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Trying to please a toddler at the dinner table is special kind of challenge.  Who needs professional sports right now?  The battle for dinner supremacy is all of the drama I need right now.  The only thing missing is a broadcast team calling the action.

Currently, my rival in this tournament of champions is my 2 year old.  Luckily I learned a few tricks from my time in the 2010-2011 season (when my now 11 year old was around the same age).  My wife and I hypothesized that perhaps in our desire to see him eat "big boy" food, we didn't offer him a wide enough variety of foods to truly understand what he did and didn't like.

Inadvertently, we had turned our son into a "picky" eater by offering him too small of a selection.  We didn't give him the ability to explore new tastes and textures.  In doing so, we feared that we had created a world where it was OK to flip out if you didn't get chicken nuggets.  To be honest, we did.

Now, that theory has scientific some backing.  The results from a study conducted by associate professors with the prestigious and respected medical programs at Duke and Baylor universities shows that parents are almost totally responsible for creating and fostering "picky" eating behavior in their kids.

According to the report from CNN, giving kids a negative impression about some of the food served at the dinner table is as easy as saying something like "If you eat your green beans, you can have dessert."  Experts say that phrasing discussions about food like that could unintentionally put a negative connotation on certain foods.

As for heading this picky eating behavior off at the pass, experts with the study agree that you have to start early and be persistent.  Offer your child age appropriate variety as soon as they start on solid foods, and don't be discouraged if they don't like something once.  In some cases, it takes a while to develop a taste for some foods.

Finally, some kids will still dislike certain foods regardless of how early and often you put it on your plate.  For that reason, I will always keep some emergency nuggets in the freezer.