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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

Picky Eaters

Kristen B.

Registered Dietician

It is truly amazing, with the lack of rain we’ve had and how plentiful our shares have been, I can only image the amount of overtime our farmers have put in this season! I think I can speak for most when I say how grateful we are for the hard work that has been done, to bring us beautiful produce every week!

This year we have made a point to be more creative with our weekly shares, trying new recipes to see what we like (and don’t like), hopefully stumbling upon recipes that everyone in the family enjoys! I would say, aside from meal planning, having everyone eat what is offered at the table is the greatest challenge (especially with small kids). Kiddos can be the pickiest when it comes to meals, and as they become more selective, often refusing foods that they haven’t even tried before. I’d like to share a few ways on how to encourage the consumption of vegetables to those “picky” eaters; one being persistence!

Why won’t my kids try what I make?

This is the million-dollar question! Kids can refuse foods for so many different reasons, i.e. looks icky, wrong color, smell, texture, taste, too hot, too cold, touching other foods, no ranch to dip, etc., etc. Anyone chuckling yet? Just the other night my daughter stated, “that looks gross”, to her plate that I set on the table. Just when I was ready to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her, I said, how about trying it plain, raw, frozen, or in some other form? Occasionally I do get lucky, and she will try it, otherwise, it gets put back in the fridge for round two the next night.

Should I keep offering?

YES! Research shows that it can take up to 20 times before a child will try a new food. If you simply stop offering it, then they forget that food even exists. This is where persistence comes in to play 😊

What can I do different?

Get them involved! Discuss the foods with them and where/how it is grown, go to the local farmers market or vegetable stand and have them pick out their own. Offering foods in a different form may be just enough to entice them to try it. For example, my daughter ate a cucumber on the way home yesterday like corn on the cob. I wasn’t exactly pleased with that, but she ate it, and even better…. she LOVED it!

Here are some other tips to try:

Pair with a little cheese. Sprinkling some shredded cheese can go a long way!

Utilize herbs in your cabinet! Add a little Italian seasoning, garlic, basil, oregano, or thyme. Toss in a little olive oil too!

Add left over vegetables to a soup with your choice of protein and starch. Maybe add chicken and orzo. Broth based or creamier, whichever you prefer!

Try grilling vs boiling or steaming for flavor, texture, and visual appeal!

Chop it up and add to a fruit smoothie! Riced cauliflower is my favorite, and the easiest to add!

Try a vegetable skewer – the more color the better!

Set a plan for the week.

Meal prep and get the kids involved with preparing their own vegetables by washing and chopping (with supervision, of course). Let them pick out a dipping sauce to go with it like a yogurt-based dressing, or hummus! If they don’t just lick off the sauce, I’d classify that as a win-win!

*Watch for recipe suggestions from the Brown Family Farm! Fantastic ideas are sent weekly incorporating the produce for that week!

To all the families out there with picky eaters, this is for you! We will persevere 😉

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