Strategies for Countering Texture Issues

Texture was an unexpected learning for me. When I look back on the whole of Battle Orange, the number of recipes and the lengths I went to, I have to shake my head and sigh. One recipe solved the whole thing. One.

I decided to make sweet potato fries, baked, to go with a lean burger recipe. I love sweet potato fries and was really making these for myself. Imagine my shock as I watched my kid eat one, two, four helpings of that orange food.

Then the one thing I had missed finally came to me! Texture! My child also would not eat mashed potatoes and other mashed foods. It had little to do with orange, other than the first orange dishes I tried shared that same soft texture. I finally understood why she would eat some orange recipes and not others. Texture.

These days, I avoid a lot of the mashed vegetable recipes, or fix them for myself and my spouse — knowing they will probably be refused by the kiddo. I’m okay with this. A lot of kids have even more extreme reactions to textures. For those kids, some of these tips may work:

  • Try a vegetable both cooked and raw where possible. Some kids love crunch, some don’t.
  • For kids who have issues even eating fruit, try recipes where the texture is extra kid-friendly like smoothies and popsicles.
  • Try to prepare green vegetables like broccoli and green beans to a “tender crisp” point and no more. This texture offers the best flavor and crunch.
  • Explore recipes that leverage the textures your kid will eat. Expand from here as your kids gets older and past his pickiest phase.
  • When you are stumped by a food behavior, sometimes the issue is not what you think. I thought orange was the problem, not texture! Explore all the tips in the series sooner rather than later so you don’t end up preparing, say, 200 lbs. of winter squash before you solve it!


Published on: September 29, 2011
About the Author
Photo of Beth Bader

Beth Bader is the coauthor with Ali Benjamin of the acclaimed book, The Cleaner Plate Club, designed to help parents understand picky eating behaviors; where they originate, and how to deal with them creatively to get kids to eat better.

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