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Picky Eaters : Born or Made? - Page 3

post #41 of 168
This thread is timely, because we're struggling a little with it right now. Until she hit age 2, dd ate everything we put in front of her (which was itself limited--she has about a dozen serious food allergies). Loved broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, any whole grain she could eat (millet, brown rice, etc.). When she hit 2, she got MUCH pickier, for no apparent reason. We can always count on her eating fruit (all kinds), and she'll eat as much avocado as you give her, but other stuff is touch and go. She's very uninterested in veggies these days.

So I think her diet is much more limited than it was...but that we still offer healthy choices. We give her organic meats, cheese, and yogurt; tons of fresh fruit (as well as Just Tomatoes dehydrated fruit); we still offer veggies with lunch and dinner, although she only picks at them. She gets brown rice bread and pasta, brown rice cakes and CerOs (an allergen-free Cheerio-type cereal made from Pinto bean flour); oatmeal or brown rice flour waffles for breakfast; baked sweet potatoes; air-popped popcorn; roast chickpeas; stuff like that. We do treats, as well, but in moderation. We make allergen-free cookies or rice krispy treats a few times a month. I'll also make stuff like frozen yogurt pops (plain yogurt blended with whole fruit and a little honey). She's never had a french fry (although I think she once had a tater tot), and fast food is out of the question with her allergies, although I wouldn't offer it anyway.

On the one hand...I'm not sure a kid should be living on watermelon, brown rice bread, and organic turkey (as she does some days). But on the other...at least it's not boxed mac and cheese and french fries.

Every single parent I know who says their child "only" eats X unhealthy food (chicken nuggets, fries) rarely offers fresh vegetables or unprocessed meats. Typically (and mind-bogglingly), they make an "adult" meal for themselves (e.g., roasted chicken, veggies, rice pilaf) and a separate "kiddie" meal for the child. Well, duh...of course that's all your child eats!

So I'm in the camp that says: in some sense, pickiness is born, not made; but how we choose to deal with that pickiness is something we have control over. I have a semi-picky kid, so I just let her "pick" from 95% healthy choices.
post #42 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaPyratekk View Post
I was talking to a mommy friend about this recently, so I decided to pose the question here as well. I apologize if this isn't in the right forum, I wasn't sure which place I should stick it.

In your opinion, generally speaking, are picky eaters born or made? As in, do you think that the majority of children who are picky eaters are that way because they just are, or is it because of the way they are fed and that food is introduced to them?
I think both are possible and it is hard to say without knowing the individual situation.

For my picky eater I think it is more that she has sensitivities that lead her to eat or avoid certain foods.
It can be extremely frustrating to try to feed her since she has a limited selection of things she will eat. I do keep offering different healthy foods.
The suggestion that she will eat xyz if she is just hungry enough is false though. For some kids it is true but not for all picky eaters.
I don't want food to be that much of a battleground. If dd says she hates peas I'm not going to keep offering them until she caves because she is starving. That won't make her enjoy healthy foods. I feel it is better to find the healthiest foods she does like- even if the selection is limited- and try to gradually expand her horizons by example and opportunity.

Some parents are certainly guilty of only offering certain foods and then assuming their child is picky when they are unwilling to try something else once.
post #43 of 168
Quote:
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.

-Angela
I agree. In fact, I would say that picky eaters are BORN but we can have some effect on WHAT they are picky about. My DD doesn't even know what McDonalds is. She has never heard of it. She has never eaten a chicken nugget. On the other hand, while we offer her fruit and veggies as often as possible, her repertoire of fruit and veggies that she is willing to eat is still pretty limited.
post #44 of 168
I guess I wonder this - what's so bad about being a picky eater? I was a picky eater as a child, and now I try new things and love food. DP was a picky eater and still is. He doesn't try new foods, doesn't like spicy foods, doesn't like cooked vegetables, and eats the same healthy foods nearly every day. He leads a happy and fulfilled life, at least food-wise. I think that trying to prevent the "picky eater" title puts a lot of pressure on moms, children, and food in general.

Admittedly, I'm overly sensitive about this right now. My toddler does not eat - I prepare healthy meals at least three times a day, put them in front of her, and she doesn't eat more than a few bites, if even that. Then, yesterday, we were traveling and stopped at Wendy's. I got chicken nuggets (not my normal choice but whatever), and you know what - she LOVED them. Gobbled them - while she's rejected my steamed chicken, brown rice, veggies and fruits of all varieties, homemade smoothies, etc. etc. She's never had chicken nuggets before, she probably won't have them again anytime soon. But GRRR!
post #45 of 168
Well, didn't even read the thread, but I'm ready to be blunt and judgmental.

Certain food/sensory sensitivities are born. They can be worked around, to a point, but it takes a lot of work.

Many/most picky eaters are made. Our entire way of feeding babies and toddlers (even the "AP" ways; I am not just talking mainstream here) is designed to dumb-down the palate and make a picky eater where there dod not need to be one.

This is a pet issue of mine.
post #46 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
Well, didn't even read the thread, but I'm ready to be blunt and judgmental.

Certain food/sensory sensitivities are born. They can be worked around, to a point, but it takes a lot of work.

Many/most picky eaters are made. Our entire way of feeding babies and toddlers (even the "AP" ways; I am not just talking mainstream here) is designed to dumb-down the palate and make a picky eater where there dod not need to be one.

This is a pet issue of mine.
:
post #47 of 168
Quote:
To me, it's pretty obvious that it cannot be both. Chinese children, Indian children, Mongolian, Russian, Turkish, and Bolivian children do not eat what American children eat, as a rule.
My Russian niece is one of the pickiest eaters I've ever met! I don't think pickiness necessarily means "eating what American children eat"--it just means only liking certain foods and resisting others. It doesn't necessarily have to be "bad food" either. It is just self-limitation, whether caused by food alergies/sensitivities, or by personality (which of course can be re-infornced by parents who "give in" too quickly to the pickiness).

Like I said, my dd is pretty picky, but I don't see anything particularly "American" in the way she eats--she has never had fast food, chips, candy, etc. She is generally fed healthy, freshly prepared food. Some she will gobble right up, some she won't even try (emphasizing her disapproval with a loud whiny "noooooooooooo"). I try to encourage her to at least taste it (and have read "Green Eggs and Ham" to her about 1,000 times showing her that it is good to at least TRY new foods), but I personally don't care for a battle of wills at the dinner table. So I do give in to her and her pickiness. And I realize that in doing so, I am probably contributing to her pickiness. So I am trying to find solutions....But ultimately it is a negotiation with her personality--it's not just food, she is generally resistant to change and extremely STUBBORN.

But again, I don't think it's fair to say that only American children can be picky eaters and that it something totally created by our culture. As I said, her Russian cousin is the exact same way and probably even pickier :
post #48 of 168
I think both, but I think more of them are made. We have someone in our playgroup who will takes her 4 year old to McDonald's and Starbucks several times a week and pretty much lives off of processed food. Whenever there is something healthy (fruit, smoothies, pretzels), she will tell her DD "You won't like that, it's health food" and then she will hand her a cookie instead. I know that's an extreme example, but I think that a lot of people have the attitude that if it's healthy, kids won't like it, so why bother?
post #49 of 168
both.
post #50 of 168
Boy, I'm sensitive to this because my 2nd child is a picky eater in my opinion. His thing is yogurt. Good enough for you in moderation but NOTHING is good for you when it's all you'll eat.
He won't even TRY to put things in his mouth. He looks at them or touches them to his tongue and they are rejected. Or by smell.
As a baby he did better. I'm hoping he'll grow out of it.
I'm annoyed at the judgmental moms here who are saying that picky eaters are created. Or that if they're picky they are only eating unhealthy things. He'll also eat muffins so you wouldn't believe the things that I've hidden in muffins just to be sure he has something green once in awhile. It's hard. It's tiring and you WORRY all the time. Eating becomes something that isn't enjoyable.
Yes, I do give him mac n' cheese. He'll eat it sometimes. I give him Amy's organic. It's some protein and some freaking calories!
Many, many nights he'll go to bed without eating anything. I make dinner the no-negotiation meal. He either eats what we're having or eats nothing. He will 9.5 times out of 10 choose to eat nothing without even having TRIED what is offered.
Anyway...mothers with picky eater children are not necessarily lazy, or crappy eaters themselves. It's truly a struggle. Have you ever seen or lived with a child who hasn't eaten enough in the last 24 hours? Tantrums, tears, low tolerance for EVERYTHING. It's hell. At that point... I'll give him a yogurt because everyone is miserable and it's not worth it. I have THREE kids to take care of.
I may be wrong but I think he'll grow out of it if I can avoid making it into a HUGE issue (probably too late now).

Another point would be that I know moms who kids eat as pure as the new fallen snow... but they eat to excess. Fat kids. They eat everything alright but they are overweight. What's better? Fat kids eating all kinds of really healthy foods or normal weight kids who will only eat a handful of items?
post #51 of 168
I just don't know anymore. My DS doesn't seem to like anything that my DD did at almost 2. So maybe he's born that way.

In DD's case, I think she was turned into a picky eater. DD ate all kinds of healthy things for the first 3 years - her staples were tofu, avocado, broccoli and yogurt. She would try pretty much anything. But she was having developmental delays and having these disgusting poops so I did an elimination diet with her and everything went to heck. On the upside, we discovered she had a pretty bad soy sensitivity. And she is a little sensitive to dairy (straight milk). So she started gaining weight after those were gone.

OTOH, now she has some serious sensitivites (everything has to be crunchy or chewy) and she is on the "white" diet! White rice (I sneak in as much brown rice as I can without her noticing - usually 1/3), white chicken, white cheese, turkey, etc. She won't eat anything green unless she picked it from the garden or produce shelf herself. She will eat chicken nuggets (although I try to buy the organic kind or make them myself), homemade mac and cheese with a few veggies hidden in it. For us, it's all about hiding foods (love the Sneaky Chef) because if it LOOKS a certain way she won't eat it.

The only foods she shows real enthusiasm for are disgusting sugar bombs or processed foods (her newest kick is the boxed turkey, cheese and cracker stuff - I can't even imitate it with organic stuff that is cut the same way - it has to be IN THE PACKAGE - I might just have to doctor one of the empty packages!). I sometimes give in because I want to see her eat something with gusto, especially if she hasn't had protein in a week - or I use it as a bribe to eat other healthy food.

We keep a shelf of healthy snacks at their level and they are pretty much allowed to snack on anything healthy they want....but it is a constant struggle, especially if you have a child that can hold out for a LONG time for something more "palatable".

I can't tell you how many times I've tried to make cute, kid friendly food (wraps, or sandwiches or whatever) only to have to throw it in the trash or make DH eat it....

sigh.

My only consolation is that as a child I survived on hot dogs and bologna - and now I barely touch that stuff and I eat all kinds of adventurous stuff....so hopefully this is a phase....

I just think it's silly to judge parents harshly whose kids eat chicken nuggets. They are probably exaggerating or if they aren't then maybe you can just be the friend that eats those "weird foods" and gets their kid interested in other foods (my brother became a vegetarian for life after eating at a friend's house who was vegetarian). For me there are just way other bigger issues to worry about than what someone else's kid is eating.

peace,
robyn
post #52 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
I think both, but I think more of them are made. We have someone in our playgroup who will takes her 4 year old to McDonald's and Starbucks several times a week and pretty much lives off of processed food. Whenever there is something healthy (fruit, smoothies, pretzels), she will tell her DD "You won't like that, it's health food" and then she will hand her a cookie instead. I know that's an extreme example, but I think that a lot of people have the attitude that if it's healthy, kids won't like it, so why bother?
I don't think that's an extreme example, honestly, I know a lot of mainstream moms like that. I see it less in ap or crunchy circles, but it's still there to an extent.
post #53 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunar forest View Post
I don't think that's an extreme example, honestly, I know a lot of mainstream moms like that. I see it less in ap or crunchy circles, but it's still there to an extent.

I agree. I do see it a lot with main stream moms. I never tell my DS he want like something. One night I was chopping onions and he asked to try it. I let him try it raw. I didn't give an opinion ect, just let him try it. I do that with everything.
post #54 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by artgirl View Post
Boy, I'm sensitive to this because my 2nd child is a picky eater in my opinion. His thing is yogurt. Good enough for you in moderation but NOTHING is good for you when it's all you'll eat.
He won't even TRY to put things in his mouth. He looks at them or touches them to his tongue and they are rejected. Or by smell.
As a baby he did better. I'm hoping he'll grow out of it.
I'm annoyed at the judgmental moms here who are saying that picky eaters are created. Or that if they're picky they are only eating unhealthy things. He'll also eat muffins so you wouldn't believe the things that I've hidden in muffins just to be sure he has something green once in awhile. It's hard. It's tiring and you WORRY all the time. Eating becomes something that isn't enjoyable.
Yes, I do give him mac n' cheese. He'll eat it sometimes. I give him Amy's organic. It's some protein and some freaking calories!
Many, many nights he'll go to bed without eating anything. I make dinner the no-negotiation meal. He either eats what we're having or eats nothing. He will 9.5 times out of 10 choose to eat nothing without even having TRIED what is offered.
Anyway...mothers with picky eater children are not necessarily lazy, or crappy eaters themselves. It's truly a struggle. Have you ever seen or lived with a child who hasn't eaten enough in the last 24 hours? Tantrums, tears, low tolerance for EVERYTHING. It's hell. At that point... I'll give him a yogurt because everyone is miserable and it's not worth it. I have THREE kids to take care of.
I may be wrong but I think he'll grow out of it if I can avoid making it into a HUGE issue (probably too late now).

Another point would be that I know moms who kids eat as pure as the new fallen snow... but they eat to excess. Fat kids. They eat everything alright but they are overweight. What's better? Fat kids eating all kinds of really healthy foods or normal weight kids who will only eat a handful of items?
ITA - well said.
post #55 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by artgirl View Post
Another point would be that I know moms who kids eat as pure as the new fallen snow... but they eat to excess. Fat kids. They eat everything alright but they are overweight. What's better? Fat kids eating all kinds of really healthy foods or normal weight kids who will only eat a handful of items?
Fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy. IMO, a kid eating a healthy diet is much healthier than a kid eating junk, regardless of their size.
post #56 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by crwilson View Post
I guess I wonder this - what's so bad about being a picky eater? I was a picky eater as a child, and now I try new things and love food. DP was a picky eater and still is. He doesn't try new foods, doesn't like spicy foods, doesn't like cooked vegetables, and eats the same healthy foods nearly every day. He leads a happy and fulfilled life, at least food-wise. I think that trying to prevent the "picky eater" title puts a lot of pressure on moms, children, and food in general.
Picky eating, in and of itself, is not bad. In some cases, like with my DH, it leads to a whole lot more.

My DH is picky for various reasons. A lot of it has to do with not liking strong foods, as I said in my previous post. But some of it has to do with other things. For instance, he "hates" strawberries because he sister (who is very close in age) loves them. He just decided as a kid he didn't want to be like his sister, so he said he didn't like them. He's never eaten a strawberry in his entire life. Absolutely insists he "hates" them when he has no idea. Repeat this line of thinking for hundreds of foods and you can see where I get frustrated.

We can only eat at certain restaurants. If they don't serve 1 of 3-4 different meals he won't eat there. I get frustrated that he refuses to try new foods (nothing exotic, but he has such a limited range of foods that there are tons of stuff he's never had), even if I prepare them myself. It really does cause a lot of conflict for us.

To be fair, many of these issues have more to do with stubbornness than pickiness. So for a picky eater who isn't stubborn, it's not likely to be much of a problem. But in my case, the stubbornness really exacerbates the pickiness and it's really frustrating.
post #57 of 168
You just can't say this issue is black or white. People who assume that all picky eaters are made are just going from their own experiences, so it's understandable. But it's just not the truth. There are some picky eaters who were born that way and that's the truth.
post #58 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVC View Post
It is just self-limitation, whether caused by food alergies/sensitivities, or by personality (which of course can be re-infornced by parents who "give in" too quickly to the pickiness).
Can you clarify this? It's not clear to me how having food allergies is the same as "self-limitation" or "pickiness." My dd doesn't eat wheat or peanuts or tree nuts or eggs because she'll get very ill--because she could die. It has nothing to do with being "picky"; she has no choice in the matter.
post #59 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by crwilson View Post
I guess I wonder this - what's so bad about being a picky eater?
Absolutely nothing! One problem is the cultural attitude that says it's "rude" to refuse to eat whatever food is set in front of you. Another problem is the cultural attitude that says parents aren't supposed to "give in" to their kids.

A heavy dose of respect for kids can help transform this into a non-issue, or at least less of an issue.
post #60 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Absolutely nothing! One problem is the cultural attitude that says it's "rude" to refuse to eat whatever food is set in front of you. Another problem is the cultural attitude that says parents aren't supposed to "give in" to their kids.

A heavy dose of respect for kids can help transform this into a non-issue, or at least less of an issue.
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