Is my child’s eating just a phase?
Many of us worry about our child’s eating and are unsure how best to handle the challenges of a child’s eating.
The first 3-4 years of life are particularly important to set the foundation for long-term eating throughout life. This is particularly with regard to how varied a child’s diet is: if it is limited in these first years, it will probably continue to remain the same over time.
Let’s start with two popular beliefs around fussy eating:
Take, for example, around 18 months toddlers naturally become more wary about eating certain foods. In addition, toddlers are becoming more independent and may show this by refusing to eat foods they happily ate before, such as porridge.
While it is a phase for many toddlers, a significant percentage of toddlers don’t grow out of fussy eating.
What starts out as a phase can quite easily develop into a more long-term habit, often without us realising it.
Increasingly more and more children don’t outgrow their eating habits without some change of approach.
This happens for many reasons including when we eat a limited number of foods, we often eat these foods very frequently. We can therefore get so tired of eating the same foods, that we want to stop eating these foods altogether. This may explain why some children refuse to eat foods that they previously liked, for example, some vegetables.
If your child does not usually eat a healthy, balanced or varied diet and you have tried different approaches, you may wonder should you seek expert help.
One simple way of determining if your child has a varied diet is to write down everything they eat for a few days. Then categorise each food according to the four main food groups, (carbohydrates, proteins, fruit and vegetables). Sometimes this can be very revealing for example, you may realise that your child’s diet is dominated by various forms of carbohydrates (such as pasta, cereal and bread) or certain textures such as dry, crunchy foods.
You may benefit from expert support, if any of the following apply:
Finally, the longer these eating habits continue, the more challenging it can be to turn around. Therefore it is easier and quicker to seek expert help sooner rather than later.