How do kids that are picky eaters have proper growth development?


As the title mentions, I’m struggling to understand how kids that eat only butter pasta, cheese pizza without the cheese, candy, chips, soda, etc. are able to hit all of their macronutrients in a given day. How does the growing body process a diet consisting of virtually only carbohydrates into meaning development such as bone and muscle growth without any protein in their diet.

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There are small amounts of proteins in the carbohydrate heavy foods. Chances are, however, they wind up fat or skinny fat. I mean they’re not healthy by any means.
I guess chicken tenders provide protein, and they get enough fat from the foods they are probably eating.
Many different foods are fortified with micronutrients as well.
If you’re speaking of younger children, muscle content isn’t as profound so maybe other nutrient needs are required at their age.

I probably missed the mark. But it’s my honest thought process.

It’s really not that hard to meet your bare minimum protein requirements – even if your diet was purely white bread and nothing else, you’re getting about 10 grams of protein per 100 grams of bread. If you ate nothing but a pound of processed wheat products in a day, you’ll still get 40 or 50 grams of protein which is enough for a sedentary adult to survive on let alone a child. You’re not gonna put on a high ratio of muscle to fat like that, but that doesn’t mean it’s seriously impacting your health. Bread is deficient in some amino acids, sure, but there’s still enough lysine (the amino acid that most grains are somewhat short on) in there to meet your daily needs even if that’s all you’re eating. You’ll get all the fats you need from processed foods as well since palm and canola oil are so ubiquitous. Processed foods are also fortified with micronutrients, and at worse you can usually get a kid to eat a gummy vitamin or something.

Generally issues only really start coming up in the absolutely worst disordered eating situations or in starvation – you would essentially have to eat nothing but sugar and white rice to actually start developing serious health problems that would impact your development. To be clear I’m not saying eating like this is remotely healthy – the kids you’re describing are definitely going to develop insulin resistance and maybe type 2 diabetes (and all the problems that come with that) or some gut health issues but they are technically meeting their nutritional requirements and won’t have any major musculoskeletal problems. The real thing they’re probably missing out on more than anything is fibre and phytonutrients, protein isn’t the problem in most of these situations.