A Gentle Approach to Eating – PROJECT MUNCH #6 Causes of fussy eating
Nutritional Therapist Sophie Tyner, from Grow Nutrition is passionate about empowering parents to raise happy, healthy and resilient kids supported by their food choices. She applies a gentle approach, sharing experiences and engaging all of a child’s senses when exploring accessible, affordable, REAL foods that will give them a head start in life.
There can be a plethora of reasons why your child may not want to eat a varied diet, Grow Nutrition brings you 3 of the most common reasons that underpin a child’s unwillingness to enjoy their food.
1) Nutrient deficiencies
Zinc deficiency can be common in children, it is needed in high amounts for growth, development and repair. Having a deficiency can often cause a reduced appetite and picky eating tendencies.
Deficiency in Iron and Vitamin B12 also causes a reduced appetite. Grow Nutrition strongly recommends you do not use supplements with your child without consulting your GP or Nutritional Therapist to correctly identify if your child is deficient in particular vitamins and minerals.
2) Gut imbalances/digestive issues
Discomfort, pain, constipation and diarrhoea can lead to fussy eating tendencies. Working on adjusting the balance of your child’s microbiome (the balance of good and bad bacteria) can play a large role in supporting appetite and food preferences. Antibiotics/overuse of harsh cleaning products/high sugar and fat diets and processed diets can have a negative effect on our microbiome and appetite. If your child has an imbalance of gut bacteria this can be a driver for craving unhealthy foods.
3) Sensory Issues
Active eating involves all of our senses, it is a highly sensory rich activity, therefore, if your child has difficulty processing certain senses they may have issues with eating.
The simple act of eating can be a challenge, try relating it to scraping your fingers down a blackboard, some children will not tolerate lumps, food mixed together, certain textures etc.
Many children have certain degrees of tolerance as they explore, but if your child regularly gags when they smell food, hold food and/or when they put food in their mouth they may require specialist intervention.
Project Munch is here to inspire families to eat well together.