by Joey Lamberti
Fussy eaters can be a handful. Amidst the rigors of their early development, parents have the added task of getting them to eat what is put in front of them. They’ll completely enjoy a certain food or meal one day, and the next they’ll show every disgusted emotion in their growing catalog. Mix that with funny sounds, a few tears of defiance, banging utensils, and more food on the table than on the plate (or in their stomach), and mealtime becomes a challenging experience. But, with a little extra effort—and a lot more patience and understanding—it doesn’t have to be.
Know this, parents: It’s normal for children to be food-selective. In "Are picky eaters born or made?"
Boston Globe contributor Alyssa Giacobbe
(referencing Anne K. Fishel
of Harvard Medical School
) notes that “kids are most physiologically amendable to liking new foods before the age of 2” with the disgust emotion subsequently emerging “at around age 2 to help protect the newly mobile from ingesting toxic substances and peaks between the ages of 4 and 8.” When a child prefers one food to another, parents tend to stick to this food in their meal regimen because they are happy their child is eating. While this is appeasing to both parties, sticking to the same foods has caused more and more kids to become fussy eaters far beyond age 8. It never hurts to branch out, and serve new foods that will slowly (and hopefully surely) ignite their taste buds.
While most children are fussy eaters, recent studies have found that a child’s unwillingness to eat could be directly related to their mother’s emotional state during pregnancy. As noted in Parents' anxiety, depression may lead to kids being fussy eaters"
by Reuters.com columnist, Andrew M. Seaman
, a recent study of 5,000 participants found that if a mother suffered from anxiety and depression during and after their pregnancy, there was an “increased risk of their children being fussy eaters” by age three. The researchers also found that “fathers’ anxiety during their kids’ early childhood was also associated with fussy eating.” As parents, how do we digest this information (no pun intended)?