Picky Eaters : Born or Made? - Page 6 - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-14-2008, 01:44 AM
 
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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.)
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:20 AM
 
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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 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.
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:32 AM
 
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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...
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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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.

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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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.

Don't trust anyone under 5! Mom to 3 boys under 5. Blogging to save my sanity.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:24 PM
 
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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.
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:13 PM
 
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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.
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Old 07-15-2008, 12:17 AM
 
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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.
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Old 07-15-2008, 01:06 AM
 
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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)

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 07-15-2008, 03:12 AM
 
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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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Old 07-15-2008, 07:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
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?
If a parent is being conscientious enough about their child's diet to make sure that the mac 'n' cheese is organic, homemade deliciousness and the pizzas are whole wheat and homemade, my guess is that they are conscientious enough to make sure their kids are not getting all the additives and preservatives and hfcs that are causing so many health issues in kids. It's the kids like my great nieces and nephew that get the boxed mac 'n' cheese every day, along with chicken mcnuggets, french fries, processed pastries, heavily sweetened applesauce that contains HFCS, snacks that come in plastic wrap and had soda pop in their bottles that are at issue here for me. These kids don't even know everyday vegetables like cabbage, zucchini, and peppers and *never* get a meal from scratch or even a dessert that's not from a box. I love these kids and it hurts to see them going through such health problems related to how they eat (hospital stays for impacted bowels, the 8 year old going through precocious puberty and being on high blood pressure and high cholesterol medicine for example).

The food you are talking about (whole grains, real cheese, fresh fruit, vegetables) are a far cry different from the processed crap that so many parents blindingly feed their child every day out of ignorance or (in my niece's case) laziness in the name of pickiness. I mean, if a child likes chicken, it seems to me that if they insist that it comes from a certain fast food restaurant and won't eat it any other way... well, that's just a power trip. If a child doesn't like the taste of chicken, that's a whole other story.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:03 AM
 
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I think they are mostly made, but people do seem to be born with preferences for certain things and aversions towards others. I WISH I liked raw tomatoes, but they make me gag. DS doesn't like black beans (although he tries them every time) and dd isn't keen on peppers.

My experience has only been with children who spent the better part of their first year in an orphanage, and in general, kids who have NOT been getting food on demand, tend to just want FOOD all the time and are not too picky about what it is.

I honestly don't know if my kids are such adventurous eaters because of their start in life, or if it is because we eat a huge variety of food and I don't make special meals (except for babies of course, but even then it's a varied diet) or both. All In know is that it makes life extremely easy because we travel so much, and I know I can always feed my kids. They will eat anything!
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
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?
Because the majority of parents who fix these types of meals for kids as a regular thing are probably NOT doing organic/veggie added/whole wheat. They are doing the blue box in a bowl or calling the cheapest pizza delivery. Or buying those Kid Cuisine frozen meals. *That* is not healthy on a day to day basis.

Speaking of those Kid Cuisine things.... I let ds get almost anything (food wise) he asks for. If he asks for it and expresses interest in eating it, we buy it (sometimes not at that exact moment, we might wait for it to go on sale but we eventually buy it for him). Because of all his food issues he was NEVER wanting to try anything new. So now that he's asking for new foods we encourage it. Anyway, at the store the other day he asked for one of those Kid Cuisine meals. I about had a heart attack. I think that's the only thing I've said "no" to. Have you ever looked at the nutrition facts? Holy crap that's a lot of sodium! I'm 99% sure it would have been un-eaten anyway, but I just couldn't do it. DP commented that he ate a lot of those as a kid.... it only took me reminding him of his blood pressure issues for him to realize we were not buying one for Owen.

But he does eat, and love, Kraft Mac n Cheese (only kind he'll eat ) and pizza (with all the toppings scrapped off).

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 07-15-2008, 10:33 AM
 
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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. This just lends more credence to the argument that picky eaters are made, not born.


My mother was an extremely unadventerous eater. The type to proclaim she didn't like something she had probably never tried. As a result, I was in my late teens before I tried guacomole, refried beans, anything my mom thought "looked gross". I didn't try curry until I was an adult - my mom always said curry smelled disgusting. What a surprise - I loved them.

I think picky eaters can be made. I dont' think my picky eater was made.
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Old 07-15-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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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.
I don't think they're bad unless it's a constant (eg - my sister's son gets a bowl of ice cream and a chocolate bar for breakfast because that's what he'll eat). I imagine a lot of MDCers would cringe if they saw some of the things we eat, but I don't count every french fry as my kids being one step closer to a heart attack. I couldn't live like that and I think the negative association with food could rub off on kids causing significant problems later on in life. As long as our diet is balanced I don't worry about junk. If one of the kids started wanting only junk, it would all disappear quickly until they were eating properly again.
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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I don't think they're bad unless it's a constant (eg - my sister's son gets a bowl of ice cream and a chocolate bar for breakfast because that's what he'll eat). I imagine a lot of MDCers would cringe if they saw some of the things we eat, but I don't count every french fry as my kids being one step closer to a heart attack. I couldn't live like that and I think the negative association with food could rub off on kids causing significant problems later on in life. As long as our diet is balanced I don't worry about junk. If one of the kids started wanting only junk, it would all disappear quickly until they were eating properly again.
I agree that ice cream and chocolate daily for breakfast probably isn't the best habit to get into. I'd be concerned if that's what my kids wanted on a daily basis, and once they were old enough talk to them about what bodies need and how to make good choices. Although if the rest of the diet is OK, it doesn't really matter imo whether the ice cream is for breakfast or after dinner - in our house we eat some pretty weird stuff sometimes for breakfast. Dd went through a stage of eating a bowl of coleslaw for breakfast every day. :

I have to say, though, that my kids choose to eat ice cream pretty much every day. I have it in the freezer, and they help themselves. If they want to eat more, they can. It's a non-issue. The only restraint is that dh shops once per week, so if the carton is gone on Tuesday, there won't be any more until Friday. They know this and they make things last - they will start rationing out the apples too if they see the bin is getting low. And in fact they often serve less ice cream for themselves than I would if I were serving, which shows me that they self-regulate very well.

I also let them choose what they want for most meals. Often it's mac'n'cheese (I only buy organic) or pizza. Frequently it's yoghurt and fruit, or waffles with yoghurt, or stir-fry veggies too. But if it's mac'n'cheese every day, I don't see that as a big deal any more than if it were yoghurt every day. Rather like if they want to play chess every day - which they do at the moment. It's a phase, an enthusiasm, and it will probably pass - whether it's mac'n'cheese or chess. If it doesn't, so what? They can eat mac'n'cheese when they are adults (dh certainly does) and they can play chess too!

I try to see food as objectively as I do other choices that my children make. They live in the real world, so I can't stop them from ever tasting the crap sort of mac'n'cheese. Nor can I stop them trying gunky costco b'day cake, although two of mine hate that stuff, and the third thinks he likes it but in fact takes a couple of spoonfulls, and leaves it. I think that the more you try to control food, or see 'picky' or 'adventurous' as something that you can place value upon, the more you are setting up issues for the future.

I'd rather ignore the fact that my child is 'picky' and make it a non-issue, than worry about it. If that means cutting crusts off bread, no biggie. If it means picking chunks of tomato out of a bowl of pasta as I serve, no biggie. Just as I'd tie their shoelaces if they asked, I'd pick out the tomato out of the pasta. Because I try to see it as the same sort of task. I think that we can get hung up on food in a way that is unhealthy.

So, I have what is thought by many as 'picky' eaters in my house. And I don't honestly care.
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Old 07-15-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ann_of_loxley View Post
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.
I'm puzzled by your post -- because I'd got the impression, from reading other posts of yours around the boards, that you pretty much believe in non-coercive parenting like me? So it's hard to imagine you saying "they won't starve themselves to death" (which I guess means you're advocating withholding the "crap-foods" to force them to eat the healthier foods once they get hungry enough?).

That just doesn't sound like the "you" I've conversed with on other threads! Of course, I know your son is pretty young, so if all you've been buying and serving at home are healthy foods, I can see that that's probably what he's used to and he's probably not asking for "crap." So there's likely no coercion or saying "No" involved.

However, at some point kids usually do learn about the foods that are popular with many of their peers in our (Western) society. But maybe when you do the crunchy thing totally right for the first few years, they shun the junk of their own volition, because they're used to higher-quality food?

I wouldn't know, as I can't claim to have done it totally right. My girls both do enjoy some fruits and vegetables -- my youngest enjoys practically everything, while my oldest has a smaller range, but definitely enough to thrive on -- we just make sure to have the ones she prefers on hand, while dh and I, and our 3yo, experiment freely. And our 8yo will taste a new thing, she's just not as likely to accept it as our 3yo.

Both girls also enjoy (and ask for) candy, periodic trips to McDonald's, and so on. I don't feel right about refusing whenever we have the means to get what they're asking for, so we get them these things, but I also talk about what our bodies need to grow and be healthy. Fortunately, our 3yo is unlikely to think about the unhealthy stuff unless she sees it, so we keep it put up, and try to make sure we've provided healthy stuff before she sees our 8yo with the candy and asks for some.

Our 8yo thinks about it on her own without having to see it -- but at least she also has a better understanding about taking care of herself, and about what constitutes proper nutrition.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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