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Picky kids!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok. I have four kids ages 3 to 10. I like to experiment and make new things, but I'm hampered by my very picky children. I've made so many meals that they just refuse to eat. (One kid doesn't like potatoes or cheese! How does that work?) The one I still scratch my head over is I made a potato gnocchi with a light marinara sauce and baked turkey sausage meatballs. They like spaghetti, they like sausage, should be good. I was extremely pleased with the results but I could barely even get them to eat more than a bite or two. (Except the one who hates potatoes. She liked it. How's that for inconsistent :p)

So getting to the point... I was browsing though this forum yesterday and found a post linking to an article with a lot of weird hot dog recipes (here). So I decided to try the spaghetti dogs because they looked fun and easy. While they were boiling up I made a "no effort at all" spaghetti sauce from canned diced tomatoes, a little oregano, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and corn starch (to thicken it). I threw that in the blender to liquefy it and got it to boiling on the stove. I pulled out one of the sketty-dogs when they were done and dipped it in my sauce. I didn't like the sauce and thought the hot dog and spaghetti together was horrible. But I served it up to them anyway.

They loved it. :eek:. They ate all of it. Even my three year old that we almost have to force feed to try to get him to gain weight. They all wanted more.:confused:

So I'm stumped. I think my instincts at what they will like are totally wrong. Any other food ideas that I can make for them that I might like too?
post #2 of 9
Hm, my Mother always had two options for each meal: "Take it or leave it!" I think Buddy Hackett stole that line from her ;)
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #3 of 9
>> They all wanted more.

if your kids are like my kids (were) when you try this next week you're in for a surprise <g>

I found I could get them to eat pretty much anything they had helped prepare / cook.
three to ten is challenging for sure; somebody in the group is going to refuse to eat it because so-and-so had their grubby hands in my food.... or whatever.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
:) That's a whole other rant. Short version: their pickiness is somewhat (greatly) abetted by my wife, who is also a picky eater. With my gentle nudges, she is getting better. I think your mother and I have similar viewpoints, though.
post #5 of 9
lol...no. my kids are almost all raised and none have lived with me for a few years. However in the past it was a stretch to get them to eat homemade pizza...honest. Untill I had the pizza guy over for dinner they didn't believe that what i made was as good. Mustard cheese sandwiches were the coolest food ever in thier opinon cause I had taken them to the kitchen to teach them the art of the sandwich. They wanted no lettuce, no tomato, no mayo, no pickle, NO MEAT!? , none of it. Yes, whole wheat bread (cause i don't like white in the house Period.) with mustard and cheddar cheese:confused: ham and cheese? ..no. ..pastrami?. ..no...club?.. ..no...ffs ...pb&j?...heck no..they hate peanut butter:eek:

best advice I can give is take your kids to the store and let them pick out the ingriedients for thier fav sandwhich and have a fav dinner veg or four and help them understand what is garbage and what is good. My kids could have pancakes and eggs or pancakes and bacon or bacon and eggs ...no way were they getting all of that cause it was just too much. we had other stuff for breakfast too, thats just an example. anyway get them interested in what they are eating and why they like certain foods.

best assurance I can give is that studies have shown that what we llike as kids is not necessarilarly what we like in adulthood or even in our late teens. When the kids came to visit last summer we had a lovely snack of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozz and basil leaves from the garden drizzled with a balsamic reduction and even the one who hates tomatoes to this day ate several slices and declared it "awesome food". Ah yes..higher praise is not available.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #6 of 9
You've got a tough job - keeping kids from 3 up to 10 happy with food!

Was just wondering if they are not hungry enough at dinner time? Do they "graze" on snacks thoughout the day? Or filling up on drinks? Do they have free access to the fridge and pantry, or is snack time controlled? They could be almost full and that way whatever you make, they won't eat much, despite your best efforts.

I've gotten good results where you have a variety of foods on the table, shared family style at dinner time. For example, if you do baked potatoes, have a bowl of grated cheese, pats of butter, tub of yoghurt/sour cream, sliced red onions, coleslaw, crispy bacon bits, etc etc. That way they can mix and match and choose their own - everyone should be able to find something to suit. You'll end up using everything eventually in other meals, I've never found too much gets wasted.

Same with tacos, hot dogs, burgers or a big tub of macaroni with several sauces and toppings. Tastes vary from year to year, day to day and child to child so (painfully!) much that it is hard to have one dish to please all.

But I'd still look at whether they are filling up too much before dinner. Its easy to let them snack to keep them quiet, but I'd think about regulating how much, and even when, they are eating, if possible within your schedule. Say, call your morning snack at eleven "Elevenses" or "Morning Tea", same with the afternoon snack at three, call it "Threesies" or "Afternoon Tea" - or some such cutesy names. It may not work for the oldest one, but the youner ones may find it amusing and eat by the clock, so there's enough room for dinner at the right time.

Anyhow, good luck :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #7 of 9
My SIL has four boys 7-14. She makes one meal a day. The rest they snack or make sandwiches.

I just tell my kid it's just steak or chicken. He likes rabbit. Best chicken ever!
post #8 of 9
The DW grew up in a family of 8. I get stories (especially when we get the eye role from the DD) of all could pick one food they didn't like. The rest of the time they had to eat what was served.....regardless.

I grew up with one sibling (a younger brother) and it was eat or don't in our house.....that was the choice so I learned early on to just eat what was in front of me. The only don't eat I ever followed through on was liver and onions night. Oh was that the most gawd awful night..........funny though, I love liverwurst. Although there were plenty of stand-offs between my parents and my younger brother and he didn't leave ther table until it was bed time. He started to come around when he had to eat his leftover, unfinished dinner for breakfast.:suprise:

Ironic how most of our diet is many of the things that I didn't like back then. Beans, lotsa veggies, some meats, fruits........but no liver. DW and I have a deal, I'll cook her liver when she cooks me shrimp. That was her one meal to pass on. :look:
post #9 of 9
My vote goes with "take it or leave it." By worrying yourself sick over what kids will like you'll only enable their pickiness. They aren't going to starve. My kids were offered a wide variety of meals, some they liked and some they didn't. Our rule was: If you don't like it for dinner, you'll get it again for breakfast. Waste was simply not tolerated. We ended up with kids who are adventurous eaters and who understand the cost of food. Getting them involved in the process is a good idea too.
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