picky, picky, picky

I’m really tired of cooking the same old thing.  Can I get an “amen”?

Being a pleaser, I often find myself only cooking what I am sure everyone will like.  Unfortunately, this leads to a cycle of boring and repetitive menu planning.  In the past few years I’ve come to hate cooking.  The time and effort just aren’t equal to the result.  Often times the meals I put the most heart into, are the ones that seem to lead to the biggest struggles at the table.  We have a rule…”no complaining about the meals.”  But even when this rule is followed, I know.  I’m no dummy.  So I’ve just begun to hate cooking.  I’d really prefer to serve chicken nuggets and mac n cheese every night so that I can be cheered and placed on a throne and hugged and kissed when dinner hits the table.  🙂  But I know, although this would be heavenly, it wouldn’t be the healthy option for my family.  So I trudge on, cooking the same healthy meals over and over and over again, because I know they’ll be eaten with the least amount of trouble.   But I’m seriously tired of that.  So, last night I tried something new.

Sorry about the poor quality of the picture (I took it with my phone).  This is a pretty basic chicken stir fry.  I’m so grateful that Stan has become a less picky eater in the last few years.  When we met 12 years ago (wow, has it been that long?) he was one of the pickiest eaters I have ever met.  Now, he’ll try almost anything and likes a much wider variety of foods.  He loved the stir fry last night and even took the leftovers for lunch today.  The kids ate the chicken and the rice, but resisted the veggies and pineapple.  We still put them on their plates because I think being exposed to different foods is good for kids.  Ashton gave us the best, most creative response, pointing at the peppers (which probably looked like slimy multi-colored worms to him) and stating, “none of that is going in here” (pointing to his mouth).  Maybe we should have sent him to time out for that, but it was just too funny.  And he didn’t say another negative word.  Overall, I was encouraged with the response and decided I’ve got to start making some different things, for my sake and for the sake of my family.  Here is what I’m going to do…

1)  About a year ago, a friend bought me the “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook.  I started out gung-ho and then kind of fell off the wagon.  Gotta get that back out.  If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here.  It’s a great way to get your kids to eat veggies, without them even knowing it.  I will still serve them veggies, because I think they need to get used to them, but I can slip new and different veggies into these recipes.

2)  I will try one new recipe with each meal plan.  I do my meal plans twice a month, so this will give the fam an opportunity to try 2 new things every month.  This will also break up the monotony and maybe I’ll begin to enjoy cooking more.  (Keeping my fingers crossed!)

3)  I’m going to start watching cooking shows.  I think it might increase my excitement and also give me some good tips and meal ideas.

So, I need your help.  What other suggestions can you give me for picky eaters?  I don’t think my kids are the pickiest by any stretch, but they’re not big on any veggies outside of green beans, carrots and corn.  They don’t like things that are “mixed” like casseroles or stir frys (most of the time).  I want them to become more sophisticated eaters.  Any suggestions?  I would love recipe ideas, websites that have been helpful to you, suggestions for cooking shows to watch, etc…  Looking forward to hearing from you!

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11 thoughts on “picky, picky, picky

  1. Misty, I just love you!! You are so honest and so adorable!!! I seriously wish I lived closer to you and your wonderful fam…. but anyhow… back to your post!

    I have a seriously picky eater in my house too. I make all the kids take one bite of everything I put on their plate. Jaydon is SO picky that he seriously gags to the point of almost throwing up if he doesn’t like it (or thinks he doesn’t), but over the years of making him take one bite, he has actually changed his thinking on some things. The funniest one was (at least it was funny to me!) ….are you ready for this…chocolate cake. He very much disliked chocolate cake for a couple years, then one day he tasted it again and he was in love and now wants it all the time! But he hates anything green, if it looks like it might be slimy he won’t touch it, his tastes are very simple and it really limits the meal time options. I am a “pleaser” too and I don’t want our meal time to be full of whines and complaints or worse yet full of JR and I having to get on the kids the whole time to eat, eat, eat.

    I once tried having the kids help me cook, thinking that if they helped they would be more willing to eat it….. it SO did not work! Then they gripped about it more… “ew, there is onions in here?” “ew you use pepper in this?” and more ew ew ew from them. So I stopped having them help me cook!

    I say all that to say, I have no real solutions other than to maybe ask the kids to at least take one bite of everything you make, whether they think they like it or not. Tastes change.

    I know that isn’t helpful, but…. I still love you!

  2. Watching cooking shows is a good idea. I used to hate cooking, but then I started watching cooking shows and now I love trying new things and adapting recipes I see to our family. Its helped me be more confident.
    Also, getting fun kitchen tools help me stay motivated! Its not just men that love tools!
    Happy Cooking!

  3. Nikke, I would LOVE to live close by. Wouldn’t our kids have fun together? For now, at least we can read each other’s blogs and sympathize! 🙂

    We do have a “one bite of everything on your plate” rule. I have heard that kids have to taste something 10 times before their taste buds get used to it, so I keep hoping… I do think it’s a good suggestion and that eventually it will pay off. I’m thankful that my Mom never cooked me separate meals. She just encouraged me to try everything and now, there’s almost nothing I won’t eat! Maybe someday our picky eaters will become food lovers after all!

  4. Misty,
    Well, this is from a picky eater! I learned to like MANY more things once I reached adulthood ( I hate to say grew up…because who wants to do that:) But I remember dreading dinner as a kid, if it was something I didn’t really like. I decided I wouldn’t do that to our kids. So, there were times when they had peanutbutter on tortillia or raman noodles, while we enjoyed our meal. I had a super “old-school” pediatrician, who told me not to make a big deal about it, just don’t let them fill up on snacks. So that is what I did. (although we often had the one bite rule as well) Now, both our kids have a broader taste pallet than I do!! In fact, I knew a real miracle took place when Bryce met Amy, and she got him to eat vegetables!! In fact, they now are mainly vegetarian. I could not get him to even eat potatos!! So, I really wouldn’t worry about it too, much…some people’s taste buds just must simply develope later!! Another thing, for me, is that often times it isn’t the taste of the food I don’t care for, it is the texture…just a weird personal thing for me!
    If you think about what they will remember from dinner time as kids, do you want it to be that they were in trouble for not liking the food? It would be much better for them to remember the fun, happy conversations!! You can be super creative later:)

  5. Have you ever watched $10 Dinners w/Melissa D’Arabian? It’s on the Food Network on Sundays, at 12:30 (eastern time), I think. You may want to double check the time, but we watch it every week! (Seriously – we get home from church on Sunday night, and my 7 yr old reminds me “it’s Melissa time!!” Lol!) Anyway – she has 3 small children, so she’s always throwing out healthy and unique suggestions for getting kids to eat certain foods.

    As far as picky eaters – mine aren’t too too picky, BUT – I haven’t branched out that much in my cooking either! (Maybe it’s a mommy thing!) I did find that with Jared, ketchup was the magic sauce – he would eat just about anything if he could dip it in ketchup. So, nasty as it seemed, I figured veggies dipped in ketchup were better than no veggies at all, so I let him do it! With Laynie, it was ranch dressing. Maybe if you can find some sort of condiment that they like and offer it w/the veggies??? Not sure that idea would work well with just anything, but it may be worth a shot!

  6. Carol – that is a great thought. Thank you for that. I need to hear that as well. One of the most vivid memories I have as a child at the dinner table, was being in huge trouble for not liking broccoli. I still don’t like it to this day. Mostly a texture thing for me as well. I want my kids to remember fun times and that’s something I need to hear. Thanks for the perspective. You’re pretty wonderful, you know that? 🙂 I mean that. 🙂

  7. Melanie, what are your favorite cooking shows? I DVR’d a couple today, but I’m clueless as to which ones are the best/most practical/most entertaining.

    Carol, you are definitely a voice of wisdom! Stan and I really want the whole family to cherish dinnertime and so the last things we want is for it to turn into a battleground! Thank you for your sound advice.

    Laura, ketchup is magic, isn’t it? Ashton will definitely eat more if he can dip it in ketchup. I’ve not found anything that works as well with Grant or Avary. I need to keep searching!

    But when all else fails, I have “Deceptively Delicious.” The first two recipes I am going to try are quesadillas (with butternut squash puree) and carrot cake muffins (with carrot and cauliflower puree). Wish me luck!

  8. Misty,

    My children used to be picky and now they’ll at least try anything. We have a few rules in our house that have made a world of difference. Anytime there is a new dish, they must try at least one substantial bite….chewed and swallowed. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to finish it, but they will eat the blandest thing we have in the house for dinner. I am not a short order cook. Every so often, they must re-try the food because as we grow, our taste buds change. My son has discovered that he loves spicy food and broccoli and cauliflower. It has made meal times so much more peaceful. Good luck!

    Alli

  9. Have you considered using a crockpot sometimes? There are tons of recipes on-line, and it’s so nice to have dinner “done” by 8 AM.

  10. Sorry…I just paged down and saw your meal plan. I see you do use a crockpot! I wish I could have been more helpful. Quite honestly, I think cooking is overrated. Perhaps we should just be thankful we have food to eat and move on!

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