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Eating: From the Teen’s View

by Jacob P. | August 20th, 2012 | Teen Perspective

There maybe be no childhood stereotype greater than that of the picky little kid. Everyone has seen at least one little kid wrinkle their nose at food, dismayed at the lack of mac and cheese or chicken fingers. Both of my little sisters could fit that stereotype perfectly at various points in their life. Although both of them have grown out of it (to some degree), it was once a major part of making a family meal. In fact, we still occasionally poke fun at one of them for her characteristic nose wrinkle, which is seen quite frequently at the dinner table. So, I thought I would provide you with some tips for dealing with picky kids.

  1. Make everyone have at least a “no thank you serving.” In our household, this is pretty much a family tradition. Almost anytime we are all eating together, everyone must have a minimum serving of everything. For example I detest peas, but if they are a part of tonight’s dinner, I have to have a minimum serving of them, which is usually around three or so bites (my mom decides on the minimum size). Obviously, we don’t force my little brother to eat peanuts (he is allergic) or my vegetarian sister to eat meat. Also, we don’t usually enforce this if friends are over, if we are having a party, or in other similar situations.
  2. Introduce new food into the menu. When kids grow up eating chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and pizza all the time, they never have a chance to expand their palate. This results in them not wanting to try new things, because the foods are different and thus are perceived as gross. If kids keep trying new things occasionally, they may find things they like or find that their opinion on things has changed. If a child says they don’t like something once and are never told to eat it again, they remain convinced they dislike it forever.
  3. When you introduce a new food, don’t always say what it is until after it has been eaten. A lot of kids won’t eat something simply because they know it is something they don’t like. My sister was notorious for doing that. So, not telling the kids and preparing the food a different way may be the trick to introducing a new food. I have heard my siblings claim that they can detect the slightest trace of foods they dislike, but that is often just them thinking that because they know it’s there.

Getting your kids to eat different foods can be quite a challenge, but, hopefully, these tips can make it much easier. Good luck!

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