As a dietitian, I hear time and time again, “my child is such a picky eater!! I can’t get him/her to eat anything but chicken nuggets, french fries, and peanut butter.”
Tyson, being the “genius” advertizers that they are, understand that children in this country are growing up on fried foods like chicken nuggets and thought: “Hey, let’s appeal to the new “natural” health craze and direct our commercial toward frustrated parents with picky children. We can make them think OUR chicken nuggets are the healthier choice!!”
When I first saw this commercial, I was pretty outraged. What kind of message are they sending? As one reader pointed out, they show the plate with ALL the grapes uneaten. Really?
The most basic reason why a child is a picky eater is because the parent gets tired of throwing away uneaten food and listening to complaints like the ones demonstrated in the commercial, so mom becomes a short order cook, catering to the child’s every last request. I know first hand the frustrations with a picky eater because I grew up with an older brother who would not eat/try ANYTHING! What did my mom do? She made him a hot dog or hamburger, while the rest of us ate what my mom prepared. Today? My brother is STILL the pickiest eater you will ever meet and he NEVER tries anything new. A vegetable? Yea right…he has never eaten a salad in his life. Do you honestly want your child to be this picky as an adult?
How can parents prevent or correct this picky behavior? For one thing, don’t fall for the gimmicks of TV advertising, buying ”healthier” versions of typical “junk” food; this is not going to correct the problem.
Instead, I want you to offer your child a variety of foods DAILY! It can take up to 30 tries before a child will actually develop a taste for a new food. As a parent, you have to keep ENCOURAGING them!! It is ridiculous to think that a 2 year old who “hates” broccoli will ALWAYS have an aversion to it! They are TWO; what do they know other than they don’t like the color green or they think a particular texture is “weird.” This absolutely doesn’t mean they won’t eventually realize those little trees taste pretty darn good! Keep trying and don’t give up.
“But he won’t eat anything…I don’t want him to starve!”
KIDS WON’T LET THEMSELVES STARVE! I promise! Maybe there will be a night or two where they go to bed without dinner, but I promise they will get up and eat breakfast in the morning. If your child does not eat dinner and then asks for ice cream or cereal 2 hours later…present that old dinner plate and say,”this is what you get.” No dice? Sorry. That’s all there is. It’s still love…just a tad bit tougher.
We have to stop letting the food industry sell our kids short. As a parent, if you are making healthy choices for yourself, then the same should go for your child; avoid the drive-thru, the kids’ menu, and products with more advertising than nutritional value and you will be taking steps in the right direction. If a tot grows up exposed a wide array of foods, their palate will grow to appreciate the many different tastes and textures of lots of fresh, whole foods. Let’s pave the way for a less picky path!
QUESTION: What are YOUR thoughts!?Print