Fussy eating is defined as a "spectrum of feeding difficulties". Scientific literature has provided a number of useful definitions:
“It is characterised by an unwillingness to eat familiar foods or to try new foods, as well as strong food preferences”
“Consumption of an inadequate variety of food through rejection of a substantial number of foods that are familiar, as well as unfamiliar; this may include an element of food neophobia, and can be extended to include rejection of specific food textures”
“Restricted intake of food, especially of vegetables, and strong food preferences, leading parents to provide a different meal from the rest of the family”
“Unwillingness to eat familiar foods or try new foods, severe enough to interfere with daily routines to an extent that is problematic to the parent, child, or parent-child relationship”
“Consumption of an insufficient amount or inadequate variety of food through rejection of food items”
“Limited number of food items in the diet, unwillingness to try new foods, limited intake of vegetables and some other food groups, strong food preferences (likes/dislikes), and special preparation of foods required”
There are a number of key themes within these definitions that help us identify when your child's fussy eating is beyond the normal "fussiness" that we would expect in a child aged between 11 to 36 months of age. During this time its normal for toddler's to become cautious, erratic, picky and fickle... however if it is impacting on the following then it might be time to seek some additional support.
There are definitely strategies that you can put in place to help protect your parent-child relationship at meal times and encourage your children to expand their variety and meet their nutritional needs.
Amy offers both home visits and Skype consults to families to provide education and support around children's feeding behaviours and perspectives. She has popped some key starting points below: