The biggest problem that parents of picky eaters face is the perpetuation of the myth that children should want to eat healthy, well-rounded meals every day, that they should eat vegetables with gusto, hate junk food and turn down sweets and treats in favor of fresh fruit.
Let’s put this myth aside as wishful thinking, and examine what real children look like – the children you probably see in your home.
Picky Eating: Did You Know?
- According to some polls, as many as 75% of parents say that their child is, or has been, a picky eater. Adding those that say their child is “sometimes” picky raises that number to almost 85%.
- Up to 67% of parents say that vegetables are essentially “off limits” to their little one.
- About 25% of parents report that their child refuses to try a new food when it’s offered.
- A third of parents say that their picky eater could survive on the same three to five foods every single day.
- Half of all picky eaters won’t eat mixed dishes; they prefer individual foods that don’t touch each other.
- The typical age span for picky eating is from fifteen months to six years, but it remains common up to about age 10, and can persist for some children up through adolescence.
- A quarter of parents find their child’s picky eating habits “beyond frustrating.”
Is picky eating dangerous?
Only a very small percentage of young children go beyond normal picky eating habits to the danger point of lacking the nutrients they need for healthy growth. These few children are truly stressed over food related issues or have trouble with the physical mechanics of eating. These few children don’t have normal growth and lack energy. (If you have any concerns about your child’s eating habits it’s always wise to talk to your health care provider.)
For most children, picky eating is just a phase. And even despite their pickiness they get enough daily nutrition to be healthy and to grow like a weed!
Need more tips? The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution is your resource for gentle ways to encourage your child to eat – and eat healthy!