Today we have a guest post for you by a Mom, Barbara Filgate-Cobham, who was a picky herself as a child. Read on for some tips from her experiences and for her “secret” spaghetti sauce recipe.
How I Survived My Picky Eaters
Many moms know just what I mean. You get to hear about it from that nosy aunt or that well-meaning friend all. the. time. It makes ordering in restaurants a challenge and making school lunches an ordeal. I’m talking about feeding picky children.
I have two girls who are now 18 and 14. They started out as great eaters! In fact, the older one would eat things I didn’t even like and I tried desperately not to pass on any pre-conceived ideas about food. Even when at two, she stole my boyfriend’s shrimp! I have never cared for seafood and interestingly enough, am now extremely allergic.
However, as she got older and was later joined by a younger sister, she became fussy about what she liked. She would eat only chicken noodle soup for lunch for so long that my dad made up a song about it! Later, even the younger one became pickier about her food choices and they didn’t even have the SAME picky habits, but totally different ones!
Obviously, they have survived this long, so I thought I might be able to share some tips to help some other moms out.
Remember Your Own Childhood
I was a picky eater as a child myself. Yup. I admit it. There are so many things I eat now that I would not have touched as a child. I truly think this helped me to have some perspective. I was an extremely sensitive child and many textures were uncomfortable for me. As I grew older, I found that things like macaroni were pleasant, which was not my experience at all as a child.
They Won’t Die and They Probably Won’t Become Gravely Ill
The other thing that helped me was that my mom was good about the fact that I didn’t like my food touching on the plate and that certain things just didn’t feel or taste right to me. Given that she grew up during World War II with very little, I feel extremely blessed that this was the case! She even took me to a doctor who suggested that peanut butter and apples were not a bad start and to offer me foods occasionally, but not to sweat it too much.
Focus on What They DO Eat Rather Than What They Don’t
It is super important to find a handful of healthy things they will eat, even if you feel like you are offering the same foods over and over.
There is Hope!
In my own case, I was very fortunate because my picky eaters actually LIKED several of the foods other fussies don’t, such as broccoli, asparagus and caesar salad! I made it a point to offer them veggies and fruits they liked and not to push too much other stuff, but merely to continue to offer new things now and then. In some cases, it actually worked. My older daughter now eats many things she wouldn’t ever have tried in the past and she loves cooking and experimenting now.
The younger one decided she is vegetarian just over a year ago, so it can be more challenging to make sure she is well fed sometimes. I try to have beans or hummus or something like that around for her to keep her iron levels up.
Most of all, remember that it is not likely to last forever. By all means, if your doctor thinks it is wise, supplement your child’s diet with vitamins, but know that most picky kids don’t necessarily grow up to be overly fussy adults. Also, I’m sure there is at least one thing that most adults don’t like to eat, so try to exercise some patience with them.
Chef John and Anne made some of the same points in their book and some others which I found myself agreeing with big time as a more “experienced” (yup, older) mom. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to read it before it was published and highly recommend it.
I was asked if there is a go-to recipe which worked with my whole family when the kids were small, and my daughter reminded me how much they loved spaghetti. This sauce presents the opportunity to blend in “hidden” veggies to make it healthier for picky little ones. A little trickery is a moms prerogative, right?
Recipe: “Secret” Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 medium zuchinni, chopped
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 26-ounce can spaghetti sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- Saute vegetables in oil.
- Place in blender with sauce and 1 cup water and blend.
- Brown ground beef and add sauce and spices.
- Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Serve with prepared pasta and garlic bread.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 75 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 8
Copyright © Flayve | Barbara Filgate-Cobham.
Thank you so much, Barbara, for sharing these awesome tips with us!
You can find more delicious main dish recipes at our food blog!