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Help!! Recipes for extremely picky eaters.

I'm trying to help a friend out who's trying to eat healthier - she's getting married in a year and doesn't necessarily need to lose weight but is looking for a generally healthier lifestyle. I've offered to help teach her some new recipes so she can start cooking at home more. The problem is, she has the palate of a 5 year old. She pretty much only eats Hamburgers (well done, no condiments or cheese), pasta with plain sauce, pizza (plain cheese), hot dogs, macaroni & cheese, etc. I've been trying to get her to eat more vegetables, but over a year of working on this (we were roommates), the only things she will touch are: carrots, green beans, lettuce, corn, potatoes. Recently got her to consider eating broccoli. She doesn't eat any kind of rice or cooked grains (doesn't like the texture). Seafood is a big no. And the kicker is, her fiance, who she lives with and cooks for, doesn't eat any kind of poultry.

I'm trying to put together about 10, relatively healthy recipes, nothing too complicated, nothing too strange. Any recipe links would be GREATLY appreciated.

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  1. That's a whole lot of issues with one person, and I think it's super hard to eat healthy if there are so many restrictions. How on Earth was she getting nutrients before? Here are some helpful tips...
    When I put myself on a diet, my dinners some nights are a salad of meclun greens (or greens of herbs), shredded carrots, tomatoes, grilled corn (when in season), cucumbers, avocado, and a protein of my choice. I also throw in some cheese for dairy. I make my own croutons.
    I saute blanched green beans or haricot vert in olive oil, butter, salt and pepper as simple side dish. It can pair with any protein.
    She can switch to whole grain pasta as a healthy alternative. I do a penne with sausage, onions, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, and bell peppers. I stole the recipe from a Barilla box and have adapted it to my own purposes.
    Chili made with turkey instead of beef.
    A minestrone soup sounds like it might be applicable to her.

    1. Is she receptive to food mixtures, e.g. soups, casseroles, baked pasta dishes? If so, I'd say recipes that incorporate several ingredients she tolerates--pasta, ground beef, cheese, veggies--would be a place to start. Then she can gradually add things she doesn't like in small quantities--mushrooms, garlic, whatever. Like you'd train a kid to accept unfamiliar foods except she'll have to trick herself.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tcamp

        I think the casserole idea is a good one... will definitely use that. It really is like feeding a kid.

      2. If she has the palate of a 5 year old I would teach her to cook as if she were cooking for a 5 year old.

        You can hide an amazing amount of vegetables in pasta sauce when you cook and puree them first. Not to mention hidden in dips and sandwich spreads, blended into soups, you can even sneak some cooked vegetables into breads, cakes and desserts.

        (I often cook for a 14 year old that acts 5 at the dinner table complete with whining and crying if she doesn't like it. To save my sanity I figured out how to hide the veggies- she has no idea how many times she's eaten spinach, sweet potatoes, even brussels sprouts that no longer resembled brussels sprouts.....)

        1 Reply
        1. re: weezieduzzit

          Good point. Simple, simple. Fried or hardboiled eggs, simple salad, baked potato, turkey burger, salmon burger. If she likes salt, then make sure unfamiliar foods are salty, at least at first. Raw veggies. It would be helpful if she could learn to like broccoli because that is ubiquitous in restaurants

          But Weezie has the right idea I think. Keep it simple, and don't combine a lot of foods in one dish for now.

          Since she isn't thrilled about veggies will she eat apples, or applesauce? Or pears or bananas?

          And, a long time ago I read about someone who never liked veggies, but learned to like grilled or roasted veggies.

          .

        2. With that list five-year-olds are insulted: )

          1. Sounds kind of like my wife, who I've been working on for a decade now. Most recent success: beans. Healthy, delicious, lotsa possible variety in how you use em and flavor em.