Helping young “picky eaters”

Baldwin County

A free event is coming up to help parents learn how to deal with children who are picky eaters.  We talk with Amber Miller-Walker with “The Picky Table” about it.  Here’s a look at our conversation:

Chad:  Any parent has experienced this with young children–picky eaters–there’s a free workshop coming up–what is happening?    

Guest: I am teaming up with a colleague and good friend, Grayson Hill to provide a free education parent lecture on the topic of picky eaters and how to make mealtimes more enjoyable at home.

Chad:  What will you do there?

Guest: Our hope is that through this event we are able to provide parents a better understanding of their children’s behavior surrounding mealtimes while exploring sensory, environmental, and behavioral deficits that may be contributing to the problems they are experiencing when presenting new foods.

Chad:  What are the typical behaviors of a picky eater and how do you know if you have a kid that may need some extra help?     

Guest: It is a typical characteristic for children to go through a picky stage around ages 2-3 years old, but when a child becomes limited to 5 or fewer foods, completely misses a whole food group, or shows an inability to eat specific textures problems arise. The information we are presenting will help parents that are beginning the slippery slope of a picky eater, or if they have been struggling during meal times for an extended time.

Chad: What are some misconceptions people have about picky eaters?     

Guest:  Some of the biggest ones are “if they are hungry they will eat”. Not always true for a child with severe anxiety or severe oral sensory concerns. Another one is that “my child never eats.”‘ Well, if we took a food diary for milk intake, juice intake, snacks, etc what would his daily intake look like, does he fill himself daily during other times so that they don’t have to eat during actual meals at the table.

Chad:  What are some quick ways people can try at home to get their kids into new food?

Guest: Most importantly is to educate a child on what they are eating. Foods are broken into simple categories in our house, they aren’t always our favorite, but they provide us with nutritional benefits. My children will tell you what a protein, vegetable, and a fruit can do for you in their own way. Another thing is to be very defined and realistic with meal times and your expectations. Parents put full plates of a “scary” food on their child’s plate and ask them to just try it. The size of a bite is so subjective and the sight of the “scary” food is overwhelming. I use lots of visuals and rewards of play time and one on one interaction to create participation at a meal time. Most important thing is for a child to trust you with a new food and when you can incorporate a little fun they typically respond well!

Because of the popular response and our lecture in Daphne being mostly filled we have added another date and time for a free parent lecture. It will be on November 1, at 5:30 at the Allied Health Building on the USA Campus. To RSVP call: 251-445-9366.

If you know your child could benefit from therapy services to address feeding concerns you can contact Amber Miller-Walker at Thomas Hospital Outpatient Pediatric Rehab at 251-279-3643 or at

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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