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Children Who are Fussy/Picky Eaters


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Just now, gfweb said:

 

NLM doesn't judge the paper.  The journal does that. NLM trusts the journal.

We can nitpick forever over this but the NLM  sets the standards for the journals. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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14 minutes ago, Anna N said:

We can nitpick forever over this but the NLM  sets the standards for the journals.

 

Indeed, but I'll just add that the paper itself admits its data is flawed.
 

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This study has several limitations. Firstly, it was not accurate enough to quantify picky eating behaviour in pre-schoolers by simply asking their parents whether or not they considered their child to be a picky eater.

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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53 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Indeed, but I'll just add that the paper itself admits its data is flawed.
 

 

Yes I found that very interesting. But the whole point of me even introducing the paper was to show that somebody at least thought that they were children in China who were picky eaters. There are plenty of ways to tear this paper apart from a scientific point of view and I’m sure there are plenty of folks who will. But I am satisfied that I have done my best to be part of this conversation and to cite my sources appropriately and to defend my citations.
But it has gone so far off topic, which I regret, that I will withdraw from further involvement in it. Thanks as always for your input. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Coming in here late. Of course there is no hard and fast rule, but I personally feel it’s really difficult to generalize. I know someone said this, but often picky eaters as kids can grow up to be picky eaters as adults, can’t they? I have known kids who grew up saying, “Nothing green on my plate!” to saying the same thing at age 30.

 

I am a mother, and tried the “Eat it or starve” route but I am sure other parents can agree that it doesn’t actually work! My kid will definitely not eat and skip dinner if he doesn’t like something. I remember as a child, thinking spaghetti and broccoli was the best thing ever. I tried to get my son to eat it and he threw it up all over the table and pretty much won’t eat anything cruciferous, even if it means going to bed hungry. So yea we can try to “train” their palates, but tastes are tastes. At the same time, I think we are also sometimes guilty of thinking “Oh the kids won’t eat that, let’s make them chicken fingers!” And it kind of becomes habit and palates get “trained” to easy foods.  I remember my husband taking our toddler son (at the time) out to lunch at a fish restaurant and ordering him tortellini (a kid favorite in Italy) because he “knew” he’d eat and didn’t want to go sightseeing with a hungry kid. But when my husband’s spaghetti and clam sauce arrived, my son ate the whole dish and my husband ended up with the tortellini.

 

That said, this same kid will eat through an entire container of liver or spleen pate as well as wild boar and other game, all fish, including anchovies or smoked, lardo, all kinds of smelly cheeses, many different cuisines, and is thoroughly offended at the thought of a kid’s menu. He eats a vast array of foods yet, I still consider him a picky eater. And I, like many other parents, try to constantly get him to taste new things and dare I say, change his tastes (a few more vegetables in his diet sure wouldn’t hurt.)

 

Is this thread only about China (just delete this part if so)? If anyone is interested in what goes on in Italy, it changes up and down the entire boot and across people’s homes. So no chance to generalize. I’ve been to people’s homes in Sicily where the kids eat first – fried cutlets and fries – and are sent off to play while the parents eat the “real” food. Whereas I’ve never been to a home in Tuscany where the children ate something different and weren’t expected to sit “composed” at the table until they were “excused.” 

 

P.S. This is of course my personal experience with my kid. I was never a mother in the US, only Italy. But I was a kid in the US and we ate the adult food and that’s what I try to do with my son as much as possible.

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1 hour ago, ambra said:

Is this thread only about China

 

Certainly not! That was just my intro to the topic.

My two kids, born, bred and still in Britain, were always and are still adventurous eaters, but I'd heard and read parents talk about difficulties with their children, although I never thought about it much. Then, one day I realised I wasn't hearing those stories any more. The only significant thing that had changed was I'd moved to China, so I started loking closer.

I am mainly just interested in exploring whether or not there are cultural differences in children's food choices and aversions.

But it's not my thread. I just started it. Whatever direction it goes in, so long as it stays on topic, is up to everyone else. In fact, I look forward to it widening.

I lived in Italy for a couple of years, many years ago, and would love to hear about your experience. This topic wasn't something on my radar back then.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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20 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

They celebrate them; we suffer them. 

Then you haven’t eaten good vegetables dishes in many part of especially southern Europe, e.g. France, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Portugal… I very much doubt that the quality of the dishes makes the difference.

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44 minutes ago, Honkman said:

Then you haven’t eaten good vegetables dishes in many part of especially southern Europe, e.g. France, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Portugal… I very much doubt that the quality of the dishes makes the difference.

Indeed I have!     All of the countries you list fall under the "they" category.   "We" referenced middle America.   :) 

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29 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Indeed I have!     All of the countries you list fall under the "they" category.   "We" referenced middle America.   :)

Kneeling at the altar of Campbell's Cream of mushroom or chicken.

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1 hour ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:
2 hours ago, Honkman said:

 

Indeed I have!     All of the countries you list fall under the "they" category.   "We" referenced middle America.   :)

 

OK - your first post was referencing Asia and the way vegetables are treated in Asia is often quite different than in many  Western countries (but both are often very good). I would also argue that many US places have excellent vegetable dishes, like many restaurants in CA

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1 hour ago, Honkman said:

 

OK - your first post was referencing Asia and the way vegetables are treated in Asia is often quite different than in many  Western countries (but both are often very good). I would also argue that many US places have excellent vegetable dishes, like many restaurants in CA

As a lifelong Northern Californian, I not only agree but propose that we cook some pretty awesome vegetables at home, too.     You might enjoy thumbing through Jeremy Fox's "On Vegetables".

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15 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

You might enjoy thumbing through Jeremy Fox's "On Vegetables".

 

As a cookbook junkie I have the Fox’s book already (and enjoy it). There are many other good ones out there like Six Seasons, the different Suzanne Goin cookbooks (those are obviously not only cover vegetables) etc.

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Well, back to the topic if possible. Fussy, picky children. How do they become that way and is it more prevalent In some cultures than in others? Most of the fussy, picky eaters that I have known are just plain spoiled brats who refuse to eat the same thing that everybody else does and have parents that will indulge them in whatever they want. After all, we mustn't say no or they might not like us. There are some children who get physically sick from one thing or another and they know their own bodies and refuse to eat that thing. Many parents ignore this and force food on them causing them to become overcautious about everything. Others get hung up on one food item or refuse to eat things based on color or texture. I'm no doctor but it seems to me that this would be classified more as an eating disorder.

Is it more prevalent In some cultures than others? Definitely! Many other cultures still sit down to one meal a day and everyone eats the food that is set in front of them. Children don't know any other way. Countries with huge supermarkets and internet and television influence have a surfeit of choice. Children are bombarded with advertisements and enticements. They no longer want to accept their parents as the final authority on what they should eat.

It's a vicious cycle and it is only going to get worse because picky children grow up to have more picky children.

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 I was reading something today totally unrelated to anything food related when I came across something which grabbed my attention.

 

As I'm sure everyone knows, English has these little idioms we use when someone asks a dumb question with an obvious answer. We use rhetorical question such as:  

 

"Do bears shit in the woods?"

"Is the pope a catholic?"

 

The writer of the piece I was reading used "Do children hate broccoli?" with exactly the same meaning - "Of course. Everyone knows that!"

Other languages have the same constructs. That one works in English, but if I were to translate it to Chinese, it wouldn't work that way at all. It would just be a rather strange but literal question.

And I see that not only as a linguistic difference, but a cultural one regarding children's food choices.

 

For the record, both my children loved broccoli; it was me who was reticent on the matter. Still not my favourite.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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18 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Do children hate broccoli?

In my day, everyone hated spinach although I doubt that most of us had ever eaten it. It was just the food that everyone hated. I even read once that the creators of Popeye made spinach his power source as a means to counteract this.

My own children loved broccoli as well as brussel sprouts, turnips and rutabagas but they sure hated peas in any way shape or form.

I don't suppose that you ever heard about the Great American broccoli scandal when in 1990, President George H bush said this.

 

"I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid. And my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States. And I'm not gonna eat any more broccoli! ... For the broccoli vote out there, Barbara loves broccoli. She's tried to make me eat it. She eats it all the time herself. So, she can go out and meet the caravan of broccoli that's coming in from Washington."

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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4 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

I don't suppose that you ever heard about the Great American broccoli scandal

 

I sure have. I remember it well. You wouldn't get Xi Jinping saying anything like that!

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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4 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

You wouldn't get Xi Jinping saying anything like that!

I have a feeling that the Chinese have a much healthier attitude toward food. It seems to be not just a means of life but a point of pride in preparation and in many ways is an art form. Over here it has become an obsession, a means to fame or a practice of shaming others for their eating habits or cooking methods. Did you ever wonder what percentage of the internet and social media is strictly food related items?

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The bears and the pope - yup, but kids and "x" as an obvious hate? We've discussed here the cooking to death resulting in dislike of vegetables during  a certain era, but today universally applied - I disagree. In the 80's broccoli-cheese soup was a popular restaurant item in casual places and still is at places like Souplantation. As to picky in general - my kid is a tall slender runner and only eats when hungry. Tries most anything due to exposure but was labeled picky by his grandparents. They would come over (uninvited) to take him out for ice cream. He would say he was not hungry then and it would be a waste. They did not respond well. He likes ice cream when he wants it.  Given that, when his food budget was close to zero, he ate what the cooks put in front of him - so true hunger. His internal civility compass guided him not to say he did not like something at someone else's house, he just asked for a smaller serving or said he'd just been training and not that hungry. Oh well I've already said more than once that generalizing does not work for me - but just my opinion.

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1 minute ago, heidih said:

cooking to death resulting in dislike of vegetables

Again, we can talk about culture. The Costa Ricans eat a ton a vegetables. The only way that they know to cook them is to cook them until they are done and then cook them another half hour. Their only seasoning is salt. And they all love it that way.

That's one reason that I don't like Chinese restaurants here. The vegetables have to be cooked to mush or the Ticos won't eat them.

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And I might add to the above, they love pasta in any way shape or form. But it must be cooked into submission. Unless it lies flat and flabby, it's not cooked. When we moved here years ago, one of their favorite recipes for spaghetti was plain spaghetti dressed with ketchup and chunks of Bologna. You would think that that would cause a lifelong aversion to spaghetti but many people here still love it that way.

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24 minutes ago, scamhi said:

I am just an observer of my 1 year old grandson. His parents are following a baby guiding weaning. He eats real foods by hand no feeding with a utensil.  He eats everything right now.  Baby led weaning

Absolutely!    Modern thought is that children will feed themselves as appropriate, rather than being fed what adults think proper, with possibly less adult obesity.    Not pretty, but (have patience!) effective.

871454373_ScreenShot2021-06-18at6_51_22PM.thumb.png.d834dca63fe68d0ab1957b5cbe3bf6c7.png

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There was a piece on NPR several years (I think) ago about just this topic. The reporter focused on India, where he was joining a family in their home for dinner. Their nine-month-old was in a high chair at the table, eating small portions of everything the parents ate, up to and including a pickle that, the reporter said, singed the hair in his nose. He was most amazed, and learned that Indian families took children straight from breast milk or formula to whatever the family was eating, and thus there were very few picky eaters in India. How accurate that is, I can't attest, but I tend toward trusting NPR more than a lot of media sources.

 

I started feeding all my kids from the table fairly early. They're not, to this day, very picky. Definite individual tastes -- one will not eat raw tomatoes, one will not eat mushrooms, both foods I love and likely exposed them to early. 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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On 6/18/2021 at 9:54 PM, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Absolutely!    Modern thought is that children will feed themselves as appropriate, rather than being fed what adults think proper, with possibly less adult obesity.    Not pretty, but (have patience!) effective.

871454373_ScreenShot2021-06-18at6_51_22PM.thumb.png.d834dca63fe68d0ab1957b5cbe3bf6c7.png

I'd need a lot of studies before I'd believe that children are capable of making proper  nutrition decisions when their parents cannot 

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

I'd need a lot of studies before I'd believe that children are capable of making proper  nutrition decisions when their parents cannot

 

I's need lots of studies before I'd believe that their parents cannot.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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