If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years as a pediatric nutritionist, it’s that picky eating is one of the most frustrating phases of early childhood.
Even though I consider it a completely normal stage of childhood, as do other childhood health professionals, it still mystifies parents and caretakers.
Not only that, it often pushes them over the edge, prompting them to act in ways they never imagined they would.
What Picky Eating Does to Parents
Picky eaters worry their parents.
For example, toddler eating can put a parent on edge, worried about how it will affect their child’s sleep, or worse, whether food fussiness will instigate a temper tantrum.
The older picky eater can make their parent feel guilty and at a loss with what to do next.
Parents fighting over food? Becoming the food police? Yes and yes.
As a mom myself, and a nutrition professional, I’ve seen the impact of picky eating on parents. I’ve seen parents do things they never thought they would…all in the name of getting their child to eat.
Force their child to take more bites? Yes. I’ve witnessed parents hold their child’s arms down with one hand, while pushing food into the child’s mouth with the other hand.
Bargain with dessert? Uh huh.
“Please try the broccoli. Just one taste. If you take one bite, you can have some ice cream for dessert.”
Empty threats, punishment, and giving in by making a child what he wants to eat (called short-order cooking) are more commonplace than parents like to think.
In the end, the short-ish phase of picky eating can last much longer than it’s supposed to.The short-ish phase of picky eating can last much longer than it's supposed to if you fight over food. #pickyeating #pickyeaters #feedingkids Click To Tweet
The Professional Fussy Eating Advice You Need
Well, I’m here to help you with that. I want to see you at your best, and your child deserves to see you happy, engaged, and joyful around the table — not the opposite.
You at your best means you’ve got a better chance at really raising a healthy eater — and that’s the mission we are all on as parents.
No matter how old your child, from a toddler just getting started with food fussiness to an older kid who’s been picky forever, I’ve got professional advice that I think will be helpful.
From how to prevent picky eating and the foods all picky eaters should try, to how to help fussy eaters gain weight and where to find help for the older, extreme picky kid with ARFID, I’ve arranged these posts in a progressive order to keep you learning and creative with your child.
Need More Help with Picky Eating?
You’re not alone. Picky eating is taking over the table in many households! If you need a deep dive in how to feed children, consider my program, The Nourished Child Blueprint.
And don’t forget The Nourished Child podcast, which is full of interesting topics on raising kids who are nourished, inside and out.