Eww I'm not eating that - dealing with picky eaters

We've all heard people say "back in my day we ate what was on the table and were happy to get it".

I'm sure *we* did, but I live in the real world with real children and we don't always like what we are served.

Our horizons have broadened, our choices are plentiful and our palates are much more sophisticated. Like anything in life, we have likes and dislikes.

While I never went out of my way to puree or hide fruits and veggies in other foods as I don't think this is necessarily a good idea I never said hey I put extra carrots, celery, peppers, onions and spinach in the sauce and you ate it so you must like them either.

What I did and still do is offer a wide variety and introduce new flavors along with things I know they like so they won't feel overwhelmed with new foods.

Getting children involved with every aspect of meal preparation helps as well- from looking through recipes together and seeing what looks good to shopping together, especially orchards and farmers markets and Whole Foods stores works wonders on their willingness to try new things.

When we lived in Alaska the girls would go out each afternoon and pick what vegetables they wanted in their salad that evening so they were willing to try things most kids wouldn't dream of.

Kyra once grew a teepee garden that had layers and along with the green beans and other familiar to her foods she grew and they ate things like radishes.

The more they are exposed to different things the more they are willing to try them.

I don't think forcing kids to eat them is likely to bring on a lifelong love of healthy eating, and most kids at least most of mine will go through very picky stages, but even miss picky-pants now eats more different types of fruits and veggies than were even commonly available when I was growing up, so I think somewhere along the line I did something right.

Making bento lunches has also been helpful for getting them to try new and different things- preparing them in new and fun ways gives a willingness that might have been lacking.

Keeping a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on hand, especially if they are ready to eat, like baby carrots, celery sticks, apples and tangerines make for quick snacks and I know my kids were much more likely to choose those things if they were already prepared and all they had to do was grab and go.

Make food, the gathering, preparing and eating of it an adventure, an activity you can share, an experience and your kids will be much more likely to try and enjoy a wide variety.

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