4 questions to find out if your child is a picky eater or a problem eater

“Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents age 2–18 years—affecting the overall quality of their diets. “- CDC 

Hi Friends,

Did you know there is a difference between a picky eater and a problem eater? I sure did not! But, a few weeks ago my husband and I had the absolute privilege of meeting Dawn Winkelmann, a Speech-Language Pathologist & Feeding Expert, and it all changed. We followed Dawn around her Mommy Con presentations because we just could not get enough of what she was saying. Every word spoke to us! Every piece of information and every tip she gave made sense. I am so excited to share with you that I will be working on sharing more of Dawn’s knowledge as well as our journey with our little problem eater, all with Dawn’s thumbs up!

The goal here- spreading knowledge & getting those kiddos to eat-because nutrition is SOOO IMPORTANT! And even if your child is a problem eater- there are ways to help! So here are 4 questions you should ask yourself to find out if your child is a picky eater or a problem eater.

Related Post: 10 Sensory Activities for Toddlers 

1.How many foods will your child eat?

If your child eats at least 25 different foods you have yourself a picky eater. A problem eater eats less than 25 different foods. In our case this was the first red flag. We know kids go through phases of being picky, but if your child, like mine, refuses to eat anything other than dino nuggets morning day and night- you have a problem eater.

2.Will your child eat foods with different textures?

By textures we mean; crunchy food, soft food, slimy, etc. If your child will try at least one food in ever texture you have a picky eater. If your child will not even try one food in every texture, you are with me- the problem eaters.

3.What is your child’s reaction to new foods?

A bit of uneasiness is completely okay. But there is a difference between unfamiliarity and full blown loosing their mind when they don’t recognize the food that are being presented to them. This can be anywhere from straight up refusing to eat, tossing of plates/cups/etc., becoming very distressed.

Related Post: 5 Thoughts Parents Have When Told Their Childs Have Special Needs

4.Does mealtime cause YOU stress?

I did not realize I was walking on eggshells around Lia during mealtimes. If she did not recognize what she ate I knew she would blow, so we did not try new things. Mealtime became very stressful for us as parents. As if parenting is not hard enough, let’s add stress during dinner why don’t we.

Until meeting Dawn I was not even aware of the fact that problem eaters are a thing. I assumed it was all normal, nor was I able to make the connections between eating and Lia’s speech and sensory issues. From the moment we assessed our child to be a problem eater we then began to implement all of Dawn’s wonderful tips, and advice. I cannot express the joy to see how far we have come in such little time, but it all began with identifying! Next week I will share where this problem eating can stem from!

Make sure to check out Spectrum Speech for more great information and tips straight from Dawn.

Did you know there is a difference between a picky eater and a problem eater? With these 4 questions you can learn whether your child is a problem eater. #pickyeating #kidsnutrition #kidsfood #foodforkids #pickyeater #slp #problemeater #food #nutrition



  1. November 28, 2018 / 6:51 am

    Growing up, I have to admit that I was a picky eater. It was more of a texture thing than flavor, I’ve gotten over it mostly.

  2. November 28, 2018 / 9:36 am

    I was such a picky eater as a child! But I think my issue was texture and smell based!

    http://Www.liveloveblu.com | wellness & healthy living

  3. Natalie
    November 28, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    My son was never a picky eater but the kids I babysit are ! If I arrange the food in a fun way, that helps a lot !

  4. November 28, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    When my daughter was younger it was so much harder. Now that she’s nine she’s finally starting to eat a little more variety but it’s not easy. I understand the struggle.

    • December 19, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      it is definitely a struggle and a work in progress too

  5. November 28, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    Thanks for this! It helps to have a particular number as a baseline. Picky eaters are difficult, but at least somewhat manageable!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.