14. Jun, 2018

Help with fussy eaters

If you are worried about your child's diet you are definitely not alone. I know few families that don't report at least one 'fussy' eater among their children at some point, although studies tell us the prevalence is around 10-20% of children at any given time.

The spectrum of fussy or 'resistant' eating experiences might surprise you.  

Consider these differences: 

1) What one parent is concerned about, another might let slide

2) It can rear it's ugly head at any age

3) It does not discriminate between genders

4) Parents might be the single largest influence (monkey see, monkey do), but there are numerous other factors that may come into play

5) Food neophobia (the reluctance to try new food) is not common to all fussy/picky eaters

 

Now consider these similarities: 

1) Meal times cause anxiety

2) Food needs to be prepared/served in a specific way eg. Food not touching; crispy not soggy etc

3) Limited/inadequate variety

4) Throwing tantrums when denied favourites

5) Strong likes or dislikes for foods

 

The magnitude and duration of this fussy/picky eating phase depends on a range of factors, and there are a number of strategies available to health professionals to help concerned families. 

If meal times are a cause of anxiety in your home, make an appointment to discuss your concerns with me. Private health insurance rebates may apply to those with 'Extras' cover that includes nutrition services.

 

References 

Dovey, TM, Staples, PA, Gibson, EL & Halford, CG 2008, 'Food neophobia and 'picky/fussy' eating in children: A review', Appetite, vol. 50. no.2-3, pp. 181-193. 

Mascola, JA, Bryson, S, Agras, WS 2010, 'Picky eating during childhood: A longitudinal study to age 11 years', Eating behaviours, vol.11, no. 4, pp. 253-7.