Breaking Picky Eaters: Michelle Stern of What’s Cooking

Breaking Picky Eaters: This is the first guest post of a mom sharing her personal experience raising a child who refuses more often than they sit down and eat a meal you prepared happily. This one comes from my dear friend Michelle of What’s Cooking with Kids. She’s sharing her experience with dealing with a “particular eater” in her oldest child.

First, I should say that I’m not the biggest fan of the term “picky eater.” And neither is my friend Christina, who explains the objection more eloquently than I can…But some families are plagued with a plethora of food preferences. And while I don’t always cater to a finicky child, I do make accommodations sometimes.

Dinnertime has been challenging at our house lately. Our daughter has always had a very sensitive palate, and lately, our son is copying her resistance to the foods on the table. He is a fantastic eater when we are alone, but when she is at the table, he mimics her rejection of foods. If she claims that something is too spicy, he’ll avoid what he would otherwise dive into head first.

When I select which recipes to cook, I often need to make some changes. Here are my main reasons for adapting a recipe:

  1. To use seasonal ingredients.
  2. Spice level.
  3. Cooking time to adjust for texture.
  4. Use whole grains.

(Head over to Michelle’s blog to read her coleslaw recipe and how she specifically adapted it that night, as well as how she continues to deal with her daughter’s “particular eating.”.)

Michelle Stern is the owner of What’s Cooking with Kids and author of The Whole Family Cookbook – Celebrating the Goodness of Locally Grown Foods. She switched careers from a high school biology teacher to teach healthy and seasonal cooking classes and birthday parties to children of all ages in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  1. I don’t have kids yet, but I wanted to scream the last time I was feeding my nephew and he refused to eat my homemade mac and cheese because it didn’t look like the stuff in the blue box. I’m excited to read your tips.

  2. Ahh.. I used to be a picker eater, now I’ve sobered though my mom wished for it earlier 😀 great tips!

  3. Great tips!!!

  4. Great tips – and parents of “picky eaters” need all the new ideas that they can get their hands on. I think that anytime we can be more accommodating to their requests, while still making healthy food a priority and not becoming a short order cook, the more likely we are to start expanding their preferences. It doesn’t happen overnight, but every improvement is a win!

  5. My kids are the best non-picky eaters.
    Of course, Leah is still developing, so that may change. Great tips, Michelle!

  6. I’m laughing as I read this because I don’t have kids, but I have to do a lot of these things with my mother in law.

  7. Michelle, nice to see you here! I’m always having to adjust the spice level in my cooking in order to accommodate my kids. It’s an easy shift, but has encompassing results.

  8. Logical, straightforward…. makes sense to me. Lovely photo!

  9. It can really be frustrating.My son went through this stage and fortunately we are able to work on it, these are really great tips.

  10. Madeleine says:

    I solved my daughter’s picky eating habits by mistake. She was my fifth child and I was really afraid something was wrong with her digestion because she was still really picky at age 10. Here’s how I solved it. When I took her for her check-up the doctor asked if she was a picky eater as one of her routine questions. I said, “She’s an EXTREMELY picky eater.” Well, my daughter was so embarrassed she changed her ways immediately!

  11. I get my family to eat whole grains by starting small and mixing in a little whole wheat, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta at a time. You can see my post on this here:


  1. […] Picky Eaters Guest Post 1 Lifetime Moms: National Oatmeal Month: Oh the Things You Can Do Babble: Creamy Spinach and Feta Macaroni and Cheese French Fry Fondness: Kids Learn to Prefer Unhealthy Foods Through Exposure […]

Speak Your Mind