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Picky eater, veggie hater

I'm hoping some of the picky eater, veggie hater people here can help me. My daughter, 14, falls into this category despite all my efforts throughout her life to change her tastes. Despite her very poor diet, she managed to be the thinnest one in the family, although I've warned her that it was bound to catch up with her someday. Well, that day has come, and I get no joy out of saying 'I told you so'. She wants to lose 20 lbs and I'd like her to do it the healthiest way possible, but is it possible to do it when the only vegetables she will eat are cucumbers, carrots,, green beans, and the starchier vegetables like peas and corn. Salad's are out of the question. She will eat a variety of fruits which I've always provided her at meals since she wouldn't eat most vegetables. She doesn't like whole grains and she doesn't like anything mixed together, most of all she's addicted to sugar and white flour. She would happily eat Lucky Charms and/or ramen noodles 6 times a day. Help! She's finally ready to listen to me, but what do I do? My 'bag of tricks' won't work for her.

Fri. Aug 10, 12:14pm

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keep fruits and veggies handy.. try making some new dishes shes never tased .. or grilling veggies.. it may be the way they are cooked that turns her off on them. Im not saying you cant cook, but teens like foods that have flavor..

keep fresh fruit and veg cut up if its cut she can grab for it easy.all veg is good for her..try brown rice noodles.. they are good and can pass for reg spaghetti .

if she has to have white bread.. have her do it in moderation..

experiement with new taste and fruits and recipes.

what about beans ? beans salsa and cheese with a wholemeal pita.. taste different than wholemeal bread. or wholemeal wraps she may like them with grilled chicken.. maybe you can sneak in some peppers and onions..

sweet poatoes are good.. has she tried them.. cut them up into fries. drizzle a lil olive oil and sea salt and bake.. good alternative to white potatoes.

if I think of anything else . I will comment back.

its a start that shes listening just be patient until you find what works for both of you.

Friday, August 10, 2007, 1:13 PM

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Picky eater here! I swear you could be describing the former me. I hated just about every vegetable under the sun and whole grain stuff tasted like dirt and had the consistency of cardboard.

Tha bad news is that she'll probably always be picky.

The good news is that if she works on it, finds things she can get into and changes her taste - she'll be just as picky the 'other' way and you won't get her to touch lucky charms or ramen with a 10 ft pole.

I agree with the strategies of the previous poster. I need a lot of flavor and veggies in their natural state tend to be bland. I had to experiment with cooking in ways that make things flavorful and preserve texture, but don't add extra fat or too much sodium. My grill and my wok are my 2 favorite ways to cook veggies. Strategize together - look up some recipes that sound interesting with veggies that she doesn't love, but doesn't hate either (I will just never be able to stomach beans no matter how I cook 'em) and try some things together. Figure out what works and what doesn't and they won't all be smashing successes. Try some of the fortified pastas instead of just jumping straight into whole grains, but work on gradually minimizing the sugars and processed grains. Also, she'll be more into if it's her experimenting and not just you trying things out on her. Plus then she can more easily sustain this way of eating after she moves out.

Friday, August 10, 2007, 1:23 PM

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I'd start taking her to the grocery store with you and having her pick out recipes to make. Even have her start cooking. Perhaps encouraging her to have a hand in food purchasing and prep...making things that she wants to try and eat, would help her explore more options.

Also, don't forget the exercise part in weight loss too!

Friday, August 10, 2007, 1:25 PM

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I guess I'm one of those people too. It's not something that a person wants to be. I think I don't enjoy eating much, but can be somewhat compulsive when I get started. I tended to be underweight up to a certain age. I'm tempted to write a book here, but will instead boil it down, probably too far, to bullets. Hope you find something here of use.
- Obesity is the #1 issue, not limited variety of vegetables
- When the way looks hard, seek progress, not perfection
- Don't try to fight too many battles at once. Instead, fight where you have the best chance of winning.
- Outlaw some items. Don't have them in the household, or limit who may have them.
- Set a quota on some items or categories (x amount once a week)
- Portion control problem items at meals
- Don't "eat while doing xyz" Set the times and places for eating.
- Look for emotional levers that work (for her, not you!) Post weigh-ins on the refrigerator, whatever.
- She can do the food log and calorie math and decide where to make the cuts in problem areas
- Beans come in many varieties and preparations, most of which you haven't tried.
- Vegetables cut up small in soup may be acceptable when the same item in bulk isn't. The water in soup serves a similar function to the lettuce in salad, making you feel fuller.
- Exercise more, but also accept that learning to regulate intake is an absolute necessity. Things will happen to interfere with exercise patterns.
- Overeating is a totally natural response to having food available all the time. It's not a moral fault, but it is your problem.

Friday, August 10, 2007, 2:09 PM

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I think I hate veggies as much as your daughter does. The only way I can force myself to eat them is if they are in a casserole or mixed with tasty brown or wild rice or something like that. If you grind them up enough and make it spicy enough, then veggies are palatable. Otherwise they are actually bitter to me. Some of us react like that. Fortunately, I do like lettuce (only iceberg, tho), so if I mix the finely chopped veggies like broccoli in with lettuce and put fruit, nuts, and spicy meat or cheese, with my 5 calorie sugar free raspberry vinagraitte dressing, then I can trick those good veggies on myself.

Saturday, August 11, 2007, 9:55 AM

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My sister hates veggies too, but my mother nags her until she eats them. She has no choice. She has learned to eat sliced red pepper dipped in italian dressing. That's her fave..

Saturday, August 11, 2007, 10:28 AM

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My question is whether it's the taste of the veggies she doesn't like, or the texture. If its the texture, and she will eat them ground up, she does have options -- gazpacho, other soups. My bf is like this and the other day I saw him cook up veggies for a pasta sauce and then put them in the blender before he mixed them with the tomato sauce! Hey, it works.

Saturday, August 11, 2007, 12:16 PM

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OP here. I want to thank you all for your suggestions.
I took her grocery shopping yesterday and had her practice reading the nutrition labels on food. We found a white bread that was fairly high in fiber and plain Cheerios are surprisingly high in fiber. And I got more practice saying 'no'. My god, the stores are full of junk. I guess I just keep blinders on these days or very little of it is attractive to me or something. But not to my daughter! We also went to the local farmer's market where she picked out a variety of fruit.
I think her problem with vegetables is texture as well as taste. I will keep trying, but I don't think I will be able to increase her repertoire much. She likes plain, simple, and heaven forbid, anything mixed. Spices, soups, salads are out of the question. Luckily she can eat the same thing every day for days on end.
Thanks especially to the 2:09 poster who pointed out some practical advice about trying not to fight too many battles at once and to 'seek progress, not perfection.' One of the things we've been really battling over is eating only in the dining room, mostly because I get tired of finding dirty dishes and food wrappers all over the house, but I pointed out to her how much less she would eat if she only followed the rule to sit down at the table whenever she ate anything.
This morning my oldest daughter asked if I would help her with her sugar cravings, too. Glory Hallelujah! All the junk in the house can finally go. My husband can be a bad influence, (he took my problem daughter to Costco's last week and came home with a dozen danish, 2 doz bakery choc. chip cookies and a case of pop tarts) but he agreed, no junk. He was still appalled when I threw the rest of the pop tarts in the trash. I explained that it wasn't that they could never have anything like that again, but that until they could learn portion control, they couldn't be kept in the house.
It's a new day. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007, 2:50 PM

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Some veggies that are yummy-
yellow or red peppers (they are sweet)
jicama (cross between apple and potato)
sweet potato
carrots and celery with peanut bitter (fill celery with pb and put raisins on top of the pb)

Remember that big changes don't happen overnight, what you are doing with your family is great!

Saturday, August 11, 2007, 10:11 PM

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