Picky, Picky, Picky: How to Deal with a Picky Eater – and When It Might Be Something More
This is the first in a series of topics with Dr. Sandeep Gupta, Pediatric Gastroenterologist at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria.
It’s not unusual for children – especially toddlers and preschoolers – to have their favorite foods, often refusing to eat anything else. Picky eating is a common behavioral problem in young children, with nearly a quarter of preschool children going through this phase, with most outgrowing it.
But what can parents and caregivers do to encourage children of any age to try a broader range of food?
Dr. Sandeep Gupta is a Pediatric Gastroenterologist with OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois. He treats a wide range of conditions in children, including those related to nutrition.
Sometimes there are conditions where they truly have a problem with eating. They may have difficulty eating pizza or hot dog or meats because they have difficulty swallowing because either they have a swallowing problem or the food pipe is irritated or they may have narrowing of the food pipe.
If your child is not eating to the point of not growing, or if year after year if you look at school photos and your child is the same size or they are the smallest in the class that may be cause for concern. Or if you truly believe you have tried everything as a parent and they are just an exceedingly picky eater, your child should see their doctor. Dr. Gupta says there are conditions where children truly have a problem with eating.
Dr. Gupta says it is tough to know as a parent where to draw the line. But if it’s an ongoing issue or your child’s growth is being affected the adage “when in doubt, reach out” should be followed.
Learn more through OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois.