No More Picky Eaters Teach Your Kids to COOK

Hi, my name is Anna Reeves, and I’m the owner of Tiny Chefs. And I’m here to talk today about picky eaters. Now, I have three girls, ages 10, eight, and eight, and two of which are picky eaters.

Now, you can go ahead and laugh that the owner of a kid’s cooking company has kids who eat five things on the menu, but it’s the truth.

So, let me bring you back to when they were infants, they ate everything that I made. I pureed their food, and they loved everything. They even ate their finger food, as they grew older. When food’s transition from pureed to whole foods, they ate everything with zealousness.

Around the age of four to five is when things started getting a little dicey and food started flying off the radar. Things that they wouldn’t like, they snubbed their nose to it, mostly vegetables, sometimes meat. They would always like their fruits, probably because of the sweetness. And now, that they’re 10, eight, and eight, I do have one adventurous eater. I say, “What would you like for dinner?” She says, “Whatever you’re having, mommy.” And then, my other two are a little bit more selective.

So what I do to combat that is I make one dinner that Becca and I will eat, and then Tori and Thea piecemeal it together. And then, I maybe make another side order, just to make sure that they’re getting their nutrients.

So one thing to consider about kids is their taste buds. So when they’re little, their taste buds are different than when they’re between eight to 10, and when they’re teenagers, and when they’re adults. And so, one of the things that I learned, I use it as leverage when with Becca, when she would eat something that I would eat or to even try… all I’m asking is for kids to try what I’m putting out in front of them. So she would try it and she ate something with onions. And so I said, “Oh, Becca, you have an adult tongue, don’t you?” And so, that really resonated with her, and that had her feeling like Oh. It separated her from the kids who wouldn’t try something, and made her feel a little bit more adventurous and a little bit more like the big girls, like mommy.

But back to the pallet. So kids at four years old are not going to like onions. Their pallets are just different than in adults. And kids between the ages of eight to 10, it’s proven that sweetness is there thing that they love the most. And when kids become teenagers, that’s not so much the case. They’re not craving sweets anymore. And then, as you grow up, you start to like different spices that you’re not going to like as a toddler. You start to like different flavor combinations, like garlic and onions.

So it’s important that we always introduce all, everything, from infants… not onions and garlic, but right from infants, putting out as many different colors of the rainbow as we can. So when I’m creating the menu for the week, I’m thinking about the colors of the rainbow, and that’s always kept me sort of grounded. So what vegetables and fruits am I serving that are red? What am I serving that’s orange, yellow, green, blue, purple? And my girls, just the picky ones, they love just things that are white in color. They love their pastas. They love rice and beans. So there are things that I know that I can incorporate that they like, but I’m always introducing new flavors, new foods.

And what’s exciting for me though, is that when I do create something new and I get everyone just taking one bite, we call it a thank you bite in Tiny Chefs, so we call it thank you bite in our home. Then I really praise them for taking a step outside of her comfort zone and trying something new.