Week after week, Kaden Hansen’s menu looks like this: macaroni and cheese, cheddar-cheese slices, chicken nuggets, and plain cheese pizza. Breakfast is cold cereal with rice milk, never cow’s milk. He’ll eat a certain brand of angel-hair pasta with butter but won’t touch spaghetti. He loathes vegetables and most fruits. Salad or casserole? Not a chance. The foods on his plate must never, ever touch one another.
Preschoolers are notoriously picky, sometimes living on noodles and crackers for months at a time and rejecting just about everything with protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals. However, Kaden (we’ve given him a pseudonym at his mom’s request) isn’t 3, he’s 11 — and he still refuses to try anything new.
“When he was little I thought I could just wait it out, but his diet hasn’t gotten any better,” says his mother, Suzanne, who lives near Portland, Oregon. “Our pediatrician doesn’t seem worried because he’s basically healthy, but it’s so frustrating. I love food, and I know that nutrition is important.”