Feeding Red Flags: Picky Eaters Vs. Problem Feeders
Picky Eaters Versus Problem Feeders
Some kids are just picky eaters, and that’s okay. However, if your child is so picky to the point where she only eats a few foods, she may need some extra help from a feeding therapist. These are some signs that your child may be a ‘Problem Feeder’:
– Less than 30 foods in food repertoire: these should include about 10 carbohydrates (such as bread and potatoes), 10 fruits/vegetables, and 10 proteins (such as meat, yogurt, nuts)
– Completely avoids certain food textures (such as lumpy, “mushy”, crunchy) or will only eat 1-2 textures (pureed, soft solids, crunchy, etc.) and may gag when presented with non-preferred textures.
If at first you don’t succeed with a new food, try again! Research shows that it can take up to 10 exposures to a new food for your child to know if he likes it. Wait 2-3 days before presenting a new food again.
Growing, active children, especially those with limited diets or oral motor difficulties may go through periods when it’s difficult to maintain the number of calories they need each day for sufficient weight gain. Adding ingredients that are high in fat and calories such as cheese sauce, avocado, or gravy, to the foods your child will eat can help boost your child’s growth. However, if these problems persist, your child may benefit from the services of a nutritionist or dietician for more help with increasing calories or nutrients.