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raising a chowpup and her non-chowish friends

How many hounds out there are trying to get their kids to try chowish food while fighting back against nuggets, mystery dogs, burgers and fries?

My little chowkid loves trying new food, but her little friends are having problems with seeing guacamole, hummus, homemade soups (eek! it's not Campbell's), chili, and other "weird" looking foods appear at lunch. Don't even get me started on dumplings, soy sauce chicken and rice, etc. Tempted to make some chicken feet and tripe just to harass them. Give me a recipe with with those and some sea cucumbers and I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

When we bought a school lunch one day, she told us about the green hotdogs, toaster pizza, and freezer mystery nuggets. She's still asking for school lunches because she wants to fit in.

I remember doing the same thing. I got delicious pot stickers and soups from mom, and all I wanted was bologna and pbj sandwiches (well, I still like those).

What are you doing to encourage your little chowkid?

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  1. Have you thought about sending a bento box as a packed lunch? You can pack all kinds of excellent food and make it look really fun.

    4 Replies
    1. re: greenish

      IIRC there's a blog dedicated to this, but I don't remember what it's called ... such a fun idea!

      1. re: SAHCook

        I would recommend two sites to take a look at, though I'm sure there are dozens of others. Lunch in a Box was a really great website/blog, but, unfortunately, the woman whose blog it is abruptly stopped new entries about a year ago. Still, the site is still there, so you can read the whole four years of posts for ideas. You'll find them at: http://lunchinabox.net/

        I would also suggest perusing some Flick'r groups, where people just post pictures of their bento lunches. Here are some I look at occasionally. Some of what you'll see is far more fussy than what you'd probably want to do on a daily basis, but they still can be fun to look at. The first in the list is devoted specifically to the American bento-style box called a Laptop Lunch box. I have no connection to the company, though I do own two of the boxes (one for dairy, one for meat, as I keep kosher). One can get tons of ideas from these places.
        http://www.flickr.com/groups/laptop_l...
        http://www.flickr.com/groups/bentoboxes/
        http://www.flickr.com/groups/show-me-...
        http://www.flickr.com/groups/broughtm...

        1. re: queenscook

          Thanks! I've been looking for something less wasteful than plastic baggies, and for more creative lunch ideas. I just do leftovers at home, but with three kids in school this year ... we go through a lot of plasic. I peeked at the web sites and liked what I saw, so I'll definitely take more time to look through them.

          1. re: SAHCook

            By the way, the site for the Laptop Lunchbox itself also has useful info. It's laptoplunches.com. (Plus, of course, they'd be happy to sell you one from there!)

    2. I had an interesting experience recently with my chowpup. At six years old I find him to be very good with his food. We still have some 'interesting' fads pass through the house, but generally he'll try most foods, enjoys a wide variety and we tend to not have mealtime battles. He does still want McDonalds on occasion and all that kind of stuff, but in general I'm quite happy with how he's developing chow-wise.

      He had a little friend come over for a sleepover recently. I have never had to cook seperate 'kids meals' before and I wasn't about to start. I remember exactly what I cooked because it was so beautiful - little individual middle easten lamb pies with lovely veggies and apple pies. I asked my chow-pups friend if he liked all the ingredients in them before I started, which he said he did, so I was a bit surprised when he had barely eaten half of his dinner. I shrugged my shoulders, wondered why I'd bothered and took the plate away. I thought to myself that not all kids are chow pups and not to worry about it.

      Turns out when I ran into his mother at a later date that he's been raving about that meal ever since. He went home and told his mum that he thought I was the best cook ever and asked if she could start making real food like that. So I made a (wong!) assumption based on what I thought other kids liked to eat. Not all kids are exposed to good food and in this case, given the opportunity, it was a new and exciting experience for my chow pups friend.

      So I just keep up the encouragement at home. I like that bento box suggestion made by greenish - kids love sushi and it is interesting, good food and (hopefully) socially acceptable. Maybe you can make your own chicken nuggets (hey at least you know whats in them!) for her to take with a dipping sauce, or deli-meat sandwiches (I'm not sure what bologna is, but I get the impression on Chow it's pretty awful) with interesting cold cuts from a deli with some salad and fresh fruit.

      6 Replies
      1. re: TheHuntress

        I think bologna might be like the stuff called devon in our supermarkets.

          1. re: srsone

            Oh, ok - Devon is "similar in taste and appearance to boloney" (that's if you click through to the page for devon)
            Thanks srsone.

            1. re: srsone

              Ah, now that looks similar to what is called poloney over here. Nasty, nasty stuff, thankfully it was never fed to me as a child.

              1. re: TheHuntress

                i had/have it now and then ..when i was a kid it was oscar mayer
                i like boars head garlic bologna more now

                and my daughter likes it as well...
                she will try lots of things...

                but she has her weird moments as well...
                like the time we asked her what she wants for dinner...she about yelled out "garlic bread"
                (we had made it a few weeks prior when we had spaghetti)

                and just to annoy my wife i have got her to say broccoli is "yucky" because i cant stand it ...but my wife loves it...

                but she is still too young i think to be a "hound"
                we just keep her fed with whatever fruits,veg and meats she will eat...
                she does love to help me cook..so i do plan on teaching her whatever she wants to learn

                1. re: srsone

                  My ex for some reason really liked it, but I have a feeling it was a recollection from childhood thing for him. My mother is a bit of a health freak, so there was no way we would have found poloney in our sandwiches. It's probably one of a few things I am grateful for. I am fortunate enough that my little chowpup has quite a varied palate - he still has his stubborn moments and fads, but he eats pretty well. What more can you ask for?

          2. We are blessed with an adventurous child, and she will try anything at least once. More often than not, she loves it. Her most recent discovery is raw oysters. That one surprised even me.

            Her school lunches are very good with a wide variety of ethnic foods and less than the usual amount of standard kid options like mac n cheese, burgers, etc. I credit her school cafeteria and those wonderful lunch ladies with getting her to expand her horizons when she was in first grade and a bit finicky. She wouldn't eat Mexican or teriyaki at home, but loved it at school so then decided it was something we needed to have more of at home.

            One thing we enjoy is going to H-Mart, which is a wonderful Korean grocery in our town. The produce selection is amazing, as is the fish and meats, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Each time we go, I let her select a few new veggies we haven't tried before so it is something she looks forward to, and is then pretty invested in getting the rest of the family to enjoy. (Rest of the family is my husband, elderly parents, and adult brother.) H-Mart has food samples on weekends and she eats her way through the store, and has tried and loved sashimi, kimchi, and other things that most of her friends won't even try.

            We definitely let her know we value her being adventurous and she gets lots of kudos for trying more unusual foods.. And because we know she will give new food a fair chance, if she says she doesn't like something, we respect that and do not push.

            When she has friends over, I treat them as I would any guest. I serve reasonably crowd-pleasing items but do not cater specifically to idiosyncracies. Meaning, I will serve things that I know kids generally like but will not make a special meal if little Johnny doesn't want to eat chicken parmesan and salad.

            1. I know I'm in the minority here, but I think most chowkids are born, not made, and I'm pretty sure there's a chow gene. ;) Sure, you can get your kids to try new foods by raising them to do so, but you can't get them to really seek out and love new tastes unless they've got the chow gene.

              My husband and I are both chowhounds, and we have a daughter who is the same way, but our son, who is now 14, would still order the mystery nuggets off the children's menu if he weren't embarrassed to do so.

              That said, I agree with Greenish that a bento box would be a fun way to bring a lunch to school that appeals to even the non-chow people (although many elementary schools have a no food sharing rule due to allergies.) My daughter brings her lunch every day, and many of her friends ask to try her food. One of her friends even asked her to bring an entire lunch because she claimed that all she had in her house was peanut butter. This girl is likely another example of a person with the chow gene, unfortunately living among non-chow parents. Must be a recessive trait....

              8 Replies
              1. re: Isolda

                I completely agree, Isolda. Our daughter was definitely born curious, we did not make her that way. I've seen several examples of families just like yours. Kids are remarkably unique and IMO are hard-wired that way. For our family, we are just trying to encourage and reward the innate interest our daughter has in variety and to ward off the group-think that will threaten to take over as adolescence approaches!

                1. re: Isolda

                  While I love the idea of a bento box, I'm wondering how practical it is. My child's school does not have a cafeteria so she brings lunch every day. It's just about all I can do in the morning to make sure she get outs the door with all her clothes, books, and sports equipment in the right places, let alone remind her to grab her lunch bag. I'd love to be able to do something more elaborate than turkey, PB&J, hummus, etc but time is an issue. And I only have to do it for 1 kid. I'd hate to try to make multiple lunches every morning.

                  A lot of times kids will eat what they see others eating. We have some friends who are foodies with chowpups, we have others who are McD's all the way. My child adores xiao long bao, sushi, and other chowish foods, but she also likes bologna (I usually insist on buying mortadella) and ham and cheese on white. She didn't learn those last two at home and some less chowish foods on occasion won't be the end of the world.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    What with gaming and anime these days, a lot of kids are interested in Japanese culture. A nice sturdy reusable (green!) bento box may go over very well indeed.

                    1. re: Isolda

                      I have to chime in with my agreement on the born not made theory, as a non-parent, but godmother to fraternal twin girls who have been raised the same in terms of exposure to and attitudes toward food (one parent is an adventurous eater, the other not so much), yet at the age of 6 their tastes are so different. Twin #1 will try anything, as long as you assure her it's not too spicy, and she eats whatever the adults are eating. If she tries something and doesn't like it, she'll tell you why (it's too bitter, I don't like fruit and meat together), and move on, no drama. Twin #2 has a very limited list of things she will eat, and has survived many a restaurant meal on bread or french fries because she won't touch anything else. And her parents fairly quickly got to the point of not trying to cajole, bribe, threaten, entice, etc. to get her to try new things because it's not worth the drama. They figure she's not going to starve - she eats cereal, cheese, fruit, peanut butter, yogurt - so the necessary nutrients are there.

                      1. re: cookie monster

                        I think it 's a bit of both - my son was never a terrible eater as a very young child but he was certainly picky and could be quite stubborn about his food resistance - and it got worse when he entered 1st grade. I love to cook and we love to go out to eat so I wasn't too willing to accept his food "issues." It took a few years of repeatedly insisting that he try new foods etc., but now he's 10 and he loves great food, loves to go out to eat and has almost no food resistance issues any more whatsoever.

                        If my husband & I had been different people who didn't care about great food as much as we do, I can certainly see where my son could have grown up with a lot of limitations food-wise. There is just no doubt in my mind that he is who he is food-wise because of how he was raised.

                        That said, I absolutely believe that a kid can be born with very hard-wired ideas about food that can be quite difficult to overcome. So this is in no way meant to be a judgment on those who are struggling with picky eaters. This is just my observation of one child, my own. My brother has 2 kids, a girl and a boy, just a few yrs apart & raised more or less the same. The girl is a pretty good eater, including veggies - but their boy, who's 4 now, has absolutely refused to touch anything green that even faintly resembles a vegetable from the very beginning. Every kid is different.

                      2. re: Isolda

                        There is some truth that chowkids are born. I believe there have been studies that have shown that a mom's diet influences the child's likes and dislikes.

                        The basis of the study was looking at cultures where mom's ate a wide variety of spices and compared to a culture where mom's ate milder foods. The mom with the mild/bland diet produced kids that were pickier.

                        1. re: Isolda

                          I disagree with this. I was the pickiest of eaters as a child. I was very skinny, and my dad had trouble getting me to eat enough, so he ridiculously catered to my idiosyncrasies. For at least 2 years, I ate only whites, tans, browns, and yellows. In order to get me to eat protein, my dad would make me bean and cheese burritos for breakfast and lunch every day, and on the weekends, I'd usually eat (get this!) buttered noodle omelets. Snacks were usually flour tortillas, spread with butter, folded into quarters, and microwaved.

                          I didn't begin to discover food until my parents got divorced when I was 12 and it became PAINFULLY clear that my mom was wholly unable to provide homecooked meals past steamed broccoli and yaki soba noodles from the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

                          1. re: LaureltQ

                            Me too - I was SO not a chowpup. Don't give up on your kids! You really never know. Whenever I visit my family, my mother is shocked at things I eat now (I haven't lived w/ my parents since I was 14) - she just about fainted when I gobbled down raw oysters. My tastebuds didn't really develop until I was around 17. And my mother was totally a chowhound, as well as her family, though she didn't cook - she even owned a high-end Korean restaurant and one of her brothers was a sushi chef. Yet I would bring my "own food" (like chicken strips from KFC) while her family feasted on sushi and sashimi.

                        2. Thankfully, we have a pretty user-friendly kid. He loves good food and will cheerfully eat anything. He always begs me to pack lunch because the lunches at school are "lame". He understands good food and will come home critiquing the school lunch offerings. I don't mind packing something delicious, but usually he's reminding me 10 mins. before the bus comes that it's Turkey Tuesday, and "mom, that can't possibly be real meat".

                          I'm always surprised at how picky his friends are. We end up with a bunch of kids most weekends. I've stopped cooking for them completely. These kids' dinner plates end up looking like dissection experiments. They don't eat this, they can't touch that. Ewwwww, "IS THAT A PIECE OF SPINACH ON MY PLATE?!"

                          I'm over it. Our go-to sleepover dinner is pizza. We stop for breakfast before we drop 'em off.

                          1. Brings to mind my mom, who refused to change her meal plans if someone were staying for supper. The laugh riot is how many people she got to eat liver -- she marinates it and bakes it with caramelized mushrooms and onions...and it's tender and delicious, not the blackened shoe leather that everybody else's mom served.

                            Our friends' moms would call and say that their kid was raving about that stuff they had at our house; what was it? "liver" -- long laughs, then "no, really". They were SHOCKED to find that their little liverhaters actually did like the stuff!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Yeah, we've had a few success stories. We were on a Sushi - at - home kick for a while. A good friend gave us a how- to Kit that included a video and supplies. She attached a gift certificate to a local fish market as well. We really had no excuse not to try it.

                              So, we tried it, and what great fun! Surprisingly inexpensive compared to Sushi out as well. Anyway, we had an unexpected guest. Apparently the boys had made plans, but no one told me. Since I was sorta annoyed, I told them they'd have to adjust to my dinner plans. This boy was not the most adventurous eater, but I figured we'd just go with it.

                              Of course, he loved it. I actually ran out of food (which is a first for me, I always over do it). So, a happy ending.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                I'd love the recipe for that liver dish.

                              2. I just relayed a similar answer to "Funny things you do to chow your kid" in the General Chowhound Topics. Read that as well as this:
                                At the elementary school level, a chowpup's chowness is not quite developed yet, and is usually overshadowed by the need to "fit in". What I did was to make things like mac-and-cheese from scratch (throw in some smoked Gouda) and, when we went out, we would order a GOOD cheeseburger (the kind that needs nothing but a little salt and pepper) and made sure that she ate the good versions of the stuff that they served at school. At some point, she started noticing the difference between the institutional and the real fresh foods, and quickly started prefering the homemade mac over the school's.
                                My suggestions to you are:
                                a) keep supplying her with freshly made versions of the foods that institutions -including restaurants- offer her. In restaurants, encourage her to order something from the adult menu (most kids are intrigued when offered something deemed only for grown-ups), and you can split it with her. If she wants a kids' menu item, let her have it, but make sure she tries a bite or two of what you're having also.
                                b) Do NOT buy any of those prepacked convienience lunches, no matter how much she begs. Make her tuna salad or deli meat sandwiches from scratch. Granted it's more work for you, but then she doesn't develop a dumbed-down taste for the tasteless food. (Prepacked puddings and yogurt excepted).

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Michelly

                                  (Sorry - I hit the 'Post' button...here's the rest):

                                  But I reread your original post and I see that you are of Asian persuasion (I've often thought about packing dinuguan in my kid's lunch...but she doesn't like it at all, so it'd be a waste).
                                  Do what I did: keep plying her with fresh food, and let her buy a lunch once a week. At some point, mine stopped buying lunches at school because they weren't all that tasty.
                                  Good luck!

                                  1. re: Michelly

                                    Every so often I make about 3 servings worth of Korean fish cakes(odeng banchan-style) and parcel it out for lunch during the week with a side of edamame and fresh fruit. Since I can make that at night and refrigerate it, that works very well. I also send home-pickled daikon every so often as the side veg. There are kids of so many ethnic backgrounds in my kid's class that nothing stands out as particularly unusual.

                                2. In our house, there is no "kid" food.

                                  I rarely buy packaged food or convenience stuff so he doesn't know there are such things as nuggets, poptarts, pizza pockets, etc. His preschool provides breakfast and lunch but it is all cooked on-site food like beef stew, baked fish, pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit and so on.

                                  I wonder what will happen when he goes to regular school. The cafeteria food is total crap so I can't imagine him eating it but he might, who knows. I am sure he will see lunchables and other genuis of marketing products that will undo all of my good work!

                                  I never cooked seperate meals for the children of our friends and the moms were always amazed at what their kids would eat at my house but not at their own homes so I hope to continue along the same path when our son starts to have friends visit.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                    My son will not eat the food at school - and I don't blame him, it's terrible, I always pack his lunch.

                                  2. In some respects, you're fighting a losing battle.

                                    Obviously, the first goal is to provide adequate nutrition. However, the best you can do chow-wise is provide a wide variety to your children when they're young so they don't have the aversion for different foods.

                                    Keeping processed foods out is impractical, especially when they become older.

                                    My kids were given a wide variety of foods and cuisines when they were younger and encouraged them to give it a try rather than complain.

                                    As young adults, they don't shy away from foods, but they definitely eat fast foods, processed food and subs. They have their likes and dislikes which sometimes is surprising. For example, our daughter now does not like pork.

                                    What you can do?
                                    Provide a wide variety of foods.
                                    Encourage the young kids to try it first.
                                    Realize that their likes and dislikes will change when they mature, maybe in a non-chow direction.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      Agreed. I do not keep away much food from my 4 year old son. The only thing I severly limit is soda and he's only allowed juice about once a day , if that.
                                      But, he eats basically anything else, from most veggies and fruit, to standard meats like beef, chicken, fish and pork. He also has desserts, candy as treats, and etc. But to get dessert he must eat some carb, protein, and or fruit/veggie.. he will eat occasional fast food. Again, occasional..nothing is banned. As long as he eats a wide variety of "standard" foods, and lots of fruits and veggies, and maintains a healthy weight (he is "tall" and lean) we will keep up the routine.
                                      But, he has limits which I do not push. Example, he does not seem to enjoy spicy foods, or overly sauced foods. So, if I make casserole, or have tuna salad (not into mayo), i serve him some type of deconstructed meal with the basic elements, just not all mashed together.

                                      1. re: rochfood

                                        My son is 10 now and still doesn't like mayo, one of his few food "issues." I don't force it either. He has a right not to like everything. Strangely though, he will eat it on BLT's. He's like that about cheese too - absolutely will NOT eat cheese of any sort - except on pizza or fresh mozzerella, sliced in a salad, etc. Oh, and he'll eat cream cheese, but he doesn't consider that to really be cheese anyway.

                                        He didn't like spicy as a very young child either - which was a problem for us, as we LOVE spicy food. So I just gradually introduced spicy food to him, increasing the level of spiciness little by little. He's still not quite at the level my husband & l are at, but he's getting there. And he LOVES Srichacha sauce! :)

                                    2. We were really lucky -- our school in Florida didn't own deep fryers, so breaded stuff was done in the oven.

                                      Sandwiches came by default on brown bread (commercial whole wheat, but at least a little better!) -- white was available, but you has to ask for it specially, because it wasn't put out on the lunch line.

                                      Fresh salads -- not gourmet, but usually crunchy and crisp and made that morning.

                                      I volunteered at that school a lot, so I got to eat lunch with my kid regularly -- which made me feel better that the choices were at least not awful.

                                      Now we live in France and he has awesome meals -- French cafeteria food can hit clunkers just like cafeterias everywhere, but there is an appetizer, main dish with a vegetable, fresh bread, cheese (frequently raw-milk) or yogurt, fruit, and dessert...and pitchers of water on every table. He eats better, chooses a better variety of food at home, and I worry less about what he's eating.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I am so envious! I spent a year as a college student in France and loved the cheap cafeteria food. I especially loved the "foyer musulman" in Paris, where I could have couscous with lamb for what was then equal to about one US dollar.

                                        And I miss the fantastic raw milk cheese. We have a shop near us that sells it, but there's some law that says it has to be aged for a certain length of time, which limits the cheeses you can buy.

                                      2. I grew up with cooking. My dad cooked , Grandmaw cooked, Mom ( was more of going to out to eat) ; although still was introduced into food. Going out to eat was my best introduction to a variety of food and experiences.
                                        What all of us have to keep in the back or our minds .. is that Chicken Nuggets can be tasty (even mystery frozen ones) that goes along to any childhood type foods that now I would never eat. Kids might just take awhile to catch on.. Build off what the kids ENJOY eating, if its just pasta keep adding a sauce. Eventually they become more adventurous.

                                        Having no kid myself , I have to say children are very unperdictable. I frequently watch my younger cousins and am amazed of what they will and wont eat.. Sushi or raw fish is a treat while a carrot is a no go. Pasta with red sauce is fine , only if it is meatless. Good LUCK !!!

                                        1. another thought -- you could also make your own versions of the "kid stuff" -- I used to make my own "lunchables" - with a tortilla (sometimes even flavored ones!) wrapped up with some good lunchmeat and a slice of not-Velveeta, and warmed in the micro just to soften the cheese, then rolled and sliced into pinwheels. (warming the cheese glues the rolls together and keeps them from coming unraveled) Then a dipping sauce. Sometimes I'd use a small cookie cutter to cut circles of healthier lunch meat (what is up with that junk that's a bunch of little chunks all glued together and pressed into a meat shape?YUCK) and non-Velveeta cheese, then with some whole-grain crackers...it's giving in, yes, but on my terms.

                                          chicken breasts can be breaded and oven-fried for a better version of chicken nuggets. Quesadillas are a kid favorite, and you can manage the content of those easily, too.

                                          The nice part of doing your own version is that they then get a taste for the better ingredients, and they usually don't even like the greasy little balls of unidentified animal protein that appears at the cafeteria.

                                          1. I'd say, keep doing what you're doing. Maybe your chowpup will want the "normal" items for a while, but at some point, she'll start developing her own tastes, and (we all hope) they won't include "chicken" nuggets.

                                            Our daughter is now 12, and shows all signs of being a true chowhound. I took her for her first real sushi the other day (concerns re raw seafood when she was younger). I got the standard sushi lunch for her, telling her that it would have more standard sushi items, and then got some more unusual items for me. Well, they served my stuff first, and I ended up sharing them all with her, including the baby squid! She's had squid before, in risottos and pastas, but I loved that she just gobbled the squid sushi right up. Along with all the other sushi they served. For Valentine's Day, she tried telling him that he should take her (not me) to our favorite, and very, very good restaurant in town. (That did not happen.)

                                            A number of her friends are Asian, so I think that her, there's a little more variety at school during lunchtime, though items like hummus and pita were unusual in elementary school (and I had to pack extra, so she could share). In fact, the parents of one of her Chinese friends love having her over, because she loves the Chinese meals they cook.

                                            I think chowhounds are made AND born. If a genetic chowhound is born to a chicken nugget family, it will be a long time before that chowhound has a chance to (1) develop a taste for well-made food of any type and (2) try new and different foods. But I would hope it would happen at some point. With our kids (we also have a 15yo son, who's been a vegetarian for 3 years now), we've been serving them pretty much everything since they were little; they haven't had a huge scope for being majorly picky.

                                            I have had some problems, also, in preparing foods for their friends. I'll admit we tend to be more traditional in those situations - especially for our son, it's usually pizza. But I have taken them and friends out for Middle Eastern, dim sum, etc.

                                            1. Heh, I'm imagining a taxi pulling up in front of school, and the dabbawala getting out and running to the cafeteria, dropping off a carrier of tiffin boxes for your daughter and her friends. Opening each tin they discover and share portions of idli, dosa, dal, curried meats, and roti.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                and me, bolting out of the bushes and swiping it before the driver ever gets to the door ith them.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  LOL!! I had to laugh at the picture that created in my mind. Too funny.

                                              2. Call me crazy, but I see some positive in that. She obviously gets delicious food at home, but is willing to eat the total crap most families feed their kids (which is why it goes over well as school lunch). She'll be a gracious, thankful guest at others' homes when they feed her faux food, and that is a great character trait.

                                                One thing that has worked in my family has been pointing out foods we serve at home every single time we go to restaurants. I've had to convince my kids they're getting the good stuff, but they're finally starting to understand that it's their friends who are missing out, not them.

                                                1. Since I don't have kids, I can only speak to my experience growing up in a standard middle class family where we took lunch to school and had dinner as a family almost every night. I was definitely the pickiest eater in my family. My list of disliked foods included rice, onions, seafood (except for fish sticks) and all green vegetables except peas. My mother cut the chopped onions large enough that I could pick them out but otherwise pretty much served us all the same meal. I was skinny until adulthood. Now I am the most adventuresome in the family and love all vegetables, rice, onions, seafood and things my family never cooked, such as lamb, duck and goose. I sympathize with kids who don't like a lot of things and figure they'll either out grow it or not. If they're polite at the table and don't "yuck other peoples' yums" I think they'll eventually be out of the house and making their own food decisions. (I have a friend who always sent her son to school with interesting/unusual Italian foods. He was mortified and just wanted "normal" sandwiches; today he is a chef."

                                                  1. As a child, I was the worst! My nickname was " The Inspector" b/c I had to examine every single morsel of food for fat, burnt parts ( char to you and me now), sauces etc...Anything ordered or made for me had to be naked- no sauce, no nothing. I lived for years and years on pb & j at school. My food could not even touch on the plate. My parents and family ate anything and everything. However, as I got older, whether it was exposure or curiosity or both, I began to try and enjoy tons of things. My mother said she almost passed out the first time she saw me eat sushi. And she literally was speechless the 1st time i ordered calf's liver and asked for it "just pink". Of course, there are still things I don't care for b/c of the taste, texture or smell, but my tastebuds really grew up when I did. My daughter is a total food pill and I know I'll just have to live with it...for now.