Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Picky Eater Problem: Is He Fussy, or Is Something Wrong?

There's a school of thought that some parents adhere to when it comes to meal time: Eat what's served or go without. But without finding out why a child is a picky eater, such a narrow approach is impractical and possibly negligent.

I say this only to impart this bit of advice: If your child is picky about his or her food to the point where you're concerned about his health, don't force him to eat or punish him. Take him to a nutritionist, dietician or forward-thinking pediatrician.

My son was picky as to be difficult when it came to eating and I tried all the tricks, to no avail. I didn't force him or punish him, but did try the "eat this or nothing" approach. He chose not to eat.

I nagged the doctor, insisting there was something strange about his selective approach to eating. The pediatrician merely shrugged it off. If he had been more enlightened, my son's digestive disorder may have been diagnosed much, much earlier. But his "picky eater" status was ignored, until he was an underweight teenager and his endocrinologist tested him for Celiac.

Yes, this one doctor finally conceded that my concerns were valid: My son's body had been trying to tell us something all along.

Now, though his diet is specialized, he is eating, and eating more healthily than before the diagnosis. So I reiterate: If your child is a picky eater, and the food he or she chooses is of specific tastes and textures, investigate the possibility there may be a physiological cause.

Read: Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen's blog, How to Tell If Your Picky Eater Needs Help

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