Why are children fussy eaters?

By June 14, 2024 Picky Eaters
Chewy foods for a speech Pathology session in Bondi Junction and Mascot

Fussy eaters are when children are picky about what they eat. It means they eat a limited number of foods. It oftn means they won’t try foods. Many fussy eaters want their food to be prepared the same way every time. It’s pretty common and happens for lots of different reasons. Let’s take a look at why fussy eating occurs in kids.

Why Fussy Eating Happens

  1. Taste Preferences: Kids have their own taste buds, just like adults. Some foods taste yummy to them, while others don’t. They might like sweet foods but not spicy ones, or prefer crunchy snacks over mushy ones.
  2. Texture Troubles: The feel of food in their mouth can also be a big deal for kids. Some don’t like foods that are too mushy or slimy, while others find crunchy or chewy foods hard to handle. It’s all about what feels good or weird to them.
  3. New Food Nerves: Trying new foods can be scary for some kids. They might worry that new foods will taste yucky or make them feel sick. So, they stick to what they know and like instead of taking a chance on something new.
  4. Feeling in Control: Kids like to feel like they’re in charge of their own choices. Being picky about what they eat can be a way for them to show they have their own opinions and preferences, even if it drives grown-ups a little crazy!
  5. Sensory Sensitivity: Some kids have super senses! Strong flavours, smells, or even colours can be too much for them to handle. These sensory sensations can make certain foods seem extra weird or unappetising to them.
  6. Past Bad Experiences: If a child had a bad experience with a certain food, like choking or feeling sick, they might decide they never want to eat it again. Even if it was just a one-time thing, it can stick in their mind and make them wary of that food.
  7. Growth and Development: Sometimes fussy eating is just part of growing up. As kids grow and change, so do their tastes and preferences. What they didn’t like yesterday might be their new favourite food tomorrow!


Fussy eating is pretty common in kids and can happen for lots of reasons. It’s all about tastes, textures, trying new things, feeling in control, super senses, and past experiences. Understanding why fussy eating happens can help parents and caregivers be patient and supportive as kids navigate their food preferences and grow up to be healthy and happy eater!

Meet Sam

Sam is 4 years old and he is a cheeky little boy who loves Spiderman. He is also a fussy eater. Sam eats about 11 foods but won’t try new foods. He insists on his foods being the same and doesn’t like change to his food. Sam does have low muscle tone and he is very sensitive to lumpy textures in hs food. Sam started in our ‘Yuk To Yum’ program. He attends an individual session each week and his Mum completed parent training for 12 weeks when Sam first started.

Sam made small changes immediately! Improving fussy eating is never fast, it always takes time. Sam began to try a new kind of sushi. He tried a different pasta. Sam loved Nutella but now he wanted to try honey because he saw his brother ate it for breakfast. When the family meet the cousins at a restaurant, Sam surprised his parents when he ate a piece of cheese pizza.

We’re here to support you

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Our clinics are not just a space for therapy – it’s a place where children can discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and reach their full potential.

By combining innovative therapy techniques with a stimulating and supportive environment, we’re proud to offer a holistic approach to paediatric therapy and early intervention that addresses the unique needs of each child we support.

Reach out for support

our feeding program can help your child, OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is here to help.

Call us on (02) 80657837 or email. You can book a free 30 minute phone call with us to discuss how we can support your child’s unique journey