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Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:40 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Hi. I have a 3 yo daughter and an 18mo son. Up until recently I have been giving in to their picky demands and cooking 3 meals for every meal so that they would eat and then throwing their food away half the time anyway. Recently I started just giving them whatever we were eating and letting them go hungry if they don't want to eat it. Everyone says they will eat it when they are hungry enough. The problem: I have been doing this for 4 days and all my daughter has eaten is breakfast every day. My son hasn't eaten much more. They are even getting headaches from being hungry but refuse to eat. I know my food is not that bad. I worked as a cook for a year. I feel like I am abusing/ starving them even though I am giving them healthy food. Besides, is this worse for them than ALL the chicken nuggets, french fries, and cheeseburgers they were eating before? I am doing this to try to make them healthier since they are both on the chunky side and I know it's my fault for feeding them that way. I just need some advice. I have tried offering them rewards for eating it, threatening them if they don't eat it they will..., reasoning with them, shoving it in their mouths so they will at least taste it. Nothing works! I'm lost. Sorry this is so long. Help please!
Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:20 pmFood.com Groupie
Oh Erin I feel for you. I have a picky 6 year old and a 4 year old who will only eat a handful of things, way worse than the 6 year old. My four year old would live off of nuggets and fries if I let her, but I don't. Every doctor we have had has told me the same thing, they won't starve themselves, they will eat when they are hungry, etc. Mine are both a healthy height and weight so they are obviously growing. I have a really hard time seeing them not eat, but we are trying to get to the, only cook one meal for the family thing. They get whatever they want for breakfast, anything in the breakfast cupboard that is. For lunch they pretty much have the same thing every single day for lunch, a peanut butter sandwich, yogurt, a banana and a few chips only IF they eat the other stuff. Dinners are the hard part, where I cave and cook a separate meal sometimes. They will eat spaghetti, but other than that they usually won't eat what I cook. My 6 year old will eat pancakes and bacon if we have breakfast for dinner and she will eat tacos and beans if we are having tacos. If we have some kind of soup I give her chicken noodle from a can, If we are having a different kind of pasta that they won't eat the 6 year old will have spaghetti os. And yes, there are the nights, not more than once a week, that I toss chicken nuggets and smiley potatoes in the oven for them. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but there are nights where the 4 year old has applesauce, fruit snacks and crackers for dinner because I refuse to give her chicken nuggets every night or cook a separate meal (not that there is anything else I could cook that she would eat anyways!), but can't see her sit there not eating anything. They always get applesauce or peaches with their dinner and they have to eat at least half of it. We eat out a lot on weekends and we let them order what they want, for the younger one it's always chicken and fries, the older one will sometimes choose pancakes or pizza. What do your kids like to eat? Maybe I could help with some ideas if we knew what they do like. I hope others can give you better advice as well. I saw that your husband is in the AF, are you still in England? My husband was in the AF for four years and some friends of ours from there are in Englund now.
Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:05 pmFood.com Groupie
My kids are grown now, but I remember when they were younger. Some things you might consider:
- 18 mos. and 3 year olds are still in that stage where they say "no" a lot. Not because they genuinely object, but because they are trying to assert themselves. Sometimes it helps to offer a choice - as in "Would you rather have applesauce or peaches tonight?"
- when my kids were that young, I sometimes made them a partially different meal. Little kids usually don't like strong flavors. Meats were especially difficult at that young age. So DH and I might be enjoying pork chops, and offering them a taste, but I'd have string cheese available if they didn't like it. Or microwave some peas if they didn't like the broccoli. Key is to make the substitution nutritious for them and easy for you. And with encouragement and exposure they became healthy adventurous eaters.
- A lot of home cooking can be really healthy. Talking about chicken nuggets: I used to make Diane's Parmesan Chicken often (still do) I'd make full sized breasts for DH and I, but cut the kids portions into fingers or nuggets. Think about what you can make that approximates their favorites in a more healthy way.
- As the kids got to be school aged, I only made one meal for dinner. I tried to be thoughtful - if one dish was disliked, I made sure that the others were acceptable. And if the entire meal was disliked, the child was allowed to make themselves a peanut butter sandwich - I think they only chose that option once or twice!
- It may help you to look at what the child eats over the course of the day or several days. Maybe they only ate peas for dinner, but they had yogurt for breakfast, applesauce for a snack and a PBJ for lunch. Overall, with plenty of milk, they're getting all their food groups. They won't starve.
Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:58 pmFood.com Groupie
What worked for me was to bring the kids shopping when they were that age. I would let them each pick one or two fresh fruits that they liked or wanted to try and the same thing as we moved through the produce dept., they picked most things like the veggies, then we'd get to the meat dept. and I'd say do you want me to make meatballs or home made chicken nuggets this week. This worked with cereal, I just held up three boxes and said which one do you want. Some times I would give in and let them eat eggs or cereal for supper instead of what we ate but most nights they would be served what we ate, they soon learn hey that's not so bad. I had great success with letting my daughter pick seeds to plant in the garden. She would eat anything she grew at the age of 3. Now she loves to garden and our younger son followed in her foot steps and now loves green bean because he grew them.When they didn't care for something they picked I'd say well you picked it so please try to eat it and next time remember you don't want to pick that one again.Remember it takes something like 7 or 8 times offering the same thing before most kids will eat it. don't give up. Oh another trick I did was peel and chop carrot sticks and have raisins,apples cheese sticks or cubes of turkey in snack bags in the fridge for them to have when they were hungry,I put a small rubbermaid box on the middle shelf with the snacks in it and if they were hungry between meals they could get a snack on their own.just make sure you have a few choices and don't refill the box until they work their way through all the snacks that way you know hey they ate carrots today.etc.cereal in a ziploc bag is always a good one too. good luck, I think most of us have been there and can say this too will pass, hang in there.
Small Town Cook
Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:27 pmFood.com Groupie
These were my two tricks with my kids.
1. Make one meal for everyone. Then add bread and butter on the table along with everything else. Tell them this is the only meal you are making and if they don't like it they can have bread and butter. Eventually they will get tired of the bread and butter and will eat what you make.
2. Put a plate of boring, plain food on their plates (plain noodles, pb & j, etc). Take whatever dinner you made and put it on you and your spouse's plate. Tell them the food on your plate is only for big people. Then make a show of how really really good it is. I did this with mine and they were begging to eat our food.
Another thing I did was let them chose items for dinner. My kids didn't like stir-fry. So one night I opened the pantry and asked them what sounded good: rice or spiral noodles. They chose noodles. Then I opened the fridge and asked them what kind of meat they wanted: polish sausage, chicken, or pork. They chose the sausage. We went through the veggies the same way. They chose broccoli, carrots and corn (because they thought they were pretty colors and went well together, and mushrooms and onion. I stir-fried the veggies and asked them if they wanted meat on the side or thrown in with the veggies. They thought the meat would make veggies taste better. They also helped me decide what seasonings to throw in. When food was all done and I helped them make their plates, I asked if they wanted the meat and veggies over the noodles and on the side. All three wanted it on top. Now this isn't the normal way for a stir-fry; however my kids ate every bite on their plate. Because they helped decide what to make.
Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:08 amFood.com Groupie
When my son got a little older - say about 7 or 8 - he started with everything was yucky! It was "what's for supper?" pork chops "ooh yuck". I had enough of that pretty quickly. I work full time and tried to always have a good supper on the table. I told him I didn't cook yuck food and if he said it, he would eat a double helping. He was allowed to say "No thank you, I don't care for that" to one item on the table. I also enforced this rule with his friends that stayed for dinner. It became quite a joke through the years. He and his friends would say "ooh yuck" about things they loved like steak or spaghetti.
He is now a very adventurous eater. Oysters, calamari, snails, he'll try about anything. He does however, still hate mayonaise based salads like potato salad, cole slaw, etc. I certainly didn't force the issue there.
Now when the grandkids come, I just serve food. If they don't want it I tell them I'm giving it to the dogs or I'll leave the 3 year old's food on the table for 30 minutes or so. He usually will come back and eat it if I don't make a big fuss about it.
Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:54 amForum Host
That's great advice jneen and wonderful to hear your story about ''yuck'' food
Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:27 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
I have 2 very picky eaters and have found allowing them to be involved in picking and cooking the food help alot. I have also told them they have to at least try one or two bites. if they havent tried it they cant say they dont like it. however you have to be willing to try new things and let them see you do it. these have been very effective fo rme. and they won tstarve themselves they will eat eventualy especially if you dont make a big deal about it.
Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:06 amFood.com Groupie
I have a foster-son currently and he is 2 and he has a sensory pallet disorder. He is the pickiest ever. He will eat fries and potato chips but wont touch any other potatoes. He won't touch any vegetables or fruit. He will eat his meat though. One night he ate 3 pork cutlets. He is skinny as can be but i cannot and willnot stop giving him something if he is actually eating it. We have read to just keep offering it to him. He may actually try it sometime. Very frustrating but you can't starve them. We are looking into which vitamins to give him now. So maybe look into a sensory pallet disorder.
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