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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When Picky Eating Leads to Abnormal Parenting

Apr 24, 2013 by

Marlena’s picky eater, six-year-old Walker, was overweight. He wanted to eat bean-and-cheese tacos and little else every day. His eating was abnormal. So Marlena reacted, desperately.  She did all she knew to do.

One night, the whole rest of the family found themselves doing the chicken dance after every bite he ate, to get him to eat. True story.

Another night, he allowed Mom to spoon chicken and rice into his mouth while he played video games.  She would feed him a “second dinner” before bedtime if he refused dinner, so that he wouldn’t wake up in the night, screaming from hunger.

Any given  night at the dinner table found both parents badgering Walker non-stop to eat more of this, more of that, with threats of punishment and promises of reward.

Following  a Picky Eater Down the Wrong Path

If you have abnormal eating going on in your house, your automatic response may be…

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It Doesn’t Matter if She Likes Brocoli, As Long As She Eats It. Or Does It?

Mar 12, 2013 by

How much good we get out of our food depends a lot on how much we enjoy it, one study suggests.

When researchers fed a spicy Thai dish to a group of Swedish women and to a group of Thai women, the Thai women liked the dish more and absorbed more iron from it than did the Swedes.

Then when both groups were fed a Swedish dish, the Swedish women liked the dish more and also absorbed more iron from their meal than the Thai women did, recounts Barry Glassner in his 2007 book The Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat.

Perhaps even more interestingly, when a meal was blended up into an unappealing mush, even the  women who had enjoyed the original meal got less out of it. And when both groups were then fed a very good-for-you but sticky and unsavory paste, none…

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Review of Food Chaining, Part II

Nov 28, 2012 by

Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet, by Cheri Fraker, et al.

“Children are not pets to be trained.”

— Alfie Kohn in Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

Food Chaining has a lot of great information in it. It offers parents in-depth understanding of the serious reasons some children refuse to eat. It also offers a logical plan to increase the range of foods even the pickiest eaters will eat. It has a great section about teaching kids on the autism spectrum about food. It’s all about figuring out WHY a child is refusing food and understanding what the child needs to improve her eating.

Then, in a section called “Positive Reinforcement at the Table,” the authors advise us to ignore children completely whenever they won’t eat or they misbehave at the table. When…

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Picky Eaters! It’s Rude! It’s Embarrassing! Part II: 8 more reasons nobody should have to eat anything, ever

Aug 30, 2012 by

Mom brings out a new casserole with artichokes, chicken, cream sauce, and noodles. The kids begin to freely complain: “I don’t like that.”

“You haven’t even tried it,” Mom responds. “You have to take at least one bite. No dessert unless you eat dinner.”

It continues:

“This tastes weird.” “What is this stuff? I don’t want it.” “How much do I have to eat to get dessert?” “Can I have some cheese sticks instead?” “Yuck!”

What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s unacceptable dinner table conversation, that’s what. It’s shocking. It’s embarrassing. It’s boring! Just because you have a picky eater doesn’t mean this kind of stuff is OK.

Picky kids are being rude to their mom about the food she cooked. Mom’s allowing it, as if the children might eat better if they get to talk that way.

If we force a child to eat, he’ll defend himself and rail against the food. That’s a normal…

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