top of page

Understanding Picky Eating: A Guide for Caregivers

Hello there, caregivers! Today, we're diving into the world of picky eating and offering you a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this common challenge. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I've worked with many families facing picky eating habits, and I'm here to share some valuable insights and strategies. If you're ready to make mealtimes a more positive experience for your child, keep reading!

Understanding Picky Eating

Picky eating is a normal phase that many children go through as they explore new foods and assert their preferences. HOWEVER, for some children, picky eating can become a persistent and distressing issue that affects their nutrition and overall well-being, as well as your stress! As caregivers, it's important to differentiate between typical picky eating and more significant feeding difficulties that may require professional intervention.

Signs of Problematic Picky Eating

Limited Food Variety

If your child consistently avoids entire food groups or refuses to try new foods, it may indicate a deeper issue.

Extreme Food Preferences

Strong aversions to specific textures, smells, or tastes can significantly restrict a child's diet and impact their nutrition.

Mealtime Struggles

Frequent tantrums, gagging, or other negative behaviors during mealtimes can be indicators of feeding difficulties.

Insufficient Weight Gain or Growth

If your child consistently fails to meet growth milestones or exhibits weight loss, it's essential to seek professional help.

How Occupational Therapists Can Help:

Pediatric occupational therapists are trained to address picky eating and feeding difficulties using a holistic approach. Occupational therapists can conduct thorough assessments to identify the underlying causes of picky eating. We consider factors such as sensory processing, oral motor skills, and mealtime routines. With this information, we develop personalized intervention plans tailored to your child's specific needs. We then use sensory-based techniques to help children expand their food preferences. By gradually exposing your child to different textures, tastes, and smells in a supportive environment, we can promote more adventurous eating habits.

How Empower Kids Therapy Can Support You:

1. Free Mealtime Success Guide

To provide you with even more support, we offer a free Mealtime Success Guide. This resource is packed with practical tips, expert advice, and nutritious recipes to make mealtimes enjoyable for both you and your child. Downloading the guide is a great first step toward transforming your picky eater into a more adventurous food explorer.

2. Parent Online Feeding Course

If you find that your child's picky eating habits persist despite your best efforts, consider learning more in our online parent feeding course. You can learn how to address feeding challenges at mealtimes, create a more positive and successful mealtime experience for your child, and remove the stress of making multiple meals.

3. 1:1 Occupational Therapy Feeding Therapy Services in Orlando, FL?

If you're finding it challenging to address your child's picky eating habits on your own, consider reaching out for professional feeding therapy services. Our team is here to support you and your child throughout the journey to healthier eating habits. By working together, we can provide targeted strategies and interventions to foster positive mealtime experiences.


Understanding picky eating is the first step toward helping your child overcome feeding challenges. Remember, it's essential to distinguish between typical picky eating and more significant issues that may require professional intervention. By accessing our free Mealtime Success Guide and considering feeding therapy services, you're taking proactive steps to support your child's nutrition and overall well-being.

To download the Mealtime Success Guide and learn more about our feeding therapy services, visit our website or reach out to our team. Together, let's turn mealtimes into moments of joy and exploration for your picky eater!

Looking forward to supporting you and your child on this journey. Samantha Stern, MS, OTR/L Pediatric Occupational Therapist

14 views0 comments


bottom of page