A guide to fussy eaters and how to help them
Encouraging kids to eat well is a struggle for many parents. Fussy eating can lead to a lack of nutrients, resulting in fatigue, low immunity, eating disorders and other mental health problems. Here are a few possible reasons children develop fussy eating, and ways to help improve their choice of foods:
A lack of zinc can lead to a loss of taste, smell and appetite. Sprinkling ground pumpkin or sunflower seeds on your child’s breakfast can help increase zinc in their diet. Beef, seafood and multivitamins are also good sources of zinc.
Stomach acid helps digest proteins, so if this is low, protein food may linger in the gut, causing discomfort. The child may associate this with protein-rich foods and stop eating them. Apple cider vinegar on salad dressings, papaya and pineapple all help. Staying hydrated helps, but avoid large glasses of water at mealtimes as this may dilute food.
If children are intolerant to wheat and dairy, they may not be digesting them properly. Large food particles can escape into the bloodstream, causing an opiate-like response to the food. This feel-good response can lead to cravings.
A nutritional therapist can advise on testing for intolerance and give advice for possibly eliminating a food from the diet. Chemicals such as MSG are found in processed foods and children may become addicted to these. Try to home cook their favourite foods and get them to help.