Say Hello to the Discernible Palate Progress Tracker (and join in the fun with a free download!)

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life143 Comments

First, meet my son, Coleman:

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This young man is many amazing, stupendous, tremendous things, but one thing he is decidedly not is an adventurous eater.

He has, for all intents and purposes, what we refer to as a Discernible Palate.

Next, meet my new favorite person, Jamie Oliver:

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Cole and I started watching Jamie's new 6-part series, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, a few weeks back and the impact on Cole and his discernible eating habits has been nothing less than notable. I say notable because this isn't a dramatic story about a kid who watched a show and then said, "OH, I get it! I'm supposed to eat a well-balanced diet!", but it IS about a kid who watched a show and was inspired to make an effort to try just a little harder with his culinary exploits.

You know what? That is notable. In fact, if you knew my son, you'd call it downright miraculous.

Part of Jamie's Food Revolution includes bringing back cooking; passing along the meal-making torch to friends and family, and that's exactly what Cole and I decided to do together. Cole wanted to learn to make a meal so we planned to let him make his new favorite dish, shredded pork tacos.

It started in the morning with a pork tenderloin, a crock pot and a jar of Trader Joe's Salsa Verde.

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A lid was put in place and the boy headed off to another day in the 4th grade.

Eight hours later, he walked in the door and shouted, "Is it time to shred?" and shred he did.

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With a little help from me on the Cilantro-Lime rice and the toasting of the corn tortillas, dinner was essentially served.

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Cole would have looked a little happier for this triumphant moment but he was just told he had to sit at the table with the family, despite the fact that another re-run of The Simpsons had just started.

Another part of Jamie's Food Revolution is the idea that families need to keep their meal times together as sacred as they can; to spend the time sharing a meal and connecting. While that isn't always going to be logistically possible, there are times when Homer Simpson is just going to have to wait.

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I never really made any meals with my Mom when I was growing up. I really like the idea of sharing this knowledge with your kids. Or, if you're not a cook yourself, finding one or two things that you can learn to make and share with your family.

To me, cooking is all about creativity and connection. To make something delicious and nutritious from simple ingredients excites me. I'm hoping just a bit of this rubs off on these Zielske kids as we go.

Do you have a family member that falls into the Discernible Palate category? If so, I'd like to share with you another part of Cole's new adventure in food: The Discernible Palate Progress Tracker.

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Dan and I decided to devise a new system to encourage Cole to try new things. We set up a points system based on the following three criteria: trying something new, eating something new and loving something new. We set a points goal (currently it's at 15) and when Cole meets that goal, he gets to cash it in for a night out at his favorite restaurant (currently a tie between TGIFridays and Buffalo Wild Wings.) 

I'm not going to make outrageous claims and say that Coleman will be eating seared ahi tuna with a pomegranate reduction by June, but I will say this replaces some of the drudgery of trying to explain for the billionth time that YES! You have to eat ALL of those carrot sticks.

Here are three PDFs in slightly different color schemes for you to download, print out, and begin tracking with the discernible member of your family today.

Download DiscernibleChartBlue

Download DiscernibleChartGreen

Download DiscernibleChartOrange

A big thank you to Jamie Oliver, for inspiring kids just like mine (and for that matter, Moms like me) to be a part of the change.

Cathy ZielskeSay Hello to the Discernible Palate Progress Tracker (and join in the fun with a free download!)

143 Comments on “Say Hello to the Discernible Palate Progress Tracker (and join in the fun with a free download!)”

  1. #1
    Tamara

    My 11 year old has discovered she loves cooking almost as much as she loves eating … and we are loving it too!! That girl cooks a mean scrambled eggs …. weekend breakfasts at Chez Rodgers will never be the same! Now just to get dd7 to eat them … hmmm. Downloading the tracker for her, lets see if that works!

  2. #4
    goldnuggt

    I love this! I have a Picky Palate six year old that eats only enough to sustain her 45 pound frame. She loves incentives and she loves the Food Network. I’m going to try it. Thanks for creating and sharing the chart for us. I never would have been able to do it myself!

  3. #5
    Miss M!

    I think this is an awesome idea. I guess you could say I have a “Discernible Palate” (I just call myself a picky eater) but dangit, I’m one of the most adventurous picky eaters I know. I firmly believe you can’t say that you don’t like something unless you’ve tried it before. Good for you and good for Cole too.

  4. #6
    Kirsty Neale

    As someone who grew up with a very discernable palate and was never properly challenged on it, I’m guessing Cole will be HUGELY grateful for what you’re doing when he’s older. I’m in my thirties now, and still an embarrassingly picky eater (I’ll take the carrot sticks, but not the pork, salsa or corn, thanks!). It’s so great that you’re tackling it now – especially off the back of something he’s already enthusiastic about – so it doesn’t become a bigger issue later.

  5. #7
    Mary Aboy

    UM…..WOW….I may have to skip my regular breakfast for a fist (or two) of those tacos!

    Thanks for the great idea with the Progress Tracker + incentives. Hopefully this will work for one of my 6-year-olds (in true twin fashion, her sister is the opposite: an adventurous eater). Jamie Oliver is amazing; I wish my dvr agreed because it isn’t recording his show!

    By the way, I just wanted to share with you that I got your books and am super excited! I’m reading them in secret until our spending freeze is over (you can see how that’s turning out!).

    Be well!

  6. #8
    Annie

    So cool! I am going to try this with my 14-y-o daughter who only enjoys things from the beige food group: potatoes, white bread, butter, you get the picture. (Oh, and she only gets protein from ham, bacon, and sausage. Our little pigatarian.)

    Have you tried the Jamie Oliver iphone app? I love it (and not just because Gwyneth Paltrow told me to…)

  7. #9
    Jo

    Very cool! Good for Cole for trying something new! Wish I could use your Palate Progress tracker for my picky 3 year old! *lol*

  8. #10
    Barb

    Oh HELLO, Ms. Cathy! Thank you, thank you, thank you! My guy loves charts… hopefully, he’ll go for this! πŸ™‚
    xoxo Barb

  9. #11
    sarah

    you know what i think ‘notable changes’ are exactly what Jamie is talking about…..

    hope the sit down family meal went well πŸ™‚

  10. #12
    Beth Sutton

    Those tacos look fabulous. I’m thinking the crock pot sounds pretty good! We always ate in front of the tv until my daughter started eating solid food, now we eat at the table together. Of course, she still thinks it is totally cool to eat in front of the TV on the nights we “fend for ourselves”.

  11. #13
    Barb

    I find this whole JO (love him, btw) Food Revolution thing a bit stupefying. Maybe it’s because I cook, nearly every night. We get carry out maybe four times/year and I don’t buy processed meals. I work full time, out of the house, and I have a super busy family, just like everybody else. It’s just not rocket science to toss together an easy, good tasting meal made with some simple ingredients, like Coley did here (that sounds yummy!). The whole “revolution” idea leaves me scratching my head a bit.

  12. #14
    Brooke

    Cathy that is fantastic! Bookmarking this post right now for when my little guy is a bit older. Right now our tough food days consist of cutting a sandwich into 36 bite sized pieces and letting our 21 month old eat them with a fork.

    Please tell Cole that every new food can taste good at some point, it’s just how it’s cooked and what’s served with it that makes the difference. I used to hate coriander (I believe you guys call it cilantro). But I’ve since tasted it in dishes where it adds so much depth that I can no longer turn it down.

  13. #15
    dawn

    Good for you Coleman!!! I love this chart idea, just what my son needs. He is what I call a grazier, just likes to pass thru the kitchen every few hours and grab a bite of this or that. He’s never been into “MEALS” as he puts it. We are watching Jamie’s shows and loving them. My daughter asked if she could cook dinner this weekend, yes I told her as long as it is real dinner food not just hamburger/fries her favorite. I’m planning on showing my kids more about cooking and letting them help me more when making dinner. Keep us posted about how Cole is doing with his chart.

  14. #17
    Mary Jo

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Yes, my son as a discernible palate. And I’ve learned to not let that be a battle right now. But this chart is right up his alley, so we may have something here :0)

  15. #18
    JoLynn

    LOVE the download. My discernible palate is 5, and when he gets a wee older, I would like to give this a whirl. I, too, love Jamie Oliver’s series. As a teacher, I appreciate that SOMEONE is bringing to light the garbage our kids are being fed at school and the eating habits that those choices form.

  16. #19
    beckyswisher

    OK. So I love this idea…and because I love all things CZ digital, I am hoping that you might design a meal planner worksheet too! Including things like Menu item,grocery store list and day of the week headings! etc…hoping to ease you into the recipe book templates Cathy.. LOL

  17. #20
    katie

    we are loving that show too. My son now orders white milk instead of chocolate when we go out and has been looking with a much more discerning eye at those nuggets.
    He is a good veg eater as long as they are the ones in mixed veg (minus lima beans – yuck!) but not too adventurous with new vegetables and other things – this chart may hel – thank you

  18. #21
    Sandi D

    My 6 year old son and I have been watching Jamie Oliver’s show. Whenever my sons chooses something healthy I say to him “Jamie would be so proud of you!”

    I was a fan of Jamie before the show and now since watching him I have purchased two more of his cookbooks. I am starting to use fresh herbs on a daily basis and am really enjoying the taste. Looking forward to his next episode!

    Sandi

  19. #22
    cathy

    You know Mary, those tacos are pretty healthy too, depending on what you put on them. We just put a bit of guacamole and a bit of home made black bean salsa. YUM. Perfect for breakfast!

  20. #24
    cathy

    I do love “fend for yourself night” too. And yes, we end up doing that a fair amount. When people come and go at different times, you know, it’s tricky to always sit together!

  21. #25
    cathy

    Barb, i relate to you in that we are similar. We rarely eat out, and i cook nearly every night or we have leftovers. But i’m fully aware that it is not the norm. Some people really don’t cook or don’t want to cook and the obesity problem in our country (and in Jamie’s) is rampant. That’s part of what he’s looking at too!

  22. #27
    cathy

    That IS a good idea. I actually need one so maybe i’ll work on it!

    I still am trying to find a 8.5 x 5.5 binder to design for. I wish American Crafts would make one!

  23. #28
    Lee Currie

    Your Cole is so much like my Cole. Thank you so much for the charts! He’ll be thrilled to see them printed off when he gets home today – I’m going to run out and get him the book, too. We love JO around here!

  24. #29
    Barb

    Oh I know. I just find it a bit sad. I totally get that people are overscheduled, tired, and frankly quite often just clueless about how easy cooking really can be.

    I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to tell my brother and I that when she got married, she couldn’t open a can of soup because my grandma never let the kids into the kitchen, and she was determined that she would teach us how to know our way around the kitchen. I am SO grateful for that, as is my brother. In fact, both he and I have tossed the idea of culinary school around way more than once in our lives πŸ™‚

    Happy cooking! We’re having stir fried shrimp with red cabbage and edamame in a peanut sauct tonight! Mmmmm!

  25. #30
    Karen Westin

    LOVE THIS, Cathie….Love the photo of Cole…I get it, I seen that look too. I also started the kid’s cooking classes but with my neices, 10 and 12. We call it “Camp KareBear”. I bought a couple of Kid’s Cookbooks. Let them pick what looked good to them, made a menu, a shopping list, went shopping, prepped, cooked, set the table, invited mom and grandma “to dinner”, served, ate and cleaned up. Can’t wait to do it again…I’m making aprons for them before the next cooking classes this weekend. I can’t wait!!!

  26. #32
    Kelly R.

    Great and inspiring news Cathy! I must say our 9yo has a great palette that does include the 8th food group CANDY but he loves to cook and plan meals. He’s the one at a restaurant ordering salmon, swordfish, or lamb. But I did wait 7 yrs to tell him I don’t like ketchup so that he could make up his own mind about it.

  27. #33
    Sara

    Do you think my picky … er, discernible husband would be offended if I printed out these charts for him? hahaha

    Oh, and totally with you on the Jamie Oliver love. Love that he combines activism and entertainment!

  28. #34
    Elizabeth

    Love, love, love Jamie Oliver. Trying to make my meat and potato husband eat more veggies is difficult.

  29. #36
    Katy

    So fun.. and I agree shopping charts (and budget charts) would help the whole family be on the bandwagon.
    We do have kiddos that love good food, but sometimes their sense of proportion is off.. as in “hey Mom why don’t you make steak sandwiches or salmon for the football team.” uhm, love the team buddy, but no. πŸ˜‰

    J.O. is singing my song. Isn’t he fabulous?

  30. #37
    Sarah

    I’m the picky eater in my family and it drives my DH (who is an excellent and well-versed cook) crazy. My kids fortunately have more of his tastebuds than mine and if some nights I need to stay in the kitchen and pretend to clean while I eat a peanut butter sandwich while the rest of my family enjoys some exotic dish my husband has prepared – so be it. I’m not proud.
    We have also been watching Jamie Oliver. I worked in public schools in rural areas before and know exactly what mind set he is running into. Congrats to Cole for trying new things, I might need to take note of it myself.

  31. #38
    Linda

    Just make your cookbooks 8.5×11. I am working on mine to be that size. 3×5 and 4×6 are too smalll for us 50 somethings who don’t want to wear their glasses in the kitchen!

  32. #39
    Linda

    I guess I am the lucky one–all my kids love to cook and eat almost anything. Maybe making them eat their green beans when they were 18 months before they got anything else actually was a good idea!

  33. #41
    Allie

    Cathy, you ROCK. It is just that simple.
    While my husband and I can only be described as “foodies”, our kids are both very picky eaters. My son won’t eat meat and my daughter won’t touch most fruits and vegetables. This makes us nuts and causes great concern, stress and worry.
    Enter Jamie’s Food Revolution. Since the launch of his show, I have been feeling even more guilt about my kids’ eating habits, feeling like I haven’t tried hard enough to mend their ways. Short of losing it the other night at the dinner table with a rant of “If you don’t start to eat the healthy food we cook, you are both going to end up very, very sick”, I was at a loss for any new ideas. Until now. Your progress tracker is a great idea! I’ve already printed out a couple and can’t wait to introduce the kids to it tonight. Thank you!!

  34. #42
    Connie

    Hi Cathy-

    avid bolg reader, seldom bolg poster here-I too have just dicsovered Jamie Oliver and LOVE him. I tripped over his new cookbook in Barnes & Noble the other day and had to have it. I love his simple recipes (for thee of the cooking challenged)made from fresh, whole foods. Planning to experiment this weekend.

    My son is much like Cole, so I think we will be utilizing the ‘Discernable Palate Progress Tracker’ soon too!!

    Thanks!!

  35. #43
    Ann

    While I am thrilled to pieces for you and Cole, I can’t help but stare at your charts and wonder how you make them with the curved corners. Pathetic, I know. I go to church and sometimes I get lost in the art flashing before my eyes, wondering what layers were used and what textures…. bad, bad, bad, ANN!

    Good for you Cole, keep it up! Maybe you can convince your school to get rid of french fries – Jamie would LOVE that!

  36. #44
    Jen D

    I love this idea Cathy! I’m going to try this with my 4 year old. Although I have a feeling she will replace points with Barbie stickers πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  37. #45
    Cynthia Friese-Hassanein

    I am such a picky eater! I love this and so am gonna print this out for myself. In the last year I have been really enjoying the journey into cooking. Of course most of it is pretty
    decadent:) I recently started reading A homemade life. Have you read it? Oh it is so great!!!! I know you would love it, if you don’t already:)

  38. #47
    Johanna HΓΆrrmann

    My youngest brother (aged 12) is a picky eater, too. He eats “strange” stuff that most other kids wouldn’t touch, but he hates cold cuts, cheese and pretty much every raw vegetable, so that makes sandwiches a bit more difficult. However, this actually motivated him to venture into cooking, as that is what he enjoys to eat. He won’t often stick around to actually prepare the whole meal as he gets sidetracked quite a lot, but he’s really into stirring, checking the temperature and actually eating something that he has somehow contributed to.

  39. #48
    amymerry

    Love this post. Love the chart. (Who doesn’t love a well designed chart, or to do list for that matter?) My Cole is also a picky eater, ehem, discernible palate eater. Sometimes I think it’s the texture more than the taste. Last night he had to choke down a taste of pork chop, baby carrots, and apple cooked in maple syrup.

    Thanks!

  40. #49
    cathy

    You know what? thats a really good idea.

    i think im going to start working on one.

    Because it is something I will really use. I have all sorts of different binders right now. i want one master one!
    : )

  41. #50
    Leslie

    I have loved Jamie Oliver for a long time and his new show is great. My daughter and I have been watching it and have a few episodes to catch up with now. Although the picky ones in my house are my son, 15 and my husband, 40something. Do you think charts would work for them? I wish!! I guess I could think of a very motivational reward for DH. πŸ˜‰

  42. #51
    cathy

    Yes! Charts could work for them! LOL.

    You know, i ate virtually NOTHING until i was 22. Seriously. Cole comes by this honestly, but I learned to branch out and learned how to cook food that I loved.

    Now, my Mom is more picky about what she eats than me!

  43. #52
    cathy

    I have not read that, but… you should pick up Jamie’s Food Revolution book. Very simple recipes and so far, i’ve made a few that were really quite good!

  44. #53
    cathy

    Ann, InDesign has a rounded corners option. But, so does PS! You just have to do it with the Rounded Corner Rectangle tool. : )

  45. #54
    cathy

    Yeah, I always knew who he was (The Naked Chef) but never knew what he was about.

    I am really really inspired by his message.

  46. #55
    Vicky

    Cathy: What an awesome idea. The tacos look delicious. Cole should be proud. Not only for making the meal but for trying something new. Can you share the recipe? Is it just a pork tenderloin and salsa? Can it really be that easy?

  47. #56
    TracyBzz

    My almost 9 yo DD is so picky too. I ask her to just try ONE bite and she barely gets it into her mouth and says ‘nope don’t like it” just so I won’t ask her to try it again. If on the off chance she doesn’t hate it she says it’s ok, but then won’t try anymore.

  48. #57
    cathy

    Allie, i know it can be hard.

    Because i was a horribly picky eater as a kid, who was forced to sit at the table and stare at everything go cold until it was eaten (sorry, Mom and Dad, but that was traumatizing), i always said i would approach food differently with my kids.

    So, i’ve gone to the extreme and decided that food will not be an issue in our home.

    But now i’ve realized, if i can get them involved in trying things, and making things, and at least create a very positive experience around new things, that’s the best i can do.

    I don’t expect them to be adventurous instantly. Baby steps.

    Good luck!

  49. #59
    cathy

    You know, Sarah, i think there IS something very valid about being an adult and being picky. You can’t tell your tastebuds to like something you simply don’t like.

    Me? Bananas. The smell makes me want to run for the hills. I will never, ever like them.

    I think you have to honor your tastes!

  50. #60
    Angie K

    We’ve had our 15 yr old cooking at least one meal a week for us since he was 12. He has caused him to not only expand his horizons past Mac N Cheese and Hot Dogs, but to learn:

    A. Being self-sufficient is pretty cool
    B. Girls dig guys who can cook (and cleanup too!)
    C. Variety in eating is actually quite tasty ~

  51. #61
    TracyBzz

    PS: we always had to eat supper as a family. Now I do with my girls, whether hubby is home or not. I think it’s very important.

  52. #62
    cynthia

    Oh I need easy:) I think why I don’t cook on a daily basis. I get caught up in the having to make these 7 course extravaganza’s. I for sure need to simplify on a daily basis. thank you for the heads up, I will so get that.

  53. #63
    Kelli

    I’ve been watching the show with my almost 14 yr. old daughter. Last week when they had the discussion about french fries being a veggie, she was so appalled, “Everyone knows potatoes are a starch and they are not a veggie”. I asked her how she knew that and she said I had always told her that. I was so proud that she had listened to some of my rambling.

  54. #64
    cathy

    well if you really want easy, pick up an issue of Martha Stewarts Everyday Food at the grocery store. Seriously.

    I have been subscribing for years now. One of my fave food mags, because the stuff is DO-able!

  55. #65
    Jane Toft

    Well done Coleman! I’m so glad ‘our’ Jamie has inspired the US with his enthusiasm and energy. There will always be negative comments about Jamie and his campaigns from people in denial (or with a financial interest in selling junk!), but he keeps going!

  56. #66
    Natalee

    Thanks for the chart Cathy! That is a great idea. I am always looking for new ways to get my kids to eat better. I have a daughter who is only 5 and already struggling with weight issues. This is not something I have ever had to deal with in my life until now and it is SO challenging. The teasing and name calling have already started and it absolutely breaks my heart into a million pieces. I have only recently heard of Jamie’s show and his books but I am so glad someone is trying to make a change! Thanks again for sharing this!

  57. #67
    Elizabeth

    So, you know, I thought Jamie Oliver’s “people” needed to read this inspiring story, so I pointed it out to them through the “contact us” form on his site : )

  58. #68
    Wendy

    Thanks so much for sharing! I have two small picky eaters (whose favortie colors happen to be green and orange) and am a bit of a pick eater myself. Who am I kidding? I’m just as picky or more so and it drives my husband crazy! He’s going to love these! Thanks again.

  59. #69
    Stacy

    Love this post. Love Mr. Oliver and his revolution. This post reminded me of the 8 1/2 x 11 recipe binder I have been trying to put together of all our healthy family recipes. I’d love to type them into a pretty little template. Are still thinking about creating digi templates for recipes?

  60. #70
    Ann

    Tell Cole his dinner looks delish! My 7th grader’s science teacher gave us homework of watching Jamie Oliver and filling out “discussion” questions as a family project. We love it! The Easter Bunny even brought me his Food Revolution Cookbook!

    I love to cook too, but me being picky (no veggies for me), a dairy allergy kid who is picky too, a 7th grader who is picky, and a steak and potatoes husband…meal planning gets hard and boring! I think I will be printing these out for the whole family! And taking them to work (giving you credit of course) as I am an OT in a children’s clinic and work with feeding issues all the time!

    Thanks for sharing!

  61. #71
    Nicky Hurt

    Great story! I actually have the pork & verde out to make today (it’s still early here). I think you posted it on FB the other day and it sounded good. πŸ™‚ Good luck with Cole. I have one kid who will eat just about anything (veggies first!) and another who chokes down whatever I make and claims to hate chicken. lol

  62. #72
    sarah

    YUM. is that all you (he) did? just a pork tenderloin + a jar of salsa verde in the crockpot? i’m assuming all day on low? how easy (and delicious looking) that is!

    very cool your son was inspired by this show. heck, I was inspired! and i will likely never eat another chicken nugget as long as i live.

  63. #73
    lisa

    wow Cathy, so cool that Cole is in and trying stuff.

    3 things have worked in this house with my son trying foods:

    1. mostly he’ll have a go at anything he’s cooked, but if that fails, then if he grows it himself he’ll try it. Refused potatoes for 3 years until I finally took him out the back yard and planted some with him, couple months of daily watering and some digging, a peeling and roasting lesson and _finally_ we have a potato eater.

    2. Whatever he won’t eat we now start making together. I can get him eating curry now – he mixes the yoghurt/curry paste and chicken up to marinate, (mucky job massaging it with his hands, turning himself orange – he loves it!) then after a few hours we move it to the crockpot to cook(add vegies) and we’re on. Getting to eat it as a “scooper” seals the deal – ie scoop some curry up with some poppadum and chutney, he can use his hands not his cutlery (he’s 4, we have cutlery issues….)

    3. I left a food magazine out on the couch, he came running in saying “mum, can we have this for dinner” – I’m thinking he’s found an ad for chocolate but I take a look and whoa, front cover: spinach pie! Now he’s never gone for spinach much, but the magazine picture got him so we went out for some spinach and made it and he ate the lot, wants to make it again. My magazine came again this week so I sat him up with it and some post it notes and he’s marked out about 15 pages of stuff. I asked him why he picked what he picked and he said “it looks like healthy food mum” Oh my, well we’ll get straight on to making that then son……..

  64. #74
    Claire

    Thanks Cathy! What a great idea. My son is very visually oriented. Going to bed was a horrible process until we wrote down the steps & he could follow himself. He is going to love your tracker. thank you, thank you, thank you!

  65. #76
    Tracy Wallace

    Hi Cathy,

    Love the chart and will start using it.

    Here’s my thing (busy-ness aside):
    10 y.o. is fussy. Getting better but fussy. Not vegetarian.

    13yo is vegetarian and does well getting protein and the other stuff. Not really fussy but not really adventurous either.

    I like to cook and have done a much better job planning and using what’s in our fridge more lately, resulting in much less eating out.

    I know you guys eat a fair bit of vegetarian (isn’t Aidan veg?). If you come across veg friendly or easily adaptable recipes, would love some more inspiration from you when you find it.

    Oh and we live in Canada. That just means we don’t have Traders and some products, sadly. We do have some great veggie faux ground round, etc though.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  66. #77
    Kathi

    Cathy!!!
    Best shredding tip I have ever had is:

    “Shred your meat with an electric hand mixer.”

    Yes, I said an electric hand mixer. I purchased a cheap (under $15) mixer at my local store and use the regular beaters to shread meat. I shred chicken, beef roast, pork tenderloin, etc., any meat. It is the most fabulous cooking tip I have ever received. Now I don’t avoid cooking things to shred. Although if any kid wants to shred, be my guest.

  67. #78
    Anthonette

    Hi Cathy,
    Jamie’s show has made an impact on my very picky 6yr old. In the last week, he has tried chicken fettucine with cilantro pesto and a veggie burger. This is a kid who refuses to eat anything green, so I know he’s trying things out of his comfort zone.

    Thanks for the download. It will be a great way to track Kalino’s progress!

  68. #79
    Denise Laborde

    Great post Cathy.

    I’ve heard of JO and of the program but haven’t seen it.

    I’d like to add that even if you don’t LOVE to cook, you can find someone in your life to share that with your kids. I cook out of necessity but I am not passionate about it (upbringing? cultural? Not sure.) My mother-in-law however feels passionate about cooking and she passed it onto my husband and is doing the same with my kids. Whenever they come home from a visit with her, there are stories of what they cooked up on the kitchen. I am very thankful for that πŸ™‚

  69. #80
    Rita

    Hey Cathy!! I’m loving Jamie Oliver, too! I’m trying to get my extremely picky-eating 12 & 14 year old sons to widen there food choices. First I had to accept the fact that they will eat junk food as long as I buy it. It has been very difficult because I feel guilty when I eat a meal and they sit at the table and refuse to even try the food. Today I made homemade buffalo meat meatball for spaghetti tonight, and am keeping my fingers crossed that they will eat them. Kudos to Cole for both cooking & eating healthy foods!

  70. #81
    DaniH

    Love it! Thanks for the reminder that I’m not the only mother with picky kids… There is hope!

  71. #82
    Jana

    My two girls grew up helping us in the kitchen – we now all love cooking! My oldest started out eating anything & everything ’til she hit about 4 or 5, then suddenly she hated almost everything! All soups, All Chinese food, even though we know it doesn’t all taste the same! By renaming some things we’d get her to eat them, slowly through the years (chili, not soup, etc…). Now at 25, she loves cooking, eats soups (though is still cautious) & even admitted this past weekend she’s starting to explore Chinese food! She always has a 1 1/2 foot stack of cookbooks from the library on her table, loves our new Trader Joe’s, and is really getting into whole grains & very healthy foods – things we’ve pushed from our first days of cooking together. Our youngest, at 21 loves cooking at her college apartment, inviting fellow architecture studio pals over for potlucks, hitting the local food co-ops, & sharing her latest discovered recipes with us. This long post is just to let you know, by starting now with Cole & Aidan, they’ll likely continue with their food exploration! Yay you and Yay Jamie Oliver!

  72. #83
    ale

    i love jamie oliver, and i love the zielskes too!!! there’s also another brit that i’m learning to love, gillian mckeith – she has a more “in your face” approach to healthy eating, which i think is great for long-time-bad-eaters like me (not for children, though).

    thank you for the food chart, cathy (i have to confess that i’m the one in my family using it… shame on me, i know). and quoting you-know-who: go forth, coleman!

    =^ . ^=

  73. #92
    cathy

    Really? like the kind you use to mix up batter? i may have to try it. I am very picky with my shreds. I like ’em thin and stringy.

  74. #97
    Nathalie

    We LOVE Jamie!!!! He makes my 12 yr old son cook too!!!!! It is indeed a Revolution! πŸ™‚

    He made Jamie’s Chicken Chow Mein and Chopped salad… both recipes are offered on Jamie’s site with videos which my boy seems to enjoy. Go for them Cole, they are both delicious!

  75. #98
    Nathalie

    I have never heard this tip either and I really don’t like to shred meat (I usually volunteer my DH for the job) ~ I am going to try this!

  76. #100
    Brenda

    I love this idea. I’ve already printed one of for each of my children to put on the fridge. They are 12 and 11 and do some cooking. In order to encourage even more cooking, I’m thinking of adapting your chart/point system and giving points for ‘finding a new recipe’, ‘helping make meal’, ‘making meal by themselves’ with bonus points for ‘helping clean up’ and ‘cleaning up by themselves’.

  77. #102
    Dawn in NJ

    Hey Kirsty,
    I bet I’m pickier than you! Although I agree-carrots yes- pulled pork, salsa, taco shell, no! If I ever have a child, that is one thing I will be sure to train them up well with- fortunately my husband is a LOT more adventurous than I!

  78. #103
    Melanie

    That’s funny, I just said that to my 5 year old tonight … only it was in the form of “you know, Jamie would be so proud if you tried it” LOL! (spinach lasagna rolls – he didn’t go for it)

  79. #105
    Melanie

    Loving Jamie Oliver! My 5 year old is intrigued – but not enough to change any of his eating habits. Drives me downright batty trying to figure out WHAT he’ll eat.

    We’re only 3 episodes in … right? Maybe by 6, I’ll see a change πŸ˜‰

  80. #106
    MilliD

    OMG I LOVE Jamie Oliver! I missed the second episode and will have to try and find it on Hulu or somethin’ ’cause Mama’s got withdrawals! WTG, Cole!!

  81. #107
    Diane Herman

    Have been a fan of Jamies down under for a while now πŸ™‚
    Wait to you see the episode on chicken nuggets…you will never eat one again!!!

    BRILLIANT IDEA…my 4 and 6 y olds are being ridiculously fussy atm.
    Straight onto he fridge with this one!!!
    THANK YOU!!!

  82. #108
    con-tain-it

    What a cool post Cathy…love that your son was so impressed by Jamie Oliver…we have been watching him since he was doing “The Naked Chef” on the BBC…so cool! We love his show now and it is hard to watch all the resistance…so go Jamie πŸ˜€ Also got a kick out of your “Pulled Pork” recipe…it is very much like one that we have been doing lately and that I got from another blogger…we just used a package of low-sodium taco seasoning and put a pork roast or tenderloin in a covered glass dish (cause I don’t have a crock pot) and cook it all day on 250 degrees for 7-8 hours and we shred it as well. Then we eat it with barbeque baked beans and rice…or on hot dog buns and wraps with coleslaw…yummy. Love to see it when boys are in the kitchen…both of my guys love to cook and eat everything!

  83. #109
    Jen

    I am blessed at the moment to have a 2 1/2 year old who is a really great eater in most departments, but I keep waiting for the other show to drop and for him to become picky!!

    One thing I do think we are doing right is involving him in meal choices and cooking already. He adores soup…mostly because he knows it goes with biscuits which he gets to help make from scratch!

    Good for you for finding a non-traumatizing way to encourage Cole to make healthier food choices!

  84. #110
    Laura Bruynell

    Funny that your post would be about Cole today. I took my grandchildren to the movies yesterday to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the one boy reminded me exactly of Cole!

  85. #111
    Maribel

    I wanted to thank you for introducing me to SkinnyTaste.com. I have made more than a dozen meals from Gina’s site and I have loved all of them. I’m on Weight Watchers as well so I love it when I find lower point recipes that actually taste really good. Please keep sharing any links that you find. Thanks

  86. #112
    Maegan

    What a great idea! I am downloading your tracker and printing it off for my five year old daughter who last night sat at the table FOR AN HOUR because she didn’t want to eat her plain chicken (God forbid there be any sort of sauce on it) and broccoli (which she has eaten for years and not complained about.) Ugh. Then there is my toddler who ate every last bite of her piece of supreme pizza last weeks. It is fascinating how different siblings can be.

  87. #113
    Wendy

    I’m a little late to the party here today but congrats on getting Coleman to begin his new journey with food. But I also want to let you know that in some ways, you’re kind of lucky. My 11 and 8 yr. olds love to eat good food and will unquestionably order the seared ahi tuna. They’ll break you at a sushi bar and when we go to a local “wild game” restaurant, they both order the game plate with elk, quail or venison. So, count your lucky stars for the time being. His tastes will change and when they do, so will the bill!

  88. #114
    Mary Aboy

    I’ve been planning on cooking pulled pork and black beans & quinoa (experimenting), but I just couldn’t wait to cook it. I ran (not walked) to Chipotle yesterday and had myself some yummy barbacoa soft tacos!

    And big ups to Cole for grasping the need to, and benefits of, eating healthy and opening his mind to it! Good job Cole! That IS really awesome for a kid to do.

    Thanks for the recipe link & download. I’m inspired to let me kids get in the kitchen and cook with me more often.

  89. #115
    Erin

    Way to be quick on your toes, Cathy! I’m learning that half of parenting is identifying a problem/opportunity and then jumping on it to fix or embrace it. I think there is something really important about kids seeing their folks cook when they are growing up, even if they are picky. Pickiness will subside eventually and when it does, Cole, will know his way around a kitchen. πŸ™‚

  90. #116
    cheryl

    My oldest daughter is the picky eater in our house
    but have to thank Mrs. Graham, her teacher , for taking
    her class out to resturants that serve food
    from Brazil, Spain,etc..(who knew you could find that
    in Houston,Texas?) So I think it’s great that your
    son is trying something new. Can you use red salsa instead of the Salsa Verde?

  91. #117
    amoore

    Go to the library. Pick up a cookbook from another country. Leaf through it, see if it looks user friendly or if its stuff with 2 pgs of directions. Then take it home. Everybody spend a little time with the book(or the finiky eater plus the typical cook). Find something that looks fun, you like the ingredients separately, looks doable on a sunday afternoon. Buy the food, make the food. We’ve found a deep affection for Indian food in our house. And I’ve found that its wicked simple to make. Remember to keep in mind the stereotypical mother while cooking, every mother in the world is hurrying up for soccer practice, telling a kid to “just wait a minute” so I don’t cut my finger off, realizing that there is none of that ingredient in the house in the middle of the recipe (surely it can’t be that “KEY” of an ingredient). Then enjoy the fun of cooking. Sometimes they are complete winners. Sometimes not so much. But it was fun trying.

    I haven’t seen Jamie’s shows in the states but his UK shows were brillant – and scary.

  92. #118
    Ruby 2 Shoes

    What a fab idea! My 10 year old is going to give this a try, she’s gone for the orange tracker! She can be a picky little thing! Thank you very much for sharing!!! :o)

  93. #119
    Ispeakmelsh.blogspot.com

    Thank you so much – my kids have always loved incentive charts, and they’ve both gone for this one in a big way. My son will at least try new things (even if he often decides he doesn’t like them) but my daughter won’t try them in the first place! She’s now so keen to earn her first point(s) on the chart that she’s asked to try something different for dinner. Today. Now. And that’s such progress πŸ™‚

  94. #120
    tracee

    Does that mean you have had to sacrifice your ‘scrapbook table’ in favour of family sit down meals?!

  95. #121
    Lisa

    Hi Cathy,
    After a night of dreaming about your blog and more specifically your pork tacos, I went straight to your blog to see how you make them.

    The shredded pork, check
    The rice, check
    The tortillas, check
    The guac, well, I can substitute mine in a pinch.
    The “home made black bean salsa”… ahhhh

    Please can you share your recipe? I love homemade vs the I’ve been sitting on a shelf at the store for 6 months and floating in a sea of tomato sauce type black bean and corn salsa that is ever so popular where I live. The salsa in your photo looks soooo good!

    Ps Let Cole know that is one amazing meal, my taste buds are watering. He did a great job!

  96. #122
    Elaine

    Thank you Cathy! I already downloaded your charts for my 3 picky eaters and we’re going to try this out. You inspire me (and so does Mr. Cole)!

  97. #123
    Mechiel

    We have, as a family, been working with a local doctor to become more healthy. He is all about eating healthy, whole foods. One of his major rules is that we must all sit together at dinner and that we lay down our utensil after each bite. We have made it a “game” to catch one another (what kid doesn’t love permission to get onto a parent??!). Result? We have all dropped between 15 and 30 lbs since November. Just switching the son over to home made breakfast instead of school breakfast was a major impacter on his weight loss-unbelieveable.
    Good going Cole! My son thought he didn’t like mushrooms until he asked me to show him how to make his favorite new dish-the chicken wraps from Pei Wei only to discover they are 1/3 chopped mushrooms! Now he thinks he might like them! HA

  98. #124
    Anne-Liesse Ankeny

    Cathy,
    Jamie has had a similar effect on my 10-year-old. While we already made the effort to have at least evening meals all together, I found myself often cooking and “alternative” meal, or parts of a meal, for her on many nights. We also had struggles over “veg” with veg losing. She and I have been watching the “Food Revolution.” Since she saw the kids struggling with diabetes and weight, and the break-down of the making of a chicken nugget (ugh!!!), she has eaten what we’ve eaten, including the salad, every night. In fact, last week was the first week in her ten year life that I only cooked one meal for dinner–no alternatives. I want Jamie to know that he said he wanted a revolution and he’s getting one. Congrats on Cole, too!!!
    Anne-Liesse

  99. #125
    Jen

    Thank you so much!!! I think I have Cole’s long lost twin brother here in Washington!! πŸ™‚ My son is “super taster” and everything is more flavorful for him than most people. We’ve encouraged him before with different things (even $50 to eat a slice of pizza – to which he said NO!). This might work…he’s very analytical and loves to track things! Thank you for sharing!

  100. #126
    Wendy

    Jamie Oliver is my new boyfriend! I love what he’s doing with the Food Revolution. I don’t think he’s approaching it 100% perfectly, but who could? At least he’s trying something and when you consider what he’s up against I think he’s doing a tremendous job.

    I’ve been really intent on raising healthy, open-minded eaters since starting this whole motherhood thing, and I’ve had mixed results. My 1yo eats anything we give him and my 5yo has a pretty good palate, but it could definitely be better. We don’t force him to eat anything, but we do ask that he try everything we put in front of him — with the usual result being a TON of whining, complaining and “yuck”-ing at the dinner table. It drives me nuts! I loved Jamie’s idea of giving the kids stickers to encourage them to try unfamiliar foods, so I decided to give it a go and made up some of my own. (http://wendolonia.com/blog/2010/04/08/i-tried-something-new-printable-stickers/) The only conditions for getting the sticker are that he try the food without being asked and that he can’t say anything rude if he doesn’t like it (no “yucks”!). So far we’ve had great luck with this and he’s been *asking* to try new things! I’m guessing Cole is a little old for sticker rewards, but I thought I’d throw it out there, just in case.

  101. #127
    Karen F.

    I have 2 people in my home with discernible palates – my daughter & my husband :). Thank you for this – I’m going to try it with Katie. Keep us updated on how things go with Cole!

  102. #129
    Jessica Fulkerson O'Brien

    i recently read “No Impact Man”. not sure if you’re familiar with the blog / movement, but the book is based off one man’s adventures after a life of living with no impact on the environment. think all local and organic food, no electricity, not buying anything new, no cars, etc.

    the book was less about these environmental changes and more about how they forced him, and his wife, to reevaluate their life and what they wanted out of it. ex: “Meanwhile, Michelle, still on the couch, thinks for a minute. She says, ‘What we’re really doing is taking apart our whole life. Instead of just living the way of life we’ve inherited and been told to lead, we’re taking it all apart and seeing how we want to put it back together.'”

    one of the benefits they found by living this lifestyle, which was carried over into their life after the year-long experiment, was preparing food at home (using local ingredients) and eating as a family. with my very busy, very urban, go-go-go lifestyle, this is something my husband and i have been working on. my meals are much more simple than in the past, but they’re healthier, they use less packaging and they force me to slow down and connect with my husband. it’s nice to see you doing the same.

  103. #130
    M Forsyth

    Thank you for sharing your stories. They are so real. I have a friend that is creating a family history and has to convert many of her slides because those are the only pictures she has from a certain period. I remember the slide show nights. It was always good if you were in the photos but it was a little long when a family friend brought their eight wheels of slides to share. Loved your eating stories. I do not have children but see the battles that my brothers and sisters go through getting children to eat. I am going to forward on your chart and see if they might like to try it out.

  104. #131
    Kathi

    Yes, Like the kind you use to mix up batter and you hold in your hand and have a regular bowl on the counter. You can just keep the mixer going for a finer shred, although you have to make sure you meat is done. I would put about 1/2 or 1/3 of that roast in a bowl and mix. Then move it to somewhere else and put in more and mix, etc. I’m telling you, it has changed my shredding life. πŸ™‚

  105. #132
    Kathi

    Best cooking tip I have had in the longest time. I love it. I pass it along to anyone who will listen.

  106. #133
    Julie

    I printed out the Discernible Palate Tracker today! My kids are watching Jamie Oliver with me (trying hard to pipe down with all my yeahs!in the background) Crossing my fingers it works – they are both sooooo picky.
    And, if you haven’t seen this blog:
    http://didijusteatthatoutloud.blogspot.com

    You must go. Seriously. From one tired weight-loss mom to another, she will crack you up. Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?

    Luv Ya!
    Jules

  107. #134
    Molly Irwin

    Cathy, would you mind letting me know what font family you used for the ‘discernible palate’ title section? If you have the time, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

  108. #135
    Kimberly Yorio

    You are all AMAZING. Please send in your videos to Jamie’s production team so he can share your story in the final episode. Warmest, Kim Yorio, Jamie’s US Publicist:

    How are you starting your own Food Revolution?

    “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” wants to hear about what you are doing to start your own Food Revolution!

    Whether its planting your own vegetable garden, β€œpassing it on,” cooking dinner for your family, or if you just want to bring attention to something in your community that needs change – we want to hear about it!

    E-mail us a high definition video (most newer consumer cameras these days are HD. If you don’t have access to HD, the higher the resolution the better.) and answer the following:

    Who are you and what is the problem you’re facing in your school and community?
    How are you currently, or how do you plan to improve the state of affairs?
    How has Jamie’s work inspired you?
    What do you want to say to Jamie?
    E-mail your video response to: JOFoodRevolution@gmail.com

    or

    Dump the footage onto a data dvd and send that in to the following address:

    GCM Productions, Inc.

    PO Box 10730

    313 E. Broadway

    Glendale, CA 91209

    Please submit videos by Thursday, April 15, 2010. Include your name and contact information – you may be selected to be featured on Jamie’s new TV show!

  109. #136
    Baconista

    Hi Cathy, thank you so much for spreading the word about this important topic! Will you consider including a mention of Jamie Oliver’s petition to your readers as well? (www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com/petition). He is working really hard to get enough signatures to take to the White House, so that he can show the wide support to promote healthy food and cooking skills for children. Thank you!!

  110. #137
    TracieClaiborne

    I definitely think there is a “revolution” going on in America. Right before I saw Jamie’s show, I had decided to stop buying food with preservatives and it seemed like a lot of different people were talking about “real” food and whole foods and I just finally “got it” and it clicked in my head that I could do this! Then I started watching Jamie and he was saying what I had already decided was true. I have been a bad, bad parent for almost 9 years and practically never cooked until this year. We ate out every single day. I always thought I was too busy to cook but I am proud to say that I have cooked almost every weeknight in 2010 and I am loving the change in our lives because of it. Now our fridge is filled with fresh food and we always have healthy snacks on hand. I’m so glad to see that you, Cathy, are doing so well on your health goals! You are inspiring me to exercise!

  111. #138
    Lizzie

    Thank you, Cathy! I will try this with my own “Discernible Eater”… no veg, no fruit, no bits, no lumps… fuss, fuss, fuss… It’s beginning to affect his health and I’m getting worried. I hope this may help!

  112. #139
    Vigdis

    Wow – this seems so cool Cathy that your Coleman is trying to eat. My DS is soooo picky it has really affected me and the way I cook and I am at my wits end at the moment. And your try out chart is definitely going to be tried out on him! Then I can start to cook healthy again.

  113. #140
    Del

    Hey Cathy…what a great post…not only do I love the form (saved to my iMac already) but to see all the other folks who have picky eaters in their house! Makes me feel a little better about mine.

    Jamie’s recipes are the best – My fav. is his roast beef and Yorkshire puddings one where you whack the potatoes (for roast potatoes – best ones I’ve every made) – I think it was on the FoodNetwork.ca

  114. #141
    Susan

    Wow. WOW.

    Can I just tell you? Those charts are MAGIC. I made lasagna–squishy, warm, lots of unidentifiable parts–tonight. As an afterthought, I printed out one blue, one green, and one orange chart for my three kiddos and explained the concept. My three-year-old, who owes 80% of her body mass to strawberry-flavored milk and the other 20% to photosynthesis, CRANKED through the whole serving (despite, er, gagging on one or two of the bites). She usually pulls out tears, screams, and the hairy eyeball when confronted with “new” food, but the chart successfully engaged her competitive streak, and, in short, the whole thing was a blazing success. My eight-year-old also earned three points, and my five-year-old scored a respectable two.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

  115. #142
    Susan

    Wow. WOW.

    Can I just say? These charts are MAGIC. I made lasagna tonight–squashy, warm, lots of unidentifiable parts. On a whim, I decided to print out one green, one blue, and one orange chart for my three kiddos. I explained the concept and set them loose. My three-year-old, who has obtained 80% of her body mass from strawberry-flavored milk and the other 20% through photosynthesis, CRANKED through her entire serving in record time(despite, um, actually gagging on a couple bites). Her usual M.O. is to pull out screams and the hairy eyeball when confronted with “new” food, but the chart engaged her competitive streak and, well, it was amazing. My eight-year-old also earned three points, and the five-year-old ended with a respectable two points.

    THANK YOU, you genius, you!!!!

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