Picky eating is a common problem during childhood, often causing considerable parental anxiety. Characterised by an unwillingness to eat certain foods and by strong food preferences, concerns are that picky eating may result in the wrong nutrient intakes.

New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children to measure the nutrient and food group intakes of children identified as picky eaters or non-picky eaters. Main findings were that:

o   Intakes of free sugars were higher than recommended in picky eaters

o   Picky eaters had lower carotene (vitamin A), iron and zinc intakes

o   Picky eaters ate less meat, fish, vegetables and fruit

These important findings suggest the need for parents to encourage their children to include more nutrient-rich items, especially lean meat and fruits and vegetables in their diet, along with less nutrient-poor sugary foods. Unfortunately, feeding children sugary foods only feeds the problem of picky eating even further…

For more information, see: Taylor et al., (2016) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 104. No. 6, pg: 1647-1656