Picky Eaters: Nature Versus NurtureBeth Anne Ballance
Yesterday when Harrison asked for “bus nummies” (aka Scooby Doo fruit snacks) for the 1000th time, my husband looked over at me & asked, “Where did our kid go, the one who ate avocado and green beans and peaches?”
The answer? I don’t know.
Harrison and food has always been a tricky subject in our house with his severe acid reflux that started when he was three weeks old. Then he developed a milk and soy allergy. At three months, he was already eating oatmeal three times per day to help soak the acid per the pediatrician’s advice. At six months, he adored bananas and went wild for green beans. As he got a little older, we kept introducing new foods and he ate eggs and cheese.
I was smug in thinking that we had avoided having a picky eater and even wondered if there was such thing as a naturally picky eater, but then he turned two and BAM! the food universe dumped us on our heads. The truth is that only those who have never experienced a picky eater blame the parents.
We parents of picky eaters know better, that it is 100% out of our control.
We eat dinner as a family and Harrison is served what we eat – for example, if I make chicken on the grill with green beans and a salad on the side, that is what he is served. Nothing is too spicy or too hard for him to eat. I’ll squeeze some dip onto his plate and cut up a banana (something he loves). Nine times out of ten, he’ll eat a few bites of banana, ignore the chicken, and maybe eat a green bean before bursting into tears.
His list of things he will eat has dwindled and for no apparent reason, he no longer eats eggs, ham, peaches, peas, corn, Cheerios, or avocado (and that’s just to name a few). He refuses to try anything new and sometimes I wonder how he survives on so few calories after he’s pushed dinner away for the fourth night in a row.
I wonder if I’m doing it right by refusing to make him “special” food to cater to his picky behavior. If I’m helping create the monster by making him “earn” food he likes during dinner – “take a bite of chicken and then you may have a bite of banana.” I’m flabbergasted that my child will eat salad but not eggs. Most of all, I’m exhausted and completely beat-down from preparing food for my son, only to have him push it away like I’ve offered him rat poison.
Do you have a picky eater? Did it change your view on whether or not picky eaters are nature or nurture?