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  • Casadie Morris

Picky Eaters vs Problem Feeders

You have probably heard someone say their child is a "picky eater" but you may not have heard the term problem feeder.

What is the difference? Read along to find out!

Picky Eaters (info from

  • Decreased range or variety of food; typically has 30 or more foods in their food range

  • Foods lost due to "burnout" from food jagging are usually eaten again after a 2-week-break

  • Eats at least one food from most all nutrition or texture groups (e.g. purees, meltable foods, proteins, fruits)

  • Can tolerate new foods on their plate, usually able to touch or taste food (even if reluctantly)

  • Frequently eats a different set of foods at a meal than other family member. Typically, eats at the same time + table as other family members.

  • Sometimes reported by parent as a "picky eater" at well-child checkups, picky eating has been less than 2 years

  • Learns to eat new foods in 20-25 steps on a steps to eating hierarchy

Problem Feeders (info from

  • Restricted range or variety of foods, usually eats less than 20 foods

  • Foods lost due to "burn out" from food jagging are not eaten again after a break, resulting in further decrease in the number of foods eaten

  • Refuses entire categories of food textures or nutrition groups (e.g. soft cubes, meats, veggies,)

  • Cries, screams, tantrums, "falls apart" when new foods are presented, complete refusal

  • Almost always eats a different set of foods than their family; often eats at different time or place than other family members

  • Persistently reported by parents to be a "picky eater" at multiple well-child checkups, picky eating has been more than 2 years

  • Requires more than 25 steps to learn to eat new foods

If you are concerned about your child's eating habits reach out to us at 253.237.3405 or

We would love to help!

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