Picky eating is a broad construct that has been defined in a variety of ways in different studies, and is comprised of several different behaviors that contribute to a perception of a limited diet or food refusals.
There is no standardized definition of picky eating, but there is a growing body of evidence about behaviors that may differentiate children who are classified by parents as “picky” from those who are not. A recent review of the literature found that picky eaters display several different types of behaviors, among which the most common are neophobia, lower fruit and vegetable intake, food refusals, less enjoyment of eating, and sensory sensitivities.
There were varying levels of quality and objectivity in the assessment of the different outcome variables, with fruit and vegetable intake and sensory sensitivities being the topics with the most objective assessment methods. The other domains relied primarily on parent response to questionnaire items or subscales, and could benefit from confirmation from behavioral assessments. Potential family-based intervention strategies from the broader feeding practice literature will be discussed.