I’m not exactly fond of the term “picky eating”. The word “picky” is a bit too close in meaning to the word “choosy”. And I don’t know about you, but there’s very little about my eating that would constitute choice. “Picky” seems to be the American version of what I was always labelled as: a “fussy eater”. But “fussy eating” doesn’t seem quite right either, even if we all know what it means. I mean, I never made a fuss about not eating stuff. I just quietly refused. I would only cry if people would be mean to me about it. And even then, I didn’t want to make a fuss, I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.
So what other options are there? Well, there is “food neophobia” – being phobic of new foods. In a sense this is quite good, although I’d query the phobia aspect in what I would think of as the true sense: I don’t feel afraid of fruits and vegetables. I don’t start shaking, sweating, or feeling sick at the sight of them. My heart doesn’t start racing, my breathing doesn’t get rapid and shallow. I can have fruit and veg on my plate quite happily as long as I’m not expected to eat them. I can even eat a dish that’s had them picked out of. I can imagine them quite happily too, the idea of them really doesn’t bother me. I just have a big problem with putting them in my mouth, with having them in my mouth, with chewing or swallowing them. Maybe some of you feel differently.
The one I like the best is Selective Eating Disorder (SED). Granted, it still has a connotation that choice is somehow involved, but it’s better than “picky”, it’s more formal, more adult, more official-seeming, and somehow feels less judgemental.
What do other people think?