Ideas for a picky family

Bento-ing from: Redlands › California › USA
Joined: 12 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 31 weeks ago.

Ok, well, my family is overweight and picky. We also need a special diet as well.

Diabetic - My mom has diabetes which means me, Amber (sister), and Selene (5 moth old daughter) are all at risk for diabetes. The meals need to be high in protein and low in carbs. Also, she doesn't eat eggs unless they're scrambled.
Lacto-Ovo - I don't eat red meat, but I'll eat anything else.
No fish - Or seafood of any kind for that matter. Actually, Amber is extremely picky. She won't eat anything. I finally got her to eat onions but only after I had disguised them. All she eats is junk food. She eats hot dogs, cheez-its, pizza, some cereals, but doesn't really like cooked vegetables but I'm working on breaking her of that.

It's really hard to think out of the box when making food for my family. I want us all to eat a lot healthier than we are right now and I'm really not sure where to start.


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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 23 weeks 6 days ago.
Re: Ideas for a picky family

Hi magickal. Hmm, that is a difficult combinations of dietary requirements. Maybe you could start by consulting a nutritionist and getting a list of the basic foods that you all can have? Do you all like vegetables, grains, beans? If so, you could try a vegetarian diet perhaps, with added dairy/eggs along the way (do you like dairy foods?) I'm not a nutritionist or medical professional though, so it seems to me that the best first step is to consult one. Good luck!


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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 5 weeks ago.
Re: Ideas for a picky family

Will your sister eat home made pizza? Home made junk food is at least healthier than bought. Pizza with chicken and mushrooms on it, or chicken and cranberry, or feta and spinach are all quite healthy, especially if you make it yourself with less of the melty cheese (no tomato sauce with cranberry though). And you can make the crust with partly wholemeal flour, which increases the fibre content. There's a vegan café where I live which makes pizza with (pre-cooked) broccoli and sweet potato and various other things on it, and uses hummus instead of cheese. If you make the crust thin, and the topping thick, you'll decrease the carb percentage - although starch is at least better than sugar.

I think you're on the right track with disguising the onions - if you can think of ways to disguise healthy things as junk food you're half way there, with your sister at least.

Also, try doing a search online for recipes containing what you and your sister will eat - which looks to me like chicken and cheese! How about beans? You can make burger patties from lentils or beans.



My blog is Food and Shoes

Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 38 weeks ago.
Re: Ideas for a picky family

Again, like Maki, I can only really suggest a visit to a qualified dietician.

But I do wonder if you need to just avoid carbohydrates or if it is the Glycemic Index for the carbohydrates your mother (and you and your sister) need to concentrate on.

There's quite a difference when it comes to choosing food which is low in carbs and food with a low GI index. I suspect making decisions using the GI index as a guide would be easier when it comes to healthy eating.
For instance, if I wanted to just avoid carbohydrates, I'd avoid brown rice. But brown rice has a low GI index and is a recommended food for those wanting to regulate their insulin levels.

Carbohydrates that I've recently learned are low (or moderate) in the GI index are:
bulgur wheat but not cous cous,
brown and basmati rice, but not American or Japanese white rice
Pasta (wholewheat is better, but regular pasta is still OK)
Oatmeal biscuits but not rice crackers
Fresh rice noodles are supposed to be significantly lower in the GI index than dried ones
Soba noodles rank as low GI, Udon noodles as moderate

It is all rather complicated and contradictory.
This is why it's so important that you see someone who can properly advise you. Unnecessarily cutting out carbohydrates from your diets doesn't seem particularly healthy to me, not over long periods.

My hope is that you have a lot more attractive diet options than you realise.

Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 5 weeks ago.
Re: Ideas for a picky family

Fibre is the key to low GI I think - all those foods you list (except ordinary pasta) are high fibre.

A couple of years ago I was part of a study (as a member of the control group) done by the nutrition department at the university where I work. The study was to do with high fibre and high protein diets as a treatment for type II diabetes. The results did seem to show that this sort of diet is a) good for losing weight, and b) good for decreasing insulin resistance (type II diabetes).

The test diet was very high in protein, with protein powder (basically milk powder minus the fat and sugar) added to a number of foods. It was also fairly low fat, and you could eat no white rice or white flour at all. Bulgar (bulghur, whatever) wheat is much higher in fibre than even brown rice, and was the grain of choice. You can do a lot with it too - especially the coarse stuff.

After the study was over I moved myself to the high fibre/high protein diet as something to AIM for, although I don't always succeed!

Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 38 weeks ago.
Change of tactic

I've just looked at your website and can see what sort of pickle you're in regarding consulting a specialist nutritionist.

The thing is, it's not just that your mum is a 'picky eater' - she has a major health issue. And even with diabetes, there is more than one kind. In the UK we call the most life threatening kind of diabetes 'type 1' and the other kind, which can be more easily managed, 'type 2'.
But both are serious conditions - and the last thing anybody responsible wants to do is to give you advice that could harm your family.

What you can do is approach reputable organisations like and
They will be able to give you reliable information on what your mother can and can't eat.
Please, please do try to learn a little more about carbohydrates before giving up on them completely, particularly when it comes to 'whole grains' and foods derived from these whole grains. I can't help but suspect that it's these kind of low GI carbohydrates where you should be starting your extraordinary food journey. Source:

One thing that is certain is that on the list of foods that Amber does eat - hot dogs, cheez-its, pizza, some cereals - none of these seem suitable without tweaking. Most of these, including the popular cereals (like cornflakes, cheerios and rice bubbles), are foods that I would consider dangerous to a diabetic.
But hot dogs can be eaten with whole grain bread, so can pizza (just as bronwyncarlisle has suggested), there must be tons of ways of making cheesy muffins, biscuits and savoury cookies with wholewheat ingredients as an alternative to cheez-its, and amongst all the cereals that are on offer, some of them are going to be suitable.

I can only imagine how daunting this bento project you want to embark on must seem to you right now. But you are only just starting. Please be brave, don't give up hope, and remember that your little daughter is just about to start her own magical fantasy when it comes to food. This is such a special time for her, everything must be new and exciting.
Hopefully you'll be able to give me weaning tips before long! Your daughter is seven months older than mine (still two months to go!)

Bento-ing from: › New York › USA
Joined: 22 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 36 weeks ago.
Re: Ideas for a picky family

My moms on a low card diet n she has lost about a 100 pounds so far, but 1 thing that you could make is a home made flat bread pizza for her, its good, and healthy ^-^

hope this helps some ^-^*

Disguising Vegetables

I agree with everyone here that a dietitian would be the best person for advice on diabetic cooking. With the warning that I know little about diabetic cooking, here's my favorite way to disguise vegetables: curry.

This is my favorite (online) recipe for curry. Along with the ingredients mentioned in the chicken curry recipe, I usually add a can of peas (frozen work too) and carrots, either canned or shredded fresh. Peas work especially well with the raisins since they're the same size and a similar texture once cooked in the curry, so the veggie flavor is disguised. I can't stand peas cooked any other way, but I love them this way. The sugar present in raisins could give you a problem, but a very small amount will work for the recipe, and it still tastes great without the raisins (just spicy instead of sweet). Use olive oil: it's healthy in the amount recommended here. I also make it with chopped-up chicken breasts (or tofu) instead of a whole chicken, so it only takes about half an hour to complete the meal.

Any kind of curry recipe should work to disguise veggies. You can adjust the spiciness to your tastes. Thai curries with coconut milk are also great, and coconut milk is healthy in moderation, but again, I don't know how it figures into diabetic cooking. There are usually some great curry cookbooks in the clearance section of bookstores.

Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 44 weeks ago.
Re: Ideas for a picky family

I agree that consulting a doctor or a diatician, would probably be helpful and they would beable to provide you with some more specific guidelines than you may be able to pin down yourself.

But my first hand experience with picky eaters and different dietary needs is to easy them into it. I cook for my dad quiet some what frequently, who is diabetic and only likes very simple food (brown ice cream and orange cheese as we tease him). One of his favorites is a whole wheat wrap with some mayo (less than he would normally put on), lunch meat (something lean and fresh), and lettuce (have to sneak a bit of vegetable in where I can). You can put whatever your family likes and add some more vegetables to make it more filling.

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