Saturday, October 1, 2011

Toddler w/ Food Texture Issues

Hi, I'm hoping you can help me! My son is 2 yrs, 3 mos old. Up until he turned 2, he would only eat pureed foods and crunchy foods (i.e. typical snacks like pretzels, crackers, etc). At 2, he finally tried chicken nuggets, french fries and tater tots, but we are stuck in a major rut. The only fruits and/or veggies he'll eat are via baby food, no matter how or how often we offer him the real thing. We've tried what seems like everything - mashing up the "real" food, preparing small pasta dishes, trying "toddler" meals, you name it. He won't even touch new foods with his fingers, let alone eat them.

We don't make a big deal of it (in front of him), we let him leave the table when he says he's done and we always give him food when he says he's hungry. But we can't get past this texture hurdle. I've called Child Development Centers & they tell me there's no problem. The pediatrician says that although he's in a low percentile for weight, he's still growing, therefore they don't see any problem either. I KNOW there's a problem, but I can't seem to be able to get any help.

Do you have any suggestions?? Who should I talk to? A dietitian? Nutritionist? It's not that he eats unhealthy foods, he just won't eat any "normal" foods like bread, pizza, veggies, fruits, etc. Not even sweets! And he refuses to touch new foods - always asking us to wipe his hands clean if he gets a speck of food on them. Please help!

Thanks,

Amanda

Dear Amanda:

Let me get this straight. The experts are telling you there is no problem and you are determined there is one? Why is that?

It sounds like your son is a picky eater. I wouldn't get into power struggles with a 2 year old over their food choices. You won't win and you will continue to be frustrated.

I found it further interesting that you are complaining about him not eating "normal" foods like pizza. If he passes his physical and his doctors and others are fine then let him alone. Children develop their tastes for food on their own preferences. If he was starving or malnourished then there is a problem.

However, because you are so upset about this and I have a feeling are not going to relax maybe we could redirect your attention. Do a google search about picky eaters or creative food choices. There are numerous sites dedicated to healthy eating for children which show you how to make cute faces with the food and other images to make the food more interesting to children. You can check with a nutritionist however they too will not be able to "make" him eat if he doesn't want to.

You can also consult a play therapist and see if they have any ideas about whether or not he is developing issues around food. A qualified play therapist would be a good idea for you both.

Otherwise, RELAX. He has a quirk when it comes to food. It doesn't mean there is something wrong with him or that you are not doing a good job. Possibly you are doing too good of a job.

Sincerely,

M Kay Keller