You may wonder if your child is a fussy eater, whether their eating is too limited or perhaps not limited enough to seek expert advice.
To help answer this, here’s just an example of a typical day’s food and drink for one preschooler, when I first met his mum (courtesy of ‘M.’ in Galway).
Breakfast: Milk Bowl of dry Rice Krispies Ready Brek with milk Snack: Cheerios with milk Breadsticks Apple Mid-day meal: Apple Rice Cake Muffin Dry Toast Snack: Rice Cake Oatcake Evening meal: Liga Rice cake Milk Dry Rice Krispies
This shows the common patterns I see regularly among children, for example:
- A limited list of acceptable foods that are eaten daily or sometimes more than once a day.
- Lots of carbohydrates (usually breakfast cereals, breads, crackers and sometimes pasta).
- Very little other food groups especially vegetables, and sometimes little or no fruit. Some children eat lots of protein foods, while others may eat little or no protein foods.
- Usually children have a preference for a certain type of texture, with dry and crunchy foods being the most common, but some children have not moved successfully beyond pureed foods or many children don’t like a dish with mixed textures, such as Spaghetti Bolognese.
- Often children like their food presented a certain way, for example, this preschooler always wanted his rice cake whole and would reject it if it was a little broken.
- For some children, there is lots of dairy in their day especially milk but also yoghurt and /or cheese.
- Fussy children often eat different foods from the rest of the family, especially at dinner time.
- Lastly, frequent snacking is often very common, that is eating small amounts very frequently during the day. This may mean eating mostly snack type foods, such as crackers, fruit or yoghurt; rather than meal type foods.
Before M. Came to me, her preschooler would get upset even at the mention of different foods than what he usually ate. He wanted to change the topic of conversation immediately. He had some awareness of his eating and would say that “when he’d get bigger he’d eat other foods”.
After M. came to me for four consultations her preschooler now eats foods he hasn’t eaten in over 18 months. These include meat (such as turkey), and vegetables (such as peas, sweet corn and carrots). He also eats a much wider variety of different fruits (such as strawberries and melon) and carbohydrates (such as rice). The parents “can’t believe there has been such a huge improvement”.
This originally appeared on Mummypages.ie & photo courtesy of Mummypages.ie