Picky Eating — Don't Give Up

by Katy on October 7, 2008 · 8 comments


I just had a momentous day as a parent.

My oldest son became a teenager.

And I let him choose anything he wanted for his birthday dinner. He chose:

  • Curry lime chicken satay kabobs with peanut dipping sauce.
  • Salad with bleu cheese and shrimp.
  • A homemade chocolate cake.

And what the birthday boy/man wants, the birthday boy/man gets.

Even the most elaborate made-from-scratch dinner is going to be cheaper and more relaxing than a nice dinner out, so I’m happy to accommodate his tastes.

And frankly I’m kind of proud that my son didn’t request pizza, chicken strips or other such unhealthy typical teenage fare.

My kids are not atypical. They’re picky eaters in their own way, but I don’t just give up and feed them crap. I want them to be able to enjoy a variety of different types of food, hopefully healthy food.

I think this is a fight many parents are unwilling to fight. Yes, it’s easier to feed your kids processed chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs, but you do them no favor by serving this pseudofood to them.

Are you willing to fight the fight?

Tell us how you deal with picky eating issues with your kids in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy October 8, 2008 at 4:25 am

“Curry lime chicken satay kabobs with peanut dipping sauce”

Months instituting a house-ban on all processed/fake food, my boys (ages: 12 & 16) have actually lost a taste for junk food. Even when out with friends they politely turn down quick foods, soda, candy. In addition to academic improvement, we are saving money on our grocery bill and throwing away far-less trash.


Kate October 8, 2008 at 10:16 am

I have to say that I don’t have a picky eater. Perhaps because we never let it get that way, or because he just isn’t. I don’t make food an issue.
Certainly we don’t have white bread, sugary juice or many ‘fast foods’ in the house and never have. While he does like chips or the occasional ‘junky’ treat (not so much a sweet tooth) which we do have, he will almost always reach for fruit and water first. He’s loved sushi since he was 1 1/2. He asks for sushi or lasagna for his birthdays.
When he has friends over I just don’t give them the choices. Sandwiches are on whole wheat bread. I don’t cut the skins off of english cucumbers. There is always a good selection of snacks available and if you don’t eat them and are hungry — that’s not my problem. There are treats sometimes – small freezies being a favourite. But you don’t get the treats until real food has been eaten. I don’t bribe, that is simply the rule. There aren’t always treats, but when they are they must be balanced against some good food. If you choose not to eat the other food, that then is your choice.


esther October 8, 2008 at 10:19 am

the oldest, 8 years, wants to be a vegetarian like me, but he doesn’t really like veggies….lol! And the youngest, loves meat, but also enjoys his veggies very much. They’re not into junkfood too much, happily


Kristen October 8, 2008 at 11:15 am

Amen, Katy! My oldest, who is now 9, was a horribly picky eater. In fact, one evening when he was three, he came up to me in the kitchen and asked, “What yucky thing are we having for dinner tonight?”. Yeah. My husband and I have stuck to our guns, though, and he is now significantly less picky than he used to be.

My 7 year old picked Beef Au Jus sandwiches for her birthday this last year, which I thought was funny.


connie October 8, 2008 at 11:22 am

my youngest is now 18 and making all food choices for himself at college. I smile when I listen to him complain about the lack of variety in dorm food. the smile is not about his frustration, but that he demands a variety of fresh foods. He is not satisfied with the “just heat it up” processed foods.
my oldest (20) is a vegetarian who is learning to cook. he chooses many simple foods and has no yearnings for fast foods.
there is hope! now if I could just do something about my coffee habit…:)


Linda October 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm

My six-year-old daughter is very active and good at sports. She is much taller than the same age kids!

However, she does not like milk anymore. I can’t make her drink a drop! Because of that, she refuses cereal as the breakfast. I didn’t give her other options for breakfast, but she just skips the breakfast! Her class has an early lunch at 11:00AM at school, but I still worry she misses the breakfast. HELP!


Alison October 9, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Linda, how about yogurt, cheese or a bagel with cream cheese for your daughter’s breakfast?

I like how Katy put the spin on picky eaters. I think my kids are picky but they are certainly not restricted to typical “kid fare” – they love pesto (on pasta, pizza or in a wrap) and blue cheese dressing (which they’ll dip practically anything into).


Cheryl October 12, 2008 at 7:52 am

I was a nanny for 16 years and am the mother of a 12 year old boy. When my son started solid food he had rice cereal and vegetables only for the first two months. He did not taste sugar until he was two years old. He is a tall, strong, healthy strapping boy who will always finish the vegetable tray first at a party before having a piece of his own birthday cake. I believe as parents or caregivers we play a direct role into whether or not our children are picky or unhealthy eaters. Focus your mindset and act accordingly.


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