Tips for Picky Eaters

Q. My son is a picky eater. I’m trying to help him open his mind to new foods. Any tips from a chef? —Henry from Kaukauna

A. As an adult who grew up under the “take it or leave it” generation, the picky eater conundrum seems to be a recent trend. To open someone’s palate to new foods and flavors, sometimes it works to introduce the new flavors in a stealth kind of way. For example, someone who doesn’t enjoy onions might eat a food containing them such as lasagna or stew and not realize that those foods include onions. If they enjoy the overall taste of the food, their palate may adjust to not only tolerating the onion flavor but even enjoying it. Another example would be black olives. It seems that black olives can be a very polarizing flavor where people either like them or they don’t. If put into a position of eating black olives on something like pizza or in a Mexican favorite, they may not appreciate the black olive flavor, but they might begin to tolerate it and eventually enjoy it. While it may not work for your son, disguising new tastes with acceptable flavors has proven to be an effective way to expand palates.

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