Introduction: Despite high rates of obesity in adolescents, little is known about their individual motives for eating caloric foods for reasons unrelated to hunger. The goal of this study was to provide a preliminary validation of the "Kids Palatable Eating Motives Scale" (K-PEMS), a self-report survey designed to identify individual motives for eating tasty foods in adolescents. The study also sought to determine if any specific motive(s) can account for variance in BMI and binge-eating disorder (BED) traits which can exacerbate obesity. Methods: BMIz and responses to the K-PEMS and the Children's Binge Eating Disorder Scale (C-BEDS) were obtained from inner-city low-income African American adolescents. Linear and logistic regressions were used to identify K-PEMS motives that were associated with greater BMIz and binge-eating traits. Results: The K-PEMS identified eating tasty foods for Social, Conformity, Reward Enhancement, and Coping motives. Higher frequency of eating tasty foods for Social and Conformity motives and lower frequency of eating these foods for Reward Enhancement accounted for 39% of the variance in BMIz among the overweight and obese adolescents. In contrast, eating for Coping motives was related to a 3-fold increase in the amended provisional criteria for BED in children which occurred in 7% of this young minority sample. Discussion: The K-PEMS can be used to identify adolescents' primary motives for eating tasty foods. These motives may provide early identification of obesity and binge-eating risk but more importantly, can be tailor-targeted to affect specific behavioral and/or cognitive changes to prevent these conditions in adulthood.