I've come to the realization that I hate the term picky, as in "my kid is picky, and would never eat that." I have no idea why I suddenly made this decision, I was reading a post on a blog that was an ask the readers type feature. The title indicated it was looking for menu ideas for meat eaters, vegetarians, and picky kids.
Something just set me off, maybe it was the conversation I had with Erica on Monday about kids who never really gain independence from their parents. That may have carried over to today when I stumbled on the blog post. Of course I then brought this to her attention on gChat where we started a long discussion on eating. (Something that is turning into an everyday occurrence with me lately)
Basically I've decided that parents who brand their kids as picky are making excuses. Not for their kids, the kids don't know any better, but for themselves. Instead of putting the effort into hunting down something that would broaden their child's tastes and food preferences they just give up and make them pb&j or whatever it is that they know their kid will eat without a struggle. They use the term picky as a way to rationalize the lack of effort they are putting into the food.
Side Note: I am not a parent, I don't have any nieces or nephews, and I have hardly any friends with kids older than 1-2. I don't have to deal with kids every day and I can imagine it's a struggle many days. But I'm passionate about food and think that parents should put as much time into helping their kids develop a lifelong healthy eating habit as they do making sure they get good grades and taking them to 2000 extracurricular activities.
Why this drives me as crazy as it does is because our country's ability to interact with food on any normal level is horribly lacking. I've gotten to the point where I get frustrated when I see a toddler with a bag of cheetos. Parents of picky kids should strive to find something out of the ordinary that their kid will try. Maybe more varieties of fruit, cooking meat in a different way that changes the texture, or adding different cheeses to the grilled cheese sandwich. It's not about forcing your kid to eat what you cook but about slowly introducing them to the wide world of flavor that is out there.
Our children are inheriting a country/planet that is in desperate need of a new food culture. It's going to force a change in eating habits. And parents that don't make the effort to introduce their kids to good foods are going to create another generation where support groups like this need to exist. Pickiness is an eating disorder, and it is a horrible way to live, but I believe it stems from parents making excuses, and not wanting to put the effort into opening up their kids minds to new foods. The ability to eat new foods, especially local sustainable ones that might not be the norm today, is going to be very important in the future.
So the next time you are around someone who uses the word "picky kid" try and figure out a way to help tell parents that if they keep making excuses, their kids might one day be forced to follow one of these suggestions.