Picky Eaters

Picky Eaters
Posted on 04/08/2019
Picky eaterArticle by Dr. Ron Fischler

"Picky eaters" are quite common in pediatric practice, and while they pose challenges, rarely do they experience serious nutritional deficiencies and they do not have impairment of growth.

Vegetables seem to be the most challenging  foods to get kids to eat, and their nutritional value can be made up with multivitamins until they can be encouraged to eat them. Kids who do not drink milk, fortified dairy substitutes, or eat cheese or yogurt may need a calcium supplement. Kids who don't eat meat or leafy green vegetables or raisins may need supplemental iron.

Why is a child a picky eater? No one really knows -- some just don't like the taste or texture of certain foods, perhaps on a genetic basis. For many it's a developmental stage, and if they are not turned off by table arguments, they may be open to try new foods as they grow. Tastes do change as kids mature. As parents, try and cultivate a spirit of trying one bite rather than engage in food battles. Make family meal time fun!

For some kids, picky eating may be  part of obsessive compulsive disorder, in which a child's  need for control plays out over food and they insist on the same foods each day, and foods can't be touching. If they are growing normally and their diets are nutritionally adequate, in the pediatrician's estimation, and their behaviors are not very disruptive, a wait and see approach is appropriate. If the behaviors are getting to be disruptive, talk to your pediatrician; a referral to a specialist may be helpful.

When does picky eating become a "feeding disorder"? What may start out  as picky eating sometimes becomes full blown food aversion and growth slows or falls off the curve, symptoms of a "feeding disorder". This is when further evaluation and treatment are needed often by a team of professionals: a feeding team. Start with your pediatrician and go online to www.feedingmatters.org for more support. This organization was started by local parents to provide information and spread knowledge about feeding disorders in children and provide peer support for parents.

North Scottsdale Pediatrics

  • Ironwood Office - 9827 N. 95th St. Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Phone: (480)-860-8488
  • Deer Valley Office - 21807 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255 Phone: (480)-860-8488

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