Posts Tagged ‘picky eaters’

Advice and a Main Dish Recipe from a Mom of Two Former Picky Eaters

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

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?

spaghetti sauce recipe

[Image credit]


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


  1. Saute vegetables in oil.
  2. Place in blender with sauce and 1 cup water and blend.
  3. Brown ground beef and add sauce and spices.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. 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!

Comic Relief for Moms with a Picky Eater

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

You’ve placed the plate in front of your child with a reasonable serving of a food you know she enjoys.  She takes one look at it and lets you know right away she’s just not interested this time.

You’ve been working all day caring for your children, possibly after coming home from a work day to pay the bills that help support them, doing the tasks around the house that need to be done today, paying those bills, running here and there taking care of this and that, and racking your brain for what to cook for dinner.  It takes every ounce of self-control you have in your being to find a suitable response.

[Comic Relief — n.   1. An amusing scene, incident, or speech introduced into serious or tragic elements, as in a play, in order to provide temporary relief from tension, or to intensify the dramatic action; 2. Relief from tension caused by the introduction or occurrence of a comic element, as by an amusing human foible.]   ~Source~


Okay.  Maybe that’s a tad bit melodramatic, but it sure can feel tragic if it’s been one of those days.  But it is definitely serious or it would not be causing such stress!

Parents of picky eaters, as a rule, I believe, want their children to eat good, healthy foods.  Otherwise, the picky eater adjective probably would not be a part of their parenting vocabulary.

And trust me, I can relate to the feeling of giving up on that goal.  I’ve thought to myself sometimes how much easier this would be if I just gave in and let the child eat whatever she wanted.  Here’s where my stubbornness being a stronger trait in me than in her is a positive!  I am determined about certain things in life, and finding ways to help foster the development of healthy eating habits is one of those things.

If you have reached a point of feeling ready to pull your hair out while trying to find a solution for how to handle your picky eater, look no further!  We may have some recommendations that could give you just the comic relief you need.

For those moments when you feel like giving up, take a deep breath and watch this video.  Not only is it funny.  It will remind you of all the reasons why your end goal is worth the struggle!  Remember Hotpockets?  Chef John introduced me to this clip.  You may not find it as funny as we do, but if you have ever eaten a Hotpocket, I’m thinking you’ll get a kick out of this.

Okay, then!  If you didn’t care for that option, we have another one for you that may suit your style better.  Chef John introduced me to this, too.  I know.  I’ve lived a sheltered life.

Are you a comic strip fan?  If so, you may know where I’m heading.  You see, after my husband told me about some of these comic strips with picky eater scenarios, I thought…. wow, now that is the picky eaters’ MASCOT!  That’s right.  I’m convinced that they have a mascot.  He must appear to them in dreams and give them lots of ideas.

This is a 6-year-old famous comic strip character who is the ultimate picky eater!  Any guesses?

Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes!

If you’ve never read these comic strips before, they’re good.  Calvin’s creator, we learn on page 131 in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, was a picky eater, and you can tell.  He knows the drill all too well; although, he does say these strips are an exaggeration of his own fussiness about eating.

Calvin has above average intelligence with an advanced vocabulary and has quite an imagination.  He much prefers to play with his food rather than eat it.  In one of my favorite strips, though, Calvin’s imagination actually works to his mom’s favor with his picky eating.  You can find that one on page 58, also in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book.

We have four books of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, and here is a rundown of those books and where you can find some comic relief:

Page 43 – The Living X-Ray
Page 49 – Calvin’s Mom Discovers His Latest Mischief (while eating)
Page 82 – Calvin’s Guilt about Something He Just Did Gets to Him (while eating)
Page 83 – Calvin Lets His Schoolmate Know What Part of His Lunch Reminds Him of, a strip that got Calvi and Hobbes banned from a newspaper once!
Page 131 – Calvin Gets into a “Food Fight” with His Meal
Page 134 – A School Lunch “Episode”

Page 32 – Calvin Is Overwhelmed by the Adult Conversation at the Table
Page 88 – The “His Food is Allergic to Him” Excuse
Page 108 – Experimenting with Food
Page 139 – Like Most Young Picky Eaters, He Has No Problem with the Sweets! AND Another School “Episode”

Page 34 – Calvin Is Certain His Mom Is Feeding Him… Maggots
Page 49 – His Dad Comes Home to Snowmen Gagging in the Yard and Correctly Guesses What They are Having for Dinner
Page 53 – His Mom’s Caution Dashes His Chance for a “Treat”
Page 59 – His Attempt to Trade Sandwiches at Lunch at School Fail after He Rants about His Looks and Smells Like
Page 89 – His Mom Completely Ignores His Demands for How He Wants the Sandwich She’s Making Him
Page 102 – Another School “Episode”
Page 104 – Accuses His Mom of Trying to “Kill” Him with What She Feeds Him
Page 112 – Making a List of a Million Things that Bug Him; Out of 7, 5 are Food-Related
Page 113 – Playing with Eggs
Page 115 – Playing with Toast
Page 143 – Imagined His Mom Used All Kinds of Disgusting Things in His Meal

Page 19 – More Sandwich Demands
Page 38 – Even picky about Where He Eats!
Page 49 – Eats 4 Boxes of His Favorite Cereal to Get Enough Proof of Purchase Seals to Get a Beanie Hat
Page 68 – His Mom Says No Wonder She Stays So Thin after Calvin Describes What He the Jelly Doughnuts Remind Him of
Page 76 – Is Distracted by an Adverse Situation and Actually Eats His Meal that He “Didn’t Like Very Much,” Including Asparagus
Page 133 – Makes Hilarious Faces as He Gags His Meal Down, Only to Vomit Afterwards
Page 169 – “Spider Pie”
Page 214 – His Favorite Cereal Must be How His Mom Tries to Compromise with the Picky Eating
Page 215 – A Nightmare about Food
Page 231 – His Meal Reminds Him of What He Just Watched on a Nature Show
Page 236 – A “Food Fight” in Which the Food Fights Back (Maybe in a previous book)
Page 237 – Says His Meal Looks Like Compost
Page 249 – Calvin Outsmarts His Mom

[Descriptions are mine.]

Whatever you do, don’t let your picky eater anywhere near these until you are certain he/she has outgrown these phases!

If you have not seen our eBook Cookbook, What to Cook for Dinner for Picky Eaters, yet, you may want to check it out for tips, recipes and resources for handling mealtime battles.

[Affiliate Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links.]
More resources for Moms: The Mommy Club, Works for Me Wednesday

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