Chen Ben Asher – Functional Nutrition – Silicon Valley – Picky Eaters

Kids can keep making a surprise for parents. It can come as a strange and quick choice not to eat some particular food and favor some other food more than others, for example, quitting eating spinach but loving to eat some finger food. This kind of choices can become challenging problem parents might be facing, and thus everyone should know what can be the possible cause for being picky with eating called “picky eaters” and remember some ideas how to deal with it.

It is not a secret that a lot of children have favor towards sweets. They are less likely to eat food that is sour and bitter. There are two main ways why kids are selective towards food: one is due to character traits, and other is inborn. The kids who prefer foods that have the most energy and tend to be also the sweetest. The main reason for that science explains as “natural selection.” [1]

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Different preference of foods can also base on genes. Some kids tend to have a sensitivity to bitterness and other tastes. Some recent research proves that some kids have inborn bitterness-detection genotypes. Another way is the tendency to avoid new foods. It has taken from a study of some twins. The results showed that there could be a possibility of food nomophobia which is the “reluctance to eat new foods”.1 This can be a severe problem, especially taking into account that younger kids eat more specific food or cannot eat some particular food due to their teeth development and other issues.

Worth noting is also the fact that the younger the kid is, the more taste buds he or she has. This also leads to the fact that kids generally are more sensitive towards any food and it can lead to some health problems like food intolerance, food allergy, etc. much more accessible than in adults.

Various other factors can determine that a kid becomes a picky eater. One of the factors is the exposing to foods already from early stages inside the mother’s body. It has become already a known fact that fetuses can taste the foods of their mother eating. Additionally, food can also transfer through breast milk. Later these experiences can shape some taste preferences during the kid’s growing. Feeding tactics, food presentation, and other things also pay high role.

Research of 917kids ages 2 to 6 has some other reasons for selective or picky eating.[2] Depression, anxiety, attention deficit, hyperactivity, and other psychological disorders are causes. There are proofs that children who aren’t able to eat freely outside the home, are more tolerant to social anxiety and depression. They are twice as likely to develop this disorders as kids who are eating normally.

In the year 2015 in journal Pediatrics, there was another research published related to picky eaters. The cause of their habits was generalized and social anxiety. These kids were also proven to be more likely to have ADHD symptoms and separation anxiety. They were also shown to have a twice higher possibility to have depression.[3] It is not a secret that these disorders are active with adults, but for kids, they are even more damaging. Kids should avoid them as much as possible.

Kids can become selective about different foods. It can be challenging especially when a growing body needs not only high-energy food but also food that is healthy and contains vitamins. One of the studies has suggested a solution to making them familiar with the new menu. It can be done even with images from some picture books. Additionally, Halas-Liang indicates that also giving a creative name to vegetables and fruits can help.[4] Various self-made forms and shapes. Overall, it is a long-term effort to be made to achieve some good results.

Sometimes parents can have a misleading perception that the kid isn’t eating enough despite the fact that the growth rate is reasonable. Dr. Jana explains further that it is important to understand that it should be “a tablespoon per year of age”3  in the serving some other cases kid also does eat less than needed due to his selectiveness. In this way, a kid might lack the necessary vitamins and other needed substances for proper development. Kids generally don’t have such a suitable structure of bones and other parts of the body – they require stabilization and maintenance. If there is no treatment for the condition, this can lead to movement problems, slower growth, and others.

For kids, it is crucial to have all the necessary substances to grow up healthy. Worth noting is also the fact that kids also tend to play more and are quite active. If they don’t have strongly developed bones, etc., they are more prone to traumas. There should also be enough food for movement and energy to explore the little world.

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Picky eaters are quite a common problem nowadays. Luckily, more and more researches have been made in the field to trace different possible causes and solutions. Special doctors can help to diagnose it, and later parents need to have a lot of patience to work long-term. Parents should be creative and state new food in a creative manner like with pictures or in new shapes. Even having some catchy name for the food can help. It isn’t something permanent, and anyone can deal with selective food manners. Additional activities can also minimalize it or even fully prevent.


[1] The science of picky eaters. Accessed from: http://www.parentingscience.com/picky-eaters.htmlrel=”nofollow”

[2] Picky Eating in Children Linked to Anxiety, Depression and A.D.H.D. Accessed from: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/03/picky-eating-in-children-linked-to-anxiety-depression-and-a-d-h-d/?_r=0rel=”nofollow”

[3] Picky eating in kids could be sign of bigger health concerns. Accessed from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/picky-eating-kids-diet-mental-health/rel=”nofollow”

4 How to Handle Picky Eaters. Accessed from: http://www.parenting.com/article/picky-eater-kidsrel=”nofollow”

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