I am an occupational therapist who works with children who are picky eaters. Confession, I am a picky eater myself. When I was a child, my mother used to have to boil eggs so that the yoke was soft. She would cut toast into strips with crusts removed for me to dip. Once I dipped my toast, she would have to clean the yoke off the remaining egg white, cut it up and serve it with salt and pepper. This is the only way I would eat the "jokes" as I referred to them. As a teenager, I only ate Hawaiian pizza (pineapple and ham) but here is the kicker, I removed the pineapple because I do not like pineapple. The point is that picky eating is prevalent. A definition of picky eating based upon qualitative research is liking only a few foods; limited intake; resisting texture or appearance of foods; resistance to new foods. Researchers have found that picky eating impacts the family meal by adding stress and changing meal preparation (Trofholz, A., Schulte, A., & Berge, J, 2017).
Picky eating becomes problematic when a child restricts the amount of food they eat and the variety of food groups from which they choose to eat. The purpose of this blog post is to share some tips to address picky eating, so here goes.
If you are having difficulty with getting your child to eat and mealtimes have become stressful events in your household that disrupt your family function, picky eating may have become problematic and you may need help. You can talk to your pediatrician about a referral to a feeding specialist who can support you in addressing your child's feeding issues. Feeding is a complicated behavior. We eat to get nutrition, to celebrate holidays and religious events, to socialize and we eat for pleasure. It is not as simple as "to eat or not to eat".
Dr. Randal FEdoruk
I am a pediatric occupational therapist. I have worked with children in various settings for over twenty years. I am a professor and I teach pediatrics and mentor Doctoral students completing research with a pediatric focus.