I don't usually like cheese (except mozzarella) and only when it's melted.
I don't like mayonnaise.
I'm not big on leafy green veggies. Though I do like this spinach recipe.
I'm not very fond of salads, though occasionally they're okay.
I'm not fond of (hot) spicy foods (this combined with the cheese thing eliminates most Southwestern dishes).
I don't like mushy vegetables (this generally eliminates soups & stews).
I don't like beans - this is a part of the mushy thing; green beans are okay, but they're mostly pod, not bean!
They don't like many fruits except bananas & applesauce - usually.
They don't like potatoes - except french fries.
They don't like crispy vegetables (this pretty much eliminates salads for them as well as conflicting with Mommy's veggie preference).
They're not particularly fond of spicy foods, though one is more adventurous than the other.
The only beans they've eaten are green beans because I can't get over my bean aversion and cook them!
They don't generally like to try new foods, though one is making more progress than the other.
So, how do I cope with all this pickiness?
One: The rules apply to everyone. No exceptions just because I am the cook or the parent.
Two: I do not make 4 different meals for 4 different people. I make what I make and the rule is everyone must try a bite of everything (including Mommy & Daddy!) Most of the time we make them eat 2-3 bites, but sometimes if it's something very new to them, we only expect them to eat one bite.
Three: I try to have at least one thing that each person likes. Hubby is easy. The rest of us are a bit more difficult, fortunately there's a fair bit of overlap these days between what we do like.
Four: Be strategic. Don't introduce
Five: I tend to use the same seasonings & flavorings on many different foods. This makes the unfamiliar more familiar. Our current favorites include: garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon pepper (not used all at the same time!).
Six: Compromise. Cut vegetables in varying sizes to accommodate everyone's preferences.
Seven: Complaining is not allowed. Complaining will result in the loss of all dinner.
Eight: Dessert is served only occasionally, and when it is - it is only served after you've eaten your vegetables and/or fruit.
Nine. Be persistent. Many vegetables and fruits are seasonable. My kids tend to forget they like watermelon from season to season. But by late-June I'm pretty sure they'll be back on the watermelon train.
Ten: Introduce new foods gradually and repeatedly. (This is part of being persistent.) Two years ago my children did not like asparagus. Now, they do. Why? Because I have gradually introduced it - about once/two weeks each spring. I've also been persistent in trying several different recipes, until I found one most of us liked.
This approach to our respective pickiness has worked well for us and is beginning to pay dividends. My older child is now more willing to try new foods than he was two years ago. The younger one is coming along a little at a time.
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