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s/o "Kid Food" Nature vs Nuture

Do you think food pickiness & only eating "kid food" has is more nature or nuture?

From my experience, with the kiddos on both sides of the family.. It seems that the side that indulged the "kid food" & didn't even make the kiddos try a variety of new things when they were younger are the ones that have the super picky kids.

The other side that made their kids eat what was available & only caved with "kid food" some of the time has kids that are significantly less picky.

Therefore, in my experience, it seems like its more of a nuture thing than a nature. Granted, I understand some of us just don't like certain foods, blah blah. But that's moreso taste as opposed to general attitude towards trying new things.

WDYT?

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Re: s/o "Kid Food" Nature vs Nuture

  • I think it's more nurture than nature. H has a friend who's wife is the pickiest eater I've ever met. Since she "doesn't like" most foods she doesn't make them for her 2 kids. Those 2 kids pretty much only "like" McDonalds, chicken nuggets and mac&cheese- the same things the mom lives on.

    My parents made my plate and I was expected to at least try the food that was on it. If I really didn't like something (like fish) and my family was having a fish fry I would either eat the side dishes that I did like or my mom would make something like ramen that she knew I would eat. I love most veggies and I'm not a picky eater. I like to try new things, within reason- I'm not eating gator or squirrel or anything weird.
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  • image jodippls:
    I think it's more nurture than nature. H has a friend who's wife is the pickiest eater I've ever met. Since she "doesn't like" most foods she doesn't make them for her 2 kids. Those 2 kids pretty much only "like" McDonalds, chicken nuggets and mac&cheese- the same things the mom lives on.

    OMG this is EXACTLY the same thing that happened with my brother's kids. Ex-SIL lives off of Goldfish & Diet Pepsi, so the kids pretty much lived off Goldfish too. It only started to get slightly better when the pedi told her that my niece (yeah, the same one with the health problems) was not growing properly & she needed more variety in her diet. Also, since their divorce, my brother has gotten a lot tougher on making them eat more things.

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  • I think it's definitely a nurture thing.

    At work, the kids eat normal (grown-up) food, and even the ones who turn their noses up at everything at home eat it because they know that there isn't anything else for lunch (it's not that we intentionally starve them if they don't eat, it's just that with one cook supplying to 150 kiddos, we don't have the capacity to cater to our picky eaters.). Parents are always amazed when we tell them "Yes, your child ate chicken and rice and sweet potatoes today"



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  • I can't say from experience because I don't have kids yet and my nephew is still too young to eat real food, but I definitely think it's a nurture thing, and agree with PP's comments.
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  • This is something I really worry about when it comes to my kids. I hope that in some way I can encourage them to eat lots of different foods. I don't think it's a good idea to feed them only chicken nuggets and mac n cheese. But is this one of those things that I don't understand because I haven't been there? 

    I was super picky as a kid. I'm not sure if it had to do with what my parents did or not.... But I eat a ton more variety now as an adult and realized that I was really missing out. Hell, I wouldn't even touch mexican food until my last year of college. what was wrong with me?! I want my kids to be able to enjoy all the great foods we have available to us. But also to learn about moderation and making good choices. But I don't want to teach this is good, this is bad, ya know. I want them to learn to enjoy vegetables and other "healthy" foods, not just eat them because they have to. But of course this could all be completely unrealistic and I guess I will just do the best I can...

  • Nurture absolutely. I am an incredibly picky eater and so is my sister. My mom went to school during the day and worked at night when we were growing up, so a "home cooked meal" was hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. We didn't eat a lot of variety or veggies and I am now the same way as an adult. I do make sure to at least try everything now that I am grown, but there are a lot of things I don't eat.
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  • Sounds like we're all in agreeance. Growing up for me, the rule was to at least try everything on your plate, if you didn't like it fine, but you had to try it. The motto was "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit."
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  • OK, question.

    I was at a bbq at my friend's house. We were cooking out chicken and burgers, and had a bunch of different sides to go with it. She has a daughter who was 2 I think. So she threw 3 frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave for her daughter to eat. She said "we have a really hard time getting her to eat enough, and she doesn't like a lot of foods, so we just do what we have to do. she eats these nuggets so we make them for her all the time." 

    So is that bad parenting? Or is that surviving and making sure that somehow, your kid is getting fed? 

  • image mon.petit.chou:

    OK, question.

    I was at a bbq at my friend's house. We were cooking out chicken and burgers, and had a bunch of different sides to go with it. She has a daughter who was 2 I think. So she threw 3 frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave for her daughter to eat. She said "we have a really hard time getting her to eat enough, and she doesn't like a lot of foods, so we just do what we have to do. she eats these nuggets so we make them for her all the time." 

    So is that bad parenting? Or is that surviving and making sure that somehow, your kid is getting fed? 

    IM(childless)O, I think that's lazy parenting. Example: Thanksgiving. My brother made his kids chicken nuggets without even trying to make them taste what we were having. BIL made a plate with a tiny scoop of pretty much everything for niece (she was 2 at the time). Although she was complaining about not wanting to eat it, he bargained with her that she could go play if she at least tasted everything on the menu. She ended up falling in love with green bean casserole. She still complains sometimes about trying new foods sometimes, but he coaxes her into it.

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  • image mon.petit.chou:

    OK, question.

    I was at a bbq at my friend's house. We were cooking out chicken and burgers, and had a bunch of different sides to go with it. She has a daughter who was 2 I think. So she threw 3 frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave for her daughter to eat. She said "we have a really hard time getting her to eat enough, and she doesn't like a lot of foods, so we just do what we have to do. she eats these nuggets so we make them for her all the time." 

    So is that bad parenting? Or is that surviving and making sure that somehow, your kid is getting fed? 

    I would think there is something more nutritionally sound they could supplement her diet with, like Pediasure or something. I hate processed foods for kids. There's always bartering too...with my little brother's we always tell them they can get more of X food that they want, if they eat 2 more pieces of broccoli.
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  • Definitely nurture. I agree with pretty much everything PPs said.
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  • I'm going to chime in and disagree a bit. 

    First, my sister and I were raised the same way but I am and have always been a pretty picky eater while my sister has always pretty much eaten everything.  That's not to say my parents didn't try to make me eat more varied and healthier foods...my mom would blend chunky vegetable soups, etc. and try to get me to eat things that way, but sometimes I'd be given mac n cheese instead of liver. ;)

    Also, being the mom of a toddler, I can definitely say that I want to make sure my kid eats.  We always start off with trying to feed James whatever we're eating...sometimes he won't eat it, sometimes he does.  We continue to have him try things because you never know when it'll be a 'yes' day, but if doesn't want to eat broccoli I know he won't that night, so he gets something else.  Plus, if I'm having a party, I'm definitely going to have food available that I know he will eat.  If I were hosting something, I wouldn't want to spend an hour with a crying toddler trying to throw food around with my guests there...I'd leave that for another day.

  • Definitely nurture. EX: My sister and I are probably the least picky eaters you can find. We were raised that way. My BIL is extremely picky & won't touch vegetables. My niece (2 1/2 yrs) eats whatever my sister is cooking them for dinner including the vegetables that BIL won't touch. My sister doesn't make special meals for her. Seriously, the child inhales broccoli, spinach etc. She of course goes through phases where she'll be picky about something she ate the previous week & they make slight adjustments, but I really thinnk my sister's parenting has played a huge role in her eating habits.

    I also think what you eat while you're pregnant can have something to do with it. EX: My SIL was very sick throughout her pregnancy. For some reason turkey dogs were something she craved and could eat. The Dr said if she ate all natural it was ok for her to have them a few times a week. My nephew will not touch a beef hotdog, but he will eat a turkey dog anytime. It's pretty funny.

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  • Nurture, for sure. DH is a very picky eater and I blame his parents.
  • image Madisen:

    Also, being the mom of a toddler, I can definitely say that I want to make sure my kid eats.  We always start off with trying to feed James whatever we're eating...sometimes he won't eat it, sometimes he does.  We continue to have him try things because you never know when it'll be a 'yes' day, but if doesn't want to eat broccoli I know he won't that night, so he gets something else.  Plus, if I'm having a party, I'm definitely going to have food available that I know he will eat.  If I were hosting something, I wouldn't want to spend an hour with a crying toddler trying to throw food around with my guests there...I'd leave that for another day.

    See I think that's different though. You're not being a lazy parent that goes stright to the "easy kid food." You're trying to introduce him to new things. You're attempting to influence his food choices. Of course you can't force feed him. From what I know of kids without actually having one, they can be picky & go through phases. Of course if he won't eat, you'll have to find something that works. That's understandable, but at least you're giving him a chance to like and experience different things.

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  • image clseale13:
    image Madisen:

    Also, being the mom of a toddler, I can definitely say that I want to make sure my kid eats.  We always start off with trying to feed James whatever we're eating...sometimes he won't eat it, sometimes he does.  We continue to have him try things because you never know when it'll be a 'yes' day, but if doesn't want to eat broccoli I know he won't that night, so he gets something else.  Plus, if I'm having a party, I'm definitely going to have food available that I know he will eat.  If I were hosting something, I wouldn't want to spend an hour with a crying toddler trying to throw food around with my guests there...I'd leave that for another day.

    See I think that's different though. You're not being a lazy parent that goes stright to the "easy kid food." You're trying to introduce him to new things. You're attempting to influence his food choices. Of course you can't force feed him. From what I know of kids without actually having one, they can be picky & go through phases. Of course if he won't eat, you'll have to find something that works. That's understandable, but at least you're giving him a chance to like and experience different things.

    Sometimes we do...especially when going out to restaurants or when we have others over.  So maybe some would judge me based on what they see rather than what happens every night in our home.

  • I do think with toddlers, it is understandable to go to the "favorite/lazy parent foods"  in those situations. Your not feeding him chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese every night for dinner it is easier.
  • image Madisen:

    I'm going to chime in and disagree a bit. 

    First, my sister and I were raised the same way but I am and have always been a pretty picky eater while my sister has always pretty much eaten everything.  That's not to say my parents didn't try to make me eat more varied and healthier foods...my mom would blend chunky vegetable soups, etc. and try to get me to eat things that way, but sometimes I'd be given mac n cheese instead of liver. ;)

    Also, being the mom of a toddler, I can definitely say that I want to make sure my kid eats.  We always start off with trying to feed James whatever we're eating...sometimes he won't eat it, sometimes he does.  We continue to have him try things because you never know when it'll be a 'yes' day, but if doesn't want to eat broccoli I know he won't that night, so he gets something else.  Plus, if I'm having a party, I'm definitely going to have food available that I know he will eat.  If I were hosting something, I wouldn't want to spend an hour with a crying toddler trying to throw food around with my guests there...I'd leave that for another day.

    I think I agree with you a little and that's why I have a hard time saying it's all nurture, but I do hope that there's enough nurture aspect to it that I can do the best I can for my kid. 

    It probably wasn't fair to call out my friend's chicken nugget incident on the night they were hosting guests. Who knows what it's like on a nightly basis when they don't have other people over. But the whole conversation surrounding it that night really got me thinking. 

  • image Madisen:
    image clseale13:
    image Madisen:

    Also, being the mom of a toddler, I can definitely say that I want to make sure my kid eats.  We always start off with trying to feed James whatever we're eating...sometimes he won't eat it, sometimes he does.  We continue to have him try things because you never know when it'll be a 'yes' day, but if doesn't want to eat broccoli I know he won't that night, so he gets something else.  Plus, if I'm having a party, I'm definitely going to have food available that I know he will eat.  If I were hosting something, I wouldn't want to spend an hour with a crying toddler trying to throw food around with my guests there...I'd leave that for another day.

    See I think that's different though. You're not being a lazy parent that goes stright to the "easy kid food." You're trying to introduce him to new things. You're attempting to influence his food choices. Of course you can't force feed him. From what I know of kids without actually having one, they can be picky & go through phases. Of course if he won't eat, you'll have to find something that works. That's understandable, but at least you're giving him a chance to like and experience different things.

    Sometimes we do...especially when going out to restaurants or when we have others over.  So maybe some would judge me based on what they see rather than what happens every night in our home.


    Ahhh...good point. I'm sure there are situations (like the ones you mentioned) where even parents with the best of intentions make exceptions to the rules. That's understandable. You're right though, people that just see that & don't know you may judge and think that's the rule for you rather than the exception.
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  • image clseale13:
    Ahhh...good point. I'm sure there are situations (like the ones you mentioned) where even parents with the best of intentions make exceptions to the rules. That's understandable. You're right though, people that just see that & don't know you may judge and think that's the rule for you rather than the exception.

    I think this is key when it comes to kids...flexibility.  There are plenty of things that I do, food related and not, that I used to say I'd never do but now I do.  And I'm sure there will be more.

  • My last charges were the worst eaters Ive ever met. Usually with kids you can barter or coax them into trying something new, but with these two it wouldn't happen. Their mom made them mostly Mexican food and stuff out of a box. One night I tried to give them baked chicken in sweet teriyaki sause and it was a huge fight and the toddler gagged and then puked. I vowed that night that I would never try to feed them something new again, it just wasn't worth the fight. So I can totally see where some parents just give up and default to easy food. So I think it starts with nature, but ends up being justified by nurture. After these last two kids I don't judge parents that feed chicken nuggets, I've been in food fights with a three year old and it can be brutal.
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  • image Madisen:
    image clseale13:
    image Madisen:

    Also, being the mom of a toddler, I can definitely say that I want to make sure my kid eats.  We always start off with trying to feed James whatever we're eating...sometimes he won't eat it, sometimes he does.  We continue to have him try things because you never know when it'll be a 'yes' day, but if doesn't want to eat broccoli I know he won't that night, so he gets something else.  Plus, if I'm having a party, I'm definitely going to have food available that I know he will eat.  If I were hosting something, I wouldn't want to spend an hour with a crying toddler trying to throw food around with my guests there...I'd leave that for another day.

    See I think that's different though. You're not being a lazy parent that goes stright to the "easy kid food." You're trying to introduce him to new things. You're attempting to influence his food choices. Of course you can't force feed him. From what I know of kids without actually having one, they can be picky & go through phases. Of course if he won't eat, you'll have to find something that works. That's understandable, but at least you're giving him a chance to like and experience different things.

    Sometimes we do...especially when going out to restaurants or when we have others over.  So maybe some would judge me based on what they see rather than what happens every night in our home.

    I'm with Christie... at least you TRY.... even if it's not 100% of the time. I get that certain situations its easier to just make a grilled cheese & call it a day, but you obviously don't seem to be doing that for every single meal.

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