My 12-year old is a picky eater. And I don’t mean won’t-eat-his-green-beans picky. I mean only-eat-ten-different-foods-drive-me-crazy picky. I’ve heard all the advice: offer everything…don’t give choices…he won’t let himself go hungry. So have…and I don’t…and he will, in fact, choose to go hungry. Sigh.
To be fair, he had some sensory issues as a preschooler and got turned off by strong tastes and textures. He is also, to his credit, trying more new foods as he gets older. Or at least attempting to try them.
But, as you can imagine, I’ve had my challenges. It’s hard to get healthy, unprocessed food into a child that doesn’t even like mashed potatoes (what kid won’t eat mashed potatoes?!). Happily, though, for him and me, there is one healthy food he’s taken to from the beginning: popcorn. He eats it by the bowl.
I think I’ve figured out part of the appeal. Popcorn is a treat for all five senses…which is probably why my sensitive boy loves it so much. Think about it:
- Hearing: What other food sounds so great while it’s being made? Whether it’s stove top, hot air or microwave, nothing beats that satisfying pop, pop, pop.
- Smell: The aroma of hot buttered popcorn takes us places: the movies…the carnival midway…a baseball game. And with just a whiff, we can almost taste it.
- Sight: Popcorn is beautiful. Why else would we decorate our Christmas trees with it? And a big bowl overflowing with fluffy popcorn is truly a sight to behold. Plus, who doesn’t love watching that magical transformation from seed to snack?
- Touch: Popcorn is a true finger food—have you ever seen anybody eating it with a knife and fork? Popcorn invites us to dig in and grab a nice, fat handful.
- Taste: Popcorn is delicious and delivers a satisfying yummy crunch…plain, buttered or with a favorite topping.
Needless to say, we always have popcorn on hand at our house. Lately, we’ve been mixing it up with a few new recipes that have gone over really well. So even with his limited palate, my son is getting the benefit of a naturally low fat, low calorie, whole grain healthy snack plus the enjoyment of a treat he truly craves. As a mom, that makes me happy.
Honey Mustard Snack Mix
Yield: 1 quart
1 quart popped popcorn
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- Spread popcorn on a baking sheet. Drizzle honey over popcorn and sprinkle with dry mustard, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Bake about 9 minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.