What Makes Kids Picky Eaters?

Has your child been turning down a range of immune-boosting foods for kids recently in favor of a very narrow range of favorite foods? If so, you may be dealing with a picky eater. Although many kids can adopt picky eating patterns as they get older, teaching your child to eat a wide range of foods is important for his or her physical and mental development. Before you can begin to correct your kid’s eating habits, you may first need to learn more about what makes kids picky eaters.

Kids Often Imitate Behavior Observed at Home

One key component of getting your kids to expand their tastes and stop being picky eaters is setting a good example in your own kitchen and at your own dinner table every day. Children frequently imitate behaviors they pick up at home, so if you or a relative are picky eaters and actively shy away from certain types of foods at home, you may not be setting your child up for balanced eating habits later in life. In order to lead by example, try to:

• Consume a balanced diet every day filled with preservative-free foods
• Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits around your kids
• Talk about the flavor of each meal with your children
• Explain the different flavors and food groups to your kids

Kids’ Palates May Change Over Time With Greater Exposure To Different Foods

If you’ve been trying to shift your toddler from taking the best infant vitamin D drops to taking a children’s complete multivitamin, you may already be aware that kids’ nutritional requirements change over time. What you may not have known is that kids’ palates can also change over time, meaning that foods your child disliked at one time might no longer taste bad to him or her. You can push your child to give certain foods a second try if you:

• Introduce one new ingredient into dishes your kids already love to help them get used to the taste slowly
• Get your kids involved in the kitchen and ask them to help you prepare different meals so they will feel motivated to try what they’ve cooked
• Offer a wide range of foods, and especially a range of different types of fruits and vegetables, to your kids on a regular basis to get them exposed to various flavors
• Keep junk food and fast food out of the house as much as possible to encourage healthy eating

Some Kids May Reject Food for Deeper Emotional Reasons

Keep in mind that some food habits may be due to deeper emotional or developmental reasons. For example, a child may start to display picky eating habits if he or she is struggling with:

• Academic difficulties
• Puberty-related emotional challenges
• Bullying or other peer-related problems
• Feelings of not having enough control in their lives

If your child has become a picky eater recently, he or she is far from alone. Many kids develop picky eating habits throughout their childhood, which can become not only an inconvenience for their parents at mealtime but can even, in worst-case scenarios, deprive them of key vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, understanding what may be behind your kid’s newfound eating habits could help you correct course.


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