Are picky eaters born or raised that way?

Old Aug 15th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Are picky eaters born or raised that way?

I am not a picky eater - I'll try anything once as will dh and we are raising our kids that way. They are 3 & 5 and people already are surprised by the variety of food they will eat & enjoy. I think food is one of the great joys in life and I want them to be able to enjoy it as I do throughout their lives. I think it is also a wonderful gift health wise as the more food you can enjoy the better decisions you are able to make (and still indulge in guilty gluttoneous pleasurs from time to time).

Anyway, my sons friend was over for lunch this weekend and he'd never had a tuna sandwich, which is what we were having (I told him what we were having before he made the decision whether to stay). At first he wouldn't eat it because it had a tomato on it - I told him he could take it off. He still didn't eat a bit (my kids devoured theirs) and wouldn't eat his apple slices either (he just turned 7 and his mother - who is quite large herself - just put him on a "diet") . This is just one example, as I see many of their friends unwilling to eat anything but PB&J, chicken fingers & fries.

It seems to me that if you are raised on poptarts and hot pockets, you aren't likely to become a foodie (which is why this is somehow travel related!) or have good eating habits throughout life. Thoughts?
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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My cousin has twin boys age 5. One will only eat chicken nuggets/fingers. The other will eat just about anything.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 05:53 AM
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I think most kids natural tendency is to eat what they know & like, which is why they need to be pushed to try more.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 05:56 AM
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I think it is sad that a seven year old boy had to be put on a diet.

My opinion is the more things you introduce kids to at a younger age, the more they'll eat.

However, I think some things are too strong for a kid's palate.

I remember trying some of my dad's blue cheese salad dressing as a child and about lost my cookies.

I love blue cheese as an adult.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2006, 05:57 AM
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A friend of mine swears that if you hold back on the sweeter type baby foods and stick to the veggies and meats, it will develope their tastes more. She has 2 beautiful children and they have the best eating habits and there is nothing they really won't try. Junk food and sweets is the last thing on their little minds.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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I am a foodie and include a lot of fruits and veggies in my diet. When my son was young I was determined that he would be introduced to a variety of foods. The first time I gave him broccoli he made a horrid face and pushed it away. After that anything green, even the green pasta in tri-colored pasta, was not touched. He has always been "picky" but as he gets older I have encouraged him to try new things and he has broadend his tastes. His sister on the other hand has always enjoyed different foods. I think they are born that way.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:06 AM
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I think kids can be raised to eat a variety of foods, but mostly eat what their parents eat. My sister's 4 boys have been raised to eat sugary cereal, white bread, pizza, McDonald's and junk food, and if they do by chance get any vegetables, they are usually canned.

Whenever I have them over here, I can sometimes get them to try new things, but sadly, if my sister is around and says anything negative at all about the food, they won't touch it. Unfortunately, she is a product of our own junk food upbringing and has never ventured past that. I remember as a child going to friends' houses and not knowing what half the food was that they served. It wasn't until I became an adult that I started trying everyting and became an adventurous foodie. I am now a vegetarian by choice but will eat and try everything but meat. I am hoping that if we have children, they will become the same way. (Except the meat part - DH is a BIG meat eater!)
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:09 AM
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I do think there is a genetic factor, but nurture also alters all behavior.

Even the OCD finicky, finicky people in our large extended family eat vast types and categories of nearly all the food groups available.

My kids were never sleepers (that's our problem), but eating was never a problem, not even for a mini-second. I can't even remember more than 2 food issues in all the years of their childhoods and when they came home with THEIR kids. Same thing. And I do have one DIL who eats 90% sweets, and one who is a vegetarian. Grandkids eat everything.

I've had childrens' friends, and one in particular (14 year old) that I almost had to adopt because her mother flew the coop, and never came back to get her (mid-'80's and she was with us for about 2 months). And she/they only remained "picky" eaters for a very short time, or they got very, very hungry.

But I think one of the LARGE factors in this is that the family has to have someone cooking regularly and someone shopping regularly. AND INTERESTED IN FOOD DIVERSITY AND ITS PREPARATION.

That is what I have observed. Many families in 2006 have no one who bothers to cook anything. I call it the era of the "Lunchables". EEEECKKKK!

I always worked, always cooked, and always made our own lunches. We seldom ate out as a family. Fast food was not an option. Neighborhood diner or family restaurant, maybe once a month. Holidays included 3 days of cooking and probably 4 or 5 main courses. And we had multiple daily exposures to ethnic foods- usually in their unprepared states, as all of these products were in our stores in Chicago.

And the last WAS an issue but only for a short time. I never bought or had soda pop, diet or regular, in our house in any of its forms.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:16 AM
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And since I was born and lived for my first 7 years in and behind a fruit stand/market- our vegetables and fruits are always included in every meal. In fact, we have vegetables that some of my kids' friends used to ask me, "What is that?".

But I have to admit, that I have one kid who has a love affair with food and is heavily obese. And he cooks, shops etc. for his family himself; his wife never enters a supermarket. He is a huge foodie and goes to all the Chicago biggies. But he always does joke saying, "I didn't get fat from eating junk." Little consolation for me, but you can only point the way. My other two are almost skinny at 38 & 40.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:18 AM
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We recently took a vacation with another family who is adventurous in every way (kayaking hiking rock climbing etc) except food. The kids are so limited in what they eat whereas my kids will eat anything once. I was asked the secret to getting the kids to eat a variety of foods. I had to think about but I realized that I never forced anything on the kids - I ate what I wanted and let them try it if they wanted to. If they liked it fine and if not no big deal. They'll eat steamers, escargot, blue cheese - all sorts of "weird stuff".

By the way - I saw a bit of research once that indicated that babies taste things differently than adults. Broccoli and other veggies taste very very bitter to little kids. As you age the taste buds change and broccoli starts to taste good.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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>""I think kids can be raised to eat a variety of foods, but mostly eat what their parents eat. My sister's 4 boys have been raised to eat sugary cereal, white bread, pizza, McDonald's and junk food, and if they do by chance get any vegetables, they are usually canned"">

Training for a marathon, all I can say to this is AACCKKK!

I eat junkfood, but it is organic whole grain junk food.

I've been pretty good about cutting white sugar, processed flour, and animal fat out of my diet.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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For my kids, it really depends on the preparation. They love fish - salmon, tuna steaks, etc. - but they will NOT eat a tuna salad sandwich. They will eat a green salad but without the dressing. One will eat green apples, but not red because he doesn't like the texture. We try to expose them to a wide variety of food but never force them to take a bite. They eat well, but I would never say sweets are the last thing on their minds.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:26 AM
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I don't think a seven year old ever should be put on a diet. He should be taught about healthy eating & making good decisions. However I get the feeling that in their house healthy eating means one cookie instead of four cookies (rather than a banana instead of a cookie).

I never force my kids to eat anything they don't like, but I do try to get them to try everything. If they don't like it, they don't have to eat it, but I ask them to try at least one bite (and not spit it out, even if they don't like it!).

Tastes definitely develop as we age - I use to hate cheesecake & blue cheese and now I love both. My son hated Cincinnati Chili the first couple of times I made it, but now he LOVES it, so even at the age of 5 his tastes have changed!
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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I agree with Birdie. I have three sons and have always tried to give them as many different types of tastes as possible. My middle son has a very limited diet and chooses to eat very little. He's 16 and it's always been that way. My other two sons are quite adventurous with food and will try most anything.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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GoT - LOL. And my sister wonders why I insist on bringing my own food over when I babysit!

Speaking of organic whole grain junk food - have you tried Newman O's? (organic, healthy Oreos) I have to freeze these in small bags or I will eat the whole bag at once!
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:35 AM
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Yes! I do eat Newman's Own Organic stuff.

Freezer? I'd be rooting those things out!

Red Hot Blues are my favorite nacho chips! They are so good!

Amy's makes the best pot pies and pizza.

I found a company that makes organic apple pie (along with blueberry, pumkin, and peach) and they are so good Mr.GoTravel and I fight over them! I'll try and find a link.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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I teach parenting classes for our local school district. A dietician spoke to my classes last year and she said research indicates kids sometimes have to try a food 15 times before they accept the new flavor as familiar. Kind of like developing a palate for wine, I think!! I agree that NOT making food a battle or an issue but OFFERING diverse choices and MODELING adventurous eating are key. My daughters are both very healthy, daring eaters; in fact I think they have surpassed me in making healthy choices. Family mealtime has been shown to have a bigger impact on a child's success in school and life than academics, sports, church, scouting, etc...I also encourage parents to have kids involved in planning, shopping and cooking; if your work and pride are involved in the meal prep you are less likely to turn down the food!! Snowrooster: I think you are on the right track with your kids!!
And travelers know, the way other countries really stop for meals and SAVOR flavors rather than gulping fast food is healthier!
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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Because picky eaters have trouble TRAVELING to exotic locations or dining out at high end restaurants as they don't often offer chicken fingers & fries!! One of the reason I want my kids to be "good eaters" is so once they get a bit older we can do these things w/them. GET IT????
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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I always introduced new food with options--you take a bite, don't like it, you can substitute (carrots, salad, apples). My kids will try anything. (But they'll have to learn about brussel sprouts and cabbage from someone else...)
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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I thought I read somewhere that tastes buds actually change about every 7 years. Not a complete turn around but can change a few things.
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