|Food Jags and Picky Eaters
Welcome to the preschool/toddler years where every parent struggles with picky eaters! This phase of life is such an exciting time with new discoveries each day for both parent and child. If you are the parent of a toddler, you probably have encountered some picky eating habits or even food jags, where your child will only eat one particular food or type of food at each meal. During this exciting time for toddlers and parents, growth actually slows, development excels, and calorie and nutrient needs are high especially in vitamins A, C, B6, iron, zinc and calcium.
This is also a time where children will begin to assert more independence, including their eating habits. If your child begins to eat a little less, don’t be alarmed since intake with a toddler can often vary from day to day and meal to meal. One minute your toddler loves bananas and the next he seems to hate them. The quirky eating behavior of a toddler can often be very stressful for parents. If you are concerned, it is always a good idea to check with your pediatrician to make sure your child’s growth is within normal range.
Picky eating and food jags are very common between the ages of 1- 4 years. The following tips can help parents move through this fickle eating stage:
Preventing food jags is a methodical process. Prevention is not always possible for some children. If you have a child who seems to jag on a particular food, but you are not able to vary the food in any way and his or her diet choices continue to decrease along with caloric intake, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Pediatric Dietitians can team with your child’s pediatrician to increase food and caloric intake and ultimately increase healthy growth in your child.