VIDEO: Picky Eaters

Clinical Expertise

Apr 28, 2021

Medical Reviewer: Amanda Vogelsong, MSED, CCC-SLP
Last Updated: April 28, 2021

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Amanda Vogelsound, and I’m a speech language pathologist with Brooks Rehabilitation.

I’m here to talk with you today about picky eaters. If you know a two or three-year-old, you know what I’m talking about. Tantrums at meal times and refusing to eat are just part of it, and it’s pretty normal for this to last for a few weeks or even a few months.

Here are some tips to help you get through this picky eating stage. First, let’s create structured mealtimes. Eating together at a table, eating at regular mealtimes, and reducing distractions can really help. Also, make sure that if your child has a snack, that they’re not just snacking and roaming. That can really make it hard for them to feel hungry when it comes to meal time.

The second thing you can do to help your child is really model eating those foods. If your child has broccoli on her plate, you need to have broccoli on your plate. Show them, “Oh wow, I like this food. “It’s really crunchy,” or, “It’s really sweet, or, “It’s really salty,” talking about what the food tastes like.

Don’t forget that the way that toddlers get used to these new foods and textures is by playing. Let your child play with food, let them put their hands in it, let them smell it. They might even put it in their mouth and spit it out, and that’s okay during this picky eating time, all right.

So the next thing you can do is really make sure that you’re taking baby steps. You don’t wanna put this huge quantity of a new food on their plate. Make sure you’re using really small pieces or small bites or a small quantity. Toddlers fill up a lot faster than adults, so make sure you’re giving them just a little bit, especially if it’s a new food, and you may just want them to taste it or try it.

All right, so when do you need to seek out the help of a speech language pathologist? When your child is eating less than 20 total foods, or they’re just avoiding food groups altogether, like they won’t eat any fruits or vegetables, or if they won’t eat any meats. That’s a good sign you need to speak with a professional.

Next, if your child’s losing weight because of their picky eating, definitely talk with your pediatrician about a referral to see a speech therapist, and maybe even follow up with some nutritional supplementation.

Next, if your child is eating a different meal than you, so if you are having to cook a different meal regularly for them because they absolutely won’t eat the meals that you guys are eating as a family, that’s a good sign that you need to talk with a speech therapist.

Lastly, if your child is taking longer than 30 minutes to eat, you may wanna seek out some help. Any signs of gagging, choking, coughing, or vomiting during meal time, definitely talk to your pediatrician, ask for a referral to see a speech pathologist.

Hope this helps, thanks.

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Medical Reviewer

Amanda Vogelsong, MSED, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist
Amanda Vogelsong is a licensed pediatric speech language pathologist serving patients in the Mandarin outpatient clinic. She attended the University of South Florida for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Speech Language Pathology. Additionally, Ms. Vogelsong has specialized training in Aural Habilitation for children with hearing loss as part of her master’s degree in Deaf Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Ms. Vogelsong has worked with Early Steps and the school setting serving children from birth to 21 years of age. In 2018, Ms. Vogelsong found herself at home at the Brooks Outpatient clinic in Mandarin. During her time at this clinic, she has received additional training in pediatric feeding disorders including the CAN-EAT Approach used by the pediatric feeding team at NC Children’s Hospital as well as Beckman Oral Motor Training. Ms. Vogelsong is a mother of three and foster parent to kittens through the Jacksonville Humane Society. In her spare time, she enjoys olympic weightlifting and caring for her sister with special needs.