Picky Eaters

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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6 thoughts on “Picky Eaters

  1. Katy W. 7 July 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hey! I liked the article you linked.. this all reminds me of an episode of Nova Science Now that investigated picky eating. They now know that, due to gene differences, some people’s tastebuds are not ‘normal’, leading them to really, really, really dislike the bitter in things like broccoli – which means they aren’t making it up, it really does taste like poison to them.

    Here’s the clip (about 13 minutes)
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/0404/01.html

  2. Erika 7 July 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Oh, I’m right there with you. My daughter will be 2 next month and I struggle with the same. Thankfully our vegetable garden is starting to produce because she will eat almost anything if she picks it and is in the yard to enjoy it. We have black raspberry bushes that she devours daily with my husband.

    But you’re the first who has mentioned one of my concerns, which is food waste. And it seems like just when I’m ready to give up trying a meal that she won’t touch, she tries a bite from Dad or something and suddenly is showing interest. Then I’m all gung-ho next time I make it only to have it go untouched.

    All in all, I try not to worry. Just keep putting stuff on her plate in small portions and clearing it away. I figure I’m lucky because she does eat a few veggies (cucumbers slices and tomatoes are her favorite, snap peas or snow peas also sometimes work), she loves almost all fruits, she eats plain yogurt and cheese and milk like it is going out of style, and of course she likes the carbs (bread, dried cereal, plain pasta, etc).

    So nothing profound here, just writing to say I’m with you. It seems like we’re doing a lot better than we were 6 months ago. Or even 2 months ago. Hopefully our daughter doesn’t have life-long picky eater problems because I’d hate to live with the limitations the people in the article live with on a daily basis.

  3. Pam 7 July 2010 at 3:00 pm

    My daughter’s were 5,8, and 9 when I adopted them, so I didn’t really have to go through any picky phase, though the 5 year old tried. They ate whatever I put in front of them, and they didn’t even miss all the junk food their friends were eating.

  4. Shannon 7 July 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Katy – You’re right that it doesn’t seem like it is the sufferer’s choice to be a picky eater. Many people say it really limits their lives. I expect traveling or just going to a restaurant would be very difficult.

    Erika- Thanks for the encouragement. I know it is an almost universal phase for all children, and the best thing is to keep persevering. I forgot about edamame. My son will always eat that, and it’s packed with nutrients. He also really likes peas, although that could have changed by now.

  5. odloty 14 April 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?

    Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks a lot

  6. Shannon 17 April 2013 at 4:52 pm

    It is one of the wordpress themes. Go to wordpress.com to get a blog.

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