Cooking With Foods I Don’t Like

One of my biggest goals when it comes to cooking and my kids is to raise non-picky eaters. That is much easier said than done though! Despite all of our best efforts, a few of our kids still tend toward the picky side, especially when it comes to textures of certain foods.

Even knowing that, I don’t let it deter me from making things I know won’t be a hit with everyone. My philosophy is: “if you don’t want to eat it, you have to at least try it.” I do not make separate meals to accommodate a picky eater ever. I figure they’ll either grow to like it, learn to tolerate it, or know when they should eat a bigger lunch! And surprisingly, none of us have starved yet.

Over the years, I’ve forced myself to stick to that philosophy with myself as well. There are definitely some foods I don’t like. Raw tomatoes and onions are the first that come to mind. However, I didn’t want to not expose our kids to them just because I didn’t like them. So both raw tomatoes and onions play a large roll in my kitchen.

For the most part, I’ve learned to like them or at least tolerate them. I will admit that there are occasions when I push some of those offending items to the side of my plate though. I try to be discreet. Every so often I’ll get called out and I push myself to use those times as a learning opportunity. I teach by example and take a bite or two, just like I expect the kids to do.

It’s not always easy, especially when I’m pregnant and the thought of biting into a cherry tomato makes my skin crawl, but it’s for the greater good. I hope to raise children that are adventurous, healthy and not too picky eaters. And that starts with me leading the way.

Do you cook with foods that you don’t like? And how do you handle the picky eaters in your house?

14 thoughts on “Cooking With Foods I Don’t Like

  1. I do the same. I could not stand cilantro or bell peppers. I have forced myself to eat them and now I actually like them! I hope that my children will learn to like almost everything. I know that it is possible. However, I don’t think I will ever like pretzles. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Of my four children, I have one extremely picky eater, two good eaters, and one excellent eater. It is interesting to me how children raised the same way can be so different, but the rules are the same. Try a bit of everything. It isn’t always pleasant, but sometimes they discover they like something they didn’t think they would. I am NOT a picky eater so I don’t really have a problem with food I don’t like because they aren’t many, but my husband and I do try to set an example of good eating habits and attitudes of thankfulness for whatever is put before us.

  3. I don’t cater to pick eaters…even my brother in laws who i know don’t like peppers in their food they still get it! they can pick around it…i don’t like raw onions and its known, but my 3 yr old eats them all the time. i usually pick out stuff i don’t like(olives, mushrooms, etc) but most don’t cater to me and i wouldn’t let them anyway. if my kids don’t like what im having then ill pull something out of the fridge they will eat. they are only 3 and 1 and the youngest has texture issues sometimes.

  4. I am a picky eater, and so are my husband and daughter. However, we are all picky about different things. I don’t eat red meat or anything spicy, and my husband and daughter love red meat but do not eat anything with mayo, mustard, salad dressing, cream sauces, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. My daughter also has an issue with “gloppy” foods like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, grits, etc. I cook things that we all like, and my daughter is branching out and trying new foods. As long as there is meat and potatoes/rice and bread, my husband is happy! I could do without meat all together in favor of veggies. Our daughter eats both!

  5. I do not intentionally not cook certain foods, but it occurred to me at one point that I tended not to cook foods I don’t like (peas, for example). So I quizzed my husband for foods he liked but I wasn’t making and now I cook them. Turns out everyone else likes peas! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Every once in a blue moon I will eat fresh tomatoes, but generally not when I am pregnant. My husband stays away from them as much as possible. Our oldest is the same, and the middle, I guess I just don’t offer them to her. However, with our youngest, we pass the fresh tomatoes to her and she gobbles them down. It is pretty funny!
    My oldest is our picky eater. She is 6.5 years old. We have been telling her recently that her “7 year old” taste buds are coming in and she will like more foods. That has gotten her to try more foods & she has actually found that she does like more than she thought. (This is based loosely off the fact that your taste buds change every 7 years idea.)
    In general, she likes any of my standard breakfast foods and I try to make something she will eat for lunch. Then at dinner, she has to try a bite of everything, but if she is still hungry, her option is what I served for dinner. She generally eats a good breakfast & lunch and I don’t worry about how much she eats at dinner.

  7. I don’t know? I don’t think anyone should have to eat things they don’t like. I don’t like fish; I’ve tried it on MANY occasions, but just don’t like it. One year I decided to cook fish anyway, to make myself like it and I failed miserably. I ended up grossed out, hungry and unsatisfied.
    I understand wanting to introduce new foods to your kids and encourage them to get over their initial “yuck” factor, but after my fish experiment, I’m not sure I’d ever force anyone (myself included) to eat things they truly dislike. We do, however, follow the same “you don’t have to like it, but you do have to try it” approach.
    I have a picky(ish) eater and I know that I probably could have nipped it in the bud years ago, if I were a little more forceful, but this is one battle I’m taking a looser approach to. I never wanted, and still don’t want, to make food/eating a battle. I’m somewhat of a disordered eater (altough I’m working on eating intuitively) and I don’t want to send my daughter down the same path.

  8. Luckily the one food I absolutely cannot stand – truffles – is outrageously expensive and I probably wouldn’t cook with it anyway :-). I’m definitely encourage my daughter to at least try everything – so far she’s not at all picky. I also don’t decide for her whether she’ll like something or not – spicy food, olives, pickles, “real” cheese, she likes all of it. I draw the line at dishes prepared with alcohol, but otherwise we pretty much eat everything.

  9. One word of warning about picky eaters. As an adult I now realize that many of the foods I didn’t like as a kid were a result of my food allergies. For example, I just recently was tested positively allergic to coconut and I never liked it as a kid, but didn’t know why. I would assume adults in my life considered me “picky.” But in reality it was because it hurt to eat it.

    I have a daughter with several food allergies, although I am still trying to figure out what she’s truly allergic to. It’s hard to know when she’s only 2 years old. But if she tells me something is yucky, I don’t force her to eat it. I’ll keep giving it to her and ask her to take polite bites. But I never force anything. With that said she love sauerkraut, pickles, beets and all sorts of things I don’t like. So I make lots of food that I personally don’t like. And I take my polite bites, too.

  10. I have major picky eaters… I swear someday my oldest will end up a vegetarian when she has her own say about things, my youngest is just plain picky and it changes day to day what she will and won’t eat. There is so many opinions out there about what to do about it and I have tried it all ( I think!) I think the most frustrating thing is I will eat just about anything… except for okra which I didn’t try until I moved to Fort Sill Oklahama, and it was frozen so I should probably give it another shot just to be fair.

  11. I too am not a big fan of raw tomatoes or onions. I have grown to accept tomatoes in salads and salsa but that’s about it. I agree with your theory though, keep at it until you like it. I’ve come around on a lot of things that I never thought I would enjoy over the years.

  12. I think it’s important to try new foods, even if you don’t like specific ingredients in them. As a child, I had to eat *everything*, including liver and onions, which made me gag. While I do *not* recommend this, I do think it is important to try different incarnations of foods you think you don’t like to broaden your palate. I know my tastes have certainly changed over the years. I used to hate eggplant, ginger, and dill, now I love them. Turns out, I really hated the big chunks of ginger my mom would leave in her “sloppy stir fries.” Grate it, and I’m just fine with it. Likewise, I didn’t like my mom’s typical fried eggplant. Roast it, grill it, and I’m all over it. These days, there are very few things I won’t eat (liver may be the only thing on the list), although there are certainly foods I don’t prefer (such as sweet potatoes).

    My son only has to try everything. If he doesn’t want to eat it, that’s his choice, but he doesn’t get anything special–and certainly no dessert or snacks if he didn’t eat his meal. His tastes have changed over time, too. When he started eating solids til about three, he wouldn’t eat anything with a loose texture, such as rice or coucous. Now he loves them both. He used to like French fries, but wouldn’t eat potatoes of any other kind, in any other form. Now at four, he won’t eat French fries and he still doesn’t like potatoes, although he will eat sweet potato casserole (topped with a sort of pecan struesel) if the lights are off and we call it “pie.” Who knew you had to market dinner to your four year old? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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