Picky eaters fall into different categories based on what they eat. They are recognised by the food they eat and the food they reject. Each picky eater category may lead to particular nutritional deficiencies. In Australia, we have seven categories of picky eaters.
A ‘Milk-o-holic’ is over 2 years of age and is still drinking from a bottle. They replace meals with bottle which can be breastmilk, or milk from a bottle or cup. They have small, insignificant amounts of food intake. A ‘Milk-o-holic’ often drinks for comfort or to go to sleep.
The child who fails to progress from blended purees to age appropriate food textures
An example of theis category is the toddler who fails to progress beyond pureed or blended foods. The purees are often diluted adn thi restricts nutritional intake. The child who stays on blended foods does not build chewing muscles that they need for chewier foods and later speech development. These children sometimes have an overactive gag reflex and that is why they avoid more textured food.
This picky eater has a lot of anxiety around food. They always select food that they think are ‘safe’ or ‘familiar’. They are very hesitant to try new foods and may have anxiety around more than just food.
Dry, white food eater
This picky eater likes lots of foods that are white, and usually dry. They like white bread, crackers, dry cereal, bananas, plain pasta and plain rice. They prefer milk as a drink and may eat yoghurt pouches. They don’t like wet or slimy food, and reject sauces on food.
Small finicky eater
These children eat small amounts of foods at meals and snacks. They take a long time to eat and like to ‘graze’ across the day.
Avoider of whole food groups
This picky eater refuses to eat all or most foods from a particular food group. The most common food groups that they refuse are meats (and meat alternatives) and fruits and vegetables.
Poor environmental eating habits
The eating environment impacts the eating habits of picky eaters. These children have inconsistent eating schedule. They often eat in front of the TV. They graze throughout the day because of the inconsistent eating schedule. These snacks are frequently refined processed snack. There are limited role models of good eating habits for this picky eater.
How do I help my picky eater?
YukToYum is a feeding clinic in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Our team of feeding therapists are speech pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists. We aim to turn picky eaters into adventurous eaters. If you are interested in learning more about our program, call us on (02) 80657837 or email us here.