Correlation between picky 'foodie' parents and picky kids?

Kids are notorious for being picky eaters. Mine as well. The older one won’t touch many kinds of foods like leafy vegetables, soft cheese, unfamiliar looking foods.

With that said, she recently told me she doesn’t like the smell of the milk in her cup. The producer of the milk (Straus, for those who are interested) collect milk from Jersey and Holstein cows on multiple farms in Marin County in the Bay Area. So I guess dependent on the farm and the cows, the milk tastes different. Some days its milder while some days its stronger. I usually don’t pay much attention and just drink it but she would pick up on small differences and refuse the milk. Drives me nuts of course when we are trying to get to school in the morning.

Another example, you’d think that kids will eat all sweet stuff. My older one like a lot of them, but she doesn’t like the overly-sweet desserts, candies (I guess you can say she gets that from me).

For us adults, we eat out and we offer a critique of our meals here, and while we give ourselves the self-satisfying label of ‘discerning eaters’, probably a majority of the population will label us as ‘picky/ overly-fuzzy eaters’. The question is, do you think there is any correlation between adult picky eaters and child picky eaters? Does children just has a more sensitive palate, or are they picky because we are picky?

Probably a mixture of both. I am not a parent so only have my nephews and nieces to consider. One of them was born in Spain and spent his early years there. The country has no real culture of “kids food” and, more or less, they eat what their parents eat (much as I did growing up in the UK in 1950s and 60s). He’s always eaten a wide range of foods. When they used to visit us in the UK, we’d go to the supermarket with the lad (then aged 5 or 6) and tell him he could have one thing of any food he wanted. Invariably, he went to the fish counter and wanted whitebait (which, because, he was a kid, he’d eat with tomato ketchup.

On the other hand, the other three spent many of their formative years in America. They were raised on home and restaurant cooked kids dishes. I think it would be fair to say that they know what they like and do not really want to eat outside of their comfort zone. The sort of thing that, if they go to a particular restaurant, they are likely to order exactly the same thing that they always ordered there. Not picky as such but certainly less adventurous

An interesting question. Going by our niece and nephew though I’d say not all kids are “picky”. They have an very well rounded diet, like all manner of fruits and vegetables (except fresh tomatoes for him) and I’ve never known them to order off of a kids menu. They are active and have hearty appetites.

I imagine there is a correlation but my only picky issue is that it has to be good to me. My kids are totally different from me in their likes and dislikes. I’ll eat anything if it taste good

I think it’s a combination of the two. My son is a bit picky- doesn’t like eggs- I love them.

I’ve seen parents shed their negative food attitudes off to their kids- kids won’t eat something just because parent thinks it’s gross.

We try to encourage my son to try all things but it doesn’t always go as well as planned.

Kids aren’t notorious for being picky eaters - just give them all the food you eat at home and at restaurants from early on. In our experience if they are taken serious, e.g. no kids menu, involved in the cooking process etc, they are quite interested to eat almost everything. And it is important if they don’t like something the first time to incorporate it again in a meal so that they have it multiple times (but always explain it to them and don’t try to hide it)

None in our case. My wife and I consider ourselves about as unpicky as it gets, willing to dine with adventure and with family and friends who are less so but when our son joins us or attends a party we are usually asked why he is such a fusspot! I have no idea why. Texture issues, doesn’t care for buffet or family styled eating, won’t try new things and even as an adult has avoided certain foods entirely. While there are hundreds of foods he will eat, he is not unhealthy, his limits often test the patience of others.

We know he’s odd to many, we just pick other battles…and it never stops us from enjoying our own meal.

I continue to marvel at just how disconnected food interest can be within a family.

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My kids were never that picky, although as children they went through phases. My son would only eat mandarin oranges, literally 3 meals a day had to contain some form of mandarin oranges. Now my grown daughter (22) won’t eat pork, because it’s a pig, but she will eat a pound of bacon. On a somewhat funny story, she always ate red meat / steak, then 6 mos. ago we went to dinner at a rodizio and she decided she wanted to “be one of the boys” so she ordered rodizio too. She tried to keep up, got the meat sweats, and hasn’t eaten red meat since. lol

It is interesting and fun watching your children develop their own tastes in life, some mimic yours, some makes you wonder if the mail-man loved mandarin oranges.


We cook basically a wide range of ingredients, and when we go out, we never order kids’ meals, and order whatever we ourselves want to eat. To clarify our older one- a 5 year old- still eats a reasonably wide range of stuff for I think a kid of her age- grain, bread, noodles, peas, beans, tomatoes, eggs, cucumber, most fruits, non fatty meat, fish, hard cheese so she’s by no means malnutritioned. We consider ourselves adventurous eaters and will try most things but the kid is much less adventurous. Especially when we go out and eat food that looks unfamiliar to her. Tapas, dimsum, stuff that looks like mashed- those are all challenging.

The 2 year old is a bit more adventurous and will eat leafy greens, but I think she sees her older sister make a yucky face and try much less than she otherwise would have. But she sat and ate with me through an entire kaiseki meal with all sorts of unfamiliar-looking food.


In retrospect i am surprised my sister and i never became picky eaters. My mother is very picky to this day (and always has been) but i guess we both followed dad’s example- he will eat about anything and wants a good sized salad or greens with dinner. My mom would prepare the veggies for the rest of us yet for herself would be either raw carrots or raw broccoli with ranch dressing.
There just wasn’t another option.
With new foods we always had to try at least two bites and then it was ok if we didn’t want more. My sister has always disliked raw tomatoes and most mushrooms, i have never liked bacon or the smell of bacon (even pre-vegetarian), or this beef stew mom would make once in a while. Those few nights i would have the salad and she would make me a grilled cheese or some scrambled eggs since it was the only meal i really refused after multiple efforts.

I never wanted stuff from the kids menu, i just shared with my parents or my sister and i would share one adult entree.

Sometimes kids disliking foods or becoming very picky eaters is more about having control over something/anything than the food itself. And a lot of kids just need to mature and try lots and lots of new foods to figure out it’s not an entire food they don’t like, it’s just a specific dish or preparation of that food they don’t like (ie rejecting all tomatoes in anything because they don’t like raw tomatoes not realizing pasta sauce or tomato based soups taste very different)

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I don’t consider myself a picky eater but my kids are. Well maybe one more than the other. I place the blame on myself for being a short order cook when they were young and would whip up anything they wanted for dinner. Good intentions, bad outcomes

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I was raised in an “Eat what’s on your plate and say NOTHING” household. The only times I ever refused food were, first, when I was in my first year and suddenly decided I didn’t like strained green beans, and of course we were snow-bound in a Maine hotel whose only jars of baby food were strained green beans; the second time was maybe six years later when I developed a sudden aversion to stewed tomatoes with bread in them, and spent the entire afternoon stuck at the table with the plate in front of me. Mom relented on that one … but that was really more an esthetic revulsion than a matter of taste.

I have heard that being raised this way can lead to eating disorders. I am inclined to agree, if an unquenchable desire to try anything and everything and eat too much of it is a kind of eating disorder.

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This is a thing?

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Well, the tomato sandwich is the fundamental form of raw-tomato consumable in Tennessee and thereabouts, and the Salade de Tomates that I learned from the family cook in Burgundy was served with copious amounts of bread on the table. Maybe people found the tomatoes too acidic and needed to temper that with bread? All I know for sure is that Mom was at least the third in her line of moms to do it that way. Which takes it back well into the 1800s. And that uncooked tomatoes and bread are natural allies. I prefer to leave it at that.

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We tried that and it didn’t quite work. It just turned into a battle of wills that dragged on and on…

To do what?

Yes, I agree. But you mentioned not raw but stewed tomatoes with bread in them. I’ve never encountered this, other than stuffed cooked tomatoes. I’m not trying to give you a hard time here, I’m just asking you to describe the dish for me.

See that’s what I tried to avoid. My mom did that to my younger brother who would hold a wad of food in his mouth for an hour and dispose of it in the planter. Dinner was always a battle between the two

I went the extreme other way with my kids. Both methods have consequences but at least there was no drama at the table and food aversions. Picky eaters, well at least one of the kids. The other falls closer to me. Likes to cook and try new things but is more reserved in what she will try

Yes, I am hoping that, the child, given the flexibility to choose the foods she wants to eat now, will later on grow up and want to try stuff that she doesn’t eat now.

I personally found it hard to force anyone to eat anything. As much as I like the kids to eat a large variety of food, I myself have a list of food that I just don’t like and won’t usually eat. So it seems to be hypocritical to hold the kid to a different standard.

Thanksgiving dinner is a great example of what occurs in our home.
Our adult son will nibble before arriving so already the hunger thing is his and dealt with. In courtesy of his mother and other guests he will fix a plate and eat a quarter of the meal but he wil pick up a bag of ice and flowers, make a playlist for the house speakers, clear away dishes, load the dishwasher and drive home one relative before the rest of us head to the movie theater.

So while the picky eating thing hasn’t changed much, our son has matured in dozens of other just as valuable ways. The takeaway, focus on what is happening rather than what isn’t…a life long maturity his mother and I learned to accept.


Impressive Dan. His maturity has been shown in spades

Happy Thanksgiving