Picky Eater or Personality Trait?

Having a picky eater in your household can be frustrating. Before you blame your tot for being plain-old difficult, consider this: it may be a personality trait.

In the first of its kind, a new study found that dislike of certain new foods may actually be a personality trait.  And it was all done through play.

Picky Eater or Personality Trait?Researchers found a direct correlation between an infant and toddler’s acceptance of new toys and their interest in new foods at both six and 12 months of age. Then at 18-months toddlers returned to explore new objects. Those who were not deemed picky eaters were more likely to enjoy the new objects.

The researchers described baby’s personalities as either approaching – more willing to try new toys – and withdrawing – less open to new experiences with toys. Those who were more approaching were not considered picky eaters. Those who were withdrawing were pickier eaters.

This study was the first to connect personality traits and eating behaviors. It was based on a broader study about temperament. A person’s temperament impacts how they see and experience the world. Each of us falls somewhere on a scale of exuberant to inhibited.

Even if you have a baby whose temperament is not conducive to trying new foods, it’s important to continue to offer a variety of healthy food choices. Just as adults can learn to adapt their personality instincts, babies can learn to enjoy new foods. It may take many attempts but if they are introduced enough, children will likely learn to eat a wide selection of foods.

Remember: be patient and compassionate with your children as they experience the world of eating, especially for those whose personality may be a driving force.

Sources: U.S. News and World Report and Futurity