I remember when my nephew was little. It seemed like all he ate – for YEARS – was buttered noodles. And bread. Since I didn’t have kids yet, I thought this was appalling! Talk about a picky eater!
Now that I have my own kid, I know better. She would eat “cheesy noodles” every day, 3 times a day, if we let her. And ice cream, of course.
The most frustrating part? When she was two, she used to eat TONS of things she won’t touch now: scrambled eggs, hummus, pasta sauce with spinach… Oy!
Now, her food has to be EXACTLY the way she expects it, which means Mommy has to READ HER MIND. (You get where I’m headed with this…) Take the beloved strawberry, for example. Today, Mommy must remove the stems and cut them into small pieces.
Tomorrow, the kid has a 10-minute tantrum because she wanted the stems on so she could pick them up and eat them whole!
I remember when we were visiting my parents in Florida and they gave her Cheerios instead of Joe’s O’s.
Oh, the HORROR!
She actually rejected them because they tasted different! By the way, she will eat a bowl of Joe’s O’s and a separate cup of milk, but won’t eat cereal and milk together in a bowl! Or a piece of whole wheat toast – half plain and half with melted cheese — but won’t touch a friggin’ grilled cheese sandwich! Or any sandwich at all! Try packing pre-school lunches three times a week without sandwiches!
So, besides the “usual” kid-fare (mac n’ cheese, pizza, yogurt, cheese sticks, etc.), here are a few surprising things that my daughter WILL actually eat!
1.) Non-fat cottage cheese. I know a lot of adults who won’t touch this stuff – especially if it’s non-fat! I happen to enjoy cottage cheese (although when I say “enjoy” it really means that I force myself to eat it because it’s good for me. I mean, please: I would ALWAYS rather have a bagel.), but I can’t eat the stuff by itself! I need it mixed with fruit, sometimes a little cinnamon, as well. My child eats it BY ITSELF! Spoonful after spoonful! I’m thankful she likes a healthy protein, but it’s still shocking to see.
2.) Green juice – from Trader Joe’s. Officially called “Green Plant Green Food Juice Blend,” the bottle says “5 juices blended with Spirulina, Chlorella, Barley Grass, Spinach, and Broccoli.” Basically, it is chock full of “nasty” stuff most kids won’t touch that are all really good for you. I thought she would run screaming away from the sludgy, dark green stuff TJ’s referred to as “juice,” but to my SHOCK, she wanted to try it. And Mikey LIKED it! It does taste like fruit, so this is a GREAT to get vegetables into a picky eater. (You probably make green smoothies in your Nutri-Bullets, but that just seems like a LOT of work.)
3.) Salmon with brown rice. I still can’t believe it, but whenever I make salmon (or steelhead – cheaper!), the kid actually smiles and says “Mmmm… yummy!” I serve it with brown rice (the frozen-in-a-bag kind from Trader Joe’s is kind of “sticky,” which we love.)
I made up this 4-ingredient recipe a while back and the little one and the hubby raved!
- Squeeze some lemon juice over a salmon fillet, then sprinkle it with salt and pepper all over.
- Spread a thin layer of minced garlic over the entire fillet
- Spread a thin layer of Trader Joe’s “sweet and hot mustard” over the top. It’s not actually spicy… Or, just mix dijon mustard with honey. That’s it! Just bake it until it’s cooked through.
The mustard and garlic form a tangy sort of crust over the top that’s a little sweet, a little savory, a teeny bit crunchy. Yum!
4.) Tuna Noodles. My Mom made this for us all of the time, but I can’t imagine I went anywhere near it at age 3 or 4.
- Mix cooked noodles (I use whole wheat, hidden protein, or hidden veggie elbows, usually) with flaked canned or pouched tuna
- Add mayo to taste (I use light Miracle Whip)
- Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder
- Try adding a little white vinegar, which adds some tang and replaces some of the mayo
- My Mom always added chopped celery and/or onion, but my little one would make me pick all of the “stuff” out of it.
Tuna fish? Usually a required, adult taste.
But I probably could mix shoe polish with noodles and she would eat it.
So there you have it! Shocking, but true.