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#1 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wonder about this.

Are there really kids out there that are this picky? I'm serious... maybe I've been blessed with two children who would rather eat a bowl of steel cut oats with maple syrup than a bowl of lucky charms (shudder lol). But I don't understand this.

They've been eating whole foods since they started eating table food. Yeah, we've had the occasional chicken nugget but they're certainly not a dinner table staple. My four year old says his favorite food is fish on the grill and "trees" (broccoli) LOL.

Is it one of those nature versus nurture debates?

Val, Mama to Aidan (5 years) and Autumn (almost 2)
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#2 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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I am a huge believer that it is what they have been given. If you let them have chicken nuggets all. the. time then of course that's all they will want to eat. I will say my DD has a great appetite and will eat pretty much anything, but there are days when all she wants is milk(like today).

My IL's are always trying to feed her crap, and she turns her nose up at it. She doesn't like Capri Sun and we don't let her drink pop, thank you. My niece gives her 2 y/o pop, that is conditioning her to drink it, how sad.

I believe it is nurture.

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#3 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:09 PM
 
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My DD's diet is severely constrained by food allergies. There's one brand of nuggets I could find without her main allergens. The is one of the few "normal" foods she can have at family gatherings and with friends. (I've made nuggets before but with all the cousins it is so much easier to buy premade.) Anyway, chicken nuggets have some magical cachet with DD now. I certainly don't indulge this all the time but they are her favoritest food in the world.
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#4 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I think it's definitely nurture, but sometimes nature (in the form of allergies) can affect this as well.

My daughter eats anything and everything because I started her on whole foods, foods of other cultures, etc. She has no trouble trying something new. She also doesn't have any food sensitivities that we've found.

I guess we're lucky.
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#5 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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I tend to find a child who claims to love fish and broccoli above all else to be just as mind boggling as a child who will eat "nothing" besides chicken nuggets.

Nature vs. nurture arguments never seem to serve much purpose other than to give people something to talk about. Ie - the problem never seems solvable but it's fun to chew on. I do know that my parents tried very hard to get us to eat broccoli as kids and we hated it. I heard something a few years back on NPR that kids have more bitter taste receptors than adults, which is why kids don't like veggies, but grow to like them as adults. I don't think it's just a matter of learning it's good for you, so you eat it, and you get used to it. Ie I used to HATE spinach. I LOVE it now. It's the only topping I ever have on pizza and it's because I LOVE it. I love broccoli now, too - esp. raw which I used to HATE - even as a young adult I would only eat it cooked. Now I like it better raw. So I don't know, my parents tried, but it didn't work.

To me, nature seems like a strong argument here.

BUT without nurture there'd be no exposure so who knows.

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#6 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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I think that there is a small subset of children out there will sensory issues, and the parents of those children probably do whatever they can to get there child to eat something, anything. That said, I believe that this is rare.

In the US, we are so conditioned to think that kids only like chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, and pizza. So we feed our children these foods. They taste good, but are bland enough so that if you start your child off on these foods, the taste of broccoli is going to be pretty strong in comparison.

With DS, I've made a conscious decision to expose him to all sorts of foods, especially different kinds of vegetables. He eats what we eat for dinner, and we eat a pretty varied diet. We'll see what happens. We are vegan, so many of the traditional "kids' menu" options aren't available to us anyway.

My DSD was a fruit, yogurt, and white bread kind of gal when I met her 4 years ago. Now that she has been eating dinners with us for so many years where she has been expected to try things, she is a much more adventurous eater. I am always reminded of it when we have a friend of hers over for dinner - compared to DSD, she won't eat anything. But her parents feed her the SAD.

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#7 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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I have 2 friends that have 5/6 yo sons that have very limited diets and both Moms blame themselves.....something like "oh when he was very young he liked chicken nuggets and cheese pizza so that's all I gave him!!". Seriously?! Now both of them regret it and it's hard to feed their kids anything else. imo, the rest of the family doesn't eat a wide variety either (from what I've seen they eat a lot of packaged, overly-processed foods). I personally find it strange & very interesting since I was brought up eating all sorts of different foods and my dks eat a huge variety too.

At first I thought they were just joking but then I had one of the boys here for dinner every 2nd week during the summer. First night was a complete bust, he didn't like anything and didn't even know what cantaloupe or honey-dew melon was! So I asked him what he liked, he said chicken nuggets! So the next time I made beautiful home-made nuggets, but before they were even on the table he said "yuck, what's that? NO, NO, chicken nuggets have to come out of the red bag out of the freezer". Whoa! The next time I bought frozen pepperoni pizza and that wasn't 100% either because he only likes "cheese pizza". OMG! Eventually the dinners stopped for many other reasons, and I haven't missed them.

The other MOm and her son came over for lunch one time and I had the usual ww bread, hummus, avocado, sliced meats, cheese and lots of berries & fruit to choose from. The Mom was impressed and her son only ate some meat and cheese - only likes white bread. Oh and he was not impressed that we only had water to drink!

I hate to compare, because it definitely makes me sound like a food-snob, but I seriously don't understand why parents are ok with this, why they wouldn't go through the hassle of trying different foods. My dd now is constantly rejecting different foods (mainly bf) but that's her age and one week she likes strawberries and the next not and yes, it's a hassle to constantly think of different foods and preparing them etc but that's the experience, right?!

Oh and I think some of it might also have to do with whether someone was brought up in a house where parent(s) cooked or not. Both my parents worked as chefs/cooks when I was young, so we were always cooking in the home.
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#8 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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My son's been in feeding therapy since August because he literally would starve himself--he went 4 days without eating or drinking anything and before/after that he had 2 or 3 foods that he would eat. He was drastically underweight (32 lbs at almost 5 years old). He was anemic. He was the kid who wouldn't even eat the chicken nuggets! LOL!!

But we're also a believer of "don't give them crap if you don't want that to be the only food they eat". As picky as he is, we still didn't pull out the deep fryer. His chicken nuggets were baked, fries were baked, and we fed him as many fruits/veggies/whole/healthy foods as we could. We told his feeding therapist to *not* get him to eat HFCS products or spaghetti-os, etc. because we wouldn't be feeding him those at home--that we needed the therapist to work with him on eating the types of foods we served (well, she did get him to eat a hot dog, but now we just buy all natural all beef no nitrate hot dogs as a compromise. : ) We made his feeding therapist use healthy foods as part of therapy.

My son is autistic and has sensory issues. Even in his no-eating phase we never loaded him up on fast food because if he was only going to eat one food, we wanted it to be something with nutrition. It turned out his one food that he was going to eat day in and day out and nothing else was a sunflower seed butter and strawberry preserves sandwich on whole grain organic bread--I'll take that.

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#9 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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My sister's ds1 is VERY picky and VERY stubborn, but that's because he has chosen food to be his battle ground for testing his limits (he's 4 1/2). He gest mixed signals from mom & dad when it comes to boundaries so he pushes a lot. He gets so upset about it that even when he DOES try a new food he often gags and throws up (not always, but often). Anyway, my sister says it's all because when he was 2-ish she started making dinner for her and her dh and then asking ds1 what he wanted for dinner...so now he expects that all the time. They're working on it, but it's really hard. My point is that in their case it was absolutely the choices/mistakes of the parents that lead to their current picky situation...but that's just them.

Wife to dh and mama to : dd (7/08) and ds (11/09)
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#10 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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It's hard to tell, isn't it? It would be interesting to see if there has been research into this in developing countries. Are children less inclined to have "sensory issues" and food allergies and pickiness in general when food is scarce and hunger is common? Or is this attitude to food common in all societies?
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#11 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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I have no idea but every so often I WISH my kids preferred the simplicity of a chicken nugget. I have to pound and bread them myself

Of course I'm kidding but I'm sure it's tough having a picky kid, wether you did it yourself to them or not. Problem is people assume kids want the nasty "kid food" like plastic cheese and such. My kids wouldn't eat a chicken nugget. In fact I tried buying some premium brand and they looked at my cross eyed like "what, you're not cooking me dinner LOL?" I think once people give the young kids nuggets and hotdogs every day for so long it's hard to open up their palate again
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#12 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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I think some kids are just picky. That said, though, they'll "pick" from what they are offered. My DD1 had a VERY limited diet up until only about a month ago. She's never really been offered junk food, but she did have a list of about four things she'd eat, and that was it. For her, it was peaches, yogurt, pasta, and peas, (and sometimes chicken, if it had no skin, no browned or blackened parts, and no sauce or seasoning at all), which isn't a bad spread, all things considered. But that was ALL she'd eat. If it wasn't offered, she'd wait. Patiently. She'd wait DAYS, and then when she finally had access to those foods, she'd eat as much as she could hold. We haven't given up, and lately she's branching out more, but I certainly deny that it's anything I did or left undone that made her so picky-- we eat a staggering variety of wonderfully nourishing foods in this house. Also, my other two aren't like that-- they eat tiny amounts, but they'll try anything.

Some kids are just conservative when it comes to food.

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#13 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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I have not met a toddler that didnt like broccoli carrots and lots of veggies, and I have yet to meet 6 yo that was crazy about veggies.

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#14 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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While there are a few kids out there who have true sensory issues I'm willing to bet that 90% of picky kids are simply that...picks.

One friend of mine's daughter will ONLY eat chicken nuggets, cheese, french toast sticks, apples, and juice at home. Her mom claims she won't touch anything else. She bribes her to eat other foods with sweets.

Its downright amazing, though... When she spends the day at our house she eats what we eat. Sure, there is an initial "I don't like that!" But we don't keep chicken nuggets and french toast in the house. After five minutes of complaining she jumps right into the carrot sticks, grilled cheese on whole wheat bread, tomato soup, salad, or whatever we are having. She eats it, enjoys it, usually says "That was good!" Hmmmmm...
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#15 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by *Louise* View Post
I have not met a toddler that didnt like broccoli carrots and lots of veggies, and I have yet to meet 6 yo that was crazy about veggies.
There is something to be said for this.

My babies will eat ANYTHING. (I mean ANYTHING... right now they both eat dirt if we're outside, and one of them I once caught sucking on a dryer sheet...)

My son used to love cauliflower and broccoli - but only part of it, I can't remember if he liked the fluffy part or the stems... but now he won't touch any of it. He does love carrots, though (He's 5) As a kid, carrots were my fave. veggie, too. Carrots and cukes - he likes cukes, too.

So already he's started to like... and has grown out of... some things.

No amount of cajoling will fix it. Whenever I have a veggie I go crazy saying to DH "Oh this is so good, this is amazing" etc trying to get DS interested... we might as well be eating dirt.

Which he doesn't like, just the babies.

DS T 11/16/03 DDs K & E 3/28/08
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#16 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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I used to think it was just a cop out. Then my 3rd came along. He doesn't like nuggets, but he is insanely picky. He eats healthy; but there are like 10 things he likes. Cheese in any form (slice, chunk, string). Yogurt, bananas, waffles, milk, OJ, crackers, my homemade banana or pumpkin bread, and dry cereal. That is it. He will not eat anything else. He is 3. I can't hold him down and make him eat. We try to get him to eat other things, and he simply won't do it. He would rather not eat all day than eat something that he doesn't like.

My other 2 are wonderful eaters. There are a few things they don't like, but overall they are great eaters....

So...anyhoo. That is my 2 cents.
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#17 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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I'll add that I was really picky as a kid. I'd eat a variety of healthy things, but I didn't like sauces on anything, veggies had to be raw and new things freaked me out. Seriously, like I'd get anxiety attacks when presented with new foods and getting invites to eat at a friend's house would make me nervous for days. Thankfully, I outgrew a lot of that and am an adventurous eater now. I don't think it had anything to do with the food my parents presented--it was just me. When I was pregnant, I reverted to a very limited diet for at least 4 months. I ate grilled cheese, potatoes, very cold canned fruit and chicken soup. Almost anything else was completely horrific for me. By the tail end of my 2nd trimester I was back to my normal diet (minus spicy stuff that gave me awful heartburn ). But it really reminded me of how real food aversions can be. DD is only 20 months and is a fantastic eater now (we just split a sampler platter at our local Middle Eastern restaurant), but I won't be surprised if she gets picky later.

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#18 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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My older 3 kids ate everything! I like to cook and with several children it's too expensive to eat out.

Then my fourth came along. He is physically disabled. He also has low muscle tone in his tongue. He is almost 6 and can now move his tongue side to side and you need to be able to do that to eat! He still cannot touch his top lip with his tongue.

I am delighted when he eats anything! That being said I breastfed him until he was 5 because that was the healthiest thing he would eat.

It's easy to blame mom when you haven't walked in her shoes.

That being said my son ate 2 one inch slices of pumpkin pie yesterday for the first time ever! He eats very few veggies and no fruits save the occasional swallow of apple juice. I took a photo!

I serve nutricious foods yet my son refuses most of them. Is it nature or nurture? I don't think I parent him differently. He was my 4th not my first or second.


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#19 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by *Louise* View Post
I have not met a toddler that didnt like broccoli carrots and lots of veggies
I"d like to introduce you to my DD1, then. She has never eaten veggies. Even as a baby, when she was first allowed to play around with food and try it, she staunchly rejected most foods. She ate peas, carrots, and tomatoes (which aren't even really veggies) and that's it, and even those she'd USUALLY reject. Just every once in a while she'd try one. And as a toddler, she ate tomatoes, sometimes, and peas occasionally, and that's it. Peaches, yogurt, pasta, sometimes tomatoes or peas, occasionally plain chicken, and for a brief time in late infancy she liked oatmeal.

I never gave her junk to get her to eat. I never bribed or begged her to eat. I never made alternate meals, so that she'd eat. And it's not just for me. She won't eat at school, or at my mother's house, or at my brother's house, or anywhere else for that matter. She has always been offered tasty, nutritious, in-season, local food, all homemade and appetizing. She won't eat any of it. She just waits until the meal includes what she likes, and then eats.

I think that people who don't believe that kids can be picky all on their own, despite their parents doing everything right, are very lucky. They've never had a picky kid. So they can go ahead and make generalizations about WHY kids are picky. Until it happens to them.

I do agree, though, that even a picky child will pick from what's offered. So the one sure solution to a child who won't eat anything but XYZ is to stop buying XYZ. But then they fixate on some other food.

It really does happen, and it irritates me when people seem to imply it's always the parents' fault.

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#20 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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My kids have texture issues, or at least my older one does. She has gotten to the point where she would rather just not eat than eat foods she doesn't like. For years I thought she just didn't like bread, because I always had sprouted grain bread in the house. But once she got a sandwich with white bread, and lo and behold, she started eating bread. She would very specifically tell me, "buy this kind of bread, the white kind, not brown." I would buy a soft kind of multigrain bread and make her a sandwich for her school lunch, but she wouldn't eat it, she chose to make do with the other stuff in her lunchbox, and then would complain she was hungry once she was home. Same with whole wheat pasta or spaghetti sauce or brown rice, even when disguised under other stuff. Now she mostly eats sourdough bread.

Sometimes she would try new things at other people's homes, and I would think, "hooray, I've found a new food she'll eat." But then she wouldn't like it the next time she encountered it, so I think it was just the novelty of being somewhere else. Or we had situations where she was at other people's homes and was quite vocal about not liking the food, and not eating it. I actually had to cut short a visit during lunch time when she didn't like the food offered, and I felt she was being rude and we should leave.

So, I don't know. I do believe that if she were truly hungry enough, she would eat foods that were distasteful to her, just as starving people would eat many things a non-starving person would avoid. I was never willing to actually push the issue. My husband is extremely pick and will go for about a day and a half without eating anything if he doesn't like the food being served (like when we are visiting somewhere), and then he finds a way to stop off and buy something to eat that is palatable to him.
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#21 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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I tend to find a child who claims to love fish and broccoli above all else to be just as mind boggling as a child who will eat "nothing" besides chicken nuggets.

My ds (almost 3) will eat Grilled Salmon and Steamed Broccoli over any other food i offer him.. (other then maybe a cupcake/treat) He hates chicken nuggets and when traveling i've stopped and got fast food and he refuses to eat it only wish i could say the same about me! lol..

I do think kids *generally* eat the same types of food their parents eat.. I mean if a 4 y/o has never had fast food/ possessed food then they aren't going to always ask for it kwim?

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#22 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds (almost 3) will eat Grilled Salmon and Steamed Broccoli over any other food i offer him.. (other then maybe a cupcake/treat) He hates chicken nuggets and when traveling i've stopped and got fast food and he refuses to eat it only wish i could say the same about me! lol..

I do think kids *generally* eat the same types of food their parents eat.. I mean if a 4 y/o has never had fast food/ possessed food then they aren't going to always ask for it kwim?
I tend to agree with this also. It's frustrating for my DH who can be a bit lazy and wants to get the kids fast food in the evenings while I'm at work. DS makes him go to Wendy's so he can get a baked potato . I grew up rarely eating fast food and DH ate it all the time. We're a military family so the kids are much more used to being around me than DH.

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#23 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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My kids like junk food but they also like good food. Typically I just make them cookies or muffins for snacks and they eat a lot of fruit and veggies too.

Oh and my kids love broccoli, they call it little trees LOL They pretty much eat whatever I give them.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#24 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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It's pretty much impossible that it's not nurture- I mean, how many starving kids in developing countries would turn up their noses at rice or meat or even insects, etc, saying they only eat chicken nuggets?

However, I think we could stand to be less judgmental- food isn't as moral as I think we think it is.

Mom to 5 wonderful kids (9, 6, 4, 2 and 0), 1 adopted through foster care.

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#25 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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I wonder about this.

Are there really kids out there that are this picky? I'm serious... maybe I've been blessed with two children who would rather eat a bowl of steel cut oats with maple syrup than a bowl of lucky charms (shudder lol). But I don't understand this.

They've been eating whole foods since they started eating table food. Yeah, we've had the occasional chicken nugget but they're certainly not a dinner table staple. My four year old says his favorite food is fish on the grill and "trees" (broccoli) LOL.

Is it one of those nature versus nurture debates?
Well I'll vote for nature on this one. Ten of my mom's eleven kids will eat what is put in front of them. Barring a few small episodes during the toddler years of learning to eat veggies or the rare incident of having to eat Aunt Maple's burned turkey at a family reunion....we eat everything in sight without complaint.

Escargot? Sure. Sushi? There won't be any left! You serve it, we eat it lol.

But then along came my youngest sister, who is now 4 years old. If you didn't literally sit there and spoon feed her as she's whining and crying, she would never eat more than french fries, nuggets, cheese and bread. Literally.

And this seemed to be an inclination from a young age onwards. I remember one time my mom served multi-colored whole wheat pasta when she was about 1.5. She took all the green pasta and put it to the side! Refused to eat it!

You can't blame the introduction of junk food either. Even if a meal is completely TF, she will refuse to eat certain foods, or even refuse to eat at all.

Unsurprisingly, my mom has done CLW with her.

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#26 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
I think that people who don't believe that kids can be picky all on their own, despite their parents doing everything right, are very lucky. They've never had a picky kid. So they can go ahead and make generalizations about WHY kids are picky. Until it happens to them.

I do agree, though, that even a picky child will pick from what's offered. So the one sure solution to a child who won't eat anything but XYZ is to stop buying XYZ. But then they fixate on some other food.

It really does happen, and it irritates me when people seem to imply it's always the parents' fault.
I agree that kids can be picky all on their own. I am picky when it comes to cooked carrots and spinach and I'm an adult! We all have likes & dislikes, BUT what I have a difficult time agreeing on is if you have a picky eater then why are you (and I don't mean the poster!, I mean people I have personally met) only offering XYZ which is not healthy choices? If my kid was picky then he would only be eating a few healthy choices since that's all that's been offered here at home.

It's not "always" the parent's fault, but I think *sometimes* it definitely is and these are opinions that have been formed mainly from other parents telling me that it's their own fault and that they hope they "grow out of it" because "I only gave my kid frozen, packaged XYZ from the get go, he liked it, so I kept offering that until he decided that he would ONLY eat that!". These are good friends and great parents by the way, they just don't have healthy habits themselves and so this is passed on to their kids......in no way would I ever assume that this goes for every picky eater out there.
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#27 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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It's pretty much impossible that it's not nurture- I mean, how many starving kids in developing countries would turn up their noses at rice or meat or even insects, etc, saying they only eat chicken nuggets?

However, I think we could stand to be less judgmental- food isn't as moral as I think we think it is.
My guess is that the impoverished kids with true food/texture issues die of malnutrition and related diseases. Some kids, when not offered anything palatable to them, simply won't eat. In the USA/Canada/Europe, these kids end up on feeding tubes. In impoverished villages, these kids die. So the surviving people DON'T have these issues.

IME, I think it's a mixture of both nature and nurture. There are kids who are super picky, no matter how they're raised. Then there are kids who are picky BECAUSE of how they've been raised. And plenty of kids with a mixture of both- they truly do have food texture issues, but their parents aren't doing anything to help them grow out of it, or to introduce a wider variety of unprocessed foods that might be palatable.

There are also plenty of kids IMO who don't have innate food issues but have developed horrible eating habits because of how they've been fed.

There are also polite and impolite ways to handle food issues, regardless of their severity or cause. I remember a family member bringing chicken nuggets to the Passover seder (after I'd driven myself crazy covering every surface in my mom's kitchen so my kids and I could safely eat there, as I keep kosher and she doesn't). I understand that her 7yo might not have otherwise eaten much of the food being served, but in the end he didn't eat more than one nugget anyway. She could have fed him before bringing him over and/or after it ended (which is what ended up happening- he was too busy playing with my kids to eat.) She could have brought something he likes to eat that didn't require heating up. She could have asked me to get some kosher-for-Passover versions of foods he does eat (such as french fries- they do make Passover chicken nuggets but he might not have liked or eaten them.)

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#28 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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Deeeeep, dark confession time, ladies and gents.

My son ate ANYTHING, until he was a little over 3 - my friends couldn't believe it, even strangers at restaurants commented. Then for whatever reason he slowly started getting pickier. DD ate a relatively varied diet up until about 18 months (She was born when DS was 2-1/2)...then she started refusing things, too. That's when it happened - we fell into the trap. I just wasn't up for the battle most of the time (working full time at home, DH working long hours), so I just kept giving them things they did like because I was so shot by dinnertime I just wanted things peaceful. It started innocently enough, I would either make them a meat or starch that I knew they liked, and they'd eat other thing we were having (like, I'd make nuggets because they didn't want pork tenderloin but would eat the rice I was serving with it, or making rice because they woud eat the chicken I was serving, but didn't like roasted potatoes)....then they started getting even pickier, and I still wasn't up for it, and wound up just making all "kid" stuff for them (baked, but 'kid' fare nonetheless). So, DD is now 2-1/2 and DS is now 5. So this has been going on for a while, and gotten worse and worse. Finally, 2 weeks ago, I realized this was so far from where I wanted to be food wise that I did something drastic, and completely uncharacteristic of my parenting style. I went Oliver Twist on them. : I talked to them about it for a coupe days, prepared them, told them why we were doing it, and then did it. They were presented with the dinner I (or my husband) cooked, and they could choose to eat it, or not, and if they chose not, there wouldn't be anything else served to them. They got the big idea after the first night to refuse dinner, then wake up super early starving and begging for their favorite foods, so then we implemented the 'if you don't eat it for dinner, you'll be served it the next day for lunch' rule (I cannot believe I did something so Draconian, but I was so resentful and angry that things had gotten this far that I didn't want to relent and make things even worse, so we went forward). Happened once with DS and twice with DD. The first 3 nights were not pretty, I'll admit it. There were protests, tears, the gamut. We were sympathetic and calm, but firm. We talked a LOT. The thing I feel the worst about is that it was me (well, us, as my DH cooks a fair bit too) who created the problem but them who had to suffer for a few nights. The GOOD news is that after those few challenging evenings, the change is unbelieveable. They are both now happily eating exactly what we cook for dinner, and *enjoying* it. I am very sensitive to fear-based parenting and children behaving out of avoidance or fear, and it's not the case with them for this. They are genuinely interested in and enjoying the foods. It's SUCH a relief.

I have posted numerous times previously on MDC on food threads that I would never make food an issue or a battle...that it wasn't a big deal to throw a pot of rice in or whatever....but that got me into a big problem. I actually *did* create a food "issue" by creating separate meals for them and not pushing them a little past their comfort zones to eat a healthy variety of foods. I was getting so resentful because the foods we make aren't like nouvelle cuisine or anything - it's mostly pretty traditional comfort kind of food. We're on week 2 of this 'new deal', and it's working beautifully. Last night, as my son ate some mashed potatoes and corn (which he had not done previously since he was less than 3 yrs old), he said, "Mom, this is just scrumptious!" : My daughter? Ate homemade mac & cheese the other night for the first time ever and LOVED it. Asked for seconds.

Where I had previously dreaded dinnertime for the last few months at least, I now look forward to dinnertime again.

So, there it is: My confession. How a well-intentioned mom slips into the "kiddie food" trap, and how she got herself out of it. I had to go outside of *my* comfort level parenting wise (I'm largely nonpunitive and a firm advocate of GD) for a few days, but the outcome has been so worth it. If either of them had started to display any major issues, I would have regrouped and figured something out (if either had sensory or medical issues, I would have figured something else out too - but they don't have sensory or medical issues preventing them from eating foods)...as it turns out, they just needed a little nudge to reopen their palates.


Whew - I feel about 20 pounds lighter getting that off my chest!

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#29 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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When I was a baby my mom didn't buy baby food, she just mashed up whatever they were eating so as a small fry I had a very varied diet. That did not stop me from having about a 6 month period where I only ate pancakes, chicken drummettes and cheerios. I can't remember how old I was, but old enough that I actually remember it. So maybe 4? Even now my mom teases me about it, and she's got my husband on board with her.
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#30 of 116 Old 03-19-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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I don't have time to read all the posts, but in most cases if parents eat healthily and offer healthy food the children will have a taste for it. We all have things we are educated about, care about and focus on more than other things. For some of us that happens to be health and proper nutrition. For others, they may have parenting strengths in other areas. While I do think improper or inadequate nutrition (like feeding kids all packaged, convenience foods full of sugar and chemicals) harms them developmentally and physically it is none of my business. Does it irk me a bit, of course....esp when the kids are constantly sick, have ear infections and yet are being fed store bought milk and walking around with chocolate chip cookies. But, right now I'm trying not to be too judgemental about it, knowing that I could improve in other areas of parenting myself.

If parents like the chicken nugget moms are looking for solutions, I would say fix the healthy stuff and wait em out. I watch my best friend feed her child nothing but cookies and chips and m&ms because he 'will not eat anything else". Yet, I have never seen him offered anything else. Who knows, I'm just glad I don't have that problem. My kid throws a tantrum if he can't have a bowl of green peas for breakfast.

Ruthla, can't say I agree with your assessment that impoverish/malnourished kids with texture issues would die of starvation if offered food. I have been in a malnourised state and towards that latter severe part of it all of my pickiness went out the window. People with certain deficiencies will crave the strangest things that are not palatable to healthy people and I personally know of children who were so starved they were eating their own feces before CPS found them. I think we are spoiled regarding food and parents pander to this too much sometimes because food has become so convenient. Thus, if a kid doesn't like something healthy that takes longer to make, what does the accomodating parent do sometimes? they make a convenience food because it is past dinner time, late, and they are too tired to make an alternative healthy food that may take more effort. I think that is how this stuff gets started, aside from modeling. I could be wrong though....I have many years of parenting ahead of me.
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