In case you missed it Part I (click for link to original blog post) last week was how we started playing our food game and how we started working on getting our kids (and myself) to be a bit more adventurous in trying new foods and understanding why we like or don’t like certain foods.
One of the first things I started was that no one could say “gross” or “yuck” to the food served to them. I planned the meal, grocery shopped for it, prepared it, and served it and was not going to allow gross or yuck on something I worked so hard on. Now, I was not saying they could not like a meal or voice an opinion on it but I wanted them to do it in a way that was not offensive to me and showed that they put some thought into their criticism.
So we started with giving them the terms to appropriately speak about food. It started by questioning them. So, you don’t care for the entrée? What would make it better? Does it need more seasoning? Salt or pepper? Does it need more “tooth” or texture? Is it too mushy? Does it need to be chewier? Does it need something crunchy in it? Or does it too bland? Would garlic, basil, oregano or something else make it taste better? Does it just look unappetizing? Would parsley, fresh basil or Parmesan cheese make it look better?
Ask about texture, seasoning, appearance, flavors. Use the appropriate words and explain what they mean. Give them the tools. They will not get it at first but use the terms whenever you talk about food and they will begin to use them too. I now have to ask my son to stop sometimes because I feel like I am being judged on the Food Network but at least he can talk intelligently about the dishes.
You will start to notice patterns too. My son seeks spice. He wants hot, spicy, or flavorful food. We have learned to have extra spices of whatever we are eating on the table so he can add more to his liking. My daughter and I are texture driven. She does not like a chewy texture. The rice has to be made like sushi rice (sticky) or we will give her extra sauce to mix into it to make the texture more palatable or I will remove a small section of the rice or slightly over cook it for her if I can. My partner does not like food with bones. She will eat it but it is too close to the food chain for her. If I can I will remove the bones before I serve it. Not a big deal. So, we all have things we like and don’t like but we are learning how to work around them.
Does it make meal times easier? Yes. Perfect? No.
*I am not a professional I am a mom. This is what worked for us. If your child has severe food or eating issues talk to your doctor.
Next Sunday in Part III. Cooking and Meal Planning with Your Children