I am a picky eater. I have always been a picky eater. It's not a choice or a decision; it's like an allergy or some other genetic issue. I can't turn it off; I've always been this way.
A few of my friends have been having children lately, and coming up against the to-them mystifying issue of picky eaters. "How can I stop my child bring being a picky eater?" they lament. My answer is you can't.
It's not like I'm a spoiled princess who's picky about what I will and won't eat - there are some things that literally taste so disgusting in my mouth that I basically gag to eat them. I haven't chosen to my a picky eater - and it definitely isn't because my parents catered to what I would or would not eat.
If it came down to eating, for instance, mackeral cooked with tomato sauce with italian seasoning it - and going without supper and going to bed hungry? I literally could not make myself eat that and would go to bed hungry. (Or after sneaking a PB&J sandwich... which for me is just PB and bread because I don't really like jam)
The thing is that being a picky eater isn't a problem to be fixed. I'd love to wake up one day and be able to go to a dinner party or a restaurant and know I'll be able to eat whatever I'm served. I just know that's equally impossible as me waking up and hating books and nail polish, or waking up and suddenly being a man.
Being a picky eater is something to be accepted, and worked around.
Anyway. What to do with a picky eater? Respect them, try to expose them to new things (i.e. I hated pie and apple crisp and all fruit until I was about 14 and ate a delicious apple crisp). And accept that some things they just will never like - for instance, for me? I will never not hate blueberries. HATE BLUEBERRIES. Theoretically, I'd like to like them, but I just can't.
|I. Just. Can't.|
I always tried to explain to my mother that I could tell the food she'd made was good, she'd done a good job cooking it, it just wasn't for me. But I always felt bad about it. And I suspect she was always mad at me.
So anyway. It's not your failure as parents; your kids aren't being jerks on purpose; some peoples' taste buds just work differently than yours. So love them, don't make them feel bad, and think how happy they will be when they grow up and get to buy their own groceries and make all their own food!
Actually, maybe that's a secret. Get your kids involved in the cooking and baking, and maybe then they'll be more invested and interested in eating the food! ... Although honestly? I've tried out new recipes and had great fun cooking them, then they tasted bad and I threw them out. So what do I know.
Appendix: a list of some of the foods I hate: Lettuce, All seafood (except for salmon, lobster, and canned tuna), "Italian seasoning" on anything (or on its own), All berries (other than strawberries), Zucchini, Beans, Chili, Lentils, overripe bananas... to be continued.