This is a common thing among children of all ages and many parents are told this is normal. We cannot expect children to appreciate a 5-course meal, but we can expect them to eat more than those 5-10 foods. I like to call it the “Mc Nugget Diet”, it sounds funny but it’s true. We wonder why our kids will only eat nuggets, fries, chips, pasta, and bread. Many times I see children that are “picky eaters” and they come in with other symptoms too that may include poor sleep, excessive gas, bloating, constipation, food allergies, eczema and behavior problems. How is this linked? Parents are surprised to learn their child has poor digestion and these symptoms are there to warn us of a deeper digestive issue. The majority of the immune system, 70% is found in the gut and when your child has improper digestion they also have a poor immune system. In many cases kids have moderate to severe digestive inflammation that presents as bloating, eczema, gas and the like while others have aggression and attention issues. The picky eating is merely a symptom of larger digestive problem. They learn at a young age the foods that “hurt” and they put them on the “don’t eat that” list and with enough time it grows larger and larger until you have 5-10 foods they will eat. This also roles over into texture, often children will have sensory issues around certain textures. These refusals are learned behavior based on pain. You teach them as toddlers not to touch the stove and if they ever tried it they learned very quickly it hurts, same rule applies here.
So, let’s say your child falls, what do you do? You clean it, put some antibiotic ointment and super hero band-aid on it and call it a day. In normal cases it heals fine, but what if your child has a chronic illness and depressed immune system, would they fight it off the same? No, most likely not. This is when you seek someone out to find the underlying immune issue, not to heal their gut, but to find out why they can’t heal themselves. This is many times the situation parents find themselves in before seeking help. In a majority of cases, picky eating is not normal and is a symptom of a larger digestive issue. My advice would be to seek out a physician that will address your entire child, do proper testing and account for all the symptoms. At the end of the day you can keep the super hero band-aids in the box and seek out resolution to the underlying digestive issues.
Dr. Amber Brooks is the author of 15 Things Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Your Child and founded Whole Child Wellness to bridge alternative and traditional medicine by providing individualized and comprehensive approaches to pediatric wellness. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics, specializes in CranioSacral Therapy (CST) and has a love and passion for treating children of all ages. Dr. Brooks assists her patients in achieving optimal health by utilizing chiropractic, biomedical and functional medicine for an integrative approach to help support their growing bodies. Outside her private practice she offers physician consulting, mentoring and is also available for speaking engagements. Visit her at www.mychildwellness.com or www.dramberbrooks.com and follow her on Facebook at “whole child wellness”.