Confessions Of A Picky Eater

I am a picky eater. Though I hate the negative connotation that comes with that title. “Picky eaters” are for fussy four year olds. I just have a selective palate.

Literally me.

I’ve been a…picky eater for basically my whole life. Some of my worst childhood memories are battles with my parents after I refused to eat whatever it is my mother made for dinner. These battles went on for years until they basically gave up and decided that as long as I was eating healthy, I could eat what I like.

And what I like is basic. I would describe my food preferences as minimalist. I love pizza, but just plain cheese. I love pasta, but just with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I love vegetables, but prefer them raw and plain. That’s not too bad, right? I’m twenty years old, so I know what I like and don’t like.

But having an appetite like mine can be hard. My mom gets frustrated, my Italian grandmother is disappointed and I know my friends judge me. It’s unfortunate because I already kind of hate myself for being this way, so knowing other people are upset too is really disheartening.

But I know I’m not the only picky eater out there. So this post goes out to y’all selective eaters too. Here’s hoping that you relate. And if you’re not like us, I hope you at least understand how to better treat someone who has spent years and years being considered the ‘weird one’.

*Usher voice* These are my confessions.

  • I like what eat. Yes, seriously. I LIKE plain pasta. I do.
  • No, I don’t care to try that. Stop asking me. Yes, I’m sure.
  • “You’d like it if you tried it!” I’d probably also like punching you in the face.
  • That food looks gross. I won’t say it to your face, but I’m definitely thinking it.
  • I’m sorry if I’m offending you by not eating the thing you made.
  • I’m not a vegetarian. I just don’t like most meat. It has nothing to do with the animals.
  • Telling me you used to be a picky eater but then grew out of it does not make me feel better.
  • I have no plans to “grow out of it”.
  • I probably will not regret not eating the thing.
  • I’m fairly comfortable with my life.
  • I am sorry that I make picking a restaurant difficult. I don’t do it on purpose.
  • Think of being a picky eater like being gay. I didn’t choose to be this way.
  • Stop asking “Oh, are you still a picky eater?” in such a condescending voice.
  • What I eat doesn’t really affect you at all.
  • I’m not offended that you want more normal food.
  • I’d rather go hungry than eat something I don’t like.
  • Just because I like raw tomatoes and tomato sauce on my pizza, it does not mean I’d like sun-dried tomatoes.
  • I don’t care if things are all touching and mixed up in my stomach. I do not want it mixed up and touching on my plate.
  • Just please be respectful. I’m not asking too much, am I?

Life is difficult enough for me without judgemental people relentlessly forcing me to “try new food” and “explore something different”. Food is something people should enjoy eating. I do enjoy what I eat, even if it is a little weird or you find it bland.

If you’re a parent to a picky eater, just know that it is manageable. You may have to do a little extra work, like making a separate plate of pasta on the side, or not putting dressing on all the salad, but it’s worth it to avoid a long, teary fight. I’m still eating healthy. Instead of eating meat, I get protein from almonds, cheese, kidney beans and milk. I know to cover the four food groups every day. The key is to find out what the main issue is with the food. For me, it’s largely a texture thing. Then it’s taste. By knowing that, my mother was able to work around that and she knows when to not pressure.

And I know I seem bitter and fed up, but really I’m not. I’ve learned to just go with the flow and ignore any comments or eye rolls. It’s my life. I just hope my future husband isn’t a foodie…



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35 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Picky Eater

  1. “You’d like it if you tried it!” I’d probably also like punching you in the face.

    This is more annoying than anything ever. Like, please tell me more about what you think I’d like.

  2. You eat Kidney Beans?! Yeeeuck! Since you are a ‘picky eater’ I won’t tell you what the texture of legumes makes me think of. :o) I recently went to Denmark with The Viking and I was considered a ‘Picky Eater’ because I can’t stomach Pickled Herring or Salty Licorice Liqueur.

    You could always say you are on a cleanse. For some reason people respect that. :o)

    • Yep, I do like kidney beans, but they’re basically the only legume. I put them on nachos in place of ground beef and in tortillas with cheddar cheese.
      Licorice flavours can sometimes be very strong or very fake tasting. I’m not a huge fan of black licorice, so there are a few alcoholic drinks I won’t try with that flavour.

  3. Ha, this gives me hope. My daughter is a picky eater and so am I . Well, I have eating related issues but my daughter is just plain fussy. She will try other stuff in her own time. How many 4-year-olds do you know, who will eat a bowl of olives?

    • When they’re kids, it can be hard to deal with, but as they get older and their vocabulary grows and they mature, it’ll be easier to deal with.
      As for olives, they’re really weird in their own way. I only like black ones but my dad hates all kinds, while my mom and brother love them. But one can live a happy and full life without olives, so don’t worry!

      • Yeah. I hate olives. Period. 😀 We are encouraging her to eat school meals now instead of packing her a lunch and telling her she can only have treats she likes like chocolate and stickers if she eats more diverse food. It is going okay.. So fingers crossed.

  4. Am not a picky eater , but I absolutely cannot eat few, very few particular dishes , even though I get this a lot.. ” Oh , You should at least try this curd rice , my mother makes it in a different way” . Nope , nope , sorry , am good without curd rice.

  5. Sometimes I tell people I’m allergic to onions, just to avoid discussions. Nobody seems to understand that I hate them >.<

    • Sometimes I feel bad about using an allergy lie but it’s just easier, so I totally understand.
      I also totally understand why you hate onions. I happen to love raw onions but they don’t have a taste that is really enjoyable.

  6. Hahha!! I used to be a picky eater – I survived on lentils, rice and chicken (no veggies) for most of my childhood but then I did try different things because I couldn’t refuse to eat things at other people’s houses! That led me to expand my repertoire.
    I know, if you haven’t liked it yet, you won’t like it in another 1-2-3-whatever years, so I sympathize about other people pressuring you though!

  7. First I have to say I read the title as “Pickle Eater” which made this funnier. Next, this blog sounds like me. We share the same appetite.

  8. Being “picky” with food because of very valid reasons like texture/smell/taste sensitivity is an actual physiological condition! In the case of myself and my son, it’s because we’re ASD, so we have sensory issues across the board (sound, clothing textures, etc.) But some people are just plain sensitive eaters, and it is just how it is, period.

    I blame our culture for insisting people conform. Conformity sucks. So we don’t all like the same foods, what the heck’s the problem!

    My son has a more heightened palate on some things — for example, canned veggies are a total no, because of the texture. Fresh is great in that regard (and since they’re better for him, anyway, that’s not a bad thing).

    When I was a child, my parents refused to understand which foods I couldn’t tolerate – hence there are certain foods I simply won’t go near as an adult, and revel in it. Other stuff that I personally can’t eat but can handle other people eating, I’ve learned to make do with having it in the house. Sometimes it means getting a little creative at meal times, and that’s completely fine, too.

    People need to grow the hell up and stop judging others based on something so small (in the grand scheme of it all) like the diet they choose (or their body chooses for them).

    • Agreed! This post has really shown me that there are many people out there with varying degrees of food issues. Your care for your son’s tastes will in turn likely make him more caring about other people’s tastes.
      I think people in general need to be kinder to others about everything in life and this is just one more thing.

      • For me, I think food has become too much of a cultural thing – not that that’s bad in itself, but the idea that “everyone” in this or that culture eats these or those foods is ridiculous, and needs to stop (including by the people in those particular societies).

  9. I’m doing a campaign on the impacts of pressure on ‘picky’ children, and this is exactly why I’m doing it.

    Too often do people judge a person as being good or bad depending on what they eat, and punishing children for not eating certain foods is definitely not the way to go.

    I strongly agree with you that food should be something people enjoy and shouldn’t include memories of people telling you something is healthy and you should try it (when you don’t want to). However, many people just don’t know how much covert and overt pressure can impact on selective eaters. Hopefully, this message can get across to parents so kids can have a more positive relationship with food and meal times.

    • What a great campaign! My sarcastic post may get a few chuckles but a real effort to raise awareness and educate new parents can really change things and make some kids’ lives a whole lot better.

      • Big changes start small, I believe if more people bring this up, the message will get through!

        I would really like to know more about those meal time struggles you had as a child, because what I’m trying to do is to get parents to think in their children’s shoes.
        Knowing how it feels and what it means to be pressured (overtly & covertly) would really help get my message through 🙂

        • My struggles were as one can imagine. Sitting at the table for hours after the meal had finished because I couldn’t leave until I ate the thing (usually some form of meat). That would lead to crying, bargaining, screaming and general unhappiness. My parents would try to make little rules like I must have at least five pieces or a serving as large as my palm, and sometimes I could survive if I layered the food in salt and pepper, but sometimes I couldn’t.
          The worst was that I apparently used to eat everything when I was a baby so they just saw my pickyness as being difficult and it took them a while to realize that although it seemed like I turned off on this food “overnight”, I do not like it. Still.

  10. This really reflects the struggle I have on a daily basis. I am opposite in some of the foods you dislike and like in that I like meat, but dislike vegetables and have to force myself to eat vegetables for my health, but I like my food plain. No one has ever understood that about me. Now I’m raising two children and wonder all the time about how to handle it.

  11. As a pediatric dietitian. I found this article very helpful as you hit all the main points regarding selective eaters and what people inadvertently say to them that are just Not Helpful. Nicely done.

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