Poor eating habits can develop quite easily and quickly, without us even realising it.
While kids may gravitate to eating the easiest foods (like white bread) as they are a quick source of energy, this results in frequent low blood sugar levels (ie your child is running out of fuel for both their body and mind). This may result in your child being irritable, losing concentration etc.
Grazing is common for many children. This means eating small amounts of foods throughout the day and they often don’t come to the table hungry for meals.
Some children only want to eat their preferred foods and if they are unwilling to try new foods, then their options can be very limited.
Many kids go through phases of not eating certain foods, like excluding whole food groups. This can result in your child not getting their required range of nutrients and may adversely affect their development during these crucial years. Our immune system, for example, is large and complex and needs a variety of different vitamins and minerals. Low immunity often results from a very limited diet over a period.
In addition another concern is that fussy eating persists in the long-term. Research figures vary as to the percentage of typically developing kids who don’t grow out of fussy eating, and may underestimate the true numbers.
The longer a child is not eating any vegetables, for example, the more it can become a habit. This means it can be more challenging to turn the habits around. Therefore the earlier you can tackle this, the easier. Unknown to many people, research shows that young kids don’t have stable food preferences.
Of course its natural for parents to feel anxious when they’re worried about their child’s eating. This is often sensed by your child and it can have a negative impact on your child’s eating. Research shows stress reduces digestive activity and the result is often a child can’t absorb all of the nutrients they need. Many children are low or deficient, for example, in zinc; with the possible consequence of diminished appetite.