Livliga’s blog is a weekly dose of inspiration for those looking to embrace the Livliga lifestyle.
Founder Sheila Kemper Dietrich is committed to the journey of better living and a healthier
lifestyle; this includes sharing personal experiences, new knowledge, and workable solutions
along the way.
Livliga | Health-minded February
Friday, September 25, 2015
Why Picky Eaters are at Risk
How many of us have dealt with a picky eater in our lives?
We all know someone who fits the description. It may even be a child of ours.
Whenever I think of a picky eater I remember the movie When Harry Met Sally. Sally personifies the picky eater perfectly.
Picky eating makes us think of someone as quirky, idiosyncratic or worse, a nuisance.
A recent study published in the Journal
of Pediatrics unveils a far more serious side to picky eating, especially
in our children.
Picky eating may be a sign a child is suffering from anxiety
and depression. The study followed children from the ages of 2-6 for 3 years.
They found that picky eating can be associated with separation anxiety and
ADHD. To be clear, the study is not saying all children who are picky eaters
are suffering from the same conditions. What it does show us is we should no
longer view picky eating as a phase or quirky trait. It should not be
trivialized or dismissed.
In fact, the study indicated that picky eating or “selective
eating” might have long- term consequences on a child’s health. Some may be
suffering with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRID), a recently
recognized eating disorder. It is estimated that while most kids out grow their
picky eating, at least 12% do not.
What are the ways we can help our children have a healthy
relationship with food and enjoy eating a range of foods? Here are some ideas
nutritionists have shared:
Make eating an
exploration. Discovering new foods can be full of fun. It can start by
touching a new food, smelling it and even licking it. The goal is not
necessarily to eat it the first time it is introduced.
Do not make eating a
certain food a “have to”. A sure way to have a child hate a food is to
insist they eat it and eat it all. Instead make it about discovering tastes.
A child’s tastes
change over time so re-trying a food should be encouraged. What a child did
not like at two may now be something they like at four.
Avoid indulging picky
eating. Instead of always feeding the picky eater the only foods they like,
serve up a variety of appealing foods…just don’t force them to eat them but
rather explore them.
Have the picky eater
help pick out new foods to explore and help prepare them for your meal.
Studies show if children are involved in choosing the food they eat and helping
to prepare it they are more likely to try it.
Help your child learn
about the importance of balanced meals and nutrition. Share with them how
the foods we eat are important for being healthy, having energy and to do the
things we want to do from thinking to playing sports. Learn together how
different foods are good for you to eat and why. Read children’s books that
teach children about what a balanced meal is, why food is important and how to
cook. A fun book to enjoy together is Sammie
& Sax in the Land of Quinoa: The Search for a Balanced Meal.
Above all a child’s
experience with food should be enjoyable and even fun. Incorporate
activities around learning about food. Go pick your own berries or other foods.
Go to a farmer’s market. Visit a farm. Take a cooking class together. Bake
muffins and cookies and share them with neighbors and family. Experiment in the
kitchen and make up your own recipes. The fun can be endless and a great way to
spend time with your child.
If you want more ideas or are concerned your child may have
other issues beyond picky eating make sure to talk to your pediatrician. What
we now know is picky eating is no longer something to be ignored or dismissed. Knowing
this we can take positive steps to address the needs of our picky eaters so
they can be healthy and enjoy eating all variety of foods.
Great Resource: For
fun games, recipes and a special dish set that teaches children about right-sized
eating and balanced meals got to www.LivligaHome.com
and check out all things Kidliga.