I like to think of cooking and baking as my superpowers. I don’t mean in a “tooting my own horn” sort of way, but in a “I truly love cooking and baking for people.” These are my gifts. My kitchen is my happy place. If I can fill your belly and warm your heart, I’ve done my job well.
But you want to know the one person my cooking superpower hasn’t always worked on? My own son. That’s right. I was blessed with one of the pickiest children I know. What kind of cruel joke is that? Very few things make me happier than knowing I’ve prepared a satisfying meal made with lots of love, and yet my child wouldn’t eat it.
And yes, I’ve tried those tactics that articles and experts talk about when it comes to handling picky eaters. For instance, take them grocery shopping with you and let them pick items they want to try. The first time we did this it seemed promising, especially when he picked up a bunch of broccoli. But as soon as we got home and I asked if he was ready for me to cook it so he could taste it, all interest went out the window and he refused.
Another suggestion: telling your child that you aren’t a short order cook, and if they’re hungry enough they’ll eat what you put in front of them. This one is a personal favorite from my own childhood. Believe it or not, I really thought I’d enforce this one. But I have to pick my battles, and that’s not one of them. (Sorry, mom, for not standing my ground). I’ve been known to make a sandwich for my child when he wasn’t the least bit curious about touching my pot roast.
Other advice I read was to continue introducing new foods, even when they refuse. And yes, he refused. A LOT. But we perservered.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering, “so when does this get positive?”
When my son was younger, he had a super sensitive gag reflex. So when we’d introduce new foods, he would take a bite and immediately start gagging. At that point cleaning up puke was much worse to me than forcing him to eat. Fortunately, he outgrew that, and we established a rule: he had to try at least one bite of whatever we were eating. Sometimes he liked it and sometimes he didn’t. But we were finally seeing progress! We also made sure he saw us eating a variety of different foods, hoping to set an example of being more open when it comes to trying new things.
So moms, if I can encourage you at all when it comes to your picky eater, I’ll say this: If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. Be patient. Figure out what works for you and your child and don’t give up! I had so many people tell me they were the pickiest eaters when they were young, but eventually outgrew it and now they eat all the things!
The other day my son told me he tried sushi. We don’t eat sushi, so I asked him about it. A friend at school had it for lunch and offered some to him. He didn’t really like it, but he tried it. MY SON TRIED SUSHI!
Your hard work will pay off one day, mamas!