by Judy Gates, Advance Humanity Partner
When I was little, I was a picky eater. I would only eat meat loaf if my slice was cooled instead of straight from the oven. I only liked the broth part in my mother’s vegetable soup. I didn’t like beans in any shape or form.
I wish I could apologize to my mother for being like that. Thank goodness, I’ve changed. As I grew up, I dropped many of those dislikes but I was still pretty conservative. One day, I took a bite of a pastry and put it down, saying I couldn’t eat it because there was some coconut in it. Then, for whatever reason, I asked myself, “Why, Judy, don’t you like coconut?” My answer, “Well, I just don’t. I’ve never liked it.” It dawned on me that it was simply a long-held prejudice with no foundation whatever. I took another taste and it tasted fine. At that moment, I decided to just like everything. So now, I will eat anything–any texture, any flavor, any shape. And it’s fine. I love it!
This new outlook on food made it a lot easier for me when I spent three years in the Peace Corps in Mongolia. You don’t waste anything there. Every bit of the sheep, goat, camel, cow or horse gets eaten. A favorite dish contains the innards, that is, the organ meats all stewed together. Sheep’s heads are sold in the market. I’ve had marmot served in the countryside. Goat ears are a treat.
Raising children to be mindful eaters, that is, to eat a variety of healthy foods and enjoy them too, can be a challenge. Every parent knows that. The good news is that there are a lot of ideas today about how to do it effectively. I don’t think there is just one way and, so, I’m listing below several websites I found helpful. I think they can even help adults overcome food dislikes! In addition to the list, you can find lots of other links. Just search on “picky eaters.”
- Children's Nutrition: 10 Tips for Picky Eaters by the Mayo Clinic
- Why is My Child a Picky Eater? by KidsEatRight.org
- "I Don't Want It!": Tips to Help Your Preschooler Overcome Picky Eating by PBS Parents
I also came across the book, French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon. You can probably find it at your local library. It’s described this way: French kids eat everything: How our family moved to France, cured picky eating, banished snacking, and discovered 10 magic rules for raising happy, healthy eaters.
Happy mindful eating to everyone of all ages!