How to Deal with a Family of Picky Eaters
I wish I had the answer to this question. But with three kids with three different sets of taste buds, likes and dislikes, dinner time at our house isn’t the easiest. Some nights I find myself making three or more meals. I can usually get Leo eating whatever my husband and I are having but Hannah and Alex have very specific meal choices and barely like any of the same foods. So, what’s a mom to do with a bunch of picky eaters?
Watermelon, White Rice and Way too much Milk
I’d like to call myself a pretty healthy eater. Ever since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was 28 weeks pregnant with Leo I have cut out almost all white sugar and unrefined carbohydrates from my diet. I use avocado oil, almond flour and coconut sugar in my baking and eat mostly sprouted grains. While this way of life may be too extreme for my kids (and even my husband who graciously eats my meals every night) I think there’s a middle ground to be found between their favourite meals and my healthy cooking. I need help finding it, dealing with these three picky eaters…
Hannah the Vegetarian
I joke with her that she is carb-loading at every snack and meal. While she has the physique of a green bean, my eldest has recently sworn off meat (no problem for this vegetarian mom) but now refuses to eat tofu too. Her main sources of protein at the moment are nuts (not allowed at school) and beans. But really, she’s not much of a vegetarian seeing as the only produce she’ll eat is an apple and an occasional carrot stick, if it’s dipped in hummus. Her cheese sticks and yogurts always make their way back home from school too…
Alex the Hot Dog Eating Champion
Words of truth. If he could, this kid would eat a hot dog every meal of the day. Luckily I was able to find organic, all-beef, nitrate-free hot dogs (thank you Applegate Farms!) that I let him have about 3 times a week. Aside from that he is a great fruit and vegetable eater, albeit me having to track down watermelon (his favourite) in the middle of the winter.
Leo the Milkman
Yes, he is still young enough to be molded. I know it takes at least 10 tries for kids to dislike a food but because of the shtick of the other two I end up giving Leo the same foods over and over. Or better yet, a bottle of milk. Yes, he is 21 months and still loves his bottle (we got rid of the pacifier a few months ago…one challenge at a time!) When Leo sees a box of pizza coming in the front door he screams “pita, pita” in glee waiting for his slice. He loves his fruits but I seem to be steamrolling him down Alex’s cucumber train as the main veggie served at dinner time. I want to give him the opportunity to love all food, but it’s been easier said than done.
SOS Cries from this Mom Chef
So there you have it. My three challenges. I’ve tried many things. Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbooks. Adding “trying a new healthy food” on to their chore charts. Protein plus spaghetti. But the only meal they will all eat is takeout pizza or a bowl of Cheerios.
I’m stuck. Any tricks to share? What is a meal that all of your kids love that leans to the healthier side?