“Manna!!! The children of Israel had to eat manna in the desert for forty long years – for every meal, every day, without any variety or even a pat of butter to spread over the top. I bet it got old and yes, they did complain like whiny children, which God scolded them for. Today, I made you scrambled eggs with cheese, homemade turkey sausage, and juicy oranges. I’ve given you homemade chicken strips, sliced sweet peppers from our garden, and a glass of fresh milk from the farm. Do you really want to complain to me about this here raspberry smoothie with real cream and maple syrup I just put in front of you? I don’t think so!”
That’s what I want to say to my children when they turn their noses up at my hard work and healthy food options. They really have no idea how good they have it. None of us do, really. We are all incredibly blessed with the food options we have – even if our budgets do keep us from expanding beyond some lower cost real food basics. Blessed! Blessed! Blessed!
It’s easy to get frustrated when we work hard in the kitchen to put good food on the table and we are greeted by grumbling. It’s discouraging when we know the importance of healthy eating and our family asks for hotdogs and Cheetos. I definitely don’t have all the answers for you when it comes to picky kids or husbands. Very few people in the world will “eat anything you put in front of them.” That’s okay, right? God made us all different, with different tastes and preferences.
Just like anything, we need God’s help to help us on this real food journey. Pray for God to help you as you make decisions and encourage your family to eat well. Let God do His work in this. He’s amazing. He’ll continue to prove it to you. Praise Him when your picky child eventually eagerly gobbles down his veggies. It will happen!
2. Keep Trying
If you give in every time you hear a complaint, you’ll be throwing out the good food without helping anyone give it a fair chance. It takes time to get our taste preferences and cravings past food filled with MSG and artificial ingredients. Real food does taste different. It tastes better, of course, but if a person is used to high sodium, flavor enhanced “food,” getting used to and learning to love real food does take some time. Introduce new, real foods slowly. A carrot here, a smoothie there, real cheese for a snack instead of processed – they’ll get there. God will help.
One trick that has helped our family in the transition to eating real food is sticking with fun, kid friendly, favorite foods (like pizza, chicken nuggets, and tacos) – but making them with healthy ingredients. It keeps us from feeling “deprived,” it makes hospitality easier, it tastes delicious.
Want some tips to help you recreate your favorite recipes into healthy foods? Read this post on How to Adapt a Recipe to Make it Healthier. Also, you may find the following downloadable chart helpful. If a recipe calls for_____________, use ________________. Healthy recipe substitutions are much easier than you think!
Download and print the Healthy Recipe Substitutions chart to help you as you adapt recipes!
How do you help transition picky eaters at your house?