I've come to believe that kids are born knowing things instinctively, and adults later prove them correct through research studies and testing that requires a lot of money. Take grilled meat, for instance. My kids--carnivores both--have an aversion to any meat cooked this way. They love hot dogs, cheeseburgers, steak and sausage. Unless it's cooked on the grill. Then, they're asking for leftover pasta instead.
At first I thought maybe it was the smoky flavor they objected to, making the food taste, well, different from what it usually tasted like. But on further interrogation, it turns out they don't like the grill marks. This is not a visual thing; they don't like the charred flavor that grilled meat takes on, and any sign of grill marks will send them running for a knife and some ketchup. Jacob sometimes refuses outright to eat grilled food.
"Great," I thought, "another day in the life of irrationally picky eaters." But as it turns out, apparently they know something I didn't: that eating a lot of grilled meat actually increases our risk of getting cancer.
I'm not saying my kids are brilliant, or even that this isn't coincidence. But Ben has eschewed processed food since he was born, and would rather eat a bowl of steamed spinach than a plate of onion rings or chicken nuggets. Like most busy moms, having ready-made foods that don't take long to cook is something I've come to rely on. When you're rushing from piano lessons to boy scouts, and picking up kids at tennis and wiffle ball, the one thing you always run out of is time. Unfortunately, for most families that lost time is taken from time spent on meal preparation. So we cut corners on the very fuel our kids need to do their best in all of these activities.
What it means to me is that I need to budget my time better. That way, I can do all the things I need to do during the day, including smart, healthy meal planning.
Parents complain about their kids' eating habits, but maybe our kids are really trying to tell us something important. What makes my picky eaters easier to live with is this: the foods they are turning up their noses at are actually the foods that aren't really that good for them anyway.
Well, except for dessert. Hey, they are kids, after all.