In my house, dinner time is a battle of wills between me and my two children. The table is the setting of our daily negotiations. I offer peas, they counter with pizza, and we usually end up settling on corn and calling it a day. It can be frustrating to fight a seemingly losing battle with your little ones, but your child's pickiness may be part of a larger problem. This is why it's important to pay attention to the signs your kid has a food sensitivity and that they're not just picky.
Unlike a food allergy, food sensitivities can be a little trickier to diagnose. The symptoms of food sensitivity are often a delayed reaction after consumption, and can take up to 72-hours to appear, according to functional medicine expert, Dr. Amy Myers. Some of the most common culprits include corn, dairy, soy, and gluten. And although a food sensitivity is not life-threatening, the symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable for young children, especially if they don't have the vocabulary to express how they are feeling.
Watch your children closely for any of the symptoms on this list, and try eliminating some of the foods you believe may be causing their discomfort to uncover any food sensitivities. Just don't let them convince you to put them on an ice cream only diet.
1. Their Behavior Is Different
Just about every parent of a toddler has experienced some pretty wacky behavior. But if you notice your child is becoming more irritable, anxious, or hyperactive than normal, there may be something else going on. According to Dr. Sears, behavioral changes can be tied to food sensitivity.
2. They Have An Upset Stomach
Look out for painful tummy troubles to signal issues with certain foods. A lactose or gluten sensitivity can cause your child to experience constipation and diarrhea, as mentioned on the Mind, Body, Green site.
3. They Suffer From Frequent Ear Infections
Ear infections are an unfortunate and painful occurrence in young children. However, a sensitivity to dairy or soy can cause your child to experience chronic ear infections. According to Delicious Living, 90 percent of kids with frequent ear infections have some type of food sensitivity.
4. They Deal With Skin Irritation
One of the most common visible symptoms of food sensitivities is skin irritation. Itchy skin, rashes, and eczema are signs of food sensitivity, according to the Allergy Kids Foundation. Just remember that you may not see any changes in the skin until several days after eating the food that's causing the trouble.
5. They Are Tired
While you may not think your child being tired is a problem, his diet may be to blame. According to Prevention, fatigue can be a sign of food sensitivity, as the body must work harder to eliminate food that it is not digesting properly.
6. They Suffer From A Stuffy Nose
Are stuffy noses a problem, even outside of cold season? Does it seem like you can never have enough tissues in your house? Runny nose, nasal congestion, and watery eyes can indicate a food sensitivity, according holistic nutritionist, Kula Mama.
7. They Have Regular Headaches
Having a headache may not just be an excuse to watch television. A child's chronic headaches could be directly linked to her diet. According to WebMD, people with a sensitivity to gluten can experience severe headaches.