What is a food jag?

What is a food jag?

You may hear health professionals mention the term ‘food jag’. This means when a child wants to eat the same food again and again.

For us, the food jag was baked beans. When my son was around 2 years old it was the only thing he wanted to eat for several months. And at the time because we were having such difficulties with mealtimes we often just gave him this so that we knew he had had something to eat. And while this particular food jag didn’t seem so bad (I was told by a nutritionist that baked beans actually provide a good amount of protein, iron, fibre and other great things), only eating the same thing again and again means there is a chance of missing some nutrients. Also, the risk we really didn’t know about, was that kids can get tired of the foods they ‘jag’ on! And when they already have a limited variety of food, this can be difficult.

So when he announced one day out of the blue, in his cute toddler voice: “I not like baked beans”, we were devastated! What would he eat for dinner now?! 

We did find some plain pasta and bread that he could tolerate but it really highlighted that we needed more support in this. We were lucky that we found our feeding therapist soon after and got set onto the right track.

But even now at 7, he can’t stand the thought of baked beans!

So what can you do to avoid a food jag? Health professionals suggest having a gap of at least 2 days in-between offering the same food. So if we had the baked beans on Monday, we wouldn’t have them again until Thursday. If you have a very picky eater, who doesn’t have enough ‘safe’ foods to be able to do this, we recommend seeing a feeding therapist who can help with strategies to get more variety into their diet. You can also try our mobile app which may give you some ways to help your child become more comfortable with new foods.