Got a picky eater? There’s a coach for that

05/09/2014 10:52:00 AM
Amelia Freidline

Amelia Freidline, copy editorAmelia Freidline, copy editorWhen I was a kid I hated lettuce. I liked brussels sprouts until I reached the age where you learn you’re “not supposed to like them,” at which point I thought they were disgusting. I wouldn’t eat spinach unless I had first smothered it in French dressing.

Fortunately I liked plenty of other vegetables, so the phrase “eat your veggies” was not often trotted out around the dinner table (except for the rare occasions we had canned peas).

When my mom and I were discussing picky eaters the other day, she speculated that I might still hate lettuce if she had forced me to eat it as a child. Instead, she said, it’s now my main food group.

I don’t know about that.

How to quell picky eating habits is a hot topic, though, whether it’s getting kids to eat their USDA-approved lunches at school or to finish their dinnertime carrots before dessert.

And apparently you can now hire a “coach” to solve this problem on the home front.

The Wall Street Journal’s May 6 article “Frustrated parents turn to picky-eater coaches,” by Bonnie Rochman, says the key is introducing new foods alongside familiar favorites and involving kids in meal preparation to give them a first-hand understanding of what they’re eating and how it’s made.

Great advice — but also common sense, I would have thought. Yet having a consulting “food coach” cure your notoriously picky eater can cost as much as $400, according to the Journal.

“Teaching good eating habits requires persistence; tastes change, even for adults. Keep offering the same healthy foods but try varying the presentation — if steamed asparagus doesn’t prove popular, grill it the next time. Introduce new foods with similar consistencies to already accepted ones,” the article advises.

Although I’m not a parent and don’t have to deal directly with the perils of picky appetites, I’d add a word of my own advice: Don’t act like you expect kids to dislike the fruit or vegetable you want them to try.

I don’t know if pop culture or the lingering memory of poorly-cooked vegetables is to blame, but somewhere along the line kids hear that foods like spinach, brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, etc., are gross — and so, when they see said vegetable looming before them on their plate, they expect to dislike it even before they try it.


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