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Feeding Therapy: More Than Just a Picky Eater

June 8, 2018

Whether your child is 12 months or 12 years, having a picky eater can be a super stressful situation during feeding time. For every child that happily chows down on a well-rounded diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, there is another child going through life eating nothing but crackers for months and months. Because kids are notoriously picky, how do you know whether or not it’s just a phase, or something to be more concerned about? Listed here are a few common myths to be aware when it comes to kids and food.

Common Myths about Food and Kids:

1.) “Wait until he’s bigger – he’ll grow out of it!”

While some kids do just “grow out of it,” some do not. In fact, about 25% of children develop a feeding disorder, which impacts a child’s willingness to eat new foods as they get older. Much like walking, running or talking, feeding is developmental and should be addressed if pickiness persists for any length of time.

2.) “He will eat when he’s hungry” or “He won’t starve!”

If a child has a feeding disorder, simply feeling hungry will not make him overcome his fears about trying new foods. Furthermore, using the strategy of “he’ll eat when he’s hungry” could kick a hungry kid’s anxiety into high-drive, often times decreasing their appetite. Kids who eat a small amount of foods could be deprived of adequate nutrition, which affects everything from height and weight to brain growth.

3.) “All kids are picky.”

Some kids are good at spelling, others are not. Some kids are good at baseball, others are not. Similarly, some kids are adventurous eaters, and others are not!

4.) “Picky eating is the parent’s fault”

As stated earlier, eating is part of a child’s natural development, but there’s a genetic component too. Often, it does not matter what you do or don’t do when feeding your kids – issues and disorders can still arise.

5.) “He hates broccoli (or oranges or yogurt or sweet potatoes)”

Research shows that children need to sample a new food as many as 15-20 times before they’ll willingly eat it! So, just because your kid hated broccoli last week does not mean he will definitely hate it again today. Try introducing foods in new ways – as a side dish, mixed into a recipe or serving something cooked versus raw are all great ways to reintroduce an otherwise disliked food.

Sometimes picky eating IS just a phase, but if your child repeatedly sticks to only a handful of foods and refuses to venture out of their comfort zone in regards to new tastes and textures, please call Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare for a feeding evaluation.

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