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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The World’s Simplest Solution to Picky Eating: Freedom Within Limits

Jun 26, 2012 by

The other day a man was telling me how one of his kids had been a picky eater.

As I always do, I asked him what he did about it.

“We’d sit there with him and tell him he had to eat certain amounts of the various things on the table. We’d sit there and insist until he did it,” he told me.

A typical strategy, I thought. And a counter-productive one.

Then he added, with a note of curiosity: “We noticed, though, that if we actually left the room for awhile he would eat.”

I wasn’t surprised by those results. Just another proof of the Push-Pull Principle.

Nobody likes to be pressured and forced to eat something they don’t want to eat….

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How Much Do You Care about Your Kids' Eating? How Much is Too Much?

Oct 24, 2011 by


In the mid-90s TV show My So-Called Life, a baby-faced Claire Danes plays Angela Chase, an emo teenager.

About four minutes into the pilot episode, the scene opens with Angela’s sigh, and an arial view of her plate of peas with mashed potatoes and gravy and meatloaf being pushed around by her fork.

“I cannot bring myself to eat a well balanced meal in front of my  mother,” says Angela in a voice-over. “It just means too much to her,”.

An old Zits comic strip uses the identical statement to illustrate the same kid attitude.

Jeremy is earnestly confiding in his best friend, Hector, how he…

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Picky Kids and the Codependent Mom: Three Tips to Break the Cycle

Oct 10, 2010 by

It’s taken me awhile to figure out what “codependent” means.  What I’ve learned makes me think that codependency is actually pretty common among us parents.  If we aren’t living with an alcoholic or an addict or an abuser (yet), we may think, “That’s not me.”  But parents of picky eaters may be just inches away from falling into the role of a codependent.

Codependency is more complicated than the joke I’ve seen about you and your cat falling into those roles: he likes being petted and you like petting him. In its classic form, it’s rather that your daughter is an addict and you bail her out, cover for her, fail to hold her responsible for anything, maybe even give her money for her fixes so she doesn’t suffer, making it easy for her to continue her habit,…

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Making kids eat vs. making them behave

Sep 21, 2010 by

This recent Dennis the Menace cartoon shows a breakdown in a mom’s attempts to make her kid eat.  After trying to make Dennis eat carrots, his mom thinks he has complied but then finds the carrots hidden in the laundry basket. So Dennis is in the corner.

His question is a good one. Is he punished for hiding carrots in the laundry or for not eating them? Is it fair to punish a child for reacting in a natural and normal and to-be-expected way to being over-controlled? The outcome is typical of force feeding.  You can lead a kid to carrots but you cannot make him eat.

The proper groundwork for good eating wasn’t laid, and not knowing what else to do, the weary, desperate mom forced Dennis. Dennis appeared to comply, but Dennis got his revenge. Then Mom got hers.  It’s…

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