Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"he just won't eat..."
"Oh my kids won't eat anything other than chicken fingers..."
"My little one wouldn't eat a vegtable to save her life..."

Get together with any group of mothers and you are bound to hear something like this. I, personally, just don't get it. Don't these kids get hungry? Don't their parent make them eat fruits and veggies? And what kid doesn't like fruit?

I might be being really smug here, because we never had any problems with boy when he was younger. I came into his life when he was five, and at that point, he ate just about anything, except lettuce. Veggies, fruits, just about anything else, he was good to go. He even ate chinese and indian food at that age.

Precious baby isn't picky either. At two years, four months, she eats most things, and will try just about anything. Last night she ate chicken breast (not fried or nuggets!), broccoli (no cheese sauce) and quinoa for dinner. She eats just about any kind of fruit, most veggies (she's not a big fan of asparagus) and loves rice, noodles, any kind of cheese, nuts, loves every type of bean we've ever fed her, etc.

We try to eat very healthy at home, because Hubby and I are concerned about our health (and weight) but we also want to be a good influence to our children. We've made a point of eating dinner as a family and eating healthy foods and having the kids eat the same things we do. We don't fix special meals for the kids.

Recently, there have been several cook books that promote the idea of hiding veggies and fruits in foods that your kid will eat... like adding pureed cauliflower to macaroni and cheese, for instance. I am of two minds about this. I have a real problem with the idea of hiding healthy food in what appears to be "junk" food... it seems like you, the parent, aren't doing what you should be doing here... which is teaching your child to appreciate healthy foods so that they will make good food choices when they are old enough to do so. And your kid isn't going to learn to eat his veggies this way, he could get the wrong information... that macaroni and cheese is actually good for you.

On the other hand, I know that there are some parents out there with kids that will only eat a few things. I suppose for them, these books are a great idea... But I just think it wins the battle and not the war.

I always wondered about the picky kid, and about what his parents eat. I have an answer. I have a friend who is a very, very picky eater. She often turns down dinner invitations with friends becasue she thinks they will cook something she doesn't like. Her son, age three, is just like her. won't eat anything, other than strawberry yogurt. Which I suppose is better than nothing, but geez, he won't even eat cheerios!

So I guess the question is, is this learned behavior or is it genetic? I've heard of developmental theories that say that children develope food aversions at a certain age as a sort of left-over survival mechanisim. Wonder if that could be true?

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