By Meghann Fitzpatrick (Dietician)
Firstly, let me reassure you that it is common for a child to go through a stage of fussy eating. Almost half of kids aged between one to two years will do this for a short period of time, so you’re not alone in this struggle! However, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, when is enough enough?! Or when does ‘fussy eating’ become problematic and why? Let’s start with the ‘when’…
When a child starts removing entire food groups such as meat or dairy from their diet
When the variety of a child’s food intake is extremely low and they are reluctant to eat outside of their “acceptable” foods
When a child has strong food ‘likes or dislikes’ or is eating foods only when they are prepared in a particular way or come in a particular packaging
When your child is avoiding foods of certain colours or textures
Now before we get onto the why – again I will remind you that you’re not alone and there are a range of reasons as to why this behaviour could be taking place, one being that your child may be subject to sensory processing disorder and find particular senses (textures/temperatures) highly unpleasant.
So why is this a problem?
The problem will this behaviour is that your child may be missing out on key nutrients required for growth and development, brain and cognitive functioning and putting them at risk of medical conditions associated with nutrient deficiencies.
A common deficiency in infants is that of iron, which can result in fatigue/brain fog, delayed growth and development, behavioural problems, frequent infections/poor immunity, and poor appetite – which can essentially prolong the fussy eating!
Just because your child’s weight is tracking along the correct percentile, it doesn’t mean that their diet is providing nutritional adequacy.
Okay and finally – the solution! Bring your child into see a dietitian at Wildflowers 😊.
You may be wondering, what can a dietitian do to help? A dietitian can…
Examine your child’s diet
Pick up on food tendencies that may have gone unnoticed
Check for deficiencies
Check for appropriate growth and development measures
Prescribe supplements to ensure adequacy if required
Work with other health professionals including our wonderful occupational therapist Bec to commence therapy to help your child overcome sensory issues and be open to trying new foods
Offer treatment advice and recommendations to encourage increased diet variety
Make meal times less stressful and more enjoyable for you, your little one and your family 😊
Taylor, C. M., Wernimont, S. M., Northstone, K., & Emmett, P. M. (2015). Picky/fussy eating in
children: Review of definitions, assessment, prevalence and dietary intakes. Appetite, 95,
Ellen Satter Institute