Causes and Ways to Overcome Picky Eating in Young Children

Picky eating, or a child being selective about food, is not a new phenomenon among parents. Many young children show reluctance to try new foods or even reject certain foods they used to enjoy.

It’s no wonder that parents worry about this phenomenon, especially if it affects the child’s nutritional intake.

Explore the causes behind picky eating behavior and find ways to overcome it through the following review.

What Causes of Picky Eating in Children?

Facing a child who has difficulty eating, or is a picky eater, is a dilemma that parents often face. What are the causes of a child being too selective about food or having difficulty eating? Here are some of them:

  • Biological Factors. The first factor is biological. Everyone’s taste can change, especially in children. When the child begins to grow and develop, there will be phases where they are less interested in food.
  • Negative Food Experiences. The child may have had negative experiences with certain foods. For example, the child may have felt nauseous or choked while eating, making them reluctant to try related foods.
  • Environmental Changes. The environment also influences this habit. If the child sees friends or siblings rejecting certain foods, they may imitate that behavior.
  • Child’s Emotional State. The child’s emotional state can also be a cause of picky eating. Stress and environmental changes, for example, can influence the child’s taste.

More than anything, recognizing the cause of the child’s picky eating is a crucial first step. This way, Mommy can find the right solution to the problem.

Characteristics of a Picky Eater

Children classified as picky eaters usually exhibit some distinctive characteristics. Here are the signs of a picky eater

  • The child only wants to eat specific types of food and rejects other food variations.
  • The appearance of food influences the child’s decision to eat or not.
  • Despite trying, the child often spits out food that has been put into their mouth.
  • There is a specific preference for foods with certain textures, such as soft or hard.
  • The little one often does not show signs of hunger even though it’s mealtime.
  • During meals, the little one is easily distracted by things around them, such as toys or television

Is Picky Eating Dangerous?

A child who is selective about food may seem like a common phase in a child’s development. However, if left unaddressed for a long time, this condition can pose risks to the health and development of the child, such as:

  • Nutritional Deficiency: A highly selective eater may be at risk of lacking certain nutrients, affecting physical growth and brain development.
  • Impaired Growth: Inadequate intake of calories and protein can influence the overall growth of the child.
  • Social Challenges: A picky eater may find it challenging to participate in communal eating situations with friends, such as birthday parties or school cafeteria meals.
  • Unhealthy Eating Behavior: If a child develops a habit of avoiding healthy foods and only chooses specific items, this eating pattern may persist into adulthood, increasing the risk of certain diseases.
  • Digestive Disorders: Limited food variety can lead to digestive issues, such as constipation.
  • Emotional Issues: A child constantly in conflict with parents over food may develop a negative relationship with food or even refuse to eat together.

However, it’s essential to distinguish between a child occasionally refusing certain foods and a child consistently rejecting various types of food. Parents can consult with a pediatrician or a nutrition expert to find the best solutions and receive tips on managing a picky eater.

Tips for Overcoming Picky Eating in Children

Facing a picky eater child can often be a challenge for parents. However, with the right approach, Mommy can help the child develop better eating habits.

As a first step, Mommy can serve more creative and interesting meals without putting pressure on the child during meals. Additionally, Mommy can involve the child in the cooking process or in choosing ingredients.

Variety in menus and eating together as a family activity can also increase the child’s interest in food. However, remember to always be patient and consult with a doctor if necessary.

Furthermore, to meet the Little One’s nutritional and calorie needs, Mommy can establish snacking time for the Little One. Mommy can provide safe, MSG-free, and preservative-free healthy snacks such as Ivenet Finger Cheese.

Ivenet Finger Cheese

Contains 2 billion probiotics, high calcium, and antioxidants to support bone, brain, and eye development.

Its light texture, melt-in-the-mouth quality, and easy-to-hold features make it an ideal choice for children. Already proven safe through Halal, HACCP, and BPOM certifications.

With a holistic approach, parents can help their children navigate these phases and ensure they receive optimal nutritional intake.