Picky Eaters: It’s All Your Fault

During our elementary school years, there existed a grand total of seven “dinners” we would eat: spaghetti with butter and cheese, Kraft macaroni and cheese (made without butter), pizza with the cheese scraped off, chicken schnitzel, ginger and scallion lo mein, and “burritos” composed solely of tomato and cheddar in a tortilla. As an adult, we now have a very short list of foods we won’t eat (mayonnaise, American, cottage and fontina cheeses and butterscotch are the only things we flat-out refuse to put in our mouth) and regularly babysit for a child that refuses to eat anything besides Annie’s macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and “guacamole” (note: said guacamole is actually just a mashed-up avocado with a pinch of salt). We’re well aware that most picky eaters grow out of it (god knows we did), but what causes it in the first place?

According to the New York Times, it’s genetics! This means that if you were a picky eater as a child, your own kid is likely to burst into tears at the sight of stuffed cabbage (not that we regularly did that in elementary school or anything). The good news? There does seem to be a bit of a cure. Experts agree that calm, repeated exposure to new foods every day for five days to two weeks can soothe most fussy eaters. The experts also advise not giving in to children’s demands for “safe” foods (a difficult thing to do when the vast majority of kid’s menus at restaurants seem to consist solely of spaghetti, pizza, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs), and giving foods neat names (a fascinating study revealed that when peas were called “power peas”, children consumed 50% more of the green guys).

As for us, we’ll just spend the next few years quietly dreading the day when karma and our own picky genetics will come back to haunt us.

Picky Eaters? They Get It From You. [New York Times]
The Experts Suggest [New York Times]

[Photo: Golden Basin]

Picky Eaters: It’s All Your Fault