Scientists studying toddlers’ eating habits say we are not to blame when our kids turn their noise up at the food we have made for them
If your child doesn’t like to eat their meat and veg, don’t be hard on yourself… it turns out that fussy food preferences are largely down to what genes our offspring have inherited.
Or at least that is what new research has found.
Researchers claim their genetic make-up plays a key role in what our child likes and even what they are willing to try.
However, we parents are not completely off the hook…
Children’s behaviour can be changed according TO the study, which looked into the diets of nearly 2,000 sets of 16-month-old twins.
Andrea Smith, a PhD student at University College London, jointly led the research.
She has said that parents often feel judged or guilty about their children’s fussy eating.
“Understanding that these traits are largely innate might help to deflect this blame.”
The research tried to work out what influenced the twins’ attitudes to food, finding that genes were as influential as environmental factors – and in some cases, more important than what happens in the home.
Parents completed a questionnaire which investigated the eating habits of their toddlers, including whether the children enjoyed eating a variety of foods and whether they refused new foods.
Researchers were able to understand the influence of genetic factors on eating behaviour, by looking at how similar the results were from identical twins (who share all their genes), compared with how similar they were from fraternal twins (who share on average 50% of their genes).
Smith acknowledged that although having children who were picky eaters was a major concern to us parents, it was a trait that could be changed.
The researchers say parents need to work with their children to try new foods.
The advice is to start early, keep trying and never force a child to eat something they do not want to have.
On average, a child needs to be offered a new food 15 times before he or she will eat it.
- How do you get your kids to try new food? Share your advice for your fellow dads in the comment section below!