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” held at Greensgrow Community Kitchen in Kensington.She was there with Megan Haupt of Hungry Education to talk about two of her favorite topics: food cravings and food neophobia, otherwise known as picky eating.“My daughter is a really good eater, and my son is on the pickier side,” Carr said. “He’ll never choose different types of vegetables, but my daughter is quite the opposite.She loves all vegetables -- we can give her anything and she’ll eat it.” Why are some kids willing to try new foods and some reluctant, even when they’re raised in the same environment?Some parents might consider the nature-nurture finding discouraging, but Pelchat sees it as good news.“If you’re a parent of a picky kid, you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it,” she said.
"We had a little girl who smelled a vanilla bean and she was like 'Ah, this smells like birthdays! At Monell, Pelchat conducted one of the first brain-imaging studies on food cravings, and along the way became an expert on inducing cravings in people.
“There are genetic influences, and then there are environmental influences,” said Marcia Pelchat, an associate member emerita at the Monell Chemical Senses Center who specializes in food preferences.
“You can have a picky eater and an adventurous eater in the same family.” Pelchat was at the Philadelphia Science Festival last weekend, specifically at the session called “Be a Food Psychologist!
“One of the most important things, more than genetics, is what you’re familiar with. She strongly advises against forcing children to eat, because that can backfire and make them even pickier.
Instead, with younger children Pelchat takes the unfinished food and eats it herself, saying, “Good, more for me.” Parental attitude toward food makes a big difference.
Women usually pine for sweets, while for men it’s more savory items, such as pizza and burgers.