Not long after I started The Lunch Tray I told you about Dina Rose, the blogger behind It’s Not About Nutrition. Dina’s a mom with a PhD in sociology from Duke University who teaches workshops and provides private counseling on kid and food issues, especially picky eating.
Dina’s latest post may raise some eyebrows. In it, she takes on the conventional wisdom that kids will eventually grow to like vegetables (or fruits, or whatever the issue is) simply by seeing their parents eat and enjoy those foods.
Back when my second child would eat no vegetables at all (a situation that’s slowly but steadily improving), I used to cling to that notion like a life raft. And I did so in part because of my general agreement with Ellyn Satter, another kid-and-food expert, who believes that giving speeches about the healthful properties of vegetables creates pressure on kids that will inevitably backfire. According to Satter, it’s only your modeling (along with a pressure-free environment and the passage time) that will lead to improved eating habits.
But apparently Dina thinks this idea is misguided:
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t model good eating habits—it’s definitely a good idea for your kids to see you eat an apple every now and then—but I am suggesting that modeling alone won’t get you where you want to go.
Imagine being told that the best way to teach your kids to get dressed is to let them “catch” you wearing clothes.
She then gives a lot of reasons why the modeling theory may be flawed and concludes with a most un-Satter-like proposition: what parents say about food and food choices carries more weight than what parents do.
If you have a few minutes, take a look at Dina’s post and then leave a comment below. I’m very curious to hear what TLT readers think about this issue.