Top Chef Talks Picky Eaters

Filed under: Celeb Parents

tom collichioI'm raising one adventurous eater, a six-year-old who will try just about anything and likes a large enough variety of food that I'm comfortable she's getting good nutrition. And then there's her little sister, who can go an entire week surviving on chocolate milk and frozen waffles.

Last week at the grocery store, I finally broke down and begged. "Please," I said to my three-year-old, "Please tell me something you'll eat."

"Treats," she said. "And maybe broccoli soup."

Picky eaters plague their parents with worry, even celebrity parents like Top Chef's Tom Colicchio. Dad to a 14-year-old son who once preferred boxed macaroni, he knows parents have to work hard to build a love of nutritious foods. "For him, he'll eat peas, but he doesn't like broccoli," Colicchio said of his son. "Green was always an issue. For a while he wouldn't eat anything with chopped parsley. He still doesn't eat raw tomatoes, it's the gook inside."

If you're a parent, you're probably nodding your head right now. The gook inside the tomatoes is a big one with kids. Colicchio's advice for parents is this: Skip the processed products, cook with fresh ingredients and teach kids what good food tastes like. "Giving him a choice between something that is unhealthy and something healthy, that's not the choice," said Colicchio. "It's between good and bad, well prepared and poorly prepared."

Take, for example, the lowly chicken nugget. Kids love 'em. Pete Solomita, chef/owner of the Little Buddy Biscuit Company told Cooking With Kids that instead of heading to McD's, why not make them at home? Try whole-grain flour or bread crumbs for the coating, and bake them instead of deep frying them. "The reality is you have to feed your kids and so you have to feed them stuff that they'll eat," explained Solomita.

Last night, I made a delicious, buttery broccoli soup that three out of four family members agreed was worth a second helping. But there was my three-year-old, eating her boxed macaroni and cheese. I think Mr. Colicchio has the right idea. It's just going to take a little while to convince my daughter he's right.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.