It is natural for parents and carers to worry about their child’s eating – whether they are getting enough or eating the right or wrong things.
This can be even more so when children seem very choosy or reject certain foods. But it does not always need to be a worry.
If mealtimes are stressful or anxious for you or for your child, then it is affected their wellbeing. One way to deal with this is just to give them what they want! This page will help you see if this is likely to cause other problems.
Are they getting what they need?
The first thing to ask is whether your child is getting all 4 kinds of food they need in their diet. These are the “everyday foods” you can find described on this page or you can see them on the Highland Food Plate
Does your child include all 4 kinds of food on most days? Maybe they eat several foods from each of the four groups on most days. If so, that’s great, they are probably getting what they need.
Children who eat a variety of foods from each of the four kinds of food are quite likely to be getting roughly what they need
Are they missing important foods?
In general, the more variety in the diet, the more likely it is that your child gets all the nutrients they need. If what your child wants are just the same three or four things, they may well not be getting what they need.
You can discuss concerns with your Health Visitor who can give you more information and advice
Does it really matter?
A poor diet can affect health, wellbeing and development in both the long term and the short term
In the short term, if a child goes for a few hours without eating, they may be irritable and find it hard to pay attention. You might see their mood or behaviour get worse, or they may be very tired.
Adults can feel like this too! Some people call it feeling “Hangry”. You can often see a child’s mood, behaviour and energy level improve about 20 minutes after they have eaten again.
Long term effects can be more serious, and you can find some information about this on these pages