Picky eaters are most usually found in infancy and childhood, but it is also very common among adults. During adulthood, being a picky eater is a bit more challenging, almost embarrassing at times. In fact, there’s a book written by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic called “Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate.” In that book she details how her childhood pickiness carried over into her adult life, and how it has troubled her along the way.
So, are you a picky eater? Did you grow up with a picky eater in your house, or around you? The reality is, either we’re picky eaters ourselves, or we know at least one or more people in our lives that are. There have many-many studies performed that detail how picky eating carries over into our own adult lives, or how our picky eating habits get handed down to our children. We all want the best for our kids, so here are five great, and simple tips to help break the cycle:
1: TRY NOT TO SHOW YOUR PICKINESS AROUND YOUR KIDS
If you at least try a good variety of vegetables and foods, your kids are more than likely to try them with you. Showing, or telling them you don’t like cooked vegetables, or certain meats, will only encourage that child to avoid them as well.
2: DON’T COOK ON-DEMAND
Most of us are already spent by the time we’re home and trying to get a home-cooked meal onto the table. No need to make it more difficult by cooking separate meals according to what each kid may want; in fact, this inspires picky eating behaviors. Even if your child rejects the original meal we cooked, encourage them to stay at the table while everyone else eats.
3: LET YOUR KIDS HELP
Recruit the kids help, starting with grocery shopping. Allowing them to assist with picking out their favorite fruits and vegetables is a great starting point when it comes to dinnertime. Once it’s time to cook, remind them of the veggies they chose, and let them help you with preparing them, along with other foods.
4: DO NOT MAKE CANDY AND DESSERTS A REWARD
By offering desserts and candies as a reward for eating dinner, we are sending the message that those are the best foods to eat. This could potentially make our children crave sweets even more. Instead, choose a couple nights a week that we offer them as a reward, unannounced, after they eat all their food.
5: MAKE IT FUN
There are so many different types of cookie cutters with different shapes that you can uses to cut veggies, and other foods to make them look more enticing to our kids. Eating is an overall sensory experience, by adding shapes and colors to food, kids are more inclined to pick it up and try it.
After all that, there’s really not an actual medical definition for the term picky eater. This term is a collective one that refers to only wanting to eat a particular food, not eating enough of a variety of food, or maybe even restricting or not willing to try new foods. There is a medical term that does depict the basis of picky eating though. This is called Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, AFRID for short. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, AFRID is not to be confused with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. People do not suffer from AFRID because they are worried about their body image, or becoming fat.
As a parent that always wants the best for my children, I vowed to try new foods with them. Then we talk about what we ate, and how we liked it. It’s okay to have food preferences, but we must be mindful of our overall health and the manner in which food should benefit our bodies.
If you are concerned with your children’s growth pertaining to picky eating, be sure to consult their physician for medical advice