I recently became involved in an interesting online conversation about the word “picky eater” with some mommy bloggers. Christina Le Beau who has a blog, SpoonFed. wrote a recent post that makes the argument that labeling kids becomes a crutch for parents and sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy. Plus it minimizes the very real food issues that some kids do have (allergies, sensory issues, etc.).
I’ve always felt that language is really important. I’ve written loads about how the food industry runs the show by controlling the language. I believe strongly that labels are for jars, not people.
It’s probably not a good idea to label a child as a picky eater. I’ve had more than my share of both personal and professional experience with kids of all ages who are not adventurous when it comes to food. I’ve written a great little E-Book called Winning the Picky Eater War……maybe I need to look at changing that title.
Let’s talk personal here. I’m the mom of three amazing and beautiful daughters, ages 20, 18 and 13. The two older gals could almost be considered Foodies. They love to eat, they love to cook. But my 13 year old continues to give me a run for the money. While I’ve declared victory from time to time and she does eat way more veggies than she used to, I would still classify her on the picky side.
Sadly, compared to other kids her age, she IS more adventurous than many. That is the really scary piece that my mommy blogger friends might not realize. Picky eating behaviors, or whatever we should be calling it, are now extending beyond the toddler years into the tween, teen and even college age. My older daughters tell me stories of the peers who eat nothing but junk. Imagine a 20 year old ordering pasta with butter, how crazy is that? What do you call that? Picky? Dare I say “stupid”? What these kids are missing out on is huge. There is a whole wide world out there filled with amazing, delicious food.
This is one of the reasons she is accompanying me and my husband to Italy this week. There aren’t any chicken nuggets in Italy, right? She’ll experience a wonderful “slow” food culture first hand. We’re even going to take a full day cooking class in Florence.
In addition to the art, the history and the language, I hope my daughter finds herself inspired to expand her palate while on this trip. Stay tuned for more photos and recipes. My plane leaves in less than an hour!