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A Manifesto for Parents of Picky Eaters

A Manifesto for Parents of Picky Eaters

All children are picky eaters. Even my child, who frequently requests more vegetables in his lunchbox, exhibits behavior that is “picky” when it comes to what he will, or will not, eat. He likes peanut butter, but would never even consider eating a peanut. But the issue of whether or not a child is a “picky eater” is really a question of degrees, and who is judging. The “who is judging” component of this equation is really where the tension resides.

Motherlode writer Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic recently penned, what could only be called, a manifesto for parents of picky eaters. Lucianovic tackles the issue and, does not offer 5 easy solutions to get your kid to eat anything, but levels the crosshairs at fellow parents who invest their time in judging and condemning one another for their selective children. Some parents, she says, divide the world into two groups: the parents of picky eaters and the parents of non-picky eaters (can you guess who takes the moral high ground on this one?). Lucianovic (as a former picky eater herself) comes to the defense of the beleaguered parents and says, “In our food-obsessed, competitive culture, what our children eat has become yet another yardstick used by parents to make them feel superior to other parents.” And they also have to worry that their children’s pickiness makes them appear as bad, or inadequate, parents.

In a “stop the madness” moment Lucianovic appeals to parent’s good graces and lost sense of community, while imploring them to offer support to one another, rather than condemnation. Many of us know the frustration in having a child who will only eat things that are brown, or things that look as if they have no organic tie to the earth, and having other parents level judgment does not help the situation one morsel. The trick is to accept, support, and move on. Sound advice.

Do you struggle with a picky eater in your family? Do you feel judged by others for what your child will or will not eat? How do contend with the volunteered advice and admonishments?

How to Calm a Parent Overly Concerned with Their Child’s Eating
6 Tips to Raise Healthy Eaters
Are Picky Eating Habits Genetic?

Read more: Blogs, Caregiving, Children, Diet & Nutrition, Family, Food, Parenting at the Crossroads, Teens, , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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4:18AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013


12:01AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013


12:03PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thanks for the article.

4:45AM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

I babysit a girl about 5 years old, and she is NOT picky, she wants to try everything. Her mother told me that it is because vegetables were her her very first food for her first solid meal and she has been making sure that it is in every lunch and dinner since.

So start them early, make sure it is bright and colourful, have variety and be aware that some children are in tune with their body and will not eat something that makes them sick, so if you suspect something, upset stomach making it so they won't eat something, or food allergy/intolerance, or something else, remember to have them check for that.

12:58PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

i have NEVER been picky. I like to try everything. and even as a child i loved to try new foods and would eat anything set before me. my son however is not quite so easily pleased. he changes his mind at every meal. uber frustrating. my mantra is JUST TRY IT. his? NO

4:47PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012


4:44PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

Eric -- thank you so much for this piece and for sharing my manifesto. I'd love to send you a copy of my new book -- Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate -- but I can't find a way to email you!

9:05PM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

It can be difficult when a child is very picky because one is concerned for them getting enough nutrition.

2:46PM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

I felt judged by teachers at the school...not other parents!

9:23AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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