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Tips for Maintaining Balanced Nutrition for Child and Adult Picky Eaters

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How do you feel about food? Do you enjoy eating just about anything, or is your diet generally rather limited? Most people associate picky eating with children, but there are plenty of adult picky eaters, too. While it may not be immediately dangerous to your health, picky eating can deprive you of crucial nutrients at any age. Here is what you need to know. 

How Picky Eating Starts in Kids

Having a child that is a picky eater can be worrying for parents, but it is far from unusual. Studies show that almost all children are picky eaters at some time during their childhood. For some, picky eating is an issue of its own. For others, picky eating is part of a larger health concern. 

Let’s take a look at how picky eating starts. Researchers have found that many children become pickier in their food choices around age 2. This is when children start to assert their independence for the first time, and selecting what to eat is a large part of that. Vegetables are among the least favorite foods for picky eaters.

To prevent picky eating from turning into a severely restrictive diet, parents need to start early. Offering a wide variety of foods to try is a great approach. Experts also recommend allowing kids to eat what the grown-ups are eating as long as there is no choking hazard. It helps if you enjoy a varied diet yourself. Avoid forcing your child to finish what’s on their plate as this can make things worse. 

Why Adults Are Picky Eaters

Most adult picky eaters were very selective eaters as children, too. They simply never grew out of their dislikes. A study by the Duke Center for Eating Disorders found that three out of four picky adults started restrictive eating habits during childhood. As they got older, they simply added to their list of foods to avoid. 

In addition, adult picky eaters tend to try to disguise their problem with food which can lead to awkward social situations and even cause social anxiety.

How to Change Picky Eating Habits

More research is still needed to help scientists and medical professionals understand the causes of picky eating better. At this stage, the community agrees that the reasons usually include genetics as well as learned behavior. 

Changing eating habits is easier for kids than it is for adults who may have restricted their food choices for decades. If your child is a picky eater, try the tips above but also consider whether there may be bigger underlying causes such as emotional or behavioral issues. 

Adults can try using different methods of preparation. You may think you dislike all vegetables, but have you tried roasting them, for example? Changing how you prepare your least-liked foods can transform them. 

Picky eating can lead to nutritional deficits in kids and adults which may predispose you and your family to a range of health conditions. If you feel that this could be the case, don’t hesitate to seek expert advice from us at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic in New Albany, Mississippi. During our adult and child wellness exams, we work to get a good overall understanding of your family’s current health, including physical, mental, and emotional aspects. 

These appointments offer excellent opportunities to talk about balanced nutrition and find ways to resolve detrimental, picky eating habits. Contact us today to request your appointment or drop by our clinic located at 118 Fairfield Dr, New Albany, MS 38652, United States. 

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