Of all the challenges we’ve had to face so far as parents, eating has not been one of them, I feel lucky to say.
Or perhaps it’s not luck. Studies have found that genetics play a part in taste, and that some people naturally experience bitter flavors with greater sensitivity than others. My wife and I both love spice, and intense flavors, and rich, leafy greens; we’re both fairly adventurous when it comes to eating. Our son seems to be as well. Sure, he complains about the stems of lacinato kale (sometimes called dinosaur or black kale, it’s the variety with shadowy blue-green, spear-shaped leaves). They’re chewy, but once removed, he’ll plow through a portion of the stuff, sauteed with garlic and olive oil.
Still, all toddlers have a certain amount of pickiness, and a predilection for carbs, sugar, and fat. In part this too is biologic: these types of foods pack the most caloric punch per bite, and our kids need all the energy they can get. Not only are they growing, but their bodies lose heat faster than adults. And their little digestive systems can’t wring as much nutrition from fiber-rich foods as we do.
Social factors play a role as well. Just as your tot is experimenting with saying no, with exerting her will, with, well, being a difficult toddler, so too will she test the power dynamic at the dinner table. If I whine about not liking something, will my parents make me eat it? How will they make me? Will they withhold dessert? Scream and yell? Make a game of the meal? Send me to bed with no dinner? Even the best of eaters will throw down the gauntlet, just to see what happens and how great a reaction their behavior can create.
So what can you do if you’ve got a picky eater at your table? Click below to find 8 tips that will help you out.
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