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Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

[EDITORIAL] Teenage picky eaters face hard choices in “picking” foods

There is always that one picky eater who would rather die than eat a food like broccoli. Yet, teenage obstacles in food never seemed so important until now.
Photo by Jonathan Saucedo
Teenagers are notorious for their poor eating habits and picky ways.

Teenagers come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are well-behaved angels, while others can be difficult to deal with, like the devil.

There are many reasons for picky eating, such as disobedience towards parents or talking back when one should not. However, one particular issue stands out the most: picky eating. We teenagers are notorious for being picky eaters, and our peculiar eating habits can be a real challenge to deal with.

For Gen Zers like us, it is pretty easy to find those who just will not eat what is given to them. Some teens complain about the slightest texture or taste. Usually, foods picky eaters will not touch include seafood, pickles, broccoli, and eggs. Instead, these individuals expect a 5-star meal from a professional chef – that entitlement gets pretty annoying.

Everyone has their reasons for not liking certain foods, but they seem to surround the same picks, which is concerning.

But that begs the question: why do picky eaters even exist? Is it because of their tastebuds? Well no, taste is a preference just like all kinds of factors in this world. Picky eating can come in all types of shapes in sizes, but there are some reasons as to why this behavior starts. The overall appearance of a certain food can throw one off especially when it is not commonly seen. For example, let’s say there is a creamy dish that smells desirable but looks like sludge, would a teen want to even try to attempt a bite? No, they would never.

“Picky eaters really annoy me, and I cannot even begin to describe the hatred that taints every fiber of my being. The whole point of life is to live and experience new things but yet they simply refuse to try anything remotely foreign or new to them and stick to the five meals they get from Walmart. They ruin every hangout, they ruin eating food, if god were to sing with his creations, they wouldn’t be a part of that choir,” Noel Jarvis, a citizen of West Chicago, said.

Another reason that stands in the way of picky eating is peer pressure. We picky-eating teens are pressured into trying/eating food we know we will not like, causing us mental stress. Ultimately, if pressured enough, will not want to put that utensil anywhere near our mouths. This happens a lot more often than many think: peer pressure can start as a joke, but can soon lead to hatred towards the dish itself.

In a survey of our staff, there were several other reasons as to why teens are picky eaters:

  1. Taste and texture preferences
  2. Sensory issues with textures or taste 
  3. Early childhood traumatic experiences
  4. Anxiety around trying new things
  5. First-time experience not being the best

None of these reasons stand higher than another; everyone has their reasons for not eating certain foods.

Is it possible to encourage picky eaters to try new foods? Despite the odds, some techniques can help broaden their food preferences. One effective strategy is to offer them another chance to try a specific dish. The dish need not contain a large portion of the food they dislike; even a small amount can be a good start. While we don’t expect them to love the food, we aim to help them overcome their aversion to certain foods.

Tomatoes seem to be a problem when it comes to picky eaters; they are good though. (Photo by Jonathan Saucedo)

“I don’t mind picky eaters. They don’t affect me in any way, and if they want to only eat chicken tenders, then that’s fine by me. I wouldn’t consider myself a picky eater, I’m pretty open to anything but don’t care if others only eat certain things,” junior Lukas Pablo Hernandez said.

Although it can be difficult to change the opinion of a picky eater, being too selective about food can have negative consequences. For instance, when a group of friends goes out for dinner and one person refuses to eat a dish, it can ruin the mood of everyone else. Complaining about food can be a real downer, especially during a fun or exciting moment. Picky eaters may not realize how annoying their behavior can be at times. Even if they do not want to eat something, they could try to hide their distaste instead of making a big deal out of it. After all, a little mistake like forgetting a drop of salt in a dish should not spoil the entire experience.

“I despise picky eaters they annoy the hell out of me, each time I hear someone say ‘Eww I don’t eat those foods.’ I wanna shove the food in their mouth and force them to eat it so they can like it,” junior Diego Villafuerte said.

What can we do to help picky eaters? We have come up with a few solutions, including giving them a dish or meal containing a food they don’t like. Over time, their taste buds will get used to the taste, making it easier for them to try other dishes containing that food. However, if they still refuse to eat anything on their plate, that is a whole different problem. Changing the eating habits of picky eaters can be challenging, and we cannot force them to like certain foods. All that is left is to be patient because patience is key. In the meantime, we can enjoy those dishes they are not interested in trying because they find them “funky”.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Saucedo
Jonathan Saucedo, Opinions Editor
Jonathan is a junior at West Chicago Community High School. He joined Journalism last year and has learned many important lessons - especially that deadlines can be tricky. This year, Jonathan is an up-and-coming opinions section editor. He is grateful for this position and his ability to be a leader for the Chronicle. Besides Journalism, Jonathan loves the draw/sketch (although he may not be good at it, he draws in his free time and during school when classes get a little boring). He also has a very sociable personality and can talk to people very easily, but when it comes to a presentation, he kind of falls off. His goal for this year's JPro class is to at least publish 25 assignments over the course of the year. Well, the task may be tough, but he believes in himself and so should you. Oh, and another one of his goals is to find a job. Over the summer, he went on a job hunt, but a lot of businesses declined, leaving Jonathan sad and broke. He is excited for Journalism and cannot wait to be a part of the team all year long - and next year, as well, when he becomes a full-on editor and the last of his peers. 
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  • Lukas HernandezMay 16, 2024 at 11:35 am

    “Teenagers come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are well-behaved angels, while others can be difficult to deal with, like the devil.”

    This quote is tough 💯

  • Diego VillafuerteMay 16, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Sorry Mr Aiello, you were not ment to see that…

  • Mr. AielloMay 16, 2024 at 8:34 am

    Awfully aggressive quote by Diego. Its always the quiet ones you need to worry about.