Let’s go, this is a very concerning and delicate matter for parents and responsible parties. A child starts developing its food choices since the introduction of regular meals, and they remain for its whole life!
But let’s make some concepts clear?
Tt consumes a limited number of foods and has a strong negative reaction towards them and won’t accept to try some items claiming it doesn’t like them.
Resistance to try new food. It is common among children between the ages of 2 and 5.
There are many reasons that justify a child’s food choices. Mot of its behavior of refusing and selecting food on the table might be based on these conditions: gastrointestinal, sensory, motor and oral aspects, its temper, as well as the experiences lived by the child. There are two prerequisites for your child to expand its food choices and feel greater pleasure during meals: its ability and comfort when eating. Some children can find it very difficult to expand their menu and almost always do not try any new food, and usually always want the same option, the same preparation form and are resistant to changes, and they may also always want to use the same utensils (dish, glass, silverware) during meals.
Many families find it difficult to deal with such situations and do not know where to ask for help. Some end up waiting for that “change”, if the child presents a good overall growth and “good health”.
But, I, as an expert, tell them it is not quite so, and the longer it takes, the higher will be the chance of a child keeping a selective diet behavior. And what do scientific studies have shown us on this matter?
- Children with very restricted food consumption behaviors might become anxious when they have to eat school snacks or take part in social activities.
- Selective children that reject certain food groups might increase the risk of suffering malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies.
- There is a difference between children having difficulty to eat, and those facing selectivity issues and eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.
- Many children loose their “fear” of eating, if repeatedly exposed to foods from 8 to 12 times), but around 25% to 35% of them do not.
And what should we say to those families? Just calm your children down without judging them, do not let them say foods are “boring to eat,” nor say to them “this is a frill”.
Diet habits are developed from a complex combination of innate characteristics, environmental factors, individual experiences and learnt behaviors.
A selective diet behavior is related to genetics
Some surveys indicate that the quantity of taste buds and their distribution in the mouth might be inherited from the parents.
Never deceive, insist, conceal, force or distract and bargain with a child to force it to eat those rejected foods, because it will only lead to a huge conflict at meal times.
By contrast, positively reinforce the accepted foods, congratulate your child, support it, try to understand it, and be patient with it, while enhancing your child’s relationship with food and creating a pleasurable, harmonious and happy moment during family meals.
Enjoy your meals!