For years, Peter Sinzenich struggled with his son's limited diet. Starting around two years old, Ryan flat out refused to eat most foods.
"At that time he was only eating about five things. It was chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, waffles and pancakes," says Peter.
Peter was concerned about Ryan's nutrition, and rightfully so. The latest research shows such "finickiness" about food shouldn't be overlooked. Parents of picky eaters from babies to toddlers and up should be on the lookout for these warning signs: favoritism regarding texture, which may signify a physical problem, or developmental delays; abnormal quantities of food may also suggest a physical problem, and possibly be a risk factor for an eating disorder later in life.
With positive reinforcement, and efforts to broaden their diet, most kids will outgrow the problem. Some, may need additional help from therapists. All require time and patience.
"When they do refuse new items, don't run and get the one item that they will eat at every meal," says speech pathologist Jennifer Nadler-Franz.
Ryan's dad didn't give in. It took some work, but now Ryan has begun to take a liking to almost everything.