1. Sensory preferences Sensory processing plays a vital role in determining the type of food children choose to eat. Children can be more sensitive to certain tastes, textures, smells, and even the sight of food. Some children may present as over-sensitive to certain sensory stimuli in their mouth (AKA oral defensiveness) which may be observed by gagging behaviors or strong refusals to try intensely flavored foods. Other children are sensitive to smells hence why they request more bland foods. A child who displays sensory-seeking behaviors may refuse soft or bland foods and request more stimulating foods such a chewy, crunchy, or highly flavored foods. Some children have sensory-based motor difficulties who struggle with the coordination skills required to manipulate a knife and fork resulting in avoidance of foods that require increased effort. 2. Lack of choice Children are often served up the dinner option leaving little room for individual choice and preference. Although it is not always possible to provide à la carte options, research suggests that children eat better when they assist with shopping, preparing, cooking, or serving their meal. It is important to include children in choosing foods occasionally for them to feel that they have a say over what they are fed. 3. Same old, same old When parents serve similar food over and over again, children may get stuck in ‘food ruts’, and are left with a feeling of avoidance towards a particular food. To help your child eat better, experiment with your menu now and then, add more varieties. Remember that it can be the same items but prepared in different styles. 4. Medical Concerns It is possible that there is a real, physical or medical concern affecting your child’s ability to eat. This may include food allergies, acid reflux or even severe constipation. To rule this out, it's important to consult with your child’s doctor and proceed accordingly.