Kids can be very picky eaters – if you let them. I get asked all the time if my kids really eat the foods I make or if I make them something different for them. And let me just make it clear – my kids really do eat what I make and I DO NOT make different meals for them. My home is a “this is what’s for dinner take it or leave it” place. And since I have been doing that since they were little, they are pretty used to it. Having said all that – everyone has foods they don’t like (I can’t stand olives!). So I started the 3-2-1 Rule to help my kids establish those things.
How does it work?
Here’s the break down – You have to try the food at least 3 different times, prepared at least 2 different ways and have at least 1 meal that you picked that ingredient out of but still eat. There are a couple of reasons for this checklist:
- Sometimes you don’t like the way it was prepared – maybe you don’t like steamed cauliflower but you might like it whipped (check out my recipe for Citrus & Herb Whipped Cauliflower).
- Sometimes the flavor profile wasn’t good with the rest of the meal
- As you get older your palate does change, so something you didn’t like when you were 5 could become an absolute favorite as an adult. I didn’t like asparagus as a kid but it is one of my go-to sides now! Like my Asparagus Mac & Cheese
- Maybe the person that prepared it, just didn’t do it well – it happens to all of us.
- Sometimes you don’t like a food but not so much that you can’t handle even the hint of it in your meal, so if you can’t handle picking it out then you don’t have to avoid meal with it in.
The real key to the 3-2-1 rule is that you can’t just try something one time and never ever eat anything with that food in it again. And really this works for adults too – I have meet so many people that say Oh I don’t eat this or that. And when I say well what don’t you like about it, they say something like “I had it once at Grandma’s when I was 10 and it was gross.” So you gave up an entire food because 10 year old you didn’t like it….
Remember – It’s only ONE meal!
I am always reminding people that “It’s only one meal”. When you really think about it – eating 3 meals a day for say 40 years…calculating…that’s over 43,000 meals. So if one of those is not perfection – guess what you will survive. I think the chance that you could discover a new flavor or texture or style of cooking is way more worth it than sticking to the same old same old.
When I started to write my cookbook, I had to try out a lot of recipes on my family. In the end – they have all eaten – and mostly enjoyed! – every single recipe in the Homemade on a Weeknight Cookbook! If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, you can order in Paperback or Kindle (eBook) versions through Amazon to get over 100 more recipes developed by me.