What Can Happen to a Child Who Eats Nothing But Peanut Butter and Jelly?

Many parents fuss over the eating habits of their children—especially first-time parents. From the time our children are born, we worry about whether they are getting enough milk, enough of the right vitamins and minerals, and worrying, worrying, worrying over their eating habits. Many a toddler goes through hunger strikes and eats nothing but cereal or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for what seems like months at a time. What happens to these kids? What is the worst that can happen? Maybe a little seasoned perspective will put your mind at ease…

The chances that your rigid eater will eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (with the crusts cut off and sliced at an angle) until he’s 95 are rather slight. Even the pickiest eaters just eventually round out their diet and survive those picky childhood years. My pickiest eater, one of my daughters, is now a rather adventuresome and voracious eater. She just eventually got hungry for other tastes and once she started trying new things, she didn’t stop!

I used to worry that my son would get rickets since he seemed to eat nothing but cereal. Whether it is all the pseudo-vitamins and minerals they spray on that cold cereal or not, he has managed to stay quite healthy. I also occasionally see him eat an apple or make himself a salad. It may seem boring when you’re going through it, and you may worry that the lack of diversity in your child’s diet is going to permanently affect his or her health or signal to the world that you are a horrible parent, BUT—eventually, if you don’t make too much of a fuss or big deal out of it, most children level out and become rather normal eaters. I do believe the key is to not get too worked up about it and not turn a typically finicky or unadventurous young eater into someone with an eating disorder or other major problem. They will grow up, evolve, and their tastes will change—we just have to ride it out and trust in the process of development.

See Also the FOOD and HEALTH Blogs