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How to transition picky eaters?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 16, 2011 at 12:51 AM

My husband is a very picky eater and our daughter takes after him. He says it's a texture thing more than it is a taste thing. Up until now I've been able to get away with making foods from his country (Spain) using rice and lentils so I can get tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic into him. Now I'm not so sure what to do. He likes potatoes. He'll take a few bites of broccoli. He doesn't like cauliflower. We're trying to do the primal challenge this month but he's subsisting on deviled eggs with tuna, apples, oranges and almonds during the day and meat and potatoes for dinner, scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. He doesn't like sausage and was a cereal guy before I got him to transition to yogurt with maple syrup a few weeks ago. I told him to look up some recipes online of things he'd like to have for lunch or to eat for dinner and he says he has but nothing sounds appetizing. Has anyone else experienced this or have suggestions?

9a0239d19c91526e11a28300fc6f4032

(165)

on September 16, 2011
at 11:13 AM

Jamon is tricky. It took a while for regulations to allow importation of full legs of it, and there are some places in the states that do it but it isn't the same. Otherwise it is pretty damned expensive. There are only a few stores that sell it. I'm pretty much stuck with $20/lb at the fancy grocery store. He doesn't dig lobster but he's cool with crab. Tuna steaks tend to be out of our price range (though I haven't looked at the frozen stuff lately..).

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 16, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Whenever I see travel shows about Spain there seems to be a lot of glorious cured ham, and bits of seafood everywhere, it just looks damn tasty (and paleo). Do you have any local charcuteries, that could hook you up with some authentic Spanish ham? How does he feel about lobster and crab? Tuna steaks instead of the canned stuff?

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4 Answers

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4
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on September 16, 2011
at 01:28 AM

Yeah, he sounds like he's doing great to me. Try making the dishes you usually do, but cutting down on the legume or grain content or replacing them with proteins. Look up some traditional Spanish recipes involving seafood or meat yourself, and quiz him to see if he likes them.

My boyfriend is picky, prefers to eat nearly the same things every day, and is not paleo, but is quite open to my ideas on nutrition and often eats what/how I do as long as I help him make it palatable to his tastes. He prefers everything (most especially meat - he will not eat plain meat) with savory sauces and lots of spices and flavor, that's fairly easy to indulge. To make sure he enjoys what I make I ask a lot of questions about what he does like (and observe new foods that he enjoys while we're out, etc), and try to make them paleo-style, and failing that, less harmful. For instance we will still eat grains, but stick to white rice, traditionally prepared corn tortillas, and gluten-free pastas. And we have potatoes most often as our starch. When he likes a meal it's added to the rotation. I make large portions and freeze leftovers of things he likes, so he can thaw and freeze a tub of whatever whenever and I can cook my own meals much of the time (our schedules are very different anyway).

I could never get him to do Whole30 or to eat exactly what I eat (sauteed meat/seafood and greens soaked in fats, stinky foods like kimchee, sardines, and liver... he can barely stay in the same room) but what he's eating now is miles better than when I met him and I'm quite proud that he has been able to branch out. He's not a picky eater because he's a brat, he truly has a lot of sensory issues and always has, so I'm endlessly patient.

I really fricking hope our kids aren't picky. But most are, at least for some years of their life.

3
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on September 16, 2011
at 10:45 AM

Make paella and substitute chopped mushrooms or shredded cauliflower for the rice. I know you said he doesn't like cauliflower, but if it's shredded and covered with all the spices in paella, he might not even notice it.

Or, you could just use rice, I suppose... but if you're trying to move away from rice, I know I've made spanish 'rice' with cauliflower and no one had a clue it was cauliflower because of all the spices and since I had shredded it.

Just thinking the dish has a ton of meat and seafood and is mixed up with other things, so it would be easy.

2
94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on September 16, 2011
at 03:28 AM

My husband is also a picky eater when it comes to texture and was certainly "vegetable challenged" when we met. He is a northern Englishman who is older than me and was a little stuck in some terrible cuisine! I just slowly kept trying new dishes and he has come to like and appreciate a lot of them. For instance, in the past he never would have looked at a zucchini but now he loves the bowls of "zucchini pasta" that I make. He even loves to eat quiche even though he hates eggs! (?? all in the mind I say!). I also make paleo treats so they are always on hand for him - I don't really eat them myself - but some little paleo cookies or date, almond butter and cocoa balls are good. Also whipping coconut cream with some vanilla means desserts can always be had and even look and taste gourmet.

Essentially, my basic approach has been to work from all of his favourite dishes and modify them as best I can. Most of them are successful - some aren't but it is all trial and error - he also needs to be willing to come partway to the party!

You sort of sound like you are in the position I once was - I know the other responses have said that there is nothing wrong with what he is eating now - which is true - but I think your aim is towards being able to cook one meal which you can all enjoy together. Just keep trying to modify some favourites - hopefully his tastes will continue to evolve.

2
F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on September 16, 2011
at 01:10 AM

"he's subsisting on deviled eggs with tuna, apples, oranges and almonds during the day and meat and potatoes for dinner, scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast."

If you could get him to eat some liver, I don't see anything wrong with this menu.

Also you could continue giving him "Spanish things", excluding the lentils and just using rice. Unless you are doing low carb, I suppose.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 16, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Whenever I see travel shows about Spain there seems to be a lot of glorious cured ham, and bits of seafood everywhere, it just looks damn tasty (and paleo). Do you have any local charcuteries, that could hook you up with some authentic Spanish ham? How does he feel about lobster and crab? Tuna steaks instead of the canned stuff?

9a0239d19c91526e11a28300fc6f4032

(165)

on September 16, 2011
at 11:13 AM

Jamon is tricky. It took a while for regulations to allow importation of full legs of it, and there are some places in the states that do it but it isn't the same. Otherwise it is pretty damned expensive. There are only a few stores that sell it. I'm pretty much stuck with $20/lb at the fancy grocery store. He doesn't dig lobster but he's cool with crab. Tuna steaks tend to be out of our price range (though I haven't looked at the frozen stuff lately..).

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