Why Are Kids Such Picky Eaters?

July 16, 2013 by joy

Here is a summary I read of one school of thought:

  1. Kids have more taste buds than adults. That can make strong foods like broccoli less enjoyable for children.
  2. You’re not eating your veggies. And maybe a lot of other things, too – kids take their cues from parents.
  3. They are exercising their agency. Since they don’t have a lot of areas of control, this is an easy one to try.
  4. It was a survival tactic for our ancestors. ?? Really.  This is saying that our ancestors stayed away from unknown foods to protect them from being poisoned.
  5. Food equals punishment.  “Eat your greens or else,” doesn’t put healthy foods in a good light.  And what do we often use for rewards…it wouldn’t be broccoli.
  6. It’s in their genes.  There really is a gene – GeneTZS2R38 – that will make a child that has it less likely to enjoy robust flavors.  Hummm – want to make an appointment to check that one out?

Not being an expert, I would assume there is truth in those six ideas.  Being a mom that didn’t know about those serious factors, I learned from experts in “my day” that discipline is a huge factor. A regular schedule and not allowing pickiness will go a long way in getting children to eat.  At Pioneer Girls Camp – we had a one tablespoon rule: they had to eat one tablespoon of each dish and if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to ask for more.  That teaches more than just broadening their food horizon.

Dr. Lendon Smith, author of Feed Your Kids Right – advocated not catering to their attempts of control in this area, not shoving foods they dislike down them – but not feeding them anything else until the next meal time.  He was controversial in “my day” – but his practical suggestions saved me stress.

And – I have three thirty-some-year-old non-picky eaters as a result.  Grandchildren, too.

Choices Matter!

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