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Picky or Fussy Eating Habits in Children

Published: 2015-08-12 - Updated: 2019-01-10
Author: Thomas C. Weiss | Contact: Disabled World (

Synopsis: Information and tips on getting children who are fussy or picky eaters to eat sufficient nutrition and food variety in their diets.

Main Digest

If children's nutrition is a rough subject in your home you are not alone. A number of parents worry about what their children eat, or do not eat. Most children; however, receive plenty of nutrition and variety in their diets over the period of a week. Until your child's food preferences mature, you might consider these tips for the prevention of mealtime issues.

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It is important to respect your child's level of appetite. If your child is not hungry, it is important not to force a snack or meal on them.

Do not bribe or force your child to consume certain foods or clean their plate. Doing so may ignite or reinforce a power struggle over food. Your child may come to associate mealtime with frustration and anxiety, or become less sensitive to their own hunger and fullness.

Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and provide them with the opportunity to independently as for more.

What follows are more suggestions regarding children and picky eating.

It is important that parents do not become a short-order cook. Preparing a separate meal for your child after they reject the original meal may promote picky eating. Encourage your child to remain at the table for the designated mealtime, even if they do not eat. Keep serving your child healthy foods until they become both familiar and preferred by your child.

If you are concerned that picky eating is compromising your child's development and growth, contact your child's doctor. The doctor can plot your child's growth on a growth chart. As a parent, consider recording the amounts and types of foods your child eats for three days. The bigger picture might help you to ease your worries. A food log may also help your child's doctor to determine any issues that might exist.

Remember that your child's eating habits most likely will not change quickly. Small steps each day can help to promote a lifetime practice of healthy eating.

Child Eating Tips

Dessert? Not Always

Dessert is something that certainly does not need to be offered to your child with each meal, or even each day.

When dessert is available, you should consider the following ideas. If a child is forced to consume an entire meal prior to dessert, they might be full, yet will likely eat the dessert anyway. If your child refuses to eat, keeping dessert from them is not an answer. Your child will learn to value dessert above more nutritious foods, something that can change their eating patterns for the remainder of their life. If your child rushes through the meal to get to dessert, try offering them dessert with the meal itself.

When children are picky eaters, it may be a response to parents who are pushy or controlling, or to bribery.

The fight over food can lead to defiance and resistance from your child. In the end, it is your child's decision as to what they want to eat and whether or not they will eat the foods you have provided. At times, a child might eat very little or nothing at all, although they will make up the nutrition later in the day, or even later in the week.

Author Credentials:

Thomas C. Weiss attended college and university courses earning a Masters, Bachelors and two Associate degrees, as well as pursing Disability Studies. As a Nursing Assistant Thomas has assisted people from a variety of racial, religious, gender, class, and age groups by providing care for people with all forms of disabilities from Multiple Sclerosis to Parkinson's; para and quadriplegia to Spina Bifida.

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Thomas C. Weiss. Electronic Publication Date: 2015-08-12 - Revised: 2019-01-10. Title: Picky or Fussy Eating Habits in Children, Source: <a href=>Picky or Fussy Eating Habits in Children</a>. Retrieved 2021-08-02, from - Reference: DW#237-11535.