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russelled00 05-19-2005 04:53 PM

Variety for picky eaters
It takes a lot for my picky daughter to try anything new I put on the table. I tried to feed the family soba noodles for dinner the other day and was met with an alarmingly negative response! Im trying to cook more healthily for my family, but they are quite resistant to change. Id appreciate any suggestions as to how to cut back on empty calorie pastas, and replace them with nutritious substitutes like whole wheat or buckwheat, while still appealing to the tastes of my family.


kitchenelf 05-19-2005 05:00 PM

Barilla has a new pasta - it's more of a whole grain - somewhere in between whole wheat and semolina. That could be a start. You could do to them what you do to a cat or a dog when you change their food over - start mixing in the new stuff a little at a time! That'll sneak it in and they won't even know it.

Look at recipes with them and I feel if they help in the process, and help make it, they will be a little more inclined to think it's good. Maybe????

This is a tough question as it will ALWAYS be a question. Let us know what approach you take and what works.

Zereh 05-19-2005 06:16 PM

One thing that helped me with my picky eater was to have him help me cook!!! It was amazing how much more willing he was to try something "new" if some of his own blood, sweat and tears went into the making of it.

Granted the messes were larger (how in the heck can opening a can of tomatoe sauce result in red dots on the ceiling???) but the laughs were well worth it. =P

Did it work every time? Nope.

Other than that, what's wrong with being fussy? LOL I am fussy. There are some things that I just don't like and you'll never convince me otherwise.

My theory was, if you don't like what I cook you're free to have something else. But I was pretty strict about what the alternatives were. I think the important thing is to make sure that there are always plenty of choices available and that the majority of them meet the healthy standard. The problem comes in when the alternative choices are top raman, boxed mac & cheese or a drive-through hamburger every night of the week.

PS ~ When my son decided that something was on his approved eating list, I found ways to feed it to him as many ways as possible. Do you know how many dishes you can put carrots into if you're determined?? hehe


jkath 05-19-2005 07:56 PM

Stick around, you'll find tons of great advice here!
As a matter of fact, I do believe one of my very first posts involved asking help for dishes for my 12-year-old son who doesn't like cheese (unless it's mozzerella, and only on a pizza)

He's actually read through some of my recipes I've printed from this site and asked if he could help make them.

Here's an idea I used when the kids were younger:
put a paper on the refrigerator. Put numbers going down, 1-5
Tell her she can write the names of 5 foods that she really doesn't want to have.
Everything else, she must eat.
One son wrote his quickly, the other left #5 blank for the longest time "just in case".
After a while, one of them erased an entry after it looked "kinda good".

Claire 05-19-2005 09:36 PM

I go with both elf and zereh. Growing up, I always loved all food, as did both my parents. But I had the sister from ****, who seemed to make it her personal mission to make sure none of us ever enjoyed a meal, ever. To this day she hates to cook, but putting her in charge of making a meal DID make her want to eat that meal. Believe it or not my fussy-eating-sis became a specialist in beef tongue with horseradish gravy. The new Barilla pasta is a way to sneak in a bit more nutrition. But mostly, I recommend making it seem like an adult mystique. Hire a sitter and go out to dinner with your husband. Speak in whispers about how wonderful the food was, and how you know certain people wouldn't enjoy it. Dress up a bit and make the entire experience, which, I might add, your child is NOT participating in, a real affair. You'd be amazed at how this "oh, you wouldn't like this" might work.

velochic 05-22-2005 08:00 AM

My 3 year old will eat almost anything... from spicy to mild. The key for us is that everything MUST be tasted at least one time. She's allowed to spit it out if she really dislikes it, but she has to taste and chew for a few seconds. We ask her to tell us WHY she doesn't like something but for the most part, she still doesn't have the vocabulary to tell us (usually, she just says "I don't like it"). Sometimes she can tell us more. But that's been a big help - to try to have the her explain WHY she doesn't like it. Not ever having eaten it is not a good reason.

Getting the kids in the kitchen is also a great thing. And there is usually so much they can do away from knives and stoves.

My picky eater happens to be my mother that lives with us. Try getting a 65 year old woman who can't cook and was raised eating in southern diners to eat European (German, Turkish, French) fare. I once made a very Italian-American throw-together pasta casserole that had tomato sauce, green peppers, onions, shredded cheese, ground beef and rigatoni pasta in it. I made the mistake of saying "Oh, it's just a rigatoni casserole"... and my mom immediately said "I don't like that rigatoni stuff!" :rofl: Even after explaining that it's just a pasta shape, she wouldn't try it. :rolleyes:

Spice1133 05-22-2005 09:59 AM

I did the same thin velochic did. My boys had to take one taste and then if they didn't like it I"d substitute. The ony problem was after they took the bite they always liked it,
A problem because this included lobster, filet, crab. We were on a very limited budget and these things were a luxury. No longer could we have lobster while they had hotdogs. :lol: The only exception was liver and onions which 3 of us liked a lot and made my oldest son ill. Every time I made it he would say "Oh that smells so good, I just know I could eat it now" and every time he got ill. I always had something chicken for him while we ate the liver.

amber 05-22-2005 03:00 PM

Russelled, I dont know how old your daughter is but when mine was very young, all she would eat was boxed mac and cheese. As she got older her taste for other foods expanded. What I do is make a list of groceries for the week, menu included, and if someone doesnt like what I'm planning, they can have an alternative of their choice. For me it's just easier. My daughter doesnt like beef anymore so she eats chicken, my husband doesnt eat shell fish (allergic) so I make him gumbo or whatever, but mostly we all agree on what we like. It might be easier for you to make a list of what everyone likes.

college_cook 05-22-2005 05:02 PM

What my parents used to do when I asked what was in something new they would tell me things that they knew I liked. I don't think this would work with older kids, but it worked with me when I was young. I remember i didn't want to have anything to do with cheese. My parents started sneaking it into things though, and i remember the first time I had pizza, i couldn't believe that it was covered in cheese. So I nade a deal with them that I would only eat cheese that was melted. Then they got me to try mozzarella cheese cold, and I liked it, and eventually lost my fear of cheese.

luvs 05-22-2005 05:42 PM

at least if you can't get soba into your family, though, i recommend you try the previously mentioned pasta. i personally like whole wheat pasta, too. and organic may be a way to get at least somewhat healthier food into them.
also, if pasta doesn'tt work out how about adding things like beans, lentils and nuts into meals. they're healthy and most peoplee seem to love them.
how about adding your new pastas to soups, insteadd of serving them as the centerpiece?

jkath 05-22-2005 10:19 PM


Originally Posted by college_cook
I remember i didn't want to have anything to do with cheese. My parents started sneaking it into things though, and i remember the first time I had pizza, i couldn't believe that it was covered in cheese. So I nade a deal with them that I would only eat cheese that was melted. Then they got me to try mozzarella cheese cold, and I liked it, and eventually lost my fear of cheese.

Tell me more, college - my boy still doesn't care for cheese, except on pizza. What other tricks did your folks have up their sleeves? Did you learn to like yellow cheeses? Teach me, wise one!:mrgreen:

buckytom 05-22-2005 10:30 PM

try to find a brand of whole wheat pastas called bionaturae. i think it's made in italy. it's the best whole wheat i've tried; the closest to regular pasta.

also, making spicy pasta sauces helps mask the flavor of the whole wheat. i will post my recipe for shrimp and scallops fra diavolo when i get the chance (i never write anything down or measure when i cook). it goes really well with the bionaturae spaghetti.

urmaniac13 09-28-2006 12:01 PM

buckwheat pasta is actually very tasty, bursting with nutty flavours, if some kids can get over the weirdness of pasta being brown with some dark dots, instead of being white, this can easily be a winner.

Italian version of buckwheat pasta is called pizzoccheri, they are more like thick and shorter tagliatelle. The traditional recipe is the pasta tossed with oodles of melting cheese, garlic butter, potatoes and your choice of vegetables (shredded cabbage or spinach is the traditional selection, which can also be tricky with some picky kids, I have tried it with broccoli, chopped brussel sprouts and mushrooms they are also great, another possible option is courgette/zucchini... let the kids choose the vegetables.), they are so wonderfully rich and tasty (though not particularly "light"...), and well enough covered so you can hardly see the difference of the pasta. It makes a gorgeous dinner especially on a chilly evening. It is well worth a try.

BTW we also have an extraordinarily stubborn, picky 7 year old boy(well, son of my partner who lives with his mother) who should really be growing out of his "little kid fussiness" but showing no sign of it, I would welcome more input as to how to "break" picky children!!

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