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Dealing with Picky Eating in Children

Picky eating is a common feeding disorder in children that can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies and affect a child's overall health.

Picky eating is a common feeding disorder in children that can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies and affect a child's overall health. If you are a parent dealing with picky eating in your child, read on to learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options available.

What is Picky Eating?

Picky eating refers to a child's refusal to eat certain foods, textures, or tastes. This can result in limited food preferences, strong aversions to certain foods, poor appetite, and mealtime tantrums or power struggles around food.

Signs and Symptoms of Picky Eating

Here are some common signs and symptoms of picky eating that parents may observe in their child: 

  • Refusal to eat certain food groups such as fruits, vegetables or proteins

  • Limited food preferences and only wanting to eat a few select foods or brands

  • Strong aversions to certain textures or tastes

  • Mealtime tantrums or power struggles around food

  • Difficulty trying new foods or accepting changes in their diet

  • Poor appetite or low weight gain

  • Limited willingness to eat in social situations such as at school or with friends


Underlying Causes of Picky Eating

There can be several underlying causes of picky eating in children including:

  • Sensory processing issues

  • Anxiety or stress

  • Developmental delays

  • Other medical conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


Treatment for Picky Eating

If you suspect that your child has picky eating tendencies, it is recommended that they receive further evaluation from a feeding therapist. A feeding therapist can evaluate the child's behavior around food and develop a treatment plan that addresses the underlying issues.

Treatment may include exposure therapy where the child is gradually introduced to new foods in a structured and supportive environment. Sensory-based interventions such as using food play techniques can also help desensitize a child to certain textures or tastes.

Conclusion

Picky eating can be a frustrating and concerning issue for parents, as it can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies and affect a child's overall health. However, with early intervention and proper treatment from a feeding therapist, most children with picky eating tendencies can learn to eat a balanced and varied diet. Seek help if you suspect your child may have a feeding disorder.

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