Yup, it's all our faults that our kids are so damn picky. We've all heard the, ever so pleasant, high pitched shriek, "NO!" when dinner hits the table. The tantrums, the tears... We've heard every excuse and entertained every ultimatum our kids come up with when they're faced with something they don't want to eat. And we think: "Calm down, it's food, not poison. Why can't you just eat this? What's so horribly disgusting about this beautiful Michelin star quality meal I just prepared for you?"
Newsflash: It's not them, it's YOU. It's US. We are to blame for why they eat like crap.
Take a step back and look at eating patterns and tradition in America. First comes breastmilk and formula. Then comes bland rice cereal. Then comes single pureed veggies and fruits with no seasoning. Then comes plain buttered pasta. And then wait for it! We have the introduction of the traditional kiddie cuisine of burgers, pizza, and chicken fingers! Blah, blah, boring and in some cases, not healthy! Look at any kid's restaurant menu, and they all have the same junk on them - mac and cheese, fries, etc. Clearly, we have bought into and have accepted this eating pattern. The restaurant industry has bought into it too!
Why are we serving our kids this stuff? Why is this assumed to be the norm? And more importantly, why do we just mindlessly go along with it? Of course, that's what they're going to want to eat if that's all they've ever been offered.
It's our fault that our kids' food repertoire is narrow and limited. And since it's our fault, it's time to take control and change it. If you look across the world, kids eat a variety of flavors and aren't pigeon holed to the traditional "kids' menu." In fact, children in other parts of the world eat the same food their parents do. Shocking, isn't it? The New York Times did an enlightening article about what children eat for breakfast around the world and people were stunned. But why? Kids eat what they know! In America, they know pizza, burgers, fries, sloppy joes, and pancakes. It's time to change that. It's time to broaden your kids' horizons and introduce them to healthy global foods.
Here at Little Global Chefs, we've figured out a way to get kids to be more open and adventurous in their eating. You can't just throw down a plate of falafel if they've never had it and expect them to eat it - why would they? Instead you'll be on the receiving end of a big fat middle finger, or a tantrum which is basically the same thing. Instead, bring your kids along on the journey of cooking. Invite them into the kitchen and prepare meals WITH them, giving them real responsibility (and we're not talking about just stirring some batter). Believe us, as soon as you start getting your kids in the kitchen and they start seeing what real food is all about, they'll be excited to taste their creations and their world will open up, literally. We promise you, they WILL eat Indian, Korean, Mexican, European, and African food. They will. And the nights of alternating between mac and cheese with nuggets with be a thing of the past. Here are five tips to get started.
- Make Your Cooking Projects Consistent - Okay you have to commit to this. You can't just cook with them once and call it a day and assume they'll gobble up every type of food under the sun. Instead, this is going to require some work from you. Do a cooking project every week. The more often you are in the kitchen together working on varied meals, the more likely your kid will try more and more things. Before you know it, they will be asking when the next project is!
By the way, we haven't figured everything out ourselves. We're moms just like you who are tired of our kids' shenanigans and picky eating. We stumbled on this absurdly obvious concept of cooking with our kids to help them eradicate their picky behavior and it's working for us. We're learning along the way and we will be sharing our ideas, tips and suggestions with you. Follow along on the Little Global Chefs website and instagram for more ideas and recipes as we go ahead. But we're all in this together! So join in the conversation and comment below. Join our fight to end picky eating!