How to Feed a Kid: A Parent's Guide to Unraveling the Phemenon of Picky Eating Open Access
Reid, Asata S. (Summer 2020)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are almost 35 million families with their own children (biological and adopted) under 18 years old (U.S. Census, 2019). So you are in good company when your kids ask you, “What’s for dinner?” and you get that deer-in-the headlights look, or roll your eyes toward the back of your skull, or just pick up the phone and order pizza… again. The rolling tide of dinner is never ceasing, it happens every single night, and as a parent it falls into your lap to make it happen.
Feeding kids should be simple, and at this guide’s core premise, it is: make nutritious meals and provide them at regular feeding times. But there are hidden forces at work that make this task harder than it should be. I have been cooking with kids professionally for a decade now and from my experience, here are the big three boogeymen standing between parents, kids and happy mealtimes: 1) lack of self-efficacy regarding feeding oneself experienced by parents AND children; 2) the rise of the “phenomenon of the picky eater” over the 20th century; and 3) aggressive marketing and the effect of media consumption.
Parents need skills to navigate the barriers, behaviors and attitudes that produce picky eating behaviors in children. This requires an intervention strategy that defines and re-centers picky eating as a phenomenon that can be remediated by enhanced self-awareness and self-efficacy in making healthy food choices as a lifestyle by both parents and children, while bolstering families’ defenses against aggressive food marketing and media overconsumption.
This special thesis project is designed to help parents and caregivers examine the personal, cultural, and environmental influences affecting the food choices that both adults and children make. This project provides: 1) research to help parents better understand the behaviors that shape children’s eating habits; 2) a theoretical framework to empower lasting behavioral change in parents and children; and 3) a guide to help parents navigate specific situations that present as barriers when feeding children.
Table of Contents
LIST OF FIGURES
2: EXPLORING PICKY EATERS
3: PARENTAL INFLUENCES ON PICKY EATING
Deliverable: How to Feed a Kid: The Guide
4: THE EMPOWERMENT ZONE
About this Master's Thesis
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