The Crust Solution


Okay, I don’t have a solution, I need one.  Or maybe I don’t and I should just lay off. 

It’s my oldest, the child who will eat mostly everything from salmon to sushi and everything in between.  But he won’t eat crust. 

It makes me insane.

He leaves bread fully picked apart on the table.  He claims even the brown edge on meat is a crust and won’t eat it.  He leaves the edge on waffles…”crust” he says.  And yesterday morning it really got to me when he left the very soft crust of his cinnamon French toast on his plate.  He literally mutilated his food to get at the parts he considered edible.
 
You see, with leaving behind the crust, he wastes a lot of food.  I mean a lot. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting food.  I can’t stand it.  With all the hunger in the world it makes me bonkers to see the what’s left behind on his plate.  Of course I realize world hunger cannot be solved by his eating habits.

Now, I know this is a childhood thing, lots of kids won’t eat crust, but he seems to inspect and find a crust on EVERYTHING! 

If I cut off the crust, a lot less food would be wasted but I DO NOT WANT TO GET INTO THAT HABIT.  Too babyish.

He found a slight, slight crust on a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit I made and picked it off.  They were minuscule little edges from the toaster.  Off they came.  Gah!

So, should I just get over it?  Will it just magically stop?  Is he going to do this at someone else’s house, destroying someone else’s meal?  Most likely it would take an outsider to comment on it to make him think about what he is doing.  Or not.

Is anyone else’s kid a crust picker?  Are you a crust picker?

Please tell me this will pass soon.  It’s bugging me.

One Year Ago Today:  Graveyard Grub

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70 Comments

  1. Having been a very picky eater myself, I know nothing you can say or do will change his mind or appetite. Only time will do that, and from my experience, forcing a child to eat only increases the determination to dislike a food. I still cannot tolerate potatoes because of a childhood of being forced to eat my potatoes or suffer punishment for not eating them.

    My solution, get chickens! Feed them the left overs, they are happy and lay yummy and nutritious eggs that the whole family will benefit from.Really.

    Reply
  2. Betty 2

    Gee, this is a problem isn’t it? Since I don’t know your son, maybe he really doesn’t like the crust. I have a phobia about carrots, They were a forced food when I was very young & I still don’t like them.(I’m now 71) It’s my personal opinion that if you make really big deal about it,it will turn into a war,& you don’t want that. I don’t think you do anyway. From looking at the pictures & watching you with your sons, You are a great Mom. Everybody has their little quirks, I personally think if you ease up on the “crust war”,it will go away on it’s own. And possibly your right maybe an outsider will make a comment on his little habit & that’s all it will take. I hope that does not happen, because it could make it worse by the embarrassment.
    Stay Blessed Cathy.

    Reply
  3. Harry 3

    I used to hate crusts of any kind – just would not eat them and any attempt to make me encouraged my determination. My mother let it go and as I grew, I made less fuss and eventually didn’t care about crusts unless they were really charcoaled.

    Since your boy seems to be entirely enchanting in every other way, don’t make him a devil, It’s a foible he will give up in his own time and, even if he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.

    He will annoy you in seventeen thousand other ways over the next ten years so I guess you can live with crusts!

    Reply
  4. deeba 4

    You cracked me up with your post Cathy. Sorry, but I’m laughing at your dilemma. Both my kids love their crusts, even more when I slice the edges off to make a neat sandwich, they come & nibble at the crusts!They’ll get over it as they grow…just can’t change these things. SIGH!

    Reply
  5. Kris 5

    Let it go…if you are this annoyed by his habit, imagine how he feels about your habit of being annoyed by it! :) Trim the crusts off things, but maybe leave them on his plate in case he wants to try them later. He’s a great kid, this is a tiny thing. He just plain doesn’t like crusts.I think kids are entitled to likes and dislikes same as adults, even if they don’t make sense to us.

    Reply
  6. Will Draper 6

    Get over it. It’s too powerful. My 33 year old daughter still does it, and it still drives me nutz.

    Reply
  7. Kristin 7

    My daughter was that way (although she LOVES meat “crusts”…the best part). One day she suddenly started eating the crusts. I’m sure it will happen with your son someday. And if it doesn’t, sooner than you realize it will be his OWN money he’s wasting. Your boys eat veggies, don’t they? My daughter will only eat cherry tomatoes & sugar snap peas from OUR garden, cukes & celery. Frustrating! And she’s 15 for heaven’s sake.

    Reply
  8. Donna 8

    My 4 kids eat the crust, however, now get this load of BS, 2 out of the 4 scrape cheese and sauce off their pizza, talk about waste, OK so it doesnt go to waste, I eat it, but just sayin’

    Reply
  9. Amanda 9

    LOL – this made me laugh, only because I have 4 kids and they all picked off the crust. Yes it’s a kid thing. Most likely he will grow out of it. I’ve never net an adult with a crust fetish 😉

    You made me think of that line in the movie 3,000 Miles to Graceland where the young boy and Kurt Russell’s character are sitting at the table in the diner. The kid isn’t eating his fries so Kurt’s character makes a comment about starving children in Africa. The kid responds with “are you gonna send them my fries?”

    bahaha!

    Here’s something I did when my kids were in this habit. Before I made the sandwich, I had THEM cut off the crusts and take them out the back door to throw to the birds. I know you can’t do that with meat crust etc, and while we don’t give the dog table scraps often, she does get some meat scraps and loved this phase in our kids’ lives! 😉 My youngest is ten, and while they don’t remove the bread crusts anymore, they still pick off the meat crusts (i.e. outer layer from the grill, pan, etc). My older two (15 and 17) don’t do it anymore and I’ve noticed my 12 yo doing it less and less.

    ::)

    Reply
  10. snowmoonelk 10

    My son has just stopped doing this and he is 15 yrs old! He didn’t eat his food so much as pick it apart! If the crusts aren’t too mangled, perhaps you could make a sort of savoury bread pudding with eggs and milk and cheese? or make it all into crumbs and coat meat with it or sprinkle it on top of pasta? I love being creative with leftovers. Good luck!

    Reply
  11. Ummm, 43 years old here and I hate crust, especially pie crust. It is just one of my dirty little secrets. LOL!

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  12. Barbie with a T 12

    I got this first hand from my husband. He used to be a crust picker when he was a child, but then came the depression years, and that got him out of it. He even likes crust now. He says he even ate apple cores during the depression. Well, I hope it doesn’t take another depression to cure your son. I hope he grows out of it anyway.

    Reply
  13. I’m sorry, but I’m laughing so hard at this post…

    I think all kids hate crusts. I know I did. Whenever I didn’t eat the crust of my sandwiches, my grandmother would tell me “Didn’t you know bread crust gives you curly hair?” I didn’t buy it for a minute and always left them behind.

    Of course, this is the same grandmother who told my daughter, who didn’t like apple pie at the time, that eating it was good for you because “apple pie gives you big boobs”. In response my husband said “Then no apple pie for my daughter.”

    :)

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  14. get some chickens so you can throw the crusts to them, they’d love ’em.

    Reply
  15. Susan 15

    My almost six year old just started not eating crust and telling me he does not like crust anymore. His new babysitter (my niece – who is very picky herself) called me at work to say, wow Matthew eats crust – I said of course he does, he always has. He must have been listening and whatever went through his mind – he decided that maybe he shouldn’t be eating crust. I am going to ignore it – I think he will just forget about it the next time I make him a grilled cheese. I would definitely ignore.

    Reply
  16. Lea Ann 16

    Boy, I don’t know. Surely he’ll grow out of it. If now his future wife will just blame you. ha ha. All kidding aside, I think you’re right, an outsider, or maybe a peer teasing him?????

    Reply
  17. Alta 17

    As a mom of picky kids, I have not yet found a way to change their mind about any food, crusts or otherwise. My oldest son, who’s 14, one day decided he didn’t want to eat any of the crust on his pizza, and scraped the cheese off and just ate that! Of course, I was angry, as he proceeded to “waste” nearly a whole large pizza to fill himself up, since he was only eating cheese and sauce! The only rule I stick to is that if they’ve never eaten it before, I make them try a bite. Beyond that, I’ll still put it on their plate (vegetables are usually the offending food here) and hope that they’ll change their mind and decide to eat them. It’s so foreign to me, as I grew up happy to eat just about anything, but my husband is a picky eater, so he understands better than I and reminds me that I can’t force them into liking something. So I say, try to be patient, and try to let this one go. He won’t be malnourished without the crusts.

    Reply
  18. Di 18

    They say parents should ‘choose their battles’. I don’t see this as a battle. As long as he is eating, healthy and happy then don’t worry the little things like crust. He’ll either out grow this tic or he won’t. Let him own it.

    Di

    Reply
  19. imom 19

    Crust is my favorite part of everything! My kids? Not so much. I wish I had advice or could say it will pass, but uhhh, my kids still have food issues in their teens…

    Reply
  20. Mary 20

    LOL – my kid used to do that and yes they get over it. Cut off the crust! And stop letting it bug you, it’s funny. Mary

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  21. My husband used to tell the kids that crusts make their hair curly – don’t ask me how that persuades them to eat it!

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  22. I am very scientific. Most of the time I just make my kids eat it. They just have to. Been doing that a long time, so I think they just know. But sometimes, as their treat… I will surprise them by cutting their crusts off. My dirty secret> I don’t eat most of my crusts. But then, i don’t eat sandwiches that often. and I LOVE bacon edges…

    Reply
  23. Trisha 23

    Crust on meat? You have to give him credit for his efforts is avoiding crust.

    Reply
  24. Candy 24

    I must confess. I, too, am a crust picker. In fact, I just had a bagel, and there are four pieces of uneaten corners – about a mouthful each – that I will be throwing away.

    I don’t know if I can explain it but for me, it’s a combination of two things. One – I absolutely must have the same amount of condiments on each piece of food I eat. So if the crust isn’t as moist as the inside pieces (and face it, it never is) I’m not going to eat it. The pieces of bagel on the plate before me have no butter, no jelly, they are just dough. Blech.

    Second – it’s about texture. I have a big problem with textures when I eat. I can’t stand certain foods which taste fine but feel weird in my mouth. Beans for example. Crust feels different than soft cushy insides. It’s dry. I don’t like it.

    I’m 48 and have successfully avoided crust hereto without bankrupting my family or crippling myself with malnutrition. I think you may have to accept there is more at play here than he just won’t eat it.

    Reply
  25. jancd 25

    If he knows it’s bugging you, then he’s being successful. Grit your teeth and ignore this little power struggle. He will get tired of it and move on to something else to “bug” you about. It’s the fun of being a kid.

    Reply
  26. Katheryn 26

    Yeah, totally annoying. I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it though. Most likely it’s one of those things he’ll grow out of. In my experience with difficult children, he might grow out of it faster if there isn’t anyone talking to him about it.

    Reply
  27. Marjie 27

    With my youngest, it’s “blub”. Every meat is primarily blub, as far as I can tell. He can take a thin slice of turkey breast and claim half of that sucker is blub. I fight; there’s nothing else to do.

    My second son, who’s now 24, has always been incredibly fussy. He won’t eat the heel of the bread, nor the first two or last two slices. That’s 1/4 of the loaf! He also has been caught just summarily throwing out entire loaves of bread or containers of milk because it’s the sell by date, and they are now “rotten”. (Trust me, after I made him give me $20 one day for dumping 2 gallons of “rotten” milk – he was required to compensate me for my time to go to the store and replace it – he has stopped doing that in my house.) I hold the power struggles. I don’t talk about world hunger. I am, after all, the kid who, when told she had to eat her instant mashed potatoes because there were starving children in China, offered to box them up and mail them to the starving children – and I was 8 then. I do tell them that I refuse to pay for their idiocy. No mincing words here.

    Reply
  28. Marjie 28

    Oh, and an earlier respondent wrote that her 14 year old ate a whole pizza and threw away the crust. I would never let that happen. My 24 year old recently decided he was eating a dozen eggs a morning for breakfast, without toast. I told him to go buy his own, or go hungry. So far, he’s going hungry. I won’t buy a case of eggs (15 dozen) and have it gone in a week because he eats half the case himself in a week.

    Reply
  29. leftfoot 29

    To this day there are several foods I won’t eat because my mom forced me to as a kid – butternut squash, “real” oatmeal, cooked celery in any form, lumps of cooked tomatoes and much, much more. So I have to throw in my vote for not pushing him. When I talked to my mom about it, after I was grown of course, she said that I was just trying to exert myself and my independence by deciding what I would and wouldn’t eat. She said it frustrated her to no end and I remember hours sitting at the table locked in a power struggle with her that really didn’t have a purpose. (I would be allowed to leave when I ate this or that. I often fell asleep on or under the table.) She eventually gave up on forcing me because it wasn’t doing any good and instead my parents would talk to each other about how yummy something I refused to eat was. Eventually I would want to try it, but that’s really all she could do.

    And like many people have said, the starving children thing doesn’t work. I put spaghetti squash in an envelope and told her to send it to them.

    Reply
  30. will you believe that my daughter is just the opposite! She loves crust so much and a lot of times I get a lunch sandwich back with all of the crust eaten and the middle untouched :) Sometimes if I have to cut of the crust for a recipe, she’ll just munch on a crust alone.

    Reply
  31. Jeanette 31

    This will indeed pass. And if it does not and this is about the worst your son does, then you can count yourself a lucky parent.

    My advice, pick your battles. This is a very small one, one that I would wager is not worth wasting your energy trying to change.

    Reply
  32. I’ve never been a crust picker, even as a kid when I was so horribly picky. I don’t even get why kids have crust issues, but as my grandmother used to say, “that’s what makes horse races”.

    If crusts are the only thing the kid won’t eat, I’d say you’re lucky. One day he’ll grow out of it.

    If I were told crusts would make my hair curly, I’d never eat them. I would blame crusts for my curly hair and stop eating them in hopes of my hair turning straight!

    Maybe you should freeze the untainted crusts for bread crumbs? Will your boy eat a breadcrumb coating?

    Reply
  33. annbb 33

    hate to tell you this, but whenever I order a poached egg on toast, I STILL cut the crusts off of it. I am mortified I’ve admitted to this!

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  34. Daryl 34

    I love crusts, send his to me .. kidding … about the sending part not about loving them. I wait til my ToonMan is done with his pizza to ask ‘may I have your crusts?’ I would eat them even if he didnt but he eats crusts on everything else so maybe your son will out grow it OR maybe he does it to get a rise out of you .. just sayin’

    Reply
  35. As someone who USED to despise crust (including the crust on meats– I totally understand where he’s coming from), I honestly don’t think there’s anything you can do about it. It’s just a habit that he’ll eventually grow out of. I grew out of it at about age 16, so you’ve got a while to go.

    Reply
  36. Bob 36

    Personally I’ve always loved crust, even when I was a kid. I like crunchy. But several of my siblings weren’t into it. Heh, my mom says she stayed so thin when we were all young because all she had to eat between 6am and 5pm was the crusts they left behind.

    As for child rearing advice, this childless bachelor (although my mom did in-home daycare all my life, so I know a couple things about kids) advises you to just kind of deal with it. Don’t encourage it, but the chances of you being able to change it without tons of drama are pretty slim. It’s probably a phase that he’ll grow out of soon enough.

    Reply
  37. Sarah 37

    hahaha! My two year old insists that there’s a crust on tortillas, and won’t eat the outer edge!

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  38. jamie 38

    Hi Kathie:

    I am 51 yrs old and I am a crust eater. I pick out the squishy insides of hard rolls. I like the outside of a pizza not the center. It is quirky and silly and if you can find a solution, I would be willing to listen to it as well.

    Reply
  39. Shelly in Austin 39

    Have you tried the sandwich thins? I think orowheat makes them. I love them and they are nutritious and there is no crust (or maybe your son would think they are all crust?) My son will eat a whole sandwich on these. He still refuses the crust on meat, which he refers to as the “outside part.” I haven’t figured out what to do about that one yet.

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  40. I have one pain in the tail eater too. I already pity his wife! I guess we wait?

    Reply
  41. Paula 41

    Ah, the joys of our children’s eating habits. I would say to let this go. Now, um, I admit that sometimes I start to harp, but the majority of the time, I don’t. I try to remind myself that there are things that I don’t like to eat, and I wouldn’t want someone forcing me to eat it. It’s a gamble whether or not he gets over it, but he definitely won’t change just because mom said to. My kids are a couple years older than yours, and I’ve seen improvement in just the last year or so. Lots of folks have food hang ups … don’t want their food to touch, won’t eat this or that, prefers everything plain, etc. Hang in there, take lots of deep breaths, and, as long as he’s healthy and happy, let it go. :-)

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  42. Hello and congratulations! I am nominated in the same category, but I wanted to say “Hello” and say good luck. It’s an honor to be nominated alongside you! GREG

    Reply
  43. I was a crust picker when I a kid. I grew out of it.

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  44. I wish I had some great advice for you…I love anything crusty so I don’t get it at all! I’m sure, like most things w/ kids, he’ll outgrow it!

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  45. My advice is to just let it go, Cathy. Neither my husband nor my son ever ate their crusts, so it was rather funny when I went gluten free and started making most of my pies, quiches, etc. crustless. No crust grief. LOL 😉

    Shirley

    Reply
  46. Tracy 46

    This I believe is a mistake. Fine, let him only eat the cheese and the sauce but limit how many pieces he can have. Unless you have others in the family that will happily eat all that scraped off crust. Otherwise it is allowing him that being very wasteful is okay.

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  47. Kaete 47

    I used to be a picky no-crust kid. My mom solved that one by telling me that if I ate my crusts, my hair would grow curly. Hey, it made sense to a kid! If carrots can be good for your eyes, shouldn’t toast be able to make your hair curly?

    By the time I learned it didn’t make hair curly, I was used to eating it and didn’t think it was a big deal any more.

    He probably just has a hang up about texture in his food in general. The best way to tackle this may be to let natural hunger work for you. Same way my mom dealt with me being a picky eater in general – she made sure I didn’t starve, but she didn’t cater to my picky nature. There was always at least one thing I was willing to eat, but if I didn’t want the main meal… well, too bad.

    In this case, you may want to allow him to pick off his crusts still, but he doesn’t get a second helping of anything unless he eats some of the crust. That way it further emphasizes that he can’t waste food.

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  48. Tracy 48

    I think the solution is very simple. As a parent you provide your children with a reasonable amount of food. Let them have a reasonable amount of control over how they will eat it. If they don’t want the crust, okay. But they do not get more and more servings to ‘fill up on’. Doing that is where you would be allowing wasteful behavior. If they are really hungry, maybe some crust wouldn’t look so bad.

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  49. Pam 49

    That would be so frustrating. I hope you find something that will help.

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  50. Egghead 50

    Ha this makes me laugh. None of my kids were crust pickers but my oldest granddaughter was. The way I handled it was to tell her that this is the only sandwich she is getting…still hungry? East the crust. Didn’t take long before she decided the crust wasn’t so bad. She is 9 and it seems they go through phases.

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  51. Barbara 51

    I have one who will actually eat the inside out of a dinner roll! I am NOT going to throw out that old saw about starving kids in China or whoever it was my mother said. It always was ignored. (and deserved to be)

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  52. Melynda 52

    Maybe a “rule” (only 1/4 inch) about what is crust would work, but then someone needs to police the rule, and that leads to yet more problems. Kids are very strong willed, and testing testing testing the limits, that is the growing process.

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  53. It’s a kid thing…mine both do it too, but not to that extreme. It’s best part too, go figure! I’m sure it’s just a phase…hang in there!

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  54. Goldie 54

    Either save all of the “wasted” food in a plastic bag and show it to him at the end of the day/week. (guilt)
    Or, wait til he’s older and the kids at school will taunt him mercilessly by calling him a “baby” and that’ll take care of it right swiftly. (embarrassment)

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  55. Mary 55

    Remember you asked for advice, Cathy. Here it comes. Let it go…in the light of eternity this is a really small thing. Save the crusts and have him put them outside for the stray animals that always find their way into Oregon yards.

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  56. I think he will eventually grow out of it.

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  57. kayola 57

    How funny is that? I’ll bet even your crust tastes de-lish with all of your wonderfulness…too bad he is letting such a good thing so to waste….KRUST was the name of my sister’s restaurant in Burbank…..unfortuanately with the economy last year it had to be closed but it was adorable and delish……so I guess sometime KRUST/crust goes down the drain…even when we don’t want it to…..

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  58. I was exactly this child when I was younger. I think this very issue was the reason behind my mother’s early gray hairs. Eventually I grew out of it. I can’t remember when, or if there was some sort of impetus, but I outgrew it and will eat the crust on just about anything.

    Now my own 3 year old…? Oh lets not go there.

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  59. Suzette 59

    I’m afraid I’m not much help. The crust is my very favorite part. I like the ends of the bread because there’s more crust. I like crusty cookies. Crusty pizza. Crusty barbeque. Sometimes I bake bits of pie crust and eat it like a snack. I figure your kid’s anti-crust thing will go away with time – like my kid’s fixation with canned carrots and weenies! :)

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  60. Leslie 60

    You see..I cut of the crusts, becuae I like eating the scraps!!! lol

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  61. It will either pass, or he will never have a weight problem;)

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  62. Stephanie 62

    LOL!!! I thought my daughter was the only person in the world who will not eat the “crust” on waffles! Her issue is anything sort of crunchy – so we have to microwave her waffles instead of toasting them. But she doesn’t eat crusts or the ends of meat, or anything on the ‘end’ because it’s a crust.

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  63. HoneyB 63

    Good luck and I hope it doesn’t drive you too crazy! 😉

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  64. ntsc 64

    Crust is the best part. Far better than bread crumb, this drives my wife up walls, I prefer the heel to a slice of bread.

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  65. ntsc 65

    And a possible solution, make certain there is enough extra food on the original plate, but no seconds unless the plate is clean.

    I would not make desert, if you serve it, contingent on this.

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  66. Krista 66

    I find it fascinating that a child (how old?) can have such distinct eating habits. I too have a picky eater. I’ll be interested in reading some of your readers comments. Good luck!

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  67. That would drive me nuts too. My husband is picky–he dissects his meat to find the softest parts and won’t touch any of it if he finds a bit of gristle or fat. Bread has to be soft and chewy, biscuits done 1 minute over are too “hard.” It’s insanity.

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  68. Cass 68

    Ignore it, is my advice. Don’t mention it, don’t let him get any attention because of it. Food issues are often control issues with kids; I watched my sister make my Mom jump thru hoops because of picky eating. I ignored my own kids’ food fetishes, and eventually they morphed into relatively normal eaters.

    Just explain some basic “eating out” manners to him so he doesn’t insult any hostesses, and let it go. Yeah, it’s frustrating; I had one child who only ate fruit, cheese, and noodles. Now she eats absolutely everything, including exotic stuff I wouldn’t touch. Hang in there. PS Love your blog!
    Cass

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  69. Katrina 69

    This is a sore subject in our house, too! But thinking about it, my oldest (11) does now eat crust most of the time or when he doesn’t, he just quietly leaves it on his plate. He used to have big issues with it, so hopefully the rest of mine and yours will just grow out of it. (Sounds like mine aren’t quite as fanatic about it as yours. Sorry.)
    My five year old just asked me last night, “What is crust anyway?” while he was eating some really crusty bread. He didn’t even know it’s just the same stuff the inside of the bread is made from! Sigh.

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  70. Dave 70

    It’s been found that the “crust thing” isn’t abnormal at all – it’s about the texture of hard substances on a child’s teeth and about the inconsistent of flavors from the body of whatever’s being eaten to the outside “crusty” area. Basically many crusts feel bad on a child’s tooth, especially those that are still losing, or have recently lost, baby teeth. It’s also about the comfort of food: when a kid wants a PB & J sandwich (for example, but you can insert any kid friendly food to illustrate) they’re only thinking of the gooeyness of the PB, the softness of the bread, and the cool feel of the jam. That trio, as we all know, is magical. The crust breaks that magic. This is true even for those adventurous eaters. Eating a steak needs to be about “eating the steak” and the “crusty part breaks that comfort. Hope harvest is going well!!

    Reply

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