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Extreme Picky Eater/Selective Eating disorder

I've been recently dating a new guy, and he's made it known that he's extremely picky. He doesn't eat pasta, has never had a hamburger, or rice, various vegetables... doesn't care for most types of sauce or condiments. ONLY vegetable he likes is corn on the cob. He's never eaten eggs (i.e. scrambled or fried, not including eggs cooked into ingredients such as cake or cookies) So i'm at a loss. I LOVE TO COOK! and i love experimenting and trying new things. I love veggies and i love to eat healthy and find it to be very important to have a variety of a diet. So........... a way for me to show my affection is to cook for others. and also i find it healthier and cheaper than eating out all the time. WHAT THE HECK DO I COOK FOR THIS KID?! i can only make roasted potatoes, corn on the cob and chicken so many times before i get bored. (ive only made it once, and im already not looking forward to making it again)

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    1. re: wadejay26

      drop him like a bad habit. This is only the beginning of your problems.

      1. re: genoO

        I agree. This isn't just about likes and dislikes, it's about values and priorities. I speak from experience.

    2. Ask yourself if it's worth the hassle. You're not his mommy (even though you call him a "kid", perhaps because of his eating ... style), and if those are the only things he likes to eat he might want to learn how to make them himself -- unless you want to spend your immediate future preparing separate meals. So, when COTC is not in season, does he go veggie-free for fall, winter & spring?

      Food is not a peripheral thing -- we all have to eat, so if one person lives to eat and the other eats to live, it may not be the most ideal match.

      3 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        he likes things that are crunchy, spicy etc. and yet still very plain. i noticed that the things he does like are very processed, or just not prepared with your health in mind. Which bothers me. A lot of that bothers me bc over the last 2 years, i've gone through a huge weight loss which i succeeded through my change in diet. He likes pizza, breads, chicken (grilled, fried, plain or with spices/seasoning) Doesn't like mashed potatoes. (its the texture) like french fries. and to be honest, i'm not really sure what else he likes that holds any nutritional value. We went out to eat a few times already.. Pizza, outback, chinese, local restaurant all of which has been things that are either fried, plain, or with fries. No salad, no other veggies... i think you get my point. --- thanks for your reply!!

        1. re: CAZlikes2Cook

          He would not make it far with me.

          Oh, and FYI.... replying once is likely enough since posters tend to read all of the thread. No need to copy and paste it several times '-)

          1. re: linguafood

            Ohhh good to know thanks for the tip, I'm rather new at this

      2. What a dilemma.....I agree with the others. It may be impossible to go long-term with someone of that temperament. If you are like a lot of us (thankful appreciation and gratitude for good food and company), then just wolfing down whatever to get dinner over with will be intolerable. At least my wife eats whatever I cook, but she takes huge bites and often eats standing up. Eats more than twice as fast as I do. Drives me crazy. Can't imagine if she were picky on top of it!

        1. You are not going to change him. If you enjoy his company enough, find non-food-related things to do together. For the relationship to go forward, you would need to just accept that you will have to accommodate his limited food choices by a combination of (a) eating out so you can both select what you want, (b) preparing separate meals tailored to each of your tastes to consume at home (and I don't mean that all of the cooking should fall to you), and/or (c) by your willingness to at least occasionally eat the limited foods that he eats.

          1. You haven't gone into detail about what he WILL eat so it's premature for readers to assume his diet is really bad. But if it is (corn is a veg only in the sense that wheat, rice, and potatoes are veg, which is to say a starchy carb), think about whether you should be letting yourself in for a future with someone whose poor nutritional habits are very likely to result in chronic illness by the time he is middle-aged.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              he likes things that are crunchy, spicy etc. and yet still very plain. i noticed that the things he does like are very processed, or just not prepared with your health in mind. Which bothers me. A lot of that bothers me bc over the last 2 years, i've gone through a huge weight loss which i succeeded through my change in diet. He likes pizza, breads, chicken (grilled, fried, plain or with spices/seasoning) Doesn't like mashed potatoes. (its the texture) like french fries. and to be honest, i'm not really sure what else he likes that holds any nutritional value. We went out to eat a few times already.. Pizza, outback, chinese, local restaurant all of which has been things that are either fried, plain, or with fries. No salad, no other veggies... i think you get my point.

              i think you hit the nail right on the head with it resulting in health problems down the road. and obviously, most people date to find someone for the long run, so these are things to think about.

              --- thanks for your reply!!

            2. Don't try to build this relationship around food - if everything else is good do your food thing outside of this relationship - with your other friends/family. If you can tolerate his picky, he should tolerate your foodie.

              If he is the one in the end you will love him for his faults as much as his good qualities. OTOH - this could be a deal breaker.

              Also, personally I would wonder what lies beneath such extreme particularity ;)

              1. Welcome to chowhound! There are lots and lots of threads on what to cook/feed picky eaters. Instead of focusing on what he won't eat I would makes a list of foods he *will* eat and then do a search and see if you can make a meal plan from those same suggestions.

                From there hit a couple of cooking web sites like Epicurious and use their search function to do the same.

                I am going to assume that he has many other qualities that make him a good partner. Only you can decide if he is worth holding onto or whether this is a deal breaker.

                1. Life is nasty, brutal & short. Dump the kid & find someone with a semi-adult palate.

                  1. Did he mention selective eating disorder? Cause my brother has selective eating disorder, so I might be able to offer some insights. My brother is 42 years old, in good health, runs every day, was a Div 1 athlete in college, travels the world, including SE Asia, China and India, is smart as a whip, and he eats almost nothing. Most of what he does eat is highly processed. I only say all this because it IS NOT simply picky eating for him and others with selective eating disorder and people with this disorder can be lovely, mature people, just as much as people without it.

                    So, if you are able to discern that it is not simply picky eating:

                    1. Food will never be part of your shared lives. You will find yourself eating alone a lot, but if he's like my brother, he will join you for meals, both at home and out, he just will not eat anything.

                    2. Don't try to make him eat anything. Chances are, he has tried many times in the past, maybe he even went to various psychologists, but just cannot gag the food down.

                    That's it. If you like him and the food issues seem genuine rather than infantile, go for it! Just alter your expectations.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: hilltowner

                      What does your brother eat when he does eat? Would soylent be of use to him?

                      1. re: babette feasts

                        Interesting you ask about soylent. He lives overseas, so I am unsure if he knows about it, but I keep meaning to mention it to him. In a nutshell, he eats:

                        bacon
                        hot dogs
                        white bread (the more processed the better)
                        french fries
                        iceburg lettuce
                        popcorn
                        bologna
                        potato chips
                        whole milk

                        In our youth, he also ate celery and carrot sticks, though it may be just that our mother packed them in his lunch but he never ate them. Also american cheese.

                        He drinks lots of milk and takes multivitamins. His doctors all know about his condition. It's not ideal, but he makes it work.

                      2. re: hilltowner

                        I have a brother like this - its hard to understand he just experiences food differently - a new exotic dish to me is fun, to him it's torture. He loves the food he loves but to me horrifyingly plain. Simple grilled meats & bread. Only vegetable is baby carrots, only fruits apples (and as an adult has branched to the occasional peach) Cereal dry, no milk. No to: Pasta, Rice, Pie, Cake, Cream. Cheese (except on plan pizza and only if it's not stringy) any ethnic food (he has never had an eggroll or taco) and on and on.

                        More importantly than not eating these things he has no interest in them, he is not curious, he does not want to be converted. He grew up in a family with lots of diverse food choices, its not about exposure. He is a great kid: smart, athletic, funny, has perfect pitch, writes well and can switch hit, hell he can even dance if he has a few in him.... trying various foods is not his thing, someone will love him LOL.

                        1. re: hilltowner

                          As a matter of fact, Hilltowner, He actually introduced his "pickiness" to me as SED. So i'm trying to be understanding.

                        2. He **may** be a little more adventurous around you since guys will do a lot for girls they like.
                          But don't hold your breath.
                          Would it be fun to cook with him? Are stuffed baked potatoes safe? Something like that-or tacos, pizza, chili- where you can pick your own toppings to customize your meal could work so he can stick with....whatever, but you could add veggies and such to your version.
                          Have a conversation with him about what he does like- and there are plenty of chicken and potato recipes out there. You could always have the potentially offensive sauce on the side and who knows, maybe he will taste it and like it.

                          But also know that sometimes relationships are about compromise and be honest with yourself about if this is a dealbreaker for any long term future together.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            <<Would it be fun to cook with him?>>

                            i think that we can safely answer that question in the negative.

                          2. I think this is a case where you have to accept that this is who he is and he won't ever change, and decide if you can happily accept that.

                            Food will not be something you share. If you're cooking for him, you will make him corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and chicken, and make yourself something you like. If he's cooking - you'll probably have corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and chicken a lot. Eating out will not be a part of your shared life, except at a very restricted list of restaurants. You will be very limited when it comes to food related socializing - you'll get asked over for dinner once, and never again, when your hosts balk at making custom toddler meals for an adult.

                            If the guy is worth it in other ways, and you can happily accept the above (not grudgingly, not with increasing frustration), then you may have a chance with him.

                            Me - I'd dump him and move on.

                              1. re: Kat

                                he likes things that are crunchy, spicy etc. and yet still very plain. i noticed that the things he does like are very processed, or just not prepared with your health in mind. Which bothers me. A lot of that bothers me bc over the last 2 years, i've gone through a huge weight loss which i succeeded through my change in diet. He likes pizza, breads, chicken (grilled, fried, plain or with spices/seasoning) Doesn't like mashed potatoes. (its the texture) like french fries. and to be honest, i'm not really sure what else he likes that holds any nutritional value. We went out to eat a few times already.. Pizza, outback, chinese, local restaurant all of which has been things that are either fried, plain, or with fries. No salad, no other veggies... i think you get my point.

                                --- thanks for your reply!!

                              2. I guess it'd be helpful to know if he eats anything other than roast chicken, potatoes and corn. Like does he like pizza? You could do individual pizzas... whatever you want on yours, and basic stuff on his.

                                If he's open to it, what about mixing it up? Like doing the chicken, but having rice pilaf as a side? Or do a different protein (pork tenderloin would be a good place to start), with the roasted potatoes. Or, add in one extra veggie and see if he'll at least try it. Even if it means broccoli covered in cheese sauce haha!

                                I am in a somewhat similar situation... not so much as my SO is picky, but he has a stomach disease so he's limited on what he can eat a lot of the time. So we do a lot of meat & potato type dishes when he's home (He travels for work so when I have the time, I cook things he can't eat, or try new things).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: juliejulez

                                  he likes things that are crunchy, spicy etc. and yet still very plain. i noticed that the things he does like are very processed, or just not prepared with your health in mind. Which bothers me. A lot of that bothers me bc over the last 2 years, i've gone through a huge weight loss which i succeeded through my change in diet. He likes pizza, breads, chicken (grilled, fried, plain or with spices/seasoning) Doesn't like mashed potatoes. (its the texture) like french fries. and to be honest, i'm not really sure what else he likes that holds any nutritional value. We went out to eat a few times already.. Pizza, outback, chinese, local restaurant all of which has been things that are either fried, plain, or with fries. No salad, no other veggies... i think you get my point.

                                  anyway... he has at dislike for cheese on most things, has NEVER had pork (chop, tenderloin) although he's had bacon. He eats cold cut turkey, but to be honest, i have no idea what else he likes to eat. Never had broccoli, or other types of veggies.

                                  --- thanks for your reply!!

                                2. Don't bother cooking for him. What a waste of time to put effort into feeding someone who really cannot appreciate anything but dry, plain, limited foods. Go out to dinner, someplace where you both can have what you prefer. Spend the time between ordering and the arrival of food getting to know him better. His public behavior clues are important to determining how he'll behave towards you later on, when the novelty wears off, and masks get dropped.

                                  A foodie can live with a non-foodie if the non-foodie at least will eat what the foodie cooks, even if they only "eat to live" and just don't get any of our "living to eat" ways. But this date's way past that, from what you've described. A much tougher "match" if that's what you're hoping for. He won't change; you won't change him, and you're not changing for him, are you?

                                  1. I think a good adventure would be to cook together.
                                    Get him into cooking his own food (and yours) and you might see him open his eyes a bit.
                                    If you get bored cooking chicken and potatoes, so will he.

                                    1. he'd have to be a really amazing guy for me to not cut my losses and walk away.

                                      I love food and the culture of eating, love cooking, and don't think I could live with someone who was repulsed by all of it.

                                      1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-liv...

                                        I googled SED and found this Mayo Clinic site. The comments that follow the short article are surprising. You might want to read them.

                                        If your new fellah is truly afflicted with this eating disorder, and you decide to pursue this relationship, this will affect your life.

                                        If this young man is not afflicted with SED, then I'd wager that he used his not eating as a power struggle with his family. I've seen this before. But I honestly did not know about this as a disorder.

                                        Apparently a lot of sufferers wish devoutly they could change. And it is interesting that many of them will not eat similar items.

                                        I think another poster's suggestion to make a list of foods he will eat, and to use that as a template is good. But apparently SED sufferers like their food quite plain. So even this list will be be quite confining for the adventurous cook.

                                        Good luck!

                                        1. My husband isn't THAT picky, but he's picky. And a lovely man, but I simply can't cook for him to show my love. I have to show it in other ways.

                                          He'll eat what I make, or he'll cook for himself, and then we'll meet up for a movie in the living room.

                                          Cook for your friends who appreciate it.

                                          1. a couple of unrelated thoughts on the matter

                                            1) truly, it is not this man's (he is NOT a kid) responsibility to eat the way YOU want him to eat.
                                            the very fact that you refer to him as a kid is a red flag.
                                            you are not his mother

                                            2) you ned to decide how much of a need/requirement it is on YOUR part that your partner be the recipient of your cooking projects. you need to be able to walk away from the idea that he will EVER want to sit down and eat the way you do.

                                            when you look at those two issues, you can then decide what to do.
                                            this is NOT a menu-planning problem, as you seem to be suggesting.

                                            1. Thanks for all the input everyone! i would like to add that, perhaps, i used the term "kid" too loosely and hastily. But i do see everyone's points.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: CAZlikes2Cook

                                                I feel for you. I have a son with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's not immediately obvious but when you get to know him, it shows up in a few places, and food issues is one of them. The "drop him" comments on this thread break my heart because I know he'll be the target of those comments in his future.

                                                From living with my son, I can say that it doesn't have to be a fight between you two... he can take responsibility for his food and you can take responsibility for yours. But if eating the same food together is important, you're not going to have that with this person. That may be a deal-breaker for you. If it is, best to cut your losses and move on, but if you think you can deal with this part of your life being restricted in this way and enjoy all the other things you enjoy about him, I hope you'll give it a try.

                                              2. I don’t have suggestions but here is my experience.
                                                My husband was a lot pickier when we first met (grew up in a meat and potato, processed food household) although not quite on the same level of the guy you are seeing. My hubs is a lot better now but still sometimes unwilling to try a handful of things (chicken feet at dim sum for example).
                                                I always cooked what I liked but made sure I have at least something he would eat on the table (he also always has an option of making something like a sandwich) and whatever I order at a restaurant is always open for him to sneak a taste. It’s OK if he doesn’t like it too, at least he tried it (I make no comment). Sometimes I will even find him going back to “retry” it at a later date and second time around is not so bad (sushi). His palate has changed significantly, he loves spicy food now, going to dim sum, trini cuisine, and most recently tried sweet breads. I love going out to eat with him now, I may not be as “Chow” as many of the posters here but if this guy is worth it you can make it work! Change is a slow process!
                                                But I agree with the other posters, if food is a deal-breaker for you – RUN!

                                                Good luck!