is what I say when my kids don’t want to eat what I have painstakingly made. (Violins being played, actually, I am not a very good cook!) But I hear over and over from families who love to eat well, one of the parents is a fabulous cook, and their kids will only eat 5 things, of course none of them being whatever the parents love to eat.
It can be demoralizing. Frustrating. Insane making. But is it a problem? Parents ask me all the time, how can they get their kids to eat that food? What tricks can they play? There must be something!
i keep asking: What is the Problem? “Well, the kids only eat the same five things.” Are they healthy and thriving and on their growth curve? I ask. Are they getting a range of the food groups roughly, or are they at risk for scurvy? Usually those questions are yes, and no. But parents still pull their hair out.
On further questioning, the worry that their kids will never enjoy food like they do and will miss out on a pleasurable part of life, comes out. That they will eat this way forever.
I say: Not likely, and not likely. Most kids who are picky eaters grow out it by age 13 when biology kicks in, (growth spurts) and their senses fully develop. (Remember, eating involves the three senses: touch, taste and smell!) However, it is sad and a loss to not be able to enjoy the food together.
So here is my tip: Continue to enjoy the beautiful food you make with your partner, wife, husband, and model your enjoyment with your kids. Continue to eat together. Take the stress out of the mealtimes, by all of you, relaxing and enjoying the food. Be dogmatic about mealtimes being about connecting and hanging out together, not necessarily about eating. Enjoy those golden moments. Now that can fill you up. Who knows? One of them might be the next Alice Waters.