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Picky Eaters

What do you do if your child happens to be a picky eater? It depends upon what the problem is of course. Sometimes they just have preferences and are exerting their independence. If that’s the case, good luck! But if there is another problem, it’s easy to figure out and doesn’t take much effort to resolve.

Photo courtesy of David Goehring

Photo courtesy of David Goehring

So what’s the underlying problem? It may be a problem with smell. Smell plays a large role in taste and if smell is not well developed then the child can only evaluate food by it’s texture and many textures can seem unpleasant.

The first step is to evaluate their sense of smell. Do this with their eyes closed and one nostril occluded. Hold an aromatic oil like mint about a foot away and see if they can detect it. They should be able to smell it as easily as you can. Progressively move the oil closer until they can smell it. Do both sides. There may be a difference from side to side which can indicate a weakness in that side of the brain.

If you do find a problem you can have some fun fixing it. Simply make up about 10 vials of smelly oils (vanilla, coffee, orange, lemon, etc) and practice with 2 or 3 a day until they can identify all of them easily. As their sense of smell improves you should see an increased willingness to try and like new foods.

What you are doing is activating the neural pathways that carry smell. This is actually more important than you might think. Consider that a diminished sense of smell is one of the earliest indicators of Alzheimer’s disease. When you improve the sense of smell, you are improving brain function in a very real way.

How well do you smell?

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