Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Overcoming Picky Eating

Now I know with a title like "Overcoming Picky Eating" anyone who is a parent is going to think I'm about to impart some glorious knowledge about how to get their kids to eat "weird foods".

Nope, sorry.....because it's ME who is the picky eater!  Plus I don't have children (yet...).

All my life, I've been a picky eater.  My Mom tells me stories about how I'd spit out baby food, turn up my nose at most vegetables, and Dad would have to resort to tricks to get me to eat a carrot or a green bean by falling off his chair and making me laugh.  They joke that if it hadn't been for peanut butter sandwiches, McDonald's Happy Meals and Flintstones vitamins, I would have starved to death.

I flat out would. not. eat. anything that I deemed weird or yucky....and I didn't have to taste it to label a food as such.  Just the sight of anything that looked weird or yucky got that label and I refused to even take a tiny bite of it to try.  If forced to try something, temper tantrums ensued.  The old "you can sit there until you eat it" didn't work either, after I would stubbornly still be sitting at the kitchen table at midnight.  Even foods that were a staple of most kids' childhoods, like macaroni and cheese, I wouldn't eat.

Nope, wasn't having any part of it, then!

I'm sure I embarrassed my parents numerous times over the years by throwing temper tantrums at family potlucks and restaurants, and gave my Mom numerous headaches over "what to fix for dinner [that she'll eat]."  

Sometime around college I started growing out of the pickyness a tiny bit and started to voluntarily try new-to-me foods, like broccoli.  I started out with a box of Lipton Broccoli Rice mix (that had dehydrated little bits of broccoli in it - how I thought that would not be gross is beyond me now) and thought, "Well that's not so bad, is it?" and went on from there to full-blown real broccoli.  When I discovered pasta with alfredo sauce with chicken, broccoli and carrots I was in heaven.  And I eventually got around to trying - and liking - macaroni and cheese.

It's taken me many years to get where I'm at today with food.  Each year sees new additions to my food repertoire, and I laugh when we're out to eat with my parents and my Mom will look over at what I'm eating in astonishment and say, "You eat that now!?"  I don't know what has changed, but it's like every year that I get older, I feel "ready" to try something new.  Oh I still have many issues, and there are foods that I've legitimately tried and do. not. like.  Even some where I've tried to force myself to like them by trying them over and over again - sweet potatoes, I'm looking at you.  And you know what?  It's OK that I don't like them.  At least I've given them a legitimate try!

Sweet potatoes / yams......still yucky!

I thought it would be fun to keep a tally of the foods I now eat that I never would have eaten even two years ago, let alone as a child., and record which foods are on the "to try" list and which ones make the grade.

A few foods off the top of my head that I've started eating in the last couple of years:

  • beets
  • acorn and butternut squash
  • zucchini and yellow squash
  • mangos
  • kiwi
  • grapefruit
  • oranges (I loved orange juice, but hated the whole fruit - texture issues, y'know)
  • steak cooked medium or medium rare (always, always had to have it medium well or well done before - no pink showing!)
  • mushrooms (I'm still very, very new to mushrooms and at this point will only eat them as part of my favorite dish from Imperial Palace at the mall - Cashew Chicken - but baby steps!  
  • beef stew (but only if I make it)
  • peaches
  • goat milk
  • buttered toast (the butter part is new)
  • salmon's what's for dinner!

So, parents, I hope you don't have kids that are as bad as I was with food, and if you do, hopefully they will grow out of it as I have begun to.

What foods will you not touch even for a million dollars?  Any other picky eaters out there?

As for sweet potatoes and yams......sorry, Ginger!

"The Yam", Carefree, 1938


  1. I like sweet taters!

    1. I know you do Husband, I know you ;)

  2. What an candid, interesting post. So many people love to espouse about how they're adventurous foodies, but far fewer people publicly delve into the life of being a picky eater. I'm not one myself, but I'm married to someone who started out life on the fairly picky side, but who like yourself, has added in many more foods over the years (including plenty of veggies that he wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole as a child) and whose culinary tastes continue to evolve with time.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. I think that's an excellent way of putting it, "culinary tastes continue to evolve with time." In some cases it works in reverse, too; apparently as a child I would eat bologna but I won't touch it now, lol.

  3. The whole texture/color thing is a biggie. Also, the smell (liver!) of something can turn one off. I can't abide apricots, eggplant, zucchini, turnips, and parsnips. If toast is even slightly burnt, I cannot even swallow it. As a child, I refused to eat cold cereal with milk on it. SOGGY. Also, I still have an issue with pancakes and waffles, because of the texture.

    See, we all have our quirks. Very glad that you are experimenting and expanding your palate.

    1. Oh yes, texture is a big thing for me, too! My husband thinks it's funny that I now eat guacamole and hummus, which he thinks is weird because of my "texture issues". But gravy on mashed potatoes? Gag! Why would you ruin perfectly good potatoes with brown slimy stuff!? There is no rhyme or reason to it, I tell ya.


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