This is the second in a series about feeding disorders as researched by Children’s National psychiatrist Irene Chatoor, MD.
According to Children’s National psychiatrist Irene Chatoor, MD, author of the new ebook When You Child Won’t Eat or Eats Too Much, selective eaters are children who either change their food preferences often or consistently refuse the same foods.
There are two types of selective eaters: a) children who change food preferences frequently and b) children who develop sensory food aversions, which can be a taste, texture, or even a whole food group.
Selective eating disorders are caused by several genetic and environmental influences:
- Genetic influences
- Tastebud sensitivity
- Fear of trying new foods is hereditary
- Environmental influences
- Exposure to new food
- Role of rewards on food preferences
- Effect of modeling eating by parents and peers on food preferences
- Effect of negative experiences associated with eating certain foods
Selective Eating Treatment:
- Determine underlying reason for selectivity
- Is it food aversion or is the child changing food preference constantly?
- Set limits with children who change food preferences frequently by only offering three different types of food at mealtimes and not giving into demands
- Upon protest of new limits, enable time-out method
- Encourage eating meals together, as a family, to increase modeling
- If your child gags or vomits upon first try at a new food, keep mood neutral, but make a mental note not to serve that food again