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Erratic Food Choices For Children…………Or Is It Normal?

by on March 2, 2013

Erratic Food Choices……Or Is It Normal?

By Beverly Pressey, MS, RD, CD

For MOSAIC Children’s Therapy

Today in class, I noticed a child whose mother believed she no longer ate cheese, was eating cheese.  I asked mom about this and she responded that since the child was offered cheese in class several weeks ago, she is eating it again at home, but not orange cheese.  I explained that although this seemed erratic, it is typical and normal.  Our children eat not just what they know they enjoy due to taste, smell, appearance or texture, but what they are nutritionally drawn toward.

So how do we, as mindful a parents, know what our children need nutritionally each meal or each day?  We don’t. So, our job is to offer a variety of healthy food over the course of the day.   Don’t fall into the trap of offering what you think your child will eat, or not offering foods that they have previously refused.

This back fires in two ways:

  1. Even though a child ate a food once, or even if that food has been the favorite food for a few days, that doesn’t necessarily indicate the child will eat it at this time.
  2. If you only offer foods you believe your child will accept, you will slowly narrow food choices and eventually decide that you have a picky eater.

When it is time for a snack or meal, think: “what would I like my child to eat”, “what do I have”, “what is manageable at this time” (do you want to cook or not, do you have a short or long time for eating, etc.?).  Once you have made this choice, put the food in front of your child.  They can eat or not.  Of course you can always choose to offer the current favorite food once or twice a day, as part of any meal or snack.

But keep rotating in a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds, oils, and fish as every food has its own unique nutritional profile.

You have done your job.

Beverly Pressey is a Registered Dietician with Master’s degrees in Education and Nutrition.  She is currently scheduling appointments at Mosaic in Bellevue.  Beverly was the dietitian for the Parent Education Program at Bellevue College for 10 years.  She has also worked with individuals, presented at conferences, taught continuing education and college classes, and presented at numerous parent groups.  As an experienced counselor, cook, teacher, speaker and a mother of 2, she has a realistic understanding of infant/child eating patterns plus the perspective of a busy parent.  Beverly lives in Seattle, Washington.

MOSAIC Children’s Therapy 13010 NE 20th St. Suite 300, Bellevue, WA 98005

MOSAIC Center for Therapy Services 4909 – 25th Ave. NE Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98105


From → Feeding, Nutrition

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