Picky eaters are a mixed group, who exhibit a myriad of characteristics. They often exhibit one or more of the following:
1. Limited food selection. This is one of the most distinguishing characteristics. For some picky eaters, their food selection may be limited to 20 different foods; for others, it may be as few as three foods. Examples of such foods often include nuggets, instant noodles, fried rice or baked beans.
2. Limited food groups. In addition to a limited number of foods, picky eaters also limit the food groups they will eat. Some will only eat from one group, such as breads and cereals. Most will often omit foods from the fruit and vegetable group and/or meat group.
3. Adverse reaction to new foods. Anxiety, tantrums, gagging and stress-related symptoms are typical behaviours exhibited by picky eaters to demonstrate their fear when presented with new or novel foods.
4. Food jags. A food jag is defined as the insistence on eating the same foods in the same manner over long periods of time. It limits opportunities for the picky eater to experience new foods and eat a balanced diet.
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