Do Picky Eaters Inhibit Your Cooking Style?

Walnuts - Noci
Image by funadium via Flickr

Some readers have family members that can’t eat certain foods because of allergies, intolerance, or medical conditions. But when they are just picky, it gets annoying. You are left with the choice of making what you want and having the child eat something else, or going along and winding up with a dish you don’t enjoy so much. I am not one to make my kids eat something, but I respect those who do as long as their methods are not overly harsh.

In my house, it’s nuts. (Yes, that sentence can be read two ways.) A couple of my children object to nuts in cooked or baked goods. I love nuts, but rarely cook with them because of this. I know I should the the kids used to them gradually but I haven’t yet. In the meantime I comfort myself that nuts, while nutritious, are expensive.

What foods do you avoid cooking, because of your family’s preferences?


  1. Funny, because I was just planning a blog post on this very topic.

    I make what I think it right (though I don’t make them eat it).
    Guess what, it usually takes only a few months for them to start eating.

  2. I have one very stubborn one. It is a matter of principle for that child, who views my using a particular ingredient as an affront..

  3. Ahhh, the pleasures of a power struggle. Been there, done that!

  4. there was a time I took my kid’s picky eating habits to heart, but decided that it was way too annoying. I usually try to make sure there is something on the table that everybody likes so they don’t starve. At the end it worked out great as they try almost everything and like many of the things I make.

  5. I didn’t mean that as a criticism. On the contrary, I get to deal with that a lot!

  6. no, there is always bread and chummus… I simply can’r keep track of my daughter’s (3.5 year old) food moods. She usually changes her mind about food every other day. What I find that works best with her is that I put a bit of everything in her plate (usually 3-5 choices. She immidiately starts fighting that she doesn’t want this or that. I tell her that she only has to eat what she wants and leave the rest. Then I leave her alone and more oftern than not she eats most things.
    My grandmother is the typical jewish grandmother who spends her life worrying about kids not eating enough. First it was her children, then grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. What I learned from her is to never tell her when my children refuse to eat and the more you fight the more stubborn the children become.

  7. Aviva_Hadas says

    My poor family would starve during Pesach if I could not cook with nuts. I make a nut loaf for dinner at least once & two of my desserts are nut based.

  8. I dislike nuts in most foods. Some things can be made without the nuts and then you sprinkle the nuts on afterwards, like rice dishes with almonds.

    I also don’t like sweet in my savory foods. (like stuffed cabbage with raisins) but I know that’s how my mom makes it, so I just eat around the raisins.

    mostly I make what I want to make, though, and the kids eat what I make or they eat veggies. (Since my kids are tiny, I give them sliced tomato and cucumber separate so they don’t have to eat combinations if they don’t feel like it.)

    • I’m with you on the sweet in the savory, as is my husband. And leaving things separate also works sometimes. But still annoying. . .

  9. My older son (7) and my husband are picky eaters. I try to make something that each of them like at least once a week. If my husband doesn’t like what is offered, he microwaves some falafel. If my son doesn’t like what is offered, he gets crackers and peanut butter or a granola bar. There’s always fruits and veggies available as well.

    My son is so picky, he lost weight at camp! Its not a power struggle with him. He truly does not like certain (most?) foods. It is frustrating, but I will never force him to eat anything he doesn’t like. It happened to me when I was a kid: I threw up all over my mom and was sent to bed early. That experience has scarred me for life.

  10. My daughter can be very fussy, will reject foods on sight. I mostly cave to her because she eats very healthfully — my pediatrician in the US said “It’s great that she loves 4 or 5 vegetables, it doesn’t matter that it’s the same ones over and over.”

    I honestly prefer to make a kids meal and an adult meal at this point. I think I used to have weird food dislikes as a child (no cheese, no salad), and I outgrew them and now there is very little that I don’t like.

  11. Okay, everyone’s talking about kids but in my house it’s the adults who have the differences! My husband is a typical carnivore – everything but meat is a condiment, basically. Meanwhile, I don’t eat meat and barely eat poultry. He also likes his food very plain and “traditional” whereas for me, the weirder the better. I’m in charge of cooking and it’s always a challenge to come up with something that we both will genuinely like.

  12. Some people have told me that I’m lucky that none of our kids (nine, but the baby doesn’t yet eat much variety) aren’t picky eaters, but I really don’t think it’s about luck! Kids (and adults!) are entitled to have their own personal taste preferences, but I make one meal and expect everyone to find something they like from what I serve.

    I shared about this in a past post:

    • Thanks, Avivah, I enjoyed your post. I agree that it isn’t just about luck, and I made mistakes in this area when my kids were younger. Anyway things are not so bad around here.

  13. This is a subject dear to my heart!
    In fact, I wrote an article about it back in 2000.

    Much Ado About Dinner


  14. Mama+4chicklets says

    Having four kids in three age groups, the recession, extra poundage, and kosher restrictions, cooking is a real challenge. I tend to make at least four different dinners a night with myself eating the scraps off my kids plate. My kindergartener will eat nothing except cheese, red peppers, broccoli, noodles, hot dogs, and french fries. Multivitamins are a must for him. My two year old loves loves fruit, but is in the fifth percentile in her weight class. I stuff her with two pediasures or yobabies a day. The twins have only three-four teeth and still prefer soft and pureed foods. Check my latest post about GoGo sqeez. and my DH is always on the first day back on a diet.

    • Hi Mama, thanks for visiting. I’ve certainly heard worse than your kindergartener’s diet, maybe you can cut back on the hotdogs/french-fries in the hope of getting him to try other things. As for your two-year-old, if she’s healthy there’s nothing wrong with the fifth percentile! I was well below that until puberty. Enjoy your children.

  15. Mama+4chicklets says

    Thanks for the encouragement. My 5 year old is certainly something.