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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Challenged by a Finicky Eater in Your House?

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Challenged by a Finicky Eater in Your House?

Do you have a finicky eater in your house that makes it difficult to choose which meals to make? Here are some common struggles parents face, and how to deal with them.

The Pitfall of a Beige Diet.

Are chicken nuggets and French fries at the top of your finicky eater’s favorite food list? It seems for countless children that their preferred foods have one prominent feature; that is, they are all beige in color. “Beige eaters” frequently enjoy foods such as chicken, milk, white bread, peanut butter, potatoes, waffles, and primarily low fiber cereals such as rice crispies. Do your children follow this general pattern?

Hazards of the Beige Diet

Eating a primarily beige palate of foods simply does not provide all the vital nutrients the body needs, particularly that of a growing child. Beige foods lack the vibrant colors that make up a wholesome and nourishing diet. It’s true; some of the “beige foods” are nutritious choices. A potato, for instance, is jam-packed with Vitamin C and potassium, two valuable nutrients for good health but a diet full of one color does not provide all the key ingredients one needs.

A colorful diet:

  • Provides more vitamins and minerals needed to grow a healthy child for both short and long-term good health and vitality.
  • Is high in phytochemicals, the key plant compounds which supply the color to fruits and vegetables and play an essential role in disease prevention.
  • Contains a variety of overall healthful nutrient content found in produce which clearly lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease, the two most prevalent causes of death in the United States.

With diet-related illness on the rise in children, it is of prime importance we ramp up the intake of fruit and veggies in the diet of our little ones, especially a finicky eater. Because various colored produce contains different phytochemicals with their unique health benefits, consuming an assortment of produce helps grow a healthy child. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO), a group committed to assessing world health trends, rates poor intake of fruit and vegetables as one of the top ten risk factors contributing to death. Additionally, WHO reports that up to 2.7 million lives could be saved annually with adequate fruit and vegetable consumption. To learn how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet see Fruits & Vegetables and Super Foods.

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About the Author

Picture of Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN

Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN

Kate is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 25 years of experience in the nutrition and wellness field. She works as a private practice dietitian in the Greater Boston area, providing nutrition consultation for a variety of health conditions, weight management, and helping people eat more healthfully. She is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well with IBS and the coauthor of the book, Real People Need Real Food: A Guide to Healthy Eating for Families Living in a Fast Food World.

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