My 2-year-old is getting into that “picky eater” stage. As pickiness goes, he’s not too bad. He mostly prefers carbs (toast, pasta, oatmeal, etc.) and fruit. He’s on the anti-Atkins diet, I think. But every now and then, he surprises us by eating a hot dog or a few pieces of chicken or throwing down on a plate of green beans. So I keep putting all kinds of foods in front of him.
The thing that bothers me most about his pickiness is the food waste. I always make a plate for him of whatever we’re eating because I want him to have the opportunity to eat many different foods. But when he turns up his nose, I hate throwing out the excess. Sometimes I just eat it myself, which has led me to believe that it’s not baby weight that’s the problem — it’s eating-off-the-baby’s-plate weight.
I have resolved not to be one of those parents who makes a special meal for her kids every night. I believe that when you are part of a family, you eat what the family eats — and I strive to make healthful, well-balanced, tasty meals. I think it takes a lot of exposure to new foods before kids will accept them. If they see their parents eating and enjoying a wide variety of foods, that will seem normal for them.
The other extreme is pushing unwanted food on kids, which seems to cause problems later. I ask my son to try things, but I don’t force him. I don’t want him to grow up not to eat potatoes, as an example, because his parents made him finish his. (Yes, I know someone with this affliction.)
I am confident that the picky phase passes eventually. But for some adults, it doesn’t, as this article points out. This is pickiness taken to extremes, and I can understand why it may be considered an eating disorder. (The sample menu for one picky eater is particularly frightening.) While such a diet can’t possibly be healthy, I also find it a little sad that people would live within such strict limits. Food offers us so many possibilities for pleasurable experience. When it comes to eating, there is truly always something new to discover and explore.
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- No Age Limit on Picky Eating (online.wsj.com)
- Health Tip: Dealing with Picky Eaters (nlm.nih.gov)
- The foodie who won’t eat anything (beliefnet.com)