Picky eaters…Why are some kids so much pickier than others and what can we do from a young age to prevent this? This is a question I often ask myself and friends often ask me. I can’t speak from personal experience in my own home because I don’t have children yet, but I can speak from research and watching parents who have practiced this in their own homes.
No one likes picky eaters, at any age for that matter. There is nothing worse than going to dinner with someone that has a long list of likes and dislikes and recreate each menu item to their particular satisfaction. Now, I understand if there are allergies or extreme dislikes to certain foods, but there is an excessive level. I like things a certain way, we all do, but I try not to be fussy, especially when at someone’s house or going out to eat. I may hate mushrooms and cilantro, but I can easily eat around them. Heck, next time I’ll host dinner at my place!
Where does this all begin? From a young age, everything we smell, see, touch, and taste is setting guidelines for what we like and dislike. Often times, kids will make a judgment about something simply based on a smell, color or look. I remember a few years ago seeing purple ketchup at the store. Of course kids loved it! Think about fruit-loops, lucky charms and cheerios? How attractive are the boxes and colors? It sells! Case in point, we first eat with our eyes. Kids often hate Brussels sprouts and fish because it smells. If only they took a bite!
So how can we change this? Get them involved! From a young age, children should be included in the process. From helping with the prep, shopping, selection, meal planning and even cooking, kids want to and should be involved. If kids are involved in the process, at whatever level that may be, they will be more interested in trying the food because they “made” it. At every age, children can be included. Before crawling and walking, move their highchair in the kitchen and let them watch. Have them point to fruit in a basket for a morning smoothie. Have them join you at the farmers market and select a few items to bring home and try. Grocery stores are great especially with the fun trolley carts. Make it fun and rewarding with a delicious home-cooked meal around the table together. At the end of the day, cooking should be fun and enjoyed with those that you love. What better way to spend time with your family and develop solid eaters than cook with them!
Cheers to starting a new tradition around the table together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!