Sensory processing challenges
Eating involves all the senses. Not only do you taste the food, but you also feel its texture, smell it, and hear yourself chewing it in your mouth. Children with sensory processing challenges will have one or more of these sensations heightened which results in a refusal to eat certain foods.
For example, eating crunchy food may feel like scraping nails across a metal plate. Or the smell of fragrant foods may make your child gag. Signs of sensory processing issues include gagging in the presence of certain foods, refusal to eat foods with some textures, and an obsession with keeping hands clean. At the core, sensory processing issues are neurological. This means to resolve them; you must address the nervous system and retrain the brain.
Digestive issues are a common cause of picky eating habits. The gut microbiome has a big impact on preferences and appetite. Improving the health of the gut can make your child more receptive to a wider variety of foods.
Common factors that can affect your child’s gut microbiome include antibiotic use, antibacterial cleaning products, pesticides, a diet rich in processed foods and sugars, and even stress. These factors can kill good bacteria and lead to cravings for sugars and carbs, which feed the bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria overgrow, your child will have issues like bloating, constipation, and picky eating habits.