Eating and nutrition is definitely a hot topic among parents. Many always wonder, is my child eating enough, are they eating a wide enough variety of food, are they getting the nutrition they really need? What I’ve experienced is that all children (and people for that matter) are very different. In my household, we always had many different meals and food arrangements going on.
Embracing their differences, a few of my children will explore and eat a wide range of foods, whereas one specifically eats a small variety of foods, including pizza, pasta, bananas, etc. Some also have preferences in food arrangement, food that is touching, not touching and even sometimes foods would have to be on a separate plate from one another. Although all raised with the same parents, parenting style, nanny and all having attended the same child care centres, they all developed very differently around food. This topic can also raise the question of “nature vs. nurture” and what really shapes children and their eating habits.
Although food and nutrition is a large concern, from what I’ve experienced, forcing my children to eat was not the answer. They were offered a meal and if they didn’t like it, it was their choice whether to eat or not. Though they may have chosen to initially skip the meal, children won’t starve themselves. Sooner or later they decided to eat what was given to them or most of it.
My opinion regarding picky eating remains the same as my opinion on many other topics – “you get what you get”. You can’t change who your children are, you can only encourage them to be the best they can be. Therefore making such a huge deal out of eating can create a complex for them and backfire the initial intentions and efforts. Children and people alike will always have likes and dislikes and a taste for certain foods and not for others.
The good news is, you can offer children a healthy, nutritious meal and they can choose to eat it or not. Sooner or later, they will come around and eat what is offered or ask for something else. Just make sure they aren’t sneaking off to the candy store!
What are some of the issues you’ve faced with food? Sharing stories is sometimes the best way to find the answer you’re looking for!