I was talking to Lisa, a friend of mine, about the way I work with parents to take the stress out of mealtimes. I mentioned Ellyn Satter’s Division of Resonsibilty. I was telling her that when you follow the Division of Responsibility, you offer the same food to all the family, including one food that you know your fussy eater will eat such as bread or rice or pasta. She told me that she was a very fussy eater as a child and that her mother catered to her fussiness. Her mother added an egg to her bottles of milk as she wouldn’t eat eggs, she prepared her more or less the same food every night; chips and sausages and tomato sauce. When she would go to friends, her mum would phone beforehand and explain that Lisa only eats certain foods and would send food with her. This continued until Lisa was 17 years old!
After she finished school, Lisa went overseas to study at university. The food was completely different to what she was used to at home. Lots of vegetables, fruit, grain foods. She hardly ate a thing for the first couple of weeks until she was so hungry that she started to taste some new foods and eventually learnt to like a wide variety of food.
This story demonstrates several points:
- A child/person will eat if they are hungry
- Catering to a child’s fussiness is unnecessary and creates extra work for parents
- Children need repeated exposure to a variety of foods in order to learn to eat them
By the way, my friend still doesn’t eat eggs!
Familyfoodworks is run by Eve Reed, a paediatric dietitian. For more information about Eve and Familyfoodworks, please visit familyfoodworks.com.au