Many people grow up being taught by their parents to eat whatever they are given. However, as a lifelong picky eater, I have to protest! I don’t believe in forcing kids to eat food they don’t like.
My step-dad and some other family members did that to me when I was a kid and I remember how bad I felt….usually I felt nauseous, sick, and utterly disgusted. I think it’s a cruel thing to do. Imagine if you had to eat things you hated just because someone told you to! As much as we put our hearts into cooking, ultimately it’s not about us.
It’s about teaching our kids to eat healthy food and to consume reasonable portions. Neither of which is taught by saying eat whatever I give you and eat all of it!
Children have taste and preferences just like adults do and their taste change over time. I suggest playing with different recipes and supplementing veggies with fruit. Dark purple, red, and blue fruits, like grapes and raspberries, are extremely high in antioxidants.
Also, some kids could have texture issues. I know I can’t stand the mushy way most veggies are prepared in many southern style recipes, boiling + veggies = yuck! I can only eat my veggies raw or lightly steamed. I don’t like greens and neither does my son. However, he enjoys munching on dried seaweed and I don’t (which is far more nutritious btw)…who would have thought!
Another thing I do with my son is give him veggie burgers sometimes instead of meat. He can’t really taste the difference and he gets the nutritional value of veggies without the fat from beef. If he wants pizza, I make it at home using turkeyroni. If he wants French fries, I cut up my own potatoes. I do my own baking and I have learned to make many types of sauces to add flair to my cooking.
I always try to buy locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever my budget allows and frequent the local farmer’s market for fresh in-season produce! That’s a win-win for the environment and your family’s health, plus you are guaranteed to bring diversity to your table.
The thing to remember is, when it comes to food, everyone is different, including your kids. Don’t give up, be patient and understanding. They will figure it out for themselves, and they will cultivate a well-rounded palate, as long as you keep presenting them with lots of choices.