While we were sharing a meal last weekend, my friends and I started talking about kids and food. The conversation began seriously, since several of the women were concerned about not making food an issue in their homes. We were talking about eating disorders and binge eating, and women's issues about their bodies. We talked about the dangers of food become a control issue between parent and child.
My method with my own kids is pretty simple: I try to have only healthy food in the house (not always succeeding, of course), and I let my children eat whatever they want whenever they want. I don't use food as a bribe or a treat. Food is just what you need when you are hungry. The method fits with my style of parenting, and my daughter grew up to be a young woman with healthy eating habits and a good body image.
I told my friends my theory that there are many foods children don't really like because their taste buds are very sensitive and because certain textures are hard to chew. I never try to make my kids eat a food. I have often told a child, "Oh, you don't like that now, but you will probably like it when you get older."
Then Quilt Artist spoke up: "When I was a kid, it wasn't about texture, it was about language."
We all stared at her, puzzled. Language?
"Yeah, I couldn't eat pizza for instance." She paused, completely serious. "I was just afraid of all those ZZs."