Being a picky eater is part of what it means to be a kid. We have since learned that there are developmental reasons why kids between one and three years of age play with their food. After a year of rapid growth, toddlers gain weight more slowly. So, of course, they need less food. The fact that these little ones are always on the go also affects their eating patterns. They don’t sit still for anything, even food. Snacking their way through the day is more compatible with these busy bees’ lifestyles than sitting down to a full-fledged feast.
NUTRI-TIP: Good Grazing – Good Behavior
A child’s demeanor often parallels her eating patterns. Parents often notice that a toddler’s behavior deteriorates toward the end of the morning or mid-afternoon. Notice the connection? Behavior is at its worst the longer they go without food. Grazing minimizes blood-sugar swings and lessens the resulting undesirable behavior.
According to Dr. Leann Birch, Professor and Head of the Human Development and Family Studies Department at Penn State University, “Most children who are perceived as picky eaters probably have adequate diets. What parents often perceive as picky eating simply reflects their children’s normal response to new foods.”
Many young children are picky eaters. Choosing when and what they’ll eat is how they learn to be independent. Most develop healthy eating habits as they get older. If you think your child physically has trouble eating, talk with your pediatrician. Those cases are rare, and remember, the pickiness is probably just a phase.