This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. All opinions on picky eater adults are my own.
“If you don’t like what’s for dinner, go make yourself something else or eat a bowl of cereal.”
My mother didn’t want an argument at the dinner table so she took the path of least resistance. I can’t say I blame her; after all she had nine kids to feed, plus herself, and she didn’t want to spend all of dinner forcing kids to eat their vegetables and make the dinner table a war zone. As a parent, you have to pick your battles. This was one she didn’t want to fight.
Because I was never forced to eat my vegetables, or really, anything I didn’t particularly care for, as a child, I didn’t. The only vegetables I ate as a kid were potatoes and corn. I don’t think I so much as ate a green bean growing up, despite them being served (from a can) regularly.
I don’t think I was the pickiest eater around. I enjoyed supreme pizzas with all the toppings (including onions and even green peppers), and ate microwaved Salisbury steak and even ate tuna fish and noodles (which was my favorite meal for a long time). But, my diet wasn’t exactly stellar either.
For 18 years I grew up a fairly picky eater because I could.
As an adult, I see the consequences of my mom’s parenting choices in this regard, and let me just say, I’m choosing differently for my kids. We are currently working through our own kids’ picky eating habits (and it seems to be that picky eaters breed more picky eaters), but today I want to focus on what happens to your kids when they are allowed to be picky eaters, speaking from my own personal experience.
Please note that I did not have an oral sensory issue or medical condition or allergies or some eating disorder. I simply didn’t want to try new foods or eat stinky vegetables. And so I didn’t. I preferred sticking to foods I had already eaten and liked before.
Picky Eater Adults Face These Realities
1. People make fun of your picky eating
“You have never eaten peas?” “You only eat cheese pizza?” “Have you ever tried it?”
Many people call adult picky eaters unadventurous, lame, limited, and babyish. They will mock how you have never had some scrumptious, to them, food and how you are totally missing out. They will joke that your diet consists of peanut butter and jelly and Ramen Noodles and tease you for your pickiness.
2. People think you’re rude
This is possibly the number one reason I don’t want to raise a child who is a picky eater. People think you are rude.
Many times as a kid I picked apart a meal or food given to me, like a Whopper Jr, only to still not eat it. Or I would refuse my friend’s parents’ food offerings because I “didn’t like any of them.”
People bend over backwards for picky eaters, cooking separate meals, changing their menus, or cooking different recipes, and still a picky eater will often refuse because their efforts and hard work because it looks different than they are used to, or contains a different seasoning or noodle or whatever.
This is rude. Very rude. And disrespectful.
People love you and want to make sure you’re fed, but when you are about as easy to please as a diva on a campout, it makes things extremely difficult, and offensive to the host.
Because of a child’s picky eating or an adult’s picky eating, there are often limited dining establishments (because, if you still need a kids menu or burgers and fries….) that a group of people can choose from, and this makes for additional arguments and hard feelings all around.
3. You don’t know how to cook
If you never eat anything other than finger foods, canned foods, prepackaged foods, or easy to make meals (like spaghetti, mashed potatoes, or a simple casserole), chances are you have zero know-how on how to really cook. When you are picky eater, you only ever really need to know how to do a few basic things in the kitchen like how to boil water and use a can opener.
I, for a very long time, felt completely incompetent in the kitchen and still often do. When I offer to help a friend prep a meal she’s making for us and she asks me to cut an onion, tomato, watermelon, avocado, or whatever, I often feel like a moron because I don’t know how, or know the “best” way to do it, because chances are, it is my first time cutting that fruit or vegetable, ever.
My mom didn’t cook a lot from scratch, and if she did, did not make us help her cook it or teach us how to do it. Not knowing how to cook is a horrible side effect of picky eating as an adult, especially when you later become a mom and homemaker and don’t know how to cook or properly feed your own family.
4. Breaking the Habit is a Process for Picky Eating Adults
It wasn’t until I left home and went to college over 2000 miles away that I finally, slowly, began to come out from underneath my picky eating turtle shell. Hack it up to the picky eating ideology of it being “a phase” or something that can be “grown out of,” but this was true for me.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that I had multiple roommates, sharing one kitchen, and thereby sharing meals, or because people teased me, or my exposure to new cultures and regions through the people I worked with (my manager was Brazilian and often made authentic Brazilian food for us as a special Friday work lunch) and met during college prompting me to overcome my picky eating so as not to be rude, and to prove to myself that it was a choice, but little by little I tried new foods.
And I am forever grateful I did.
When I started dating my husband in college, on our very first date he fed me a unique pizza made with pesto sauce, on a flatbread, with large slices of fresh mozzarella on top. I thought it was the grossest and strangest looking “pizza” I had ever seen. But, I ate some of it. And I liked it too. Kinda. He has since introduced me to a wide variety of new foods and continues to make me eat my vegetables, right along with our kids. Overcoming picky eating as an adult is a process, but it can be done.
I now, ten years after graduating high school, eat most foods given to me, and even enjoy eating mixed salads, much to my mother’s surprise.
5. Your Picky Eating Choices Affect Your Health
If you never eat certain food groups, like vegetables or dairy, chances are your body isn’t receiving the nutrition it needs. Even though you can take vitamins to make up some of your deficiency, eating a balanced diet is a much better path to take, as your body not only needs calories, but vitamins and minerals, many of which aren’t found in a simple daily multivitamin. Not having these essential nutrients often leads to poor sleep, exhausting faster, a snappy moody attitude, and a poor outlook on life.
When you don’t eat the proper foods before a long stressful day, a rigorous workout at the gym, or when pregnant or breastfeeding, it can make your day, workout, pregnancy, or nursing, much more difficult, and no quick vitamin, caffeine-heavy drink, or supplement is going to fix all your problems.
As much as a picky eater may workout or exercise or not smoke or drink, fitness without good nutrition is not nearly as impactful on your health as when you combine the two.
An Adult Incentive to Eat Better
Saving money is a powerful motivator for me, especially when it comes to eating food and grocery shopping, one of my largest expenses month after month. I’m all for reducing reoccurring payments on adult necessities like insurance as well.
John Hancock life insurance with Vitality is financially rewarding people for healthy choices they make, like exercising, seeing the doctor, and now, purchasing healthy foods at the grocery store. With their new HealthyFood program, not only can you save up to $600 a year on nutritious foods you buy (yeah!), but you can also significantly save on your life insurance premium and earn valuable rewards!
The last weekend in June I attended the John Hancock Hosts the Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Race Weekend, a three-day event where calories are both burned and earned. The phrase “will run for food” has never been truer.
I invited my friend to join me in the 5k Fit Foodie Run on Saturday morning. It had been almost two years since we last ran a race together (a 10k she somehow roped me into doing) and both of us have some postpartum weight we’re still trying to shed.
Due to the early nature of the race and some scheduling issues, we left our families behind, except our two nursing babies, which meant we pushed strollers the entire 3.1 miles of the race. We finished the race at 38:10 and 38:12, not quite my goal of 35 minutes or less. I blame the humidity that morning and the gravel part of the track that seriously slowed us down.
Whew! It was so humid today! So #sweaty. Did not make my time goal, but I also hadn’t planned on pushing a stroller. One part of the #5k was gravel and thick gravel, and forced us to walk. Had a blast at the #Fitfoodierun in #Austin anyway thanks to @texaswildes and @johnhancockusa. #willrunforfood #fitness #fitmoms #run #strollerpushing #exercise #rewardinglife
A photo posted by Katelyn Fagan (@whatsupfagans) on
As the host of the 2016 race series, John Hancock sponsored the John Hancock Vitality Village, a super fun, and yummy, post-race experience that celebrated participants’ hard work through delicious and healthy experiences like cooking demonstrations and pre- and post race workouts. The workouts afterward were killer and I loudly vocalized some “ARGH!”‘s as we did squats and other stretches and movements.
It was awesome to have some food and drinks right after the race, including some shaved ice, an avocado and strawberry salad (which was demoed for us on stage), energy bars, and more.
If I hadn’t overcome my picky eating as an adult, I would have been starving afterward, refusing the delicious salad and many other samples and offerings. How grateful I am that I overcame my pickiness as an adult (mostly). Visit JHRewardsLife.com for more information on how you can be rewarded for the small steps you take towards a healthier life. It feels great to get rewarded for making good adulting choices.
Now go eat some vegetables, and stop being that campground diva.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of John Hancock. I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.