Today's New York Times article, Picky Eaters? They Get It From You showcases a study which claims that picky eaters are born, not made. The study, which compared the influence of genetics and environment determined that genetics had a greater influence by a ratio of 78%/22%....No details were given as to the method of study and whether or not parental food biases were taken into account.
Paint me skeptical...especially since Dr. Cooke, the researcher involved in the study seems to be biased towards absolving parents of any wrongdoing, "I came from a position of not wanting to blame parents."
At first I thought that from an evolutionary perspective his theory made sense. Supposedly, children are programmed to not just eat anything, since this would prevent them from putting poisonous, unhealthy things into their mouths. But if they are so programmed how can we explain the toddler predilection for putting all sorts of playground detritus into their mouths?
Thankfully, a voice of reason pervades the article, highlighting important strategies to help your picky eater overcome genetic predispositions. And in the end, parental involvement and tactics can play an enormous role in having nurture trump nature.
Bottom-line? Keep on serving family meals (no separate foods, please), introduce new foods regularly, encourage sampling of new items but don't force, and especially key, expose children under two to as many new flavors as possible!