Child’s fussy eating habits – The reasons behind it and how to meet your child’s nutritional needs.

Today I would like to answer more questions from you.

An interesting question from Joanne was:

“My son (8 yrs) won’t eat meat. How can I make sure his nutritional needs are being met?”

Dear Joanne, if I had a chance to see you one to one, I would certainly like to know more about your child. What are the foods that your son likes eating? Also, what is the food culture in your family? Are you vegetarians or vegans? It’s common for kids brought up in a family that has specific food culture to refuse the foods that they aren’t familiar with. If this isn’t the case in your household, there could be another explanation why your child may be a fussy eater.

I have learned that kids with abnormal gut flora can have fussy eating habits and in fact they will be refusing foodstuff such as meats and other proteins. This can be one of the symptoms that there is something wrong with your child’s gut microbiome. It is best to see a qualified nutritionist to investigate it further. Kids with microbiome imbalances often reject many protein foods, and love eating simple carbohydrates or so called “white foods”. They also eat only a handful of foods. They need a treatment to correct this.

Another reason for this can be that your child may have a constitution that is doing best on a vegetarian/vegan diet. So, if your child is healthy, growing and developing well, then learning how to combine foods to obtain all essential amino acids is very important to you:

  • You would want to mix nuts, seeds, beans and grains in one meal to optimize the chance that your child will get an adequate amount of all essential amino acids.

However, the best source of whole proteins as well as Iron, Vitamins B12, D, E, K2 and A and cholesterol are animal foods, so you may want to consider drawing a strategy with professional help to reintroduce these foods into his diet. These macronutrients will optimise your child’s development, even if consumed in small amounts.

If you want to hide animal foods in your child’s diet, that can be achievable too;

  • You can use a blender and mix meats cooked in bone broth or chicken soup and then serve it as a veggie soup. For example; pumpkin or mushroom soup will hide the taste of meat well. I am making these soups for my son and he would not realise he actually eats meat.
  • You can also do a lot with eggs; you can make sugar-free cakes loaded with eggs, you can add egg yolks to smoothies, or make a custard regularly. At least 2 eggs a day will cover your child’s needs to obtain his protein.
  • Make sure that you are not cutting dairy out of his diet: cook with ghee, butter and give him full fat yoghurt, kefir, whole milk or cheese every day. At least he will be getting the fat soluble vitamins and calcium and a whole protein.
  • Seafood would also be very important as there are chances he will tolerate fish and seafood.

Your child needs about a palm size of protein a day to cover his needs. I will leave it up to your creativity to come up with ways to include protein into his diet. If you need extra help, please book to see me.

I hope this information helped you and other parents, that struggle with their children’s fussy eating habits.