Cautious Eater Ahead!


 Why I choose to say Cautious eater rather than Picky eater. I hear the term picky eater from parents, friends, and relatives often. I have used that term on many occasion, but mostly because it is the most used phrase to describe kids that may have limited food choices.  The term picky eater has been used to describe my own child.  However, after several years of addressing my child’s picky eating I have decided that I needed a change in my thinking.  When you look up the word picky in the dictionary it is defined as, being choosy, fussy, or hard to please.  All of those terms may remind us of a picky eater, but this definition also brings up negative thoughts about the one experiencing these behaviors.  The word cautious is described as careful to avoid danger and desire to avoid problems.  A cautious person will likely pay attention to all the signs in the image above and be careful.

When I look at my child I feel like the word picky sounds negative and it makes me angry at him for not responding when I try to introduce a new food or try a new strategy.  Recently, I have started to think of him as more cautious.  This makes sense because he is cautious in other areas of his life.  In the past we have had to ease him into wearing shin guards and snow boots.  He is anxious anytime we are trying something new, therefore, why would trying new food be any different.

Being cautious can be a good thing at times and since I have shifted my mindset I have realized that because this is part of my son’s personality he may never be the adventurous kid when it comes to food. However, that does not mean I am going to stop introducing new food experiences, but I will approach it similar to how I approached him wearing snow boots for the first time, slowly and without expectations.  Also, I do not want to discourage him from being cautious and to be honest I am really hoping that his cautious side will be his greatest asset in his teenage years.

I recently did a Facebook live post on my Facebook page, Amy Reed Nutrition, about this new approach to my son, the cautious eater. The new techniques I am trying include the following:

  • Teaching him how to make a few of his favorite foods so he can gain some independence in the kitchen.
  • Discussing what we will be having for dinner, but letting him know that I realize he may be hesitant about some foods and I do not expect him to try it. (However, just like the boots…if I keep putting them by the door and eventually he may put them on).
  • Encouraging him to get involved in the kitchen, but not forcing him.
  • Purchasing kitchen utensils that he feels comfortable with.

If you would like to see my Facebook live video on the Cautious Eater and other videos here is the link

The bottom line is the word picky is a negative word as opposed to cautious, which is viewed as a more positive trait.  Do you think we should move to label kids as cautious eaters, rather than picky eaters?