The eating battle with toddlers

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Nutrition: Health

According to Professor David Benton of the University of Wales Swansea, one of the reasons toddlers become such picky eaters between the ages of 18 and 24 months is neophobia. This built-in safety mechanism helps to protect them from accidentally ingesting poisonous foods. Professor Benton theorizes that although fussy eating is worrisome and tiring for parents, we need not worry. With time, our bird like eaters will revert to eating anything and everything in sight. Furthermore, he cautions against withholding favorite foods or giving the more preferred foods as rewards. He states that, "Offering desserts as a reward for eating greens, or some other 'distasteful' food, makes the reward food more desirable to your child and the food you are trying to encourage them to eat, less desirable. This makes encouraging your child to eat a healthy balanced diet even more difficult".

Good thing. Silly me, I thought my toddler was just trying to make my life a living hell as he refuses to eat most anything other than vanilla yogurt, vanilla soy milk or pureed bananas.  It turns out he is actually protecting himself from the evils and poisons the he is sure must lurk in our vegetable drawer. I guess we'll just have to keep buying quart after quart of vanilla yogurt....

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.