OCD issues with food

My son (13) has always been a picky eater, but lately it has gotten much worse. Although very limited, there used to be a few meals I could prepare that he would eat. Now he doesn’t like anything I make and will only eat a few bites.

I don’t know why, but he will eat some fast food chicken nuggets — he feels they are “safe.” I’ve asked him what I could make that he would like, but he can’t think of anything. I know he is frustrated and embarrassed by it, and it causes him a lot of stress. Do I indulge his obsessions and wait for this to (hopefully) pass or do I not give him a choice and let him go hungry?


  1. I didn’t think other kids had issues with food like my son does. He has ADHD and still figuring anything else…OCD, somewhere on the autism spectrum, or sensory issues. If something is packaged different forget it…even if it’s the same brand. If his plain hamburger from mc donalds if wrapped in a different wrapper or if the bun got poked forget it. He loves chocolate chip cookies from mc donalds or cookie made by me only. What kid doesn’t like any cookie? My son is almost 10 years old and has been like this since he was about 2 or 3. He would eat bananas at grandmas house but wouldn’t eat them at home. So many rules about food. He will only drink out of certain cups and eat off certain plates. This is all routine for me and his dad and two sisters. He has always been like this. He’s seen a nutritionist (like that would help he won’t try anything or if he does he tries really hard but can’t get it in his mouth but he really wants too but can’t. He’s also seen a gastrointrologist which was no help. Still trying to figure it out???

  2. My son has OCD, but not necessarily food issues. However, cognitive behavioral therapy was a huge help for us. Highly recommend it!

  3. When my daughter’s OCD started getting out of control and decreasing her quality of life her neuro started her on meds but also sent us to a pediatric anxiety clinic. There she is doing CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, and has started to learn the skills to deal with it. She is doing so well she was able to stop taking her meds. I highly recommend therapy it has made the world of difference in my daughter’s life. If you live in NJ I highly recommend the NJCTS/Rutgers University Pediatric Anxiety Clinic tailor made for kids with TS.

  4. We have had the same challenges (off and on) with our 9 y/o son. He has TS, ADHD, and OCD. He is picky and his meds kill his appetite. We went with trying to get him to eat what is served to the family for breakfast and dinner and letting him eat whatever he wants for lunch (his least hungry time). However, we have supplemented with protein/high calorie meal replacement shakes throughout the day. He was a bit underweight and we were able to put 7 healthy pounds on him this summer. GNC has some great shake options. Best of luck!

    • My son is very picky. He takes meds for ADHD and he’s not hungry. He will only eat plain hamburgers from mc donalds only (I’m there every day and it’s embarrassing) but if I didn’t get it he would starve. He can’t afford to lose any weight. He has so many rules of food. Must be same brand and packaged the same. He only like a few things. If it looks different forget it. Dr has always said just feed him what he’ll eat and that’s what I do. Good luck and hang in there.

  5. Wow, I wish I had suggestions. My son has had some issues with food smelling different and somehow not liking anymore, but they would come and go. He had an issue with using the same fork for different foods when he was 8 yrs. old but I kept pushing that it was all going to the same place. Eventually my insistence for him to use one fork worked. Sometimes it was the smell of egg even though he loves my breakfast burrito’s. Why does he think food is “unsafe”? Will he eat the healthier versions of nuggest in the frozen section of the stores? Dino nuggets? What does he like about the nuggets? Nuggets are not enough so anything with fiber he may eat with them? How about homemade protein shakes with all the vitamins/fiber included? There are a lot of good ones out there. I feel for you because I always say that I would not know what to do if I had a picky eater. I am head strong, love food and cook a lot of gourmet stuff so that alone would be a challenge.
    If your son does not eat enough nutrition the worst case scenario is he will need medical intervention, which will not be fun for him if he requires feed tubes.

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