Thursday, March 3, 2011

Broadening their palate a little at a time

Like most kids here in the United States, my two kiddos can be selective about what they put in their mouths.

Even though they have an opinion about what they like and don't like, that doesn't stop me from trying to steer them towards healthier choices.

While I do allow them to eat fast food from McDonald's, Jack in the Box, and Wendy's, I do keep those meals few and far between. They get that "treat" about once every two weeks at the most. It was in November 2010 that they finally ate a Sausage McMuffin with Egg. Yes. Their first taste of the Mickey D's breakfast menu. And (of course!) they loved it. All that salty goodness. But since then? Nothing.

I continue to serve them vegetables, even though I know there is a bit that ends up in the trash. But I hope that one day they'll voluntarily pop those veggies into their mouths. One day. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day.

I am pretty optimistic about their palates expanding. I mean, what they choose to eat does change. Slowly. But surely!

On Sunday we went to Olive Garden after church. I ordered a bowl of Zuppa Toscana and some salad. The Bear had his usual cheese pizza, while the Princess opted for a bowl of Zuppa Toscana soup and Lasagna Fritta (an appetizer). I asked my son if he wanted some of my salad and he gave an energetic nod.

"Make sure I get some red onions Mom!"

This comment made our server stop and ask if the Bear did indeed say he wanted red onions. She said that she hadn't come across any kids request red onions in the restaurant before.  I let her know that he and his sister both enjoy the taste of red onions.

"In salad!"
"In sandwiches!"
"And in burgers!"

Yes. They chimed in about where they like to have those yummy red onions. Of course, the love of red onions didn't trigger until we moved here.

But it doesn't stop at just red onions.

When my husband visited over the summer, we all ate at Mimi's Cafe. I ordered some salad along with some french onion soup. Both kids asked for a taste. And wouldn't you know it? Both of them really liked the soup.

A couple months ago, the kids and I went to Panera with LilSis, Shorty, and my little niece. The kids ordered grill cheese sandwiches off the kids' menu, while I ordered a turkey artichoke sandwich and a bowl of french onion soup. The kids (of course) asked for some of my soup, which I happily shared with them. Then they asked for a bite of my sandwich. People? They loved the taste of that as well.

On our next visit to Panera, the kids let me know they wanted the turkey artichoke sandwich and some french onion soup. Just a few weeks ago, the gal who took our order kind of was taken aback when I placed our order for two sandwiches and a bowl of soup. She kind of looked at the kids and then back to me.

"Oh...they like the sandwiches and the soup."
"They do?"
"Yes. They tasted mine before and really like it."
"Wow. They like the adult food already. That's great."

I just kind of giggle when people are surprised by what the kids eat.  I mean it's up to me to expose them to new foods, right? While they do enjoy a good burger and french fries, I still try to give them new stuff every now and again. I'm not the greatest cook, so whenever we go out I do try to give them bites of anything new I order. I think these little steps are a definite way for the kids to expand their palate.

That's my key. Little steps.

Now what do your kids like that surprise people? 

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