Picky Eaters and Why I Refuse to Raise One

3 Mar

Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve become hyper-aware of what I eat. I know that seems so trite, but in mainstream American culture, food is such a social and psychological medium that we tend to take our meals – and where they come from – for granted. It all started when I watched Food Inc. while pregnant. I think my hormones made me a bit psycho, but I couldn’t handle eating non-organic animal products for a while. A little bit of crazy remains, and I try to only feed Pterodactyl organic animal products (although I’ve loosened up on the fruits/veggies a bit). Recently, I’ve viewed some other food-related documentaries that caused me to give pause to the quantity and quality of fruits/veggies I eat, and how I perceive food.

I can’t stand picky eaters. I apologize to those of you who maintain specific diets, but I consider food a first-world adventure. I’ll try anything – all kinds of sushi, tripe, steak tare-tare, foie gras, strange fruits and veggies – you name it, I’ll eat it. I believe that picky eaters are depriving themselves of not only cool culinary experiences, but some important aspects of their nutrition. There are a few small children in my life who I consider to be “picky.” Their entire diets consist of “kid foods” like mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. I even have a good friend who is of the fussy variety. She has about seven or eight meals that she eats, and she rotates them regularly. My birthday dinners at the ceviche bar or sushi restaurant gave her zero meal options. I feel sad for her taste buds.

Now that Pterodactyl is learning to eat table foods, I’m making it my mission to encourage her palate. At ten months old, she’s already experienced tofu, seafood, tabouli, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and all manner of vegetables. Daisy offered me an excellent piece of advice many weeks back that I would like to reiterate here: she told me to feed my child what I feed Buddy and me, and over time, the kid would learn to like the foods we do. Boy, have I taken that to heart! My kid already gets down with some curried tofu over jasmine rice, and just about cleans her plate. (If you include the food that winds up on the floors, walls, and inside her diaper, then her plate is most certainly cleared.) So far, it’s working. Pterodactyl doesn’t discriminate; she’ll eat whatever I put in front of her. I hope that this trend continues, and much like her cousins Intuitive, Diva, and Handsome, she will get down with some sushi when she’s old enough.

I’ve seen persnickety eaters grow out of their preferences. My little brother was a Tyrannosaurus Rex. As a child, he would eat only meat and potatoes, and leave the veggies to me and my mother. Now that he’s a fitness-conscious adult, he has widened his repertoire to include most of the veggies we consider American staples. He gives me hope for the two little picky-eaters in my life. Maybe they will grow to be adults who enjoy a wide variety of foods; maybe their health won’t suffer at the expense of their finicky choices.

Buddy and I are going to start juicing as soon as our new gizmo arrives from amazon.com. Part of this dietary change means that we’ll keep fruits and vegetables in the house that we normally wouldn’t, like kale and beets. While I’m thrilled that we’re going to be making better dietary choices for ourselves, the real fun will be introducing Pterodactyl to unique flavors she hasn’t yet experienced, and cultivating her taste buds. Let’s hope that, in adulthood, she will enjoy a variety of foods, from the stinkiest, moldiest French cheeses to the spiciest Indian curries available. If that is indeed the case, I know it will be a result of what I’m feeding her now, and the amazing advice her Auntie Daisy gave us.

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6 Responses to “Picky Eaters and Why I Refuse to Raise One”

  1. Sam S March 3, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I think it’s great that you’re raising Pterodactyl to have a diverse and healthy diet. I often think to myself that I wish I had been raised with good eating habits. I know that as adults we can’t keep blaming our parents. I just feel like eating healthy is a constant struggle when you’re not raised that way. You’re doing her a wonderful service by making health the culture of your home from the start. And who doesn’t love a foodie? She’s on her way to being a cool and healthy chick 🙂

    • daisyandviolet March 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Thank you. As I reply to you’re sweet and thoughtful message, she’s downing some Brussels sprouts, a little croissant, and some turkey. I’ll save her first sushi trip for Titi. 🙂

      -Violet

    • daisyandviolet March 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      I’d like to add that I recognize how fortunate I was to be raised in households where a variety of foods were always available. Before I left for college, I had eaten some delicacies that most people don’t experience their whole lives. I agree with you that one’s upbringing heavily influences one’s eating habits. Thank you for sharing that relevant point!

  2. CJ March 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    I’m right there with you about picky eaters. I cringe when I hear parents say, “Oh my child only eats popcorn.” WHAT?!?! Now that my kids are a bit older and have moved from the children’s menu at restaurants we started a new thing, when we go out. Order something we don’t normaly eat at home. They love it! And I have to say I’d rather pay for an adult meal then a $7.00 jelly sandwich.

    • daisyandviolet March 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      Your child only eats popcorn because you allow it to! lol.

      I love your restaurant policy.. THAT is a great idea!

    • daisyandviolet March 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      I love your restaurant policy, too!!
      -V

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