What is a fussy eater?

When I was growing up there was no such thing as a 'fussy eater'' as such. What I did know as a child, was that there were children who I went to school with, who experienced allergies. These allergies caused them to have a change of diet. It was a medical condition. But is there really such a thing as a 'fussy eater' or is it a modern day myth?

From what I have observed when working with families over the years, the modern lifestyle has caused life to speed up to such a pace that home made meals and sitting at the dinner table is not all that common. This is where things have significantly altered family life. When once meals were prepared and children invited into the kitchen to learn to cook, take away meals or food easily heated up to suit the pace of life has become the 'norm'. Could this significant change be the reason for so many children being called 'fussy eaters'? I would say yes and here are my reasons.

When speed supersedes quality, there is a breakdown always. Haven't we noticed this in the amount of 1-20 dollar shops around these days. The speed at which life has become has caused the modern family to suffer the loss of sitting together and enjoying food. Children need to, I believe sincerely, to develop a palate for different foods- spicy, sweet, bland, hot, cold etc. When children are exposed to this, then it becomes evident what is genuinely not liked and what is. 'Fussy' doesn't come into the conversation at all! I remember the fights I would have with my daughter over pumpkin- the only vegetable she could not digest. Knowing what o know now, I should have just backed off as her palate was developing well and she just simply did not enjoy the taste or texture of pumpkin.

Was she a 'fussy eater'? Not at all......just a child who could not tolerate eating pumpkin.

Values have shifted from simple to complex. Parents have not the time or the patience to spend sitting with their children and exploring all aspects of food preparation and dining. Modern life has given us microwave ovens and the development of 'fussy eaters' who can overtake meal times with great success! Quick meals which can be heated up, has taken over a the slow and enjoyable aspects of cooking together. Parents are often tired and lack the patience to let their children develop a palate. When my children were young, I refused to run a restaurant but I wanted my kids to eat food- in all of its variety and forms. I am no chef but I did not produce 'fussy eaters'! I still worked full time and was tired but I fought to maintain what I valued- home cooked meals and sitting and eating together.

So parents out there, spend the time developing your children's palate! Sit together and make eating meals fun, flavorsome, and above all, a time where food is explored for its texture and taste. Having screaming matches at the dinner table over food is not a pleasant experience for anyone so take the steering wheel back out of the hands of your children and enjoy this precious time of the day!

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