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My Picky Eaters: Tales From A Short Order Cook

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Some mom must have invented this grass fed, organic boxed macaroni and cheese to make us all feel better about ourselves.

I used to sweat over my job as a short-order cook. But I’ve come to embrace it; these are serious life skills. One thing I’ve learned from my mom is that once you get the hang of things, your kids change and you’re faced with new challenges. So I’ve decided to let my kids be picky eaters (for now).

I see other families sitting around the table ready to dig into their perfect dinners, complete with kale and cauliflower tots. They have apples for dessert because they just love fruit. You know what? Those families drive me crazy.

I’m not trying to be mean. The truth is I’m jealous and a bit skeptical. I love to cook and try new recipes, so naturally I wished for adventurous eaters. I was downing buckets of steamers at age five. My mom tells me that people used to stare at me in awe. However, she assures me that soon after, I turned into the “Pasta Princess.” I still remember crying one vacation when the the pasta came out with parsley on top. I knew the waiter brought it into the kitchen, tossed the parsley and brought it back pretending it was a brand new bowl. I was no fool. 

Believe it or not, my girls used to eat everything. I had one of those Beaba contraptions for making fresh baby food. Every day I would steam fresh, organic veggies and fruit in my Beaba. I was “Mom Of The Year” over here. I bought cookbooks like Weelicious, hoping my girls would follow in their mama’s footsteps. 

But then around their third birthday, everything changed. They began examining what I served. They didn’t like the way it looked. Mind you it looked good – if not amazing – especially considering they used to eat steamed fruit and amaranth. One day they loved something, but then the next day they hated it! It was beyond frustrating. 

I’ve decided this too shall pass. Until then, I’ll let my kids eat macaroni and cheese from a box. It has to be better than the meatballs and spaghetti o’s I ate out of a can as a child? They also eat frozen chicken tenders, but they’re organic and breaded with coconut, so I can feel okay about not breading them myself. I also let them eat Little Bites, but only the limited edition pumpkin flavor. Please don’t judge me. I have made all of these dishes from scratch and the kids like the “boxed” versions better. 

We’ve learned to embrace taco night as a major success story. It’s gratifying when we can all eat the same meal, together. This past summer vacation the girls tried a piece of lobster and a steamer because their friend did. Izzy has begun to scramble and cook her own eggs (with supervision), while Zoe recently asked to watch the TV show “Bizarre Foods.” I feel like things are looking up. 

What do your kids like to eat? Are they picky or adventurous eaters? 

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