Choosy Eater |

The Many Faces Of Picky-Eaters

Brought to you by Abbott Nutrition

Nearly 1 in 2 Singaporean parents say that their child is a picky-eater*, but what makes a child one? Pediasure presents a 4-part series of tutorials that looks at the different types of picky-eaters to help you identify which one your child may be, because knowing, is half the battle won.





















You were excited about introducing solid food to your child. He loved fruit purees and mashed potatoes, but just would not accept anything on a spoon with even the tiniest of lumps. You tried cooking to the softest of textures and even, mincing food. But alas , he would have none of it.

While it is theoretically possible to blend every food for your child, it really is not something you can do forever. This form of picky eating impacts a child's ability to eat a wide variety of food or even, eat enough.

Some children are also sensitive to the smell, taste, temperature and flavour of food, and avoid them. Choosy eaters often have poor diet quality and miss out on nutrients important to their overall growth and development.

It is important for your child to eat age-appropriate food. Fortunately, with some patience and simple feeding strategies, you can help your child make a smooth transition to a healthy and balanced diet that includes food of varied textures and tastes.

Let us look at some telltale signs that your child may be a slow eater.

  • Prefers liquids and soft food.
  • Consistently refuses food outside a limited range of preferred food.
  • Gags or spits out solid food or unfamiliar textures.
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Compromised growth
  • Susceptibility to illness
  • Lower cognitive development
  • Strained parent-child relationship

The Many Faces Of Picky Eaters Series:
Part 1 : The Slow Eater
Part 2 : The Junk Food Lover
Part 4 : The Small Eater

*Daniel YT Goh and Anna Jacob. Perception of picky eating among children in Singapore and its impact on caregivers: a questionnaire survey Asia Pacific Family Medicine 2012; 11:5.




I know kids are different and develop at their own pace, but we are getting really worried about our daughter's situation with solid food.

She is nearly 1 and a half years old and still prefers liquid or pureed food. We have been trying to get her to eat solids for a few months now, but she hasn't shown signs of improvement. She simply won't open her mouth and pushes away the spoon at the sight of solid food.

I have even tried to mash her food up and put it on her plate thinking she didn't like us feeding her, but she just ended up playing with it.

We try to stay calm and avoid forcing our daughter as we don't want her to have negative feelings about eating. I hope to hear of some new ideas and reassurance please!

- Mother: Daphne Koh
- Daughter: Deborah Chan, 2 years old

There is a critical period, between 6 to 10 months, in which babies should be introduced to chewable solids. Delaying this might result to rejection of solids later on. They should be able to accept lumpy or textured solid food by 12 months.

Some methods for introducing solid food are:

  • Ensure she is hungry at mealtime by not serving snacks or juices 3 - 4 hours prior to the meal.
  • Limit milk to 3 cups a day (750ml)
  • Allow her to play with the food as this reduces anxiety towards new food.
  • Eat together and share the same food to encourage her to accept new food types as she sees you as a role model.
  • Since she may not be getting all the nutrients required, a complete and balanced nutrition supplement may be useful.

One possible reason for young children to reject solids is an underlying sensory processing disorder. If you are worried that your child might have a sensory issue, do visit your paediatrician for further assessment.

- Dr Chu Hui Ping,
Consultant Paediatrician, Raffles Hospital.
This comments given by the doctor are for educational purposes and not a product recommendation. Readers should consult their own doctors if they have further enquiries.
PED 190413