Adult Picky Eaters UK

For Picky-Eating Adults in the UK and worldwide

Catering for Fussy Eaters July 10, 2008

Filed under: adult picky eating — Claire @ 3:46 pm

I notice quite a few people are coming to this site by means of searching to find what foods to offer when catering for a fussy eater.  Which got me thinking as to whether there are any fail-safe universals on this score.

It seems to me we are a fairly diverse bunch, but I think there seem to be some basic rules of thumb.  For example, it seems to be that plain food is best.  The plainer the better, in fact.  This means plain and simple textures as well as plain and simple flavours. So that rules out strong flavours, and all things hot and spicy.  It also rules out things with bits in, or sauces on.  Especially bad is a dish where it isn’t visually obvious what’s in it.

For me personally, something bread- or pastry-based is good, as is most meat (though preferred if it’s plain, rather than sauce- or vegetable-mixed).  The main thing is to be able to avoid any vegetables and fruits, and any other unacceptable foods, and still leave something left on the plate.  So non-mixed things, or things which are easily separable are good.

I usually say to people that as long as there is bread or potatoes, I’ll be fine.  And then beyond that, I may or not be able to venture.  I would say the main most important rule is to not be having attention drawn to my eating (or avoiding), and to know that no-one is offended or surprised by whether and what I do or don’t eat.

What do other people think?  Are there any universally safe menu items we can all agree on?  Or any universally dangerous ones?


6 Responses to “Catering for Fussy Eaters”

  1. Z Says:

    I have a friend who finds it difficult to eat anything but fruit and vegetables (yes, she is thin), but maybe you could share the bread.

    I think that the worst thing for a great many people is the prospect of an uneatable surprise in their food so I agree that sauces and bitty foods are the universally dangerous ones, as are unexpected combinations, like Sole Veronique (sole in a cream sauce with peeled grapes in, sorry). Fish is a bit tricky anyway, because of the prospect of unexpected bones.

    If I were in the worrying position of doing a buffet meal for a convention of fussy eaters, I’d do a great many small bowls of different foods so that none of them touched each other, with the vegetables at one end, the meat at the other and the bread, rice cakes etc (because many people won’t touch wheat) in the middle so that they could choose what they liked without drawing attention to it.

    Do you think that people who say they are allergic to many foods are sometimes hiding the fact that they are picky eaters? When my daughter was in her teens, she became vegetarian for a few years because she only liked beef and pork and it was easier not to eat meat at all than to be fussy about it.

  2. Jack Says:

    Wow, you and I are very insync on all points:

    * Plain, Plain, Plain, textures, flavors and smells. No bits, chunks, surprises or secret sauces.

    * Simple, separable and no mixes….love the breads and pastries but keep them simple. Don’t want to find any hidden surprises in my bread.

    * Love the potatoes, but keep them simple, no sauces, creams or gravy unless its on the side.

    *** Yes, yes, yes – no attention please. I do not want a special meal. Please do not go out of your way for me because chances are I won’t like it anyway and you will be hurt.

    Universally safe foods for me is bread (love dark and whole grains) & potatoes (plain)…..

    Universally dangerous is anything with a strong smell like, corned beef, cabbage, and fish….those type dishes I find difficult to keep on my plate or even fake eating.


  3. DoulbleL Says:

    I have become a wiz at eating in front of peole and getting away with being picky. I think, being a picky eater, it’s a skill you have to aquire. But I too hate when people try and accomodate my eating habits. It just highlights what I am slightly embarassed about already. I can find something most everywhere and if not I use, “oh, I ate before I came, I’m sorry”. It’s not perfect but people can’t really argue.

    Potatoes, bread, chicken (nothing fancy, but no bones either), and definately no “surprise” dishes where you can’t tell what it is.

    • Kristen Says:

      haha.. bread, potatoes and chicken – thats my diet!!
      I HATE when people call and say “What can I make YOU?”
      PLEASE DONT – your right when you say that I probably wont like it and it will hurt your feelings.
      I have become a master of “I ate before I came” “Im still full from lunch” “Im feeling a bit off colour today” “Oh.. Im allergic to _____”

      Its such a horrible “disorder”… and… to be honest.. unless you have it (and thankfully – im not alone – I have you!) – you CANNOT understand the impact it has on all aspects of your life!

      – What to take to work for lunch so my collegues dont notice ive had ham and cheese toasties everyday for the last 4 years
      – What to serve my 19 month old son that I dont GAG at preparing
      – How to not offend my Samoan inlaws that the food they serve makes me want to vomit – tinned corn beef mixed with spagetti, boiled Taro, boiled chops….. erggg
      – What excuse to use not to go out for dinner with my boss and his wife…
      – Why I have to request a special burger at McDonalds “Can I have a hamburger please, just plain… meat patty and bread please…. for my son….” (obviously not for my Big Mac loving son!!)
      – Why I cant go to the new Hip Asian resteraunt…

      EVEN if I tried eating an apple, orange and raspberry (your extreamly brave with the raspberry… eeek) – how will that teach me to eat suchi, and bowl of soup, Noodles, a big mac??
      Those are the aspects of life I stuggle with…

  4. anne Says:

    It’s amazing to come to a place where I don’t feel alone, if just for a few minutes. I am not a fussy eater- I was as a child, but just as luck would have it, grew out of it. But both my children- one now grown up- are. What should I do about social occasions? I’m so embarrased for my poor son and have been told so many times it’s all my fault. There are no types of sandwich he’ll eat. He wants plain french bread and crisps for Christmas dinner- and gets them- I’m not going to ruin his day. But I can’t invite anyone round except my understanding mother, as she and her brother were picky eaters and so was I and one of my brothers. I’ve avoided so many social occasions and the ones I do have or attend with very familiar people I don’t enjoy much as I feel like a total failure as a mother and so terribly embarrased. Both my kids are very sensitive about all sorts of things- a grain of sand in a shoe, or a smell – and both would rush to save a drowning wasp rather than witness such suffering. I’m sure empathy and sensitivity are to do with it all. They both freak or freaked out at emotional movies for instance. Any advice please!!!

  5. Klara Says:

    I completely agree with potatoes and chicken … I would also suggest chips (no vinegar on them!)
    I’m happy there are other people like me – no gravies, no meals where I can’t actually see what’s in it…
    I might be quite lucky with my friends – they kind of understand it or at least – they accept my eating habits. They ask in advance what would I want to eat or they simply prepare pizza or chips…
    I always tell people that there is not many things I like to eat and so I don’t want to come over for a dinner for that reason … and then people ask what do I like to eat and end up preparing chicken and potatoes if they really want me to come over 🙂
    I used to suffer a lot as a child because of all this and it make me feel kind of angry so that I decided to “fight for myself” so that I do tell people about it. Not very comfortable but definitely easier than trying to swallow sea-food or sth.

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