Have you ever wondered why your child is fussy when it comes to eating vegetables, or did you think this was just a “kid” thing?
There are many different factors when it comes to children and fussy eating, as they are complex little creatures! Parents play a large role, and therefore children tend to model themselves on the surrounding environment in the household. Where various decisions are made on food, utilizing intentional or unintentional habits, this can then contribute to what a child is consuming.
Consuming meals together as a family has shown many benefits, with increasing children’s intake of fruits and vegetables, along with consistent routine setting and implementation of rules by parents.
Many families are not eating together as a family due to various commitments such as extracurricular activities, finances, varying work hours and many other factors. Families are becoming more time poor, and meal time together as a family isn’t always a priority.
The dangers of fussy eating habits in children, is that their essential nutrient intake can be significantly reduced as a result.
A 2015 study in the journal Appetite suggests that an increased intake of high energy foods such as sweets or savoury foods are often consumed by fussy children. Fussy eating can also include children not willing to try familiar foods, or new foods, consuming minimal vegetables, as well as other nutrients from other food groups.
This study involving questionnaires for the mothers of fussy eating children, explored how fussy eaters consumed less amounts of fruits and vegetables, compared to the non-picky group of children that were more likely to eat an increased amount.
Some interventions that can be used for children that are picky eaters, such as
- Involve the child in cooking, making it fun and engaging
- Limiting the amount of drinks in between meals
- Avoid grazing or snacking on junk foods
- Having smaller meals often, pre-scheduling consistent meal times
You may or may not have noticed, what might be contributing to your child’s fussy eating. Many different factors play a role, including: tension when eating, parenting habits, social influences, first foods being introduced early, before six months old, and late introduction of textured foods.
If you have any concerns about your child’s health, or would like to delve into your child’s fussy eating a bit more, see our Consultations and Bookings page about consultations offered.
Blog Contributor: L.B.