Try it….If you don’t like it….You don’t have to eat it….This is something I say on a daily basis. It’s usually at dinner time, because that’s likely when we try some new foods or my kids have friends over. Growing up, I only heard the “try it” part. My siblings and I spent plenty of meals sitting and finishing something we did not, and still do not like. It was clean your plate or you can’t leave the dinner table. I laugh now, but it really sucked. Anyhow, my kids are great at trying new foods. A lot of times they like what’s for dinner. If they don’t, I’m certainly not going to make them eat it. For instance, my son does not like melted cheese. Only on pizza. Fine with me. Melted cheese is greasy and actually ruins the flavor of a lot of good food. The try it part is a must in our house. I don’t want my children to grow up being what I call, “adult baby / picky eaters”. Seriously, there is nothing worse that an adult who eats with their eyes and claims not to like something / everything when you know they’ve never tried it in their life. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing adult picky eaters simply were never made to try anything.
The other night, my son had a friend over for dinner. If my kids have a friend over, I will make sure I keep the meals simple, but still homeade. It would be easy to go out and buy bags of frozen junk and throw it in the oven or order a greasy pizza, but this was a week day and I wasn’t going to do that. Listen, I’m not saying I haven’t, but when that does happen, it’s usually a Friday night! Anyhow, I always have new or red skinned potatoes on hand to make homeade french fries. They really are delicious and very easy to make crispy without deep-frying.
- New or red skinned potatoes (or sweet potato)
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cut the potatoes thin with skins on. Toss is olive oil and place on a cook sheet. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 20-30 min. depending on the amount. Sweet potatoes take longer to crisp so you may need to add and extra 10-15 min. cooking time. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Ready to serve.
This particular night, I grilled turkey sausage. My son’s friend had never had it before. It was easy to cut a small piece off for him to try. Sure enough, he liked it. I simply cut them up and plated. My son likes to dip his in yellow mustard. We are mustard heads in our house. We seriously have every kind imaginable. French fries dipped in mustard is the best. My #1 favorite condiment. Next I pulled out a cucumber, orange bell pepper and grapes. I knew my son liked everything. My sons friend said he’d never had an orange pepper, but he liked red. I told him they were similar in flavor. He hesitated at first, but tried a little piece and gave me the thumbs up to load some on his plate. There you have it. A simple, well-balanced meal was served. The back up plan if the little guy didn’t like the turkey sausage, was a PB&J or Grilled Cheese. Done, no drama and his mom was thrilled that he tried something new.
I want my kids to try new foods, but I never want them to feel like they have to eat something they don’t like or feel they have to “clear their plate”. The whole clearing their plate thing, when you’re full, you’re full. You can hang out and continue in the conversation or ask to be excused. No need to train yourself to over eat. This dawned on me years ago, way before I was married and had kids. I was traveling, it was a long flight and a meal was served. It was terrible airplane food, I know I wasn’t that hungry, but I managed to eat everything served to me. The guy sitting next to me commented, “you had to clean your plate as a kid before you could leave the table, right”? I just laughed and brushed it off. The thing is he was absolutely right. I gulped down that disgusting grub as if I wouldn’t be allowed off the flight if I didn’t finish. Anyhow, from that moment on I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to slow down when I’m eating and not feel like I have to eat something, even if I don’t like it or feel like it. And if I’m full, it’s ok to stop. My plate does not have to be clear of every morsel. Food is a pleasure and should be enjoyed in both preparation and eating.
Do you like to try new foods? Do you have your kids try new foods? Were you forced to clear your plate and / or eat things you didn’t like when you were a kid? Are you or do you know “adult baby / picky eaters”?