One day, he couldn’t care less about bananas, and then all of a sudden he wants to eat them all day, every day. And then as suddenly as it started, it ends and bananas are no longer welcome. Does this sound familiar? It’s not at all uncommon.
Children often go on short-lived jags where a particular food is their absolute favorite thing in the world. For a while, it seems they just can’t get enough, and then they move on. The same foods may come and go, or it might be a new food every time. While these food jags aren’t normally problematic, there are a few potential issues to be on the lookout for.
Too Much of a Good Thing
If your child has decided that a certain fruit, such as grapes, are the top food of the day, you might be pleased that he is eating something healthy without any sort of prodding whatsoever. Certainly it’s one of the better choices for a food obsession, but it is possible to have too much of even a healthy food.
Certain foods when eaten in large quantities can be detrimental to a child’s health. They may cause diarrhea or the opposite, constipation, or simply gas. On the worse end of the scale, it is actually possible to get too much of certain vitamins, which can wind up causing health problems. There are good reasons why nutrition experts recommend a balanced and varied children diet, and eating too much of one food is only one of them.
Missing Out on Other Foods
When your child decides that one particular food is the only thing she is interested in eating, she may give up on eating other important foods in favor of her current pick. Even if she has decided she wants to eat nothing but broccoli, she needs more than what this admittedly very healthy food can provide. Eating all types of different foods from all of the food groups is necessary to keep the body healthy, energetic and strong.
If your child is on a food jag, don’t deny the food, but consider offering it as a secondary choice after she finishes the other foods on her plate. She needs to get the right nutrition, especially when she is growing and developing so rapidly, so make an effort to get around the food jag and get other options into your kid’s diet.
An Unhealthy Obsession
Most kids would rather eat chocolate than vegetables, but going on a junk food jag is never a good idea. While it’s ok to ride out an obsession with a healthier food, if your child suddenly decides she is eating nothing but French fries you will have to step in and put an end to it. Luckily, most food jags tend to involve relatively healthy foods most parents wouldn’t hesitate to allow their child to eat.
Most of these food kicks won’t last for a long enough period of time to do any real damage to your child’s health, and as long as the food in question provides nutrition without a lot of empty calories, it’s generally ok to let it go. Keep an eye out for any signs of a problem, however, and continue to encourage your child to try other foods and move away from the favorite a little bit. It’s likely the jag will end on its own before it can be a problem, but vigilance is always a good idea.