Why are children picky eaters? Answer may surprise you!

Why are children picky eaters? Answer may surprise you!





You are sitting down to a nice meal out at your favorite restaurant with your family. You and your spouse made reservations over a week ago for the three of you. It’s your first time out as a family and you figure your child will like something off the menu. You ask “honey do you want chicken and rice with veggies. Your child says no. Do you want meat and fries. The answer again is no.




Does this or has this happened to you on a similar meal out at a fancy restaurant? I have done research online and found reasons why this occurs with children since this has been an experience my wife and I have had many times with our two children. Today you will learn answers to the question “why are children picky eaters?”.








tolerance levels

Children are less tolerant for bitter and sour flavors. This is one reason why your little one refuses to eat foods you offer and think they should enjoy if they only try.



According to the inform I gathered as adults we have already acquired our preferred tastes. As such, our children being picky eaters is not a choice they are choosing.




Children have had less time to be exposed to new flavors and as such do not like to eat these types of food.



Adults on the other hand not have a problem. As an adult you may not realize that many of your preferences have been acquired over time.



It is not fair to become impatient with you child. Neither is it right to make them feel bad about themselves for it. If you want them to learn to begin to eat foods they currently are unable to tolerate one suggestion is to combine their bitter/sour meal with something sweet the first time they try something bitter or sweet.



adult tolerance

As adults we are less sensitive to potential toxicity in our food. Children with smaller bodies and less-developed for detoxification are not.



Fruits, vegetables and spices as adults we mostly eat without being sensitive to it. Children have a harder time dealing with their effects and as such nature may have in children extra sensitivity to bitter and sour flavors.









kids energy food

Children require more food daily than adults to help their growing bodies. They also require a lot of food in order to support their inefficient energy consuming bodies.



It is because of their smaller bodies which have more surface area relative to their volume. This results in their bodies losing more heat which uses up more energy.



Another problem is that smaller bodies have poor short digestive tracts making it more difficult to digest high in fiber foods and / or toxins.


This may explain why children prefer to eat foods high in energy and low in bulk.







There is research showing that genetics may play a role in children pickiness of foods they eat. Research has shown that bitterness-detection genotypes may be different within an individual family.



This may help explain why conflicts arise when you and your children disagree over food that your child refuses to eat.




It may be in fact true what your child is saying that the food doesn’t taste good to her despite it tasting good to you.




fetis tasting food

Research has shown that what mothers eat, their fetuses also taste. Also, a mothers breast milk has been shown to pass preferences to children.



So a varied diet by mothers during these stages may play a large role on how picky your child becomes later on. If possible encourage your wife if she is not already doing so to eat a wide variety of foods. This way you should be increasing the chances your child will be open to different foods.








kids trying new foods

Research is showing that children who have been exposed to a variety of foods early on in their lives may become open-minded to trying a variety of foods later on.



How you as a parent present food to your child may play a role on how eager your child is to try something new. The research also demonstrated that picture books with different foods may play a role in encouraging children to try foods they have never eaten before.








what can fathers do

There were a few suggestions on a different site of things you can do as a father to encourage your child to eat, they included, not to force your child to eat when he is not hungry but neither starve your child.




Remember taste preferences may be different between your child and yourself.




Combine new unfamiliar foods with his old favorites to see if the combination will get him to eat the new food as well.




Be your child role model when it comes to eating new foods. Eat the food yourself in front of your child.




Expose your child to a variety of new foods and have her take little bits if possible. Do it over an extended period of time to expose your child to the food and gradually create an interest in eating it.




If possible depending on your living space and the age of your child include him in growing of the foods you will eat. This may open up your child to becoming more familiar to new foods and less likely to be picky when its meal time. Again patience and time is required here.





In conclusion we examined tolerance levels of children being lower for bitter and sour foods and adult tolerance levels being higher.



Children seeking high energy foods and that genetics may play a part in pickiness. Fetuses tasting mothers food and taste preferences being passed onto children from the mother.



We looked at exposure, how food is presented effects on children and we closed by examining things you can do in order to try help your child overcome being a picky eater.




Thanks for your time,



Jody the name of author is displayed



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8 thoughts on “Why are children picky eaters? Answer may surprise you!”

  • Very cool article. I think because adults are old (let’s face it) we don’t remember what it was really like to be a child. It also doesn’t help that children can’t command their native language to tell you what the problem is (I know a few adults who battle with this too!).

    We can only guess as to the real problem, but it must be difficult going through this “overload”. Your body is busy growing (which is probably uncomfortable), you are learning all these weird words and things you can do and can’t do and on top of that mom and dad want you to eat that green stuff that looks like trees (broccoli)!

    I think it is expected for children to behave like, well children I guess. Adults also have stuff they don’t like the taste of, so it is not that far a stretch to see a kid exhibit the same behaviour (on a much bigger scale though). It is like you said it may be more vital for the parent to get the approach right rather than expecting the child to eat stuff because you say so!

    These tips like presenting the old with the new are great for anyone to know and especially knowing that children are more sensitive to sweet and sour flavours.

    • Thanks for commenting.

      I believe also it is true as adults we do not remember like you said how it is to be a child. 

      I believe it depends on how old your child is for them to be able to or not to express if they like the food or not and why. 

      Some things children like and some they do not. Just like adults as you mentioned. As long as they are getting nutrition from the different food groups as recommended then I believe it is better to introduce new foods slowly. If you force it you could very well put them off eating what you want them to eat for the rest of their lives.

      Think about it this way, when we are in high school for the first few grades we are forced to take courses that we may or may not want to and despies having to take them. When you finally have the option to select the courses most people will not take those courses again and have ill feelings towards the subject, even into adulthood.

      Thanks again and have a great day!

      Proud papa of two


  • I was a terribly picky eater as a child and while I definitely developed new tastes as I grew, I found out that I’m a supertaster. I can taste really tiny differences in foods that should be identical and that really contributes to what I can eat. Like you mentioned, it can be genetic and one of my kids has the same issue. We found that offering rainbow plates, with a variety of colorful veggies, and having kids choose two colors to eat at each mean was a good way to get them to try food. They get to exercise choice, but still have to eat some sort of vegetable.

  • Hello Genesis,

    Wow! That is very interesting of your ability. Goes to show how amazingly diverse we are as people. It is interesting what works for one child may not work for another. Is it really an issue as you say? Who knows what opportunities will be open to you and your child because of your ability to taste tiny differences in foods. 

    Thanks for your great comment!

    Proud papa of two,


  • Wow, what a great article! I thought it was super interesting. I had no idea that young children’s taste buds and taste preferences were so different, and underdeveloped as compared to adults. I do remember my parents always trying to get me to eat vegetables and, for me, hot dogs and I really didn’t like them, but now that I’m an adult I love both! Very interesting and informative!

    • Hello Danny,

      Thanks for the comment and yes I thought it was interesting too and a reason why I wanted to write about it.

      Glad you found it informative and have a great day!

      Proud papa of two,


  • What happens to children that start eating starch foods as early as 9 months, what happens to their stomachs? It gets even worse for people in the villages in Africa. Also, if a parent is not breastfeeding…usually wont have breast milk due to poor feeding, they will have to feed the children the food adults eat. The only advantage is that children eat more vegetables and fresh foods from the garden, so falling sick is almost unheard of. Children by this time can eat almost anything!

    • Hello Niley,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Yes it is a major concern about children eating starch foods early in life. You make a very good point.

      Appreciate your input and raising this topic.

      Have a great day


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