If you have a child that is a picky eater, the reason may have more to do with his or her personality than the food you give them, according to a new study.
Researchers found that little ones who were more naturally inhibited also tended to be picky eaters.
"From the time they're very young, some infants are more 'approaching' and react positively to new things, whereas other infants are more 'withdrawing' and react negatively to the same stimuli," said study author Kameron Moding.
"But very few studies have examined whether infants show similar approach and withdrawal behaviors in response to new foods, so this is what we wanted to investigate," added Moding. She is a postdoctoral fellow at University of Colorado, Denver.
Researchers observed how 136 infants responded to new foods and toys during the first 18 months of life. They found that the children who were more reserved about playing with new toys were also more reserved about trying new foods.
The researchers determined that there might be a link between personality types and attitudes about food.
"It was striking how consistently the responses to new foods related to the responses to new toys," Moding said in a Penn State news release.
"Not only were they associated at 12 months, but those responses also predicted reactions to new objects six months later. They also followed the same developmental pattern across the first year of life," she added.
Getting some children to try new foods can be a challenge, but Moding says parents shouldn’t give up offering a variety of foods to their kids.
Keep trying! Research from other labs has consistently shown that infants and children can learn to accept new foods if their caregivers continue to offer them," Moding said. "It can take as many as eight to 10 tries, but infants and children can learn to accept and eat even initially disliked foods."