Case study: pre-school child who eats only white food
In this case study, three year old Jodie will not eat anything green or red and mostly eats white foods, such as cheese, yogurt, and pasta.
Age Three years
Jodie will not eat anything green or red and tends to eat the same foods every day for lunch and tea. She mostly eats white foods, such as cheese, yogurt, and pasta.
This toddler's mother is concerned that her child's diet is very limited and she has become a fussy eater. Jodie's mother is also concerned about whether her daughter should take a multivitamin supplement.
Although her appetite varies from day to day, Jodie's evening meal usually consists of chicken nuggets, pasta, and stewed apples with yogurt at least five nights a week. Sometimes she will eat pizza and stewed apples, but she has not been open to trying any other foods that the family is eating, such as chicken, beef, rice, potatoes, or vegetables. She does like some fruits, such as canned mandarin oranges, fresh strawberries, and bananas. In addition, she often takes only a few bites of whatever foods she is offered and announces that she is done. Jodie rarely finishes what is on her plate and frequently returns to the kitchen after an hour or so asking for an ice lolly or other sweets.
It is normal for children at this age to have small appetites, so they may appear to be fussy eaters and may need to eat every few hours. Young children often have “food fads”, preferring to eat the same food every day. Then, after a week or so, they move on to other foods or food groups. Jodie's mother should carry on offering the foods Jodie likes, and should avoid forcing her or bribing her with dessert to get her to finish what is on her plate. It is best to let Jodie regulate her own intake. If she usually leaves food, then her mother should serve smaller portions. If Jodie continues to say she is not hungry, her mother should serve only water with meals (and no fruit juice between meals). She can also try to introduce new foods at the beginning of a meal when Jodie is hungry (tell her that her pasta is still cooking). Eventually Jodie will start to eat a more varied diet.
As long as she grows normally and does not lose weight Jodie is eating enough. However, since her diet is so limited and she avoids vegetables, she may benefit from a “complete” vitamin and mineral supplement containing iron, which is suitable for children. Her mother should discuss this with her GP.
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- Managing the fussy eater
- What can I offer my pre-school child?
- What to give your school-age child
- Loving afternoon tea-time
- Self-help: Encouraging your child to eat
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