Moving Down Mom’s Hierarchy of Foods: How “Finding Something Your Kid Will Eat” Entrenches Picky Eating

Oct 21, 2013 by

“We wonder how we get started doing these things, but we do them.”  — Mom of a budding picky eater

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When I was little, sometimes at dinner my mom might ask me if I wanted more of something, let’s say a dish called “Spanish Rice” (that’s something I remember not liking much as a child),  and I might answer, “I’m full for that.” I might often have been “full for” the main meal, yet if dessert was forthcoming, I was usually not “full for” that.

We all have a hierarchy of our preferred foods. If we are extremely hungry, we may feel “hungry enough to eat a horse” or horse meat, or even a hunk of hard, dry, unseasoned liver. Hunger makes food more appealing. If that horse, or horse meat, or even well-prepared liver appears on the table, though most people will pass on it unless they are truly about…

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How to Reward Picky Eaters for Being Picky

Sep 11, 2013 by

My daughter the psychology major taught me an important parenting lesson the other day.

She was an intern on a research study on children this summer. The study was looking into the ways children learn verbs. So for several weeks, the research team brought in children ages about 18 months to about four, one by one, with their parents, to be tested and observed, to get data for the study.

One day, a little boy about two years old came in with his dad. Little Josh refused to interact at all with the researchers. He acted extremely shy, burying his face in dad’s chest. He wouldn’t cooperate in any way. On and on, the researchers, along with the dad, desperately attempted to lessen his discomfort and entice him to go along with the program. Finally, the dad stepped up and said to Josh, “If you will do what they want you…

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Sacred Appetite Goes Undercover to Expose the PediaSure Picky Eater Hotline Scandal

Aug 25, 2013 by

Or: “PediaSure: Why Not? Part II”

Late on the evening of August 15, I picked up a brochure in a pediatrician’s waiting room.

Live 1-on-1 nutritional support for picky eating problems. Dietitians available 24/7,” it declared.

“Has picky eating taken over? We’ll help you take back the table and build lifelong healthy eating habits,” the headlines continued.

Then I saw it: “PediaSure Feeding Expert.” The hackles rose on the back of my neck.

“‘Feeding Expert,’ indeed,” thought I. “Like Jack Daniels offering a free helpline for alcoholics. Their answer to the problem is probably along the lines of ‘the hair of the dog that bit you.’ PediaSure is a short-term ‘solution’ that makes the problem worse.”

I have an adversarial relationship to PediaSure, you see.

Admittedly it’s a one-sided relationship. It’s like David and Goliath, but Goliath isn’t aware of David.  Few, in fact, know that this David…

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The Distracted Child: When That’s a Useful Thing

Aug 15, 2013 by

Anger-free ways to keep the peace & neutralize resistance in a picky eater or other strong-willed child

The other day, I noticed a dad with his toddler on a sidewalk. The little tot, about 18 months old, was trying to go in one direction. The dad, towering over her, was looking down at her and moving right in front of her each time she tried to go that direction. She would move to go around him, and he would step over to block her way, over and over. No words were being exchanged. She had no understanding of why her dad was preventing her from going that way. Dad was making no effort to explain the situation to her. His mind seemed to be elsewhere. Naturally, the little girl was getting a seriously frustrated look on her face. Maybe she was too young to understand why she couldn’t go there,…

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How to Stumble Over the Cure to Picky Eating on the Road to Duty

Aug 1, 2013 by

“Happiness is not found by looking for it. You stumble over happiness on the road to duty.” — Dr. Bob Jones Sr.

If your child is a picky eater, you are looking for the cure. You are probably working hard to get him to eat more of the things you want him to eat. You are probably talking about it a good bit at mealtimes. You are probably offering your child incentives to eat. You may dread mealtimes. You no doubt worry a lot about your child’s eating. You might be changing what foods you offer in response to your child’s pickiness. You’re doing all you know to do. You are looking for happiness.

The problem is, and you’ve probably noticed it, that pressuring your child to eat isn’t solving the problem. It’s not that you don’t care or aren’t trying, but working hard at solving the problem is getting you…

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