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Old 08-09-2005, 08:55 PM   #1
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The Ultimate Picky Eater Recipe Challenge...

I have the Ultimate Teen Picky Eater in my family - my 15 year old daughter. I have looked at countless magazine articles on recipes for picky eaters, and have bought tons of recipe books full of 'Family meals that ALL the family will love'....she hasn't liked a single new thing that I've persuaded her to try in the past 12 years...no kidding!!

It's getting to be a problem - I am very concerned about good nutrition but just haven't the time to cook 2 separate meals a night - so she ends up eating frozen mac & cheese, Lean Pockets, or Pizza most nights. To make matters worse, she goes vegetarian every few months (but won't eat most vegetables!).

If any of you can come up with some ideas, I would be eternally grateful, because I'm just about at my wits end!!

Things she will eat:
Mashed potatoes
Corn on the cob
Raw Carrots
Peas (sometimes)
Macaroni & Cheese
Pizza sauce
Pepperoni (when she's not vegetarian)
Pepperoni Lean Pockets (")
Pepperoni or Cheese Pizza (no veggies).
Cheese sandwiches (no veggies)
Tuna sandwiches (no veggies)
Kiwi Fruit
Apple juice
Chef Boyardee Tinned Pasta
Cream of Tomato Soup (the ONLY soup she will eat).
Turkey Hot-Dogs (when not vegetarian)
Chicken Kiev (")
Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips (no other flavour)
Yogurt (as long as it doesn't have bits in it)
Cheese omelet

Things she hates:
Anything Mexican
Peppers (Bell and other peppers)
Tomatoes (unless it's Pizza sauce or ketchup)
Chicken (unless it's in nugget form)
Anything with 'bits' in it
Anything with veggies in it
Anything Indian
Anything Chinese
Seafood & Fish (apart from Canned Tuna)
Any sort of casserole (because it has veggies and bits in it)

There is heart disease in my family and so I am concerned about her eating too much saturated fat/cholesterol. I try and use low-fat cheese, but I'd still like to cut down on the cheesy things she likes....but it's hard to find another healthy protein source when she's in a vegetarian phase and won't eat chicken or other lean meat.

Recipe ideas that I can cook in bulk and then freeze portions for her would be great! Any ideas???



British ex-pat living in Colorado, USA
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:02 PM   #2
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i'm interested to find this too. all my little sister will eat is mashed potatoes and that's really about it. good luck paint

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Old 08-09-2005, 09:04 PM   #3
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It might be something she has to outgrow - my son changed drastically from 15 to 17 - though he wasn't a picky eater by any means. I mean he will eat things with onion in it now, etc. Give her some good multi-vitamins - you can check with her doctor to see if she needs to be taking anything else too. The more concerned you get the more picky she might become.

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:09 PM   #4
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Oh boy. That IS picky.

My kids love to make their own tortilla pizzas. And really, you hit all the food groups with pizza. So she eats the same thing every day, boring for you, but as long as she gets SOME of everything she will be OK.

Try tortilla pizzas with whatever meat she will eat and tomato sauce. (You can sneak pureed carrots or something in with the tomato sauce if you need to.)

Try smearing cream cheese on a tortilla and letting her cut up kiwi and whatever other fruit she will eat (strawberry, peach slices?) on it and then drizzle a pineapple juice glaze over it for her. That way she gets the food groups in another form.

Now that I have offered you a couple of ideas, I will just say she clearly feels the need to have control over this piece of her life. Keep offering the healthy stuff, but continue to let her make her own decisions. You are doing the right thing here. Even the pickiest eaters will eventually branch out. I read somewhere it takes a minimum of 12 exposures to something new before a kid will trust it enough to try it. I won't tell you not to worry. You can't help it, she is your baby. Just remember we are here for you, and we will try to help you come up with other stuff to tempt her palate. Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:19 PM   #5
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How about making her responsible for her own dinner? You could stock the pantry/fridge with stuff she'll eat and just explain to her that because it's getting tiring and difficult to guess what she wants to eat every night, she is responsible for her own meal.
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:25 PM   #6
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ironchef - that's a good idea!

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:49 PM   #7
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Be comforted! She is NOT, repeat NOT the ultimate picky eater!! That was me throughout my childhood. I would eat only lamb chops and mashed potato. Refused the lamb chop if there was the slightest trace of pink about it. Refused the mashed potato if there was the smallest lump in it. On rare occasions, I'd eat a few green beans, as long as the life had been boiled out of them. No long lists of 'likes' for me! I would drink only water or tea (no milk). I sent my mother grey at a young age. The more fuss she made, the more stubborn I became. I learned from that with my own kids!!

Now - I'll eat pretty much anything, and like to experiment with different foods and flavours.

How did the change come about? I left home at 16 to live with another family, many hundreds of miles from home in the Outback (nearest neighbour was 100 miles away, nearest town 300 miles), as an employee. Was forced to eat what I was served, or starve. I chose to eat.

When it came to my kids, they were allowed a list of 10 'dislikes', to be changed each week as desired. The deal was that they'd eat everything NOT on the list, with me playing fair, and being considerate enough to offer only small servings of the known dislikes. There were frequent mumblings and grumblings on both sides, but it was a democratic system which worked well.

AND they were encouraged to help with the shopping, and to prepare the meals. They usually ate at least a little of whatever they'd made for themselves.

The real solution is to let these real picky ones go hungry for a while, not to pander to their fussiness. Let it be known that 'eat it or go without tonight, I'm not making a special meal just for one' is a rule that will be enforced. Seriously, they'll eat when they're hungry enough! At 16, any advice you give re balanced diet is likely to be completely ignored. Wait a few years and common sense will kick in. A boyfriend she wants to impress may well be the answer!
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:51 PM   #8
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My daughter, too!

Boy oh boy, do I feel for you...I have a picky eater like yours, my youngest daughter, now 16. I have had the same worries about nutrition, and your daughter's likes and dislikes are so similar to mine that I could probably stock your pantry....

It's true, I think a some of this is my daughter excercising control over her life - over me! I've reached the point where I make sure that there are healthy foods in the house, and I'm not pushing too much (been there, done that, didn't work). I have told her, though, that I am NOT a short order cook, and I'll do one meal for the family a night and that's it. I did buy the multi-vitamins, but made the mistake of buying the one with minerals included, which made the pill really large, and she wouldn't take it (so I do :))

BTW - Up to the age we came to the US, she was 5 then, she was a wonderful eater. For the first year here, she didn't even like the usual US kid-fare (chicken nuggets, mac 'n cheese, pizza, burgers, fries), but would eat a baked sweet potatoe, liked oatmeal. But it changed as she grew and made friends.

I do talk to her about how good nutrition shows on the skin and the hair (appealing to vanity). I know with children, sometimes it takes a 1000 repititions - have faith, some of it does go 'in there', as I'm sure you know.

One suggestion that I have had a little success with is to take her food shopping with me, and get her to pick out some of her favourites, but insist that she picks out some nutritious things too - sort of a compromise. Maybe she could even be persuaded to plan a menu for one family meal a week. My daughter, right now anyway, probably wouldn't go that far, or would give me cheek! But, I do have some leverage (instant messaging, computer use, and there's always some measure of bribery and corruption if you're inventive (don't knock it!)).

Good luck, Paint. This too shall pass.
Yours in adversity,
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:22 AM   #9
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15 and that picky. I agree, let her make her own meals. she will probably tire of that.As long as you have what she likes in the pantry let her go at it.
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:34 AM   #10
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Someone once said to me, 'the teenage years are like the terrible two's, only worse'! So true! I agree with all that on some level your daughter is enjoying the attention she's getting, and the 'power' she's able to exert over you as you wear yourself into a frazzle trying to get something down her throat.

I'd do as IC suggests, and have things available she likes; if she doesn't like what's on the table for dinner, she can make her own.

Tough love, I know! And that having been said, keep an eye out for that horrid monster anorexia or bulimia raising its nasty little head.

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