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Problem Feeder vs Picky Eater

January 19, 2018 by Angela Hansen0

Problem Feeder vs Picky Eater

Many families often question their child’s food preferences. It is very common for children to become very unpredictable and many go through a picky eating phase.   Sometimes it can be more serious than that and can be more of a feeding problem.  If you suspect it is more of feeding difficulties the best thing to do is keep a food journal and track your child’s eating behavior. You can then bring up your concerns with your healthcare provider. You may be referred to an Occupational Therapist or Feeding Therapist who can provide therapy to discover new and healthy foods. This can also help to improve your child’s overall nutrition so they can continue to grow and thrive.

Here are some great tips to look for when trying to figure out if it’s your child being a picky eater or your child being a problem feeder.

Problem Feeders

  • Cannot tolerate being around people eating foods they don’t like.
  • Refuses to eat particular food textures or colors.
  • Eats less than 20 foods.
  • Gags or even vomits when eating certain foods.
  • If your child is progressively phasing out foods and their diet is becoming extremely limited in variety and color.

Picky Eaters

  • Can manage new food on their plate and will try new food with encouragement.
  • If your child gets tired of one particular food, it can usually be reintroduced at a later time,
  • Your child may not like a variety of food groups or textures but will eat at least one from each food group.

With a child who is being a picky eater, limit snacks and try meal times at the same time every day. You should never bribe or force your child to try a new food. Simply serve new foods alongside familiar foods and encourage your child to try it. It can take up to 10 times to get a child to try something new and that’s okay!


This information has been sourced from: Copyright 1997 / 2019 – Dr. Kay A. Toomey



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