The Picky Eater Part 2
When a child is not consuming an appropriate variety of foods from each food group to get adequate nutrition, then their eating can be considered “picky”. What can a parent/caregiver try at home when a child appears to be a picky eater?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Serve only one new food per meal.
2. Portions should be age-appropriate. A good rule of thumb is one tablespoon of each food per year of age.
3. Have your child help in the kitchen, at a level safe for his/her age. Many children are more likely to try new foods that they have helped prepare.
4. Take your child grocery shopping! Children generally enjoy sitting in the shopping cart seat and having the attention of their grown up. This is a great time to have him/her assist in the selecting of one new food to take home and prepare together.
5. Do “art” with food. Allow your child to sit at the kitchen table and fingerpaint with pudding or any food that can be mashed and/or smeared. Exploring foods through smell and touch helps children become more comfortable with the eating experience.
If the above suggestions aren’t working, consider having your child screened by an Occupational Therapist, also called an OT. The OT is an expert in child development as well as Sensory Processing. Sensory Processing is the child’s ability to take in information from the various senses (sight, touch, taste, etc.) and respond in a healthy way. Children with a Sensory Processing Disorder often demonstrate very picky eating habits. If that is the case, the OT can show you a variety of techniques for improving your child’s Sensory Processing and helping the child be more receptive to trying a variety of food.
The Delaware Speech and Hearing Center has Occupational Therapists! Please contact us via phone at 740-369-3650 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Amy Gabel, Occupational Therapist, Delaware Speech and Hearing Center
Check out: The Picky Eater Part 1