Fact: kids can be picky eaters (I know plenty of adults who are picky eaters too). That hasn't stopped me from introducing my boys to a wide range of flavors. I'm a true believer that we don't need to dumb-down a dish in order for our kids to eat it. We'll go out for dim sum one day, pork tenderloin with rhubarb chutney the next, followed by paella. I'm not going to say my kids eat everything ('cause they don't). But they will almost always try whatever we put in front of them. And more often than not, they are pleasantly surprised it is something they like.
I was particularly excited to see "Little people, big palates," a recent article on boston.com about raising adventurous eaters. Reading this article got me thinking about my own family's dining habits and steps we've taken to avoid becoming a "short-order cook" to my kids (it's enough that I am their personal nose-wiper-chauffeur-butt-wiping-assistant). I have to agree with many of the tips listed in this article:
- Introduce new foods often - I'm always trying new recipes/dishes almost every day
- Start them young - chop up your food for little ones (your knife skills will improve dramatically)
- Don't give up - experts suggest it takes more than 20 times before your kid determines if he/she really likes something
I'm not making any guarantees these chopsticks will make your kids clean their plates of tofu and spinach. But it will make for some laughs... and maybe a bit of a mess the first couple of times. The last food for thought is not to make meal times a battle. We all know how willful some kids can be. And trust me, sometimes a battle of the wills is not worth a piece of broccoli.
What are some other tips/advice you have for parents to curb picky-eater syndrome?