Friday, November 4, 2011

Turning 'Yuck' into 'Yum' for Picky Eaters

Studies show that 30-50% of parents of preschool age children say they have picky eaters.  I guess that every-parent-I-know is a poor sample size, because I would've guessed the percentages to be even higher, say, 100%!  Either way,  this is a wonderful podcast on picky eaters, featuring Kayla Boyse, R.N. from the University of Michigan.  It is free on iTunesU, and certainly worth the time to download and listen to. 

Here are the highlights: 

  • Pickiness often starts along with walking and may be a human defense mechanism (so that your one year old doesn't eat the poisonous berries.)  The good news: pickiness often fades around age 4 or 5 or 6. 
  • The principle of repeated exposure says that the more times you are exposed to something, the more you start to like it. Most kids must taste (not just see) a food about 10 times before they start to like it.  Unfortunately, parents usually give up after 3 or 4 times. 
  • When it comes to modeling good eating habits, other kids (or even admired cartoon characters) are more effective than Mom & Dad.
  • The more you use food as a reward (e.g.: if you eat your dinner, you can have ice cream), the more kids learn to like it.   
The bottom line: Parents are responsible for WHAT goes on the plate, and the child is responsible for HOW MUCH gets eaten. Good to remember!

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