Kids’ Funny Food Hangups (and Why They Might Have Them)

Kids have funny hangups, starting from toddlerhood on up, particularly with food.  Whether it’s texture, color, taste or appearance, food has a way of taking shape in a child’s mind, and we don’t always understand it.  We have found some funny food hangups we thought we would share with you, as well as some reasons why kids are often fussy eaters.  Go ahead and enjoy!

  1. Peanut butter on celery topped with raisins, otherwise known as ants on a log – to a three-year-old, those raisins are actually ants.
  2. What about cereal? Well it’s obviously not edible unless it’s in the shape of a ring.  Why?  Because rings can be strung into a princess necklace. You can’t string flakes or puffs.
  3. Sandwiches should always be cut into quarters, because that’s how you “make more.”
  4. Only the blue cup will do when it comes to drinking water (but if it’s milk, it has to be the purple cup).
  5. Rule: don\’t eat green potato chips. They are poison.
  6. And definitely don\’t eat the little nub at the end of a banana, because that’s even MORE poison.
  7. The only mac and cheese that will do is Kraft, and anything mixed in must be round.
  8. But don’t mix peas into anything. If you do, each pea will be picked out and thrown on the floor or lined up on the table.
  9. Anything with seeds is inedible.
  10. Pasta must always be eaten by hand, especially if there’s sauce involved.
  11. There’s a certain order food has to be eaten in. Don’t disturb the universe.
  12. Onions are not food.
  13. Peaches are too fuzzy. Please remove the skin.
  14. Broccoli looks like trees. You don’t really expect anyone to eat trees, do you?
  15. Brussel sprouts? Really?  They look like brains.

There are actually some real reasons why your kids may be fussy eaters, and it’s not all funny.  According to Melinda Wenner Moyer of Slate, “When your kid says of the perfectly delicious pasta you raced home from work to cook for him, But I don’t like the way it tastes, she may not be lying. Differences in taste perception can influence fussiness.”

Some of the choices kids make might also have to do with association and expectation.  Young children like structure.  If they are accustomed to drinking milk from the purple cup, for example, they might tend to always want milk in the purple cup.  If the color of peas does not gel with the color of pasta, the peas might be removed.

It’s also normal for children to mistake cutting food into pieces with “making more.”  It takes time for children to learn the difference between number and size.  Children who are learning to count see one sandwich, for example, but when you cut it into fours, they see four sandwiches.

The other thing to remember is that children’s taste buds and senses are more sensitive than adults’.  Adults, who have spent years eating Brussel sprouts and tabasco sauce, are a little more desensitized to bitter and spicy flavors (which accounts for adults appreciating hot buffalo wings.)  Many children tend to prefer bland food for this reason.

If you have a fussy eater with strange hangups, try to be understanding.  Offer choices of healthy foods, and allow your child to explore.  Eventually, your child will come to appreciate a variety of foods…and you can have a good chuckle along the way!

Does your child have any picky hangups? Tell us about them!

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