It's ironic that food is one area that has gone really well for us with Ian, since I'm a pretty picky eater, but I give credit for our success to the French feeding habits that we've implemented. The French have a whole different attitude towards food and meals, and French kids just aren't picky eaters. If you're dealing with a picky toddler or wanting to help your baby sail through toddlerhood without stressing about food, check out some of the tips I've borrowed from the French.
2. Serve the appetizer before the main course. I know this sounds all fancy and complicated, but it's not! It's fantastic. The appetizers I'm describing below all take under 5 minutes to prepare, and they're all vegetables! Since Ian hasn't snacked throughout the morning, he is hungry, and will at least try whatever is put in front of him. He works on the veggie, while I get his main course ready (instead of bugging me while I try to fix the food). By serving the vegetable first, when the child is really hungry, they're more likely to eat it.
3. Don't give up just because they don't like it the first time (or second or third). Research shows that it takes around 13 times or so of trying something before someone likes it, so kids just have to keep trying things! The French don't say "oh, he doesn't like that," when a child rejects a food. They tell the kid "that's okay, you'll like it when you're older - you just haven't tried it enough times yet." Just having that attitude makes a big difference. I know it's annoying to throw away food if they don't eat it, but think of it as part of a training program. The food isn't totally wasted, as long as they tried it - every time they taste it, they're a little closer to liking it.
Here's my quick and easy guac recipe: 4 avocados, 2 tomatoes, 1/2 large red onion, handful of cilantro, juice of half a lime, salt to taste. Chop everything up and mix it together. Simple and delicious!