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Picky Eaters : Born or Made? - Page 8

post #141 of 168
You're made a picky eater. One of my kids would LOVE to eat peppers, squash, ect and now she hates stuff like that.
post #142 of 168
I think we are born with a predetermined tendency and parents need to try to figure out what that is and how to mold it.

I honestly never thought I would have a picky child. In fact I SWORE I would never have a picky child and would have argued vehemently that it was all nurture that determined it. Enter my picky child. I strongly suspect it is a sensory thing for him in some regards, some smells used to send him into screaming fits, and even today I cut open a cantelope and he immediately ran out of the room saying "That stinks." (DH also hates the smell of cantelope, both my 2nd son and I love it.) He actually started out eating a variety of things, although it was a long time before texture didn't make him gag. The pickiness started about the time other developmental issues started cropping up. And initially I fought it. I would sit there at the table with the plate of food that he used to LOVE in front of him insisting that he eat just one bite. Eventually mealtime became an unhappy battleground and I backed off on my tactics. That doesn't mean I switched to chicken nuggets and french fries though. I've tried to make what he does eat as nutritious as possible. He loves bread, so as often as I can I bake my own whole wheat bread. He loves spaghetti - whole wheat blend pasta and homemade sauce into which I try to sneak some extra veggies. And he is slowly, slowly adding new foods. I was thrilled to pieces when he decided he liked scrambled eggs. Oh, and he's always liked peas and corn. So I keep putting the new foods in front of him, it's up to him whether or not he will try them. Generally it's a no, on the occassions that he has he has often gagged and nearly thrown up.

Son #2 is completely different. He may insist initially that he doesn't want something, but leave it set there in front of him and before long he will usually try it and often declare it yummy. And sometimes not.

Two kids raised by the same parents, raised as similarly as I could with regards to food...yet I get two very different outcomes. To me that says that there is something at play other than simply parenting. I can guide them and model healthy food choices, but ultimately it really is up to them.

(This year I planted a garden with the hopes that if he helps grow it he'll eat it, we'll see.)
post #143 of 168
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post
So those of you who have picky eaters who were born, not made, are you picky?

I have one picky eater and two who aren't. I will generally eat whatever is in front of me, esp. if I don't have to cook it! My DH is very picky though. Vegetables are really problematic for him.

I did that tasting the paper test in school and I couldn't taste anything. He said he could really taste it. So I guess it makes sense genetically that one of our three kids is picky.
This is the way it is in my house, too. I certainly had food I didn't like as a kid (and there are some foods I won't eat to this day because we were poor and I often had to eat the same foods for weeks because it was cheap and that's what we had. ), but my palate really expanded, starting in my teens. My husband, though - hoo boy! He's not as limited in what he'll eat as my son, but it's still really bad. A lot of it with both my husband and son is sensory - certain textures are completely off limits, which is why they both have a problem with most fruits. Some of it is stubborness/anxiety - for example, there are foods my dh has never tried that he insists he won't like. It's really frustrating for me, but I feel like - if 99 out of every 100 foods I tried made me want to throw up, would I keep trying new foods in an attempt to find the 1 I liked? Or would I just stick with what I knew went down easy?
post #144 of 168
Originally Posted by jellybellyxoxo View Post
You're made a picky eater. One of my kids would LOVE to eat peppers, squash, ect and now she hates stuff like that.
Could you expand on this? I'm not sure what you're saying. Thanks!
post #145 of 168
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Those links are very strong evidence. My mother is an extremely picky eater. I was as a child and forced myself to become a more adventurous eater (out of necessity as I started traveling to exotic places with no foods familiar in the US) and then dd, who also travels with us now is an extremely adventurous eater. There were times I had to introduce a food to her probably 20 times, though, before she became a fan of it. Others, like mussels, oysters, organ meats, okra (well, most vegetables), she took to immediately. There are a lot of foods that she loves that I am simply not fond of. But I cook it and I eat it and she sees me eating it, and in response has a healthy attitude about these "odd" foods and enjoys them, even while I'm not.

That article says that with persistence a parent can turn a picky child into a non-picky child. Perhaps I would have had a picky child too if I had given up. In our case, I knew that dd would be traveling to places that she *had* to expand her palate or be sick with hunger so I never gave up... and today, well, I already explained that above. For dd, myself and my mother it has never been an issue with texture, btw... just taste.

I also thought I'd add that dd and I both know when something is not freshly made. There have been times that when eating out dd will say, "I think this came from a can" or I'll say something similar. We both can taste the chemicals in processed food.

I'm also 100% convinced that kids (and adults) can become addicted to processed foods and crave fast food for that reason.

My mother forced me to try three bites of okra almost everyday during the summer for 10 years. And every single time it made me gag. I still can't even stand the smell of it. We raised most of the food we ate, almost never ate fast food and my mother made us eat three bites of everything she served (minus celery for me, she got tired of me throwing up), but I still was a picky child.
post #146 of 168
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
The "you're kidding" and eyeroll was because this is exactly the kind of thing parents do that perpetuates pickiness. "Oh, that's okay to not eat the crust... it probably causes cancer anyway." I think a lot of people don't realize that these kinds of casual comments penetrate the minds of young kids and DOES turn them off of certain foods.
Conversely, your previous post might cause some parents to say, "Eat your crusts or you'll get cancer!" (Or your hair won't curl, or whatever.)

Which seems just as bad to me as the situation you're concerned about here.
post #147 of 168
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Conversely, your previous post might cause some parents to say, "Eat your crusts or you'll get cancer!" (Or your hair won't curl, or whatever.)

Which seems just as bad to me as the situation you're concerned about here.
My concern here is parents making ANY kind of judgmental statement about food in front of kids. Leave the damned commentary out of it! Don't say, "Oh I know you won't like this, but I'll put it on your plate" or "I hated this growing up, but you try it anyway" or "This is the best XYZ you'll ever eat, so dig in!" or even "Yuck!". Put the food in front of a person and let them judge it for themselves without prejudicing them against it. I would have had 10 more years to enjoy peas in life if my mother hadn't turned me off of them as a child with a simple comment.
post #148 of 168
Yeah, one friend of mine actually called McDonald's burgers "slimeburgers" in front of her kids ... blessedly that didn't turn 'em off of McDonald's!
post #149 of 168
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I guess for me the main thing is that I personally find the moralistic stance AGAINST picky eating difficult.

One thing that really, really bugs me is when parents act so smug that they have adventurous eaters, and believe that it is all due to their wonderful parenting. Agh!!

Yes, you can influence, but that's as far as it goes. I have to say that the wicked side of me hopes that every one of those smug parents-of-the-adventurous-eater gets a second kid who is p-i-c-k-y.

I hate hearing how people 'made' their children grow up not to be picky, and I hate hearing how others 'made' their children picky.

There's this little thing, called personality, that comes into play, with eating as with everything else. And there's not a whole lot you can do about it, except accept it and value it, whether it is a picky personality or an adventurous one.
post #150 of 168
Originally Posted by meganeilis View Post
We all have preferences, but IMO downright pickiness is something that parents contribute to and foster in their children. You don't have to force your kid to eat peas if the smell or texture literally makes them gag, but whining, complaining, only eating things that are white (bread, rice, plain pasta), nuh-uh. That is a decision you make as a parentto allow to continue. DH recently had a co-worker tell him that his 3 year old would only eat Eggo waffles. We both wondered, why keep buying waffles? Ditto my nieces refusing to eat ANYTHING but plain bread at a family party. They are 5 and 7. Take away the bread, and tell them they're out of luck unless they pick somethign that has a color.
If there was only bread there that my kids wanted to eat, that's what I'd let them eat. No biggie.

Honestly, I don't think it's worth having a battle over. If we got to a potluck, often my kids will only eat the dish I took. If we go to a dinner, and they don't like the food, they will eat only what they do like, which might be bread. Unless I"m feeling fragile and feel the vibes of judgment from others, I just let it go.

At home we can give them healthy options that they like, but at a party, why would I want to spoil the event by fussing over it?

Actually, on Friday we went to a bbq at my dh's workplace. My kids are vegetarian, so there wasn't much that they wanted to eat. They didn't like the salads, and the corn, to be honest, was gross. They ate bread, and filled up on candy. A couple of times I felt embarrassed when I saw people looking at them, but then, I wasn't going to let it spoil our afternoon. They had a blast, and when we got home, we cleaned teeth and ate some fruit and yoghurt.

I wouldn't dream of controlling my kids at a party the way you describe, by taking away the only food they wanted to eat. If someone did that to me, I'd be pretty upset, so I wouldn't do it to a child. Life is too short, and my relationship with my children is too precious, to get into power struggles and control like that.
post #151 of 168
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I find the judgment in this whole thread depressing and sad. If you all come to my house you're welcome to eat, or not, pick out the onions, or not. I like people, not eating habits.
Wow, that's the third post I've read of yours today that has me nodding furiously in agreement.

I'd come to your house any day (as long as if you served soup, you did not make me eat it.)
post #152 of 168
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I think it's both.

My dd hasn't ever had mcdonalds, so she's not asking for that. And one of the (many) things she won't eat is hamburgers

But she was offered fruits and veggies (and only fruits and veggies for awhile) yet right now there are few fruits and veggies she'll eat

A lot of it is a stage.


I haven't read all the replies, but I agree with this. My picky eater would eat anything you put in front of him until about the age of 3. Asparagus would make him jump up and down.

Now at 3.5 -- not so much. In fact he refused it just last night. He's become a total carb addict. He routinely doesn't eat what I offer, but will help himself to some bread or a tortilla throughout the day.

FWIW, he won't eat hot dogs either. But he loooooves mac-n-cheese. It's my lazy mom dinner when we've stayed at the playground too late. I make Annies, substitute plain yogurt for the butter and milk, and grind up flax seeds or throw in some chia seeds. I no longer consider that junk food.
post #153 of 168
Originally Posted by chinaKat View Post
Another angle I'd like to bring up, for all of you who tsk-tsk over your friend's child that eats nothing but pizza or mac and cheese.

It may only be YOUR PERCEPTION that the child eats only these things.

My 3yoDD needs encouragement to eat all but a few things. She is offered a wide and varied diet most days, but when we are having company I will often serve her some things that I *know* she will eagerly eat... simply because it's easier. I'm doing a lot when I'm hosting and it's just difficult to juggle everything while making sure my kid gets fed, too.

So, I save the pizza or Annie's in a box for those occasions. She eats without a fuss, whatever friend she has over at the time generally likes those things, too, and I get to actually enjoy my meal and my company.

It has crossed my mind that my friends/relatives might think that I only feed my kid pizza and Annie's! Perhaps they are posting indignant rolley eyed smiles in threads about me, somewhere on the Internet...
post #154 of 168
I say it could be either.

On one hand - you have things like sensory processing disorder (spd/sid/etc)...which, if overlooked or unaware of in a child - can make them just seem a 'picky' eater.peo..when in reality, well..the reality is much different!

On the other hand - I think the majority of 'picky eaters' are made that way. This might be MDC... But I really do not know many remotly close to living like anyone else here on MDC...just living or parenting wise! lol...Most 'picky eaters' I know were certainly made that way...go to their house which is full of 'crap' type foods. Said child will not eat so they are offered an 'unhealthy' alternative. I do not know how my friends daughter is still living - the only fruit she will eat is a banana but no other fruit of veggie passes her lips. If her mother remember to, she will still puree fruit/veg and hide it in her near four year old daughters food. I wouldnt be surprised if she didtn know what a carrot looked like!...Her mother says she is just 'picky'....really? lol

At the end of the day - the majority of children just will not starve themselves to death. (if they do, then obviously there is some other issue there that needs looking at - like spd and the likes, etc) - so I think a lot of children can be made picky because of this.
post #155 of 168
I used to be the type to think that picky eaters were made. I would really be smug about this to myself as my then 1 year old would eat anything under the sky and being a bit of a foodie from my city, I mean anything and everything. Then he hit 2 and to my dismay his diet went down to about a dozen items. Thankfully he'll still gorge on fruit, but right now, he'd happily live on a diet of toast, cheese and melons. If I'm lucky he'll indulge me in some chicken breast. Thankfully he'll still eat my veggie soup and I'm just praying that this is a stage.
post #156 of 168
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

I do know kids who get genuinely distressed about new foods though and if I had one, I hope I would be respectful to the child first (as your approach is too) by providing at least one thing on the table on the 'short list' as it were.

I guess for me the main thing is that I personally find the moralistic stance AGAINST picky eating difficult.

I don't personally believe that not eating a large range of foods is a character flaw (as long as refusals are polite). It may make some things difficult, like being a guest, but it is not up there for me on the list of things I would want to get upset about.
We have struggled with this issue for two years now, and I like the things GuildJenn is saying. My four year old son is AFRAID to try new foods, that is how he phrases it. As a baby, we did everything "right": nursed for a good long time, offered huge variety of foods, never force fed, didn't spoon feed much, no juice, no junk food, etc... At 18 months, we had to get him his own order of tofu red curry, or he'd eat all DH's food when we got Indian take-out. He slowly stopped eating a lot of things, and now would prefer a diet of dairy, some bread products, some cereals, some pasta, some fruits, a few meats. No veggies at all. And, there a few kinds of things in each category that are OK, but not all. Certain shapes of pasta, certain bread (whole wheat only, no nuts or seeds) certain fruits. Other than force feed him, I have no idea what we could have done to prevent this. We are constantly working on it. He gets served the same things as the rest of us at dinner, but we try to include something he likes. So he may eat only apples and milk for dinner, but he was offered the collard greens and flank steak the rest of us had.

I think part of it in our case is also that my DH, who does all the cooking, experiments a lot with new recipes. We probably eat 2-3 dinners a week that include new recipes with unfamiliar ingredients, and only 1 out of every 5 of those recipes ends up on the repeating roster. So there is new stuff a lot. Honestly, I wish he didn't do this, since I am a bit of a food phobe myself, and I eat everything he makes, and we eat it until its gone. I think a roster of 30 or so meals that are healthy and well-rounded can be a comforting routine in a good way for a kid.

My 15 mo old DD is one of those toddlers who will eat pretty much anything, but I'm not patting myself on the back. Who knows what will happen next. We are feeding her the same as we did DS.
post #157 of 168
i'm going to say both. i was considered a picky eater as a child but i wouldn't call myself that now (others might). i'm willing to try most things once and i'm always trying new recipes.

the foods that i didn't like as a child and still don't like have nothing to do with taste and everything to do with texture. some textures make me gag.

my mom used to cook things for me that she knew i didn't like and then get mad when i refused to eat. i remember sitting at the table for hours staring at a plate of mac and cheese and my mom refusing to let me leave until i ate it. i told her it would me sick but she wouldn't budge. so i took one bite and threw up. she let me go after that but not until after she threw a big fit.

dd1 likes pretty much everything she's tried but is now going through a phase of only wanting very specific foods. Today it might be strawberries, tomorrow avocados, the next day eggs. I just roll with it.
post #158 of 168
I dunno...I cook a variety of foods, introduce new things, try not to get too attached to what she chooses, all the "right" things and still my child has a limited list of foods she will eat. Shrug.
post #159 of 168
Originally Posted by Joyster View Post
I used to be the type to think that picky eaters were made. I would really be smug about this to myself as my then 1 year old would eat anything under the sky and being a bit of a foodie from my city, I mean anything and everything. Then he hit 2 and to my dismay his diet went down to about a dozen items.
: That was us too. I thought I did everything "right". I breastfed him for over 3 years until he chose to wean, used very limited jarred foods, mostly made my own food for him as an older baby (whatever we were eating for the most part), limited juice and junk food, etc. One of his absolute favorite foods as a 1 year old was gazpacho. He LOVED it. Grandpa couldn't make it fast enough for the boy. I have pictures of my brothers birthday. I put a piece of chocolate cake in front of ds and he BAWLED. Absolute hysterics. I took it away and gave him a bowl of gazpacho and he was so thrilled!

And then all of a sudden he was refusing foods he had previously eaten. He was down to less than a dozen foods (fortunately some of them were healthy- like bananas and apples), though some were not healthy at all (fries and cheeze-it crackers have been favorites for years). Did I do anything wrong? I don't think so. I still, 4 years later, offer him everything we're eating. Not a meal has gone by where I haven't offered him new foods.

He's now in feeding therapy, and has been since last year. He's doing awesome in this and it's helped tremendously. I think I'm one of the rare parents who jumped for joy when their child ate a fruit loop. LOL! But, at 4 years old, he'd NEVER eaten ANY cereal before. The day he took a bite of a chicken nugget was a celebration (he still eats no meat/fish/beans at all.... the chicken nugget was a fluke- 1 time deal). He has learned to eat many many healthy foods through feeding therapy (cantelope being the newest one) but it is really hard for him to try new foods.

(DS has autism and probably SID/SPD)
post #160 of 168
I'm wondering, seriously, why everyone thinks that foods like mac'n'cheese or pizza are so bad?

OK, I get it that the processed stuff with a ton of colors and additives is bad. But organic, good quality mac'n'cheese, with a couple of veggies? Is that such a horrible meal to feed a kid? Or a wholewheat cheese pizza? Again, with a fruit plate or veggies as a side?

I really feel like I'm missing something, because my kids love meals like that and I don't think of it as the food of the devil. And come to think of it, I like it too, and so does dh.

My kids do eat some other stuff too, so this is not every meal, but honestly, if they went through a phase where that was what they would eat, I couldn't see myself fretting overmuch about it.

I was raised on a very limited British diet. Meat, potatoes, vegetable. Every.single. meal.

I didnt taste pasta or rice or even pizza until I was in college. When I did, I was thrilled to find that I liked all those other foods ----- after being terrified to taste them first time. I assume that a lot of kids are the same, and maybe mine will be too. But if they live on a limited diet, so be it. Same as if I'd stuck to my British meat, potatoes, veggies. I'd have lived, and so will they. Probably quite healthily, in fact.

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