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Michael Pollan's Tips for Picky Eaters

Don’t blame parents if their kids are picky eaters. Even best-selling “Food Rules” author Michael Pollan had trouble getting his son, now 17, to try new foods.

“Everyone knows about picky eaters but he was in a whole class of his own,” Pollan told KitchenDaily. He’s not kidding. Apparently, for a long while, Pollan’s son would only eat pasta. To accommodate his fussiness, his parents would bring his brand of pasta with them while they were traveling. Even then, he’d refuse to eat it because the water tasted different.

“He was a white food eater of the worst kind. So I got very interested in how our tastes and food habits are formed,” said Pollan.

Rather than fight with his son over food, Pollan used sneaky techniques to get him to eat veggies, like handing them to him while he was watching his favorite TV show. “Kids will eat anything while they’re watching TV They don’t know what they’re doing,” said Pollan. “You could put a bowl of peas or string beans or carrots in front of him and they’d be gone by the end of the episode.”

One of our house’s food rules is no eating in front of the TV, but we make exceptions for pre-dinner carrots and apple slices. Pollan told Babble that he has the same “no TV when eating” rule except when it comes to fruit and vegetables. If you’re going to eat mindlessly, it might as well be good for you!

I have faith that my older daughter, who is on the picky side (but not as extreme as Pollan’s son) will grow out of it as Pollan’s son eventually did. Although Pollan said his son still won’t eat salad or fish, he now eats a wide variety of foods.

Pollan’s tip for parents? Get your kids involved in gardening and cooking.

“They’ll eat fresh vegetables in the garden, especially if they grew them themselves. If you get them to cook they will eat what they cook even if they’ve never tasted it before because it has been demystified,” said Pollan. “It’s not so scary anymore.”

Sounds great except it’s not so easy for urban dwellers like myself who don’t have easy access to a vegetable garden. But at least we have a TV.

For more tips for picky eaters, check out The Family Kitchen’s Picky Eater Emergency Kit.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whirledkid/

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