'They'll Eat When They're Hungry' Is The Most Annoying Parenting Advice

by Ashley Austrew

Chef Curtis Stone thinks parents are going too easy on picky eaters

Anyone with small kids can tell you feeding them is no easy task. Their tastes change daily, and they’re not always open to eating whatever you’re trying to serve them, even if it’s something they’ve been willing to try in the past. No one wants to send their kid off to preschool with an empty stomach, but according to celebrity chef Curtis Stone, letting kids go hungry is exactly what we should be doing.

In a recent interview with the Herald Sun, Stone talked about kids who are picky eaters and said he thinks parents spend far too much time catering to their demands. Instead, he says, kids who are picky about their meals just shouldn’t get to eat. “I think the problem is too many parents worry about their kids being hungry that they let their children dictate what they eat,” said Stone. “I don’t see the big deal in letting kids go hungry a few times.”

He continues, “Say you make a fish pie and the kids won’t eat it; I’d wrap it up, put it away and offer it again later when they’re hungry.” Apparently, it’s just that easy — at least for someone like Stone, who’s bragged in the past about his one and four-year-old sons eating snails, foie gras and caviar.

In fact, this isn’t the first time Stone has made questionable comments about kids and food. Last year, he pissed off parents when he basically said he doesn’t believe picky eaters really dislike things. “Your kid is going to embrace whatever you expose them to, right, that’s just a fact of life,” he said. “People tell you, ‘no, no my kid likes this or my kid likes that’. My opinion is, that’s just not accurate.”

Stone hasn’t dealt with truly picky eaters — at least not to the degree of parents whose kids staunchly refuse anything but white bread or chicken nuggets — so of course he has no idea what it’s actually like. He talks a big game about how to handle food issues, and apparently his children are winning examples of dietary excellence, but that hardly makes it appropriate to get all smug and judgmental about what other parents are doing.

Picky eaters exist. Some of them have sensory issues or conditions that contribute to their poor eating habits. Some of them just don’t like fish pie, or broccoli, or caviar, or whatever else is on the menu. No, it’s not a crime to lay down the law and refuse to give in to your kids demands, but it’s also not the root of all evil to be a bit more flexible and not force your kids into starvation every time they dislike something.

If Stone wants to dole out some kid-friendly recipes, or tell us how to get our children more involved in the kitchen, excellent — I’m all for it. But don’t presume to tell us what we’re doing wrong when you honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. Some kids won’t eat the fish pie no matter how long it sits in the fridge, and there’s no reason they should have to starve in the meantime.

H/T Essential Baby