A concern parents often raise with me is their child's eating habits. They eat too much, won't eat enough, won't sit at the table, are picky, etc. While I don't live with a child and I can't imagine the frustration of dealing with a difficult eater day in and day out, there are a few tricks I've learned and honed while working with kids.
Eating is so much more than just fulfilling our nutritional needs. I know that I and a lot of people I hang around (adults) often focus on what we're eating rather than how we're eating. By the time we're adults, we've established how we eat and we don't need to think about it anymore.
But consider this: how DO you eat? Do you eat in front of the TV? In bed? At a table by yourself while another family member or roommate does the dishes? Do you eat while working? Do you go out and eat? Eating is an experience, not just a task, and these traditions and ways in which we eat can affect what we eat, too.
When kids go to school, sometimes they have trouble eating foods they love at home. But that's the thing: they aren't eating at home!
The social interaction is completely different. I don't mean to add any normative value to any traditions that families might hold, rather, it's important to consider how we eat when trying to figure out why children are being finicky about what they eat.
We've all read green eggs and ham. There's a reason Sam is offered the same food in a variety of ways. It does make a difference.