to not like things. He’s also allowed to like things a certain way. Tastes and taste buds change over time, and i will want him to know he’s allowed to change his mind. What I don’t want him to do is decide before he’s tried. I also don’t want him to never try again. I don’t like brussel sprouts. I went twenty years without eating them. Yet my wife asked me to try again and I did. The verdict is I’m still not a big fan. (I feel they are bitter little baby cabbages plucked before their time.) Yet I was open to the possibility that my tastes had changed.

So I have a plan. I’m tentatively calling it the “3612 Plan”. If the boy doesn’t, for example, like tomatoes the first time he tries them, we’ll come back to them in 3 months, then 6 months, then 1 year, then 2 years. After that, he’s allowed to never try them again. My hope is not to force him to like tomatoes, but to create the habit of being open to revisiting things throughout his life, and to trying new things whenever the opportunity arises. In the end, I want to impart the same adventurous food spirit I have, so he can live an adventurous life, both at the table, and beyond. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Picky? Not on my watch.

  1. Love the idea, I think it’s great. My only suggestion from what I’ve read and noticed with my own kids is that they need to try something six times before they like it. So my son didn’t like sweet potatoes. I let him try sweet potatoes six times over the next few days. Now he eats them like a pro. It’s something to do with baby taste buds. It takes time for them to grow accustomed.

    I think it also has tons to do with how adventurous the parents are. Rich and I eat everything, try everything. Amelia eats snails, clams, quinoa soup, hummus, and many very strange things for a child. But she still prefers pizza, chicken nuggets and (yuck) KRAFT Mac and cheese. I think bc those are awful staples that play on our instinctual cravings: salt, sugar, fat.

    I’m adopting your plan. I like it. I’ll also add ten years to the end of it, to revisit ten years later. Good luck!

  2. As you know, I’m blessed with a boy who likes to be adventurous, but our second is not the same. We do the “you need to try everything on your plate” and “you don’t have to finish, but you’re not getting anything else, and if you want dessert you have to finish a [decent] amount of each thing (not necessarily clean your plate).” I don’t think it comes out harshly or as punishment, just like that’s what you do. I definitely agree that kids need to try things they don’t like relatively close together to get used to them. The younger the child, the closer together the tastes should be. And I most definitely agree that kids learn more from how their parents/siblings act than what they’re told. My rule if thumb is generally do what feels right for your child. Each family is different, but, more importantly, each child is different, so you kinda have to go with the flow and trust your instincts.

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