How to Raise a Non-picky Eater
- We have a “3 thank-you bites” rule. Unless they find it too spicy or were allergic to it, or some legit excuse like they don’t want to eat a live octopus, they need to take 3 bites as an appreciation and a thank you to the person who cooked it, even if they don’t like the food.
- I am not a fan of kids menus at restaurants. It actually bothers me that they’re most of the time all the same menus such as chicken nuggets or fingers, macaroni & cheese, and pizza! Not to mention they’re like $2 cheaper than an adult menu but way less of a portion, so I usually have my kids share two adult meals between the 3 of them, while I share some of my food with them too. “Why go out to eat if you’re going to get the same foods all the time at every restaurant?” you can hear me saying once in awhile. That’s not to say they’ve never gotten a macaroni & cheese kids meal, I let them get it once in blue moon but most of the time they want to eat the same foods as I am eating!
- I ate whatever I wanted while pregnant and while I was nursing. Except for monitoring the intake of seafood while I was expecting since some contain high levels of mercury that’s found to be harmful for your baby. And I don’t drink alcohol or soda or smoke or eat raw meat, so those weren’t a problem for me to begin with. My personal theory is that when I’m nursing, different foods that I eat produce different tasting milk, thus introducing to the baby different flavors. And my babies weren’t colicky or gave me a reason to seriously worry about what not to eat.
- I listened to my instincts when feeding my baby. Instead of reading an article on how you shouldn’t feed egg white, peanut butter, fish, berries, or wheat and adhering to it blindly. I didn’t feed my baby popcorn or grapes or things that they can choke easily, but fed them peanut butter, fish, egg white, berries and wheat after then turned 1. I also gave them many different finger foods or options when they were learning to eat solids to make it colorful and appealing and more fun.
- “You don’t know if you’ll like it until you try it.” is a phrase I said to my kids until they now say it themselves while trying a new vegetable or something that doesn’t look very appealing because that’s of course true, how are you going to know you don’t like it if you haven’t even tried it? Unless it’s something way off your comfort zone like the live octopus I mentioned(Koreans love that stuff!), then you don’t have to try it.
- If you don’t like dinner, then that’s too bad. If you don’t like the food I made for you, then you don’t get another option. If you found it too spicy, or the food is causing discomfort, then I’ll make something else for you. My kids are not allergic to anything that we are aware of, so that’s not an issue for us either. You eat what me and dad eat, I am not going to make another meal for you because you’d rather eat macaroni & cheese(which I’ve only made for them once in their lifetime my girls recently told me).
- I cook many different types of foods from different countries for dinner. My kids love oxtail soup & kimchi from Korea, fish balls & black bean paste from China, tamarind sauce from Thai, duck, raw fish, squid, octopus, oysters, mussels, to name a few. Introducing them to many different types of foods helps them to be open minded and adventurous with their food.
Out of all the different types of foods I cook for my family, I cook Korean food the most since I grew up in Korea and my mom only cooked Korean food so that’s what I crave the most. The only thing with Korean food is that it doesn’t use any dairy! No milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, or any other types of dairy. Milk is the top food source for three of the four nutrients most likely to be missing from kids’diets – calcium, vitamin D and potassium and like I’ve mentioned, I think I would be taller now if I drank milk while growing up(never once did we have milk in our refrigerator)! So I make sure we always have milk in our refrigerator and the kids get enough calcium.
How do you provide a healthy lifestyle for your family?