Nine Signs of Food Neurosis: How to know when you need to change your tactics in feeding your child

Dec 6, 2008 by

Few things are more delightful and satisfying and delectable to the human body, in its normal, healthy state, than eating real, nourishing foods.

A normal child will eat eagerly when he’s hungry, and enjoy a variety of healthy foods. Does that sound like your child?

“Human babies, like the young of other species, have wonderful appetites unless they are sick or unless they’ve become disgusted by too much urging or forcing,” wrote Dr. Benjamin Spock.


Nine clear signs that your child is no longer functioning normally in relation to food:

1. She loves what’s bad for her more than what’s good for her. This abnormal yet common situation must be corrected for your child’s sake.

2. You child thinks in terms of “have to eat” instead of “get to eat.” Considers eating real food work instead of play, and meals less appealing than snacks. Views eating the foods you want him to eat with a sense of dread and duty.

3. He feels guilt associated with food:  “My mom always makes me eat some kind of salad. I can never get away with not eating salad.  Don’t tell her I didn’t eat the salad.”

4. Doesn’t like major categories of food.  It’s abnormal to say, ‘I don’t like vegetables.” That is way too big a category to eliminate. Or soup. There are soups made with meat, with 50 different vegetables, with noodles, with milk or broth, with scores of different combinations of herbs and spices, pureed or chunky, raw or cooked, hot or cold, with condiments, with cream, garnishes, in all colors, smells and flavors. It’s acceptable to not like a certain food, say Brussels sprouts or mutton, though of course any food’s taste depends on how it’s prepared.

5. Dislikes more than three or four particular foods and is generally fussy and picky or always wants to eat certain foods.

6. Uses eating or not eating as a way to run the show or play “who’s the boss?” May try to get your goat, or your goat is gotten whether she intended it or not.

7. Is Afraid of Food.  Many children who visit my house show symptoms of this disorder.  They react with suspicion to unfamiliar food, as if it were dangerous. Some children have sat and eaten nothing at all at my table. If your child would rather be hungry than eat something new, somebody needs more hunger in his life. If your child is not open minded and adventurous and confident about food, something’s off kilter.

8. Eats or doesn’t eat for reasons other than to satisfy hunger, for example, overeats on junk food and goes hungry rather than eat real food.

9. You think in terms of “getting kids to eat.” You strategize and take active measures beyond just cooking food and presenting it to your child.


There are many effective ways to readjust children’s eating disorders.  Most of them require doing less instead of more. Do nothing but cook delicious, healthy foods and offer then to your children when they are hungry. Do not make available foods you don’t want them to eat. The less talk about it the better. Do not show any interest in whether they eat or not or how much, and their appetite should eventually return to normal.


© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon November 28, 2008 All Rights Reserved