Of course, you want your child to eat nutritious foods and be healthy. After all, eating healthy can help stabilize his energy, sharpen his mind, and even improve his mood. If your child is a picky eater, new research suggests that you shouldn’t worry too much. According to eating disorders specialist Nancy Zucker, kids with typical pickiness, such as refusing to eat vegetables, will likely outgrow their poor habit as they mature.
Zucker’s statement comes after she authored a research studying the effects of pickiness in preschool-aged children. Despite this favorable news, she does caution that a small portion of picky eaters may have emotional troubles that are worth checking out. The Denver Channel’s Lindsey Tanner provides a report on the study, and her article reveals this relevant piece of information: “Preschool-aged children who are extremely selective about what they eat and dislike even being near certain foods are more likely than others to have underlying anxiety or depression, the study found. But only 3 percent of young children studied were that picky.”
The study described severe selective eating as something similar to avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, and may require the involvement of a mental health specialist. That said, although moderate pickiness is less concerning, it can still make meal times quite the struggle. Fortunately, your friendly pediatrician can offer you varied approaches to help your child eat better:
Be a role model
By teaching your child healthy eating habits and modeling the behavior yourself, you can help him or her maintain healthy weight and normal growth. On the other hand, if you have irregular and unhealthy eating habits, your child may acquire that, thinking it’s the right way.
Make a schedule
Growing kids need to eat every three to four hours, so be sure to sneak in a snack in between meals. Also make sure he drinks plenty of fluids. A well-planned meal schedule makes for a more balanced diet. Plus, he’ll be less irritable because he’s never hungry.
Introduce new foods slowly
By nature, kids do not want to eat any new food introduced to them. The trick is to be stealthy with healthy ingredients at first. For instance, if he’s not into milk, you might make it into chocolate milkshake. If he doesn’t eat vegetables, you can mix the veggies in with meat. Later, when you let him know that he’s practically eating the stuff already, he’ll be more open to eating it naturally.
Need help with your child’s nutrition?
Friendly pediatricians in Westminster, like those at Indian Crest Pediatrics, make your child’s health and nutrition needs their highest priority. Pediatricians provide parents access to quality sick- and well-child health services at local facilities.
Most picky eating harmless but it can signal emotional woes, The Denver Channel, Aug. 3, 2015
15 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Better, Parents