How do I get my 2 year old to eat real food?

Jennifer - posted on 06/02/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 2 years and 2 months and she still eats baby food. I have tried tricking her, forcing her, ignoring her, waiting until she is really hungry, and she just spits and screams and almost hurts herself to avoid eating almost any solid food. The only solid foods she will eat are cracker like foods (Ritz, saltines, animal crackers, chips), sometimes chicken nuggets, cereal bars and macaroni and cheese. She eats baby oatmeal and I can get her to eat baby food fruits and veggies, but other than that, she is living off of cereal bars and macaroni and cheese and has gone from being in the 60th percentile for size down to the 40th percentile. I am frustrated and worried. Please help!

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Shawna - posted on 02/29/2012

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I have the same problem. 2 1/2 boy. Still eating #3 baby food. He know when I tru to sneak in anything else and spits it out. Was eating chicken nuggets but only one brand and now I think he is sick of it and refuses them. He loves crackers, chips and cereal bars. Applesauce. He crys and totally refuses anything new. Did you get any help. I dont know wat to do either.

Valerie - posted on 06/05/2011

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stop buying junk and processed food...all of those snacks that you mentioned...baby food and table food are all i would offer...especially those high in calories and nutrition...peanut butter sandwiches on whole grain bread, sweet potato fries, bananas, smoothies with bananas and peanut butter would be good too, pasta (try dif shapes) offer her food more often, and after a good dose of fresh air playing outside...offer drinks after a meal not before or at the beginning of a meal unless a loaded shake, cheese, grilled cheese on good bread, these are high calorie ideas

ShayeDaye - posted on 02/26/2013

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This post is exactly what Im going thru too. My son is 2 years old and 3 months. Its comfortirng to know other Moms went and go thru the same thing. My son does the exact same thing. He still eats the mixed meat and vegatebles baby food. He will eat oatmeal, crackers, chicken nuggests, yougurt, cereal bars, Cheerios (but now he doesnt eat them as much), bananas, those mixed fruit fruit cups, bananas, really any fruit as long as it doesnt have skin, bread, pancakes...So he eats a variety of things but I dont really feel like its complete kind of meals. Of course the Dr says he will grow out of it, but people always stare as if something is wrong with me feeding him baby food, and they always have an opinion as if Im doing or did something wrong alone way. Plus I know alot of people with kids my age and I cant recall but just one Mom who has this same problem. It doesnt bother me anymore, but now Im back on the hunt for some options to help him like more food. I try and get him to try t everything Im eating. Ill put it on his plate and have him feed himself, Ill let him eat of my plate, Ill try and mix it with stuff he does like but he knows the difference immediately. He will spit and out just say "No, I dont want that" or shake his head, lol...He is smart that child of mine, So Im convinced now more than ever thtat he will come around when he want too, but I just to make sure Im doing everything I am to help him mature. I did hear about a group that helps with child development and eating was one of them. Maybe Google programs like that in your area. If Im not mistaken it wasnt a cost and some lady did leave me a voicemail so they exist. Or maybe I will ask my insurance company. Kasier had all kinds of classes and things when I was pregnant. Thats my input ladies and gentleman!

Amanda - posted on 07/12/2011

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tbh when she is ready she is ready. dont give her options. whats for dinner is whats for dinner. she is testing the waters and you have to set boundrys. one thing i do is if my daughter refuses to eat something. ill put it in the fridge and next time she tells me she is hungry that is what she gets. nothing else no snack nothing. sooner or later she will get hungry and eat what is served!

Jennifer - posted on 03/10/2013

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My daughter is almost 4 now and is still extremely picky. It is difficult to get her to try anything new, although sometimes she surprises me and asks to try something (rarely). Now I worry about her nutrition and look for things she likes that have extra vitamins. Kraft has a macaroni that is made from veggies but tastes the same. What she would eat yesterday isn't always what she will eat today. She just recently started wanting cheerios for breakfast instead of baby cereal, but sometimes still wants the baby cereal. She is still growing and appears healthy so I guess it will be OK. I know some adults that have worse eating habits.

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Jennifer - posted on 02/20/2014

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My son is 24 months old, and he hardly eats anything...only like oatmeal,cereal, jelly sand, all fresh fruits and baby food veg--will not eat fresh veg. Its a struggle and I need help.

Joyce - posted on 04/01/2013

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I have a 27 month old and he still eats baby food. Basically the food we order in restaurant is not healthy what so ever. Chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, hamburger etc. They offer no veggies. He eats baby food first then we feed him what we are eating. He likes table food but still has issues with meats. Our foods are cooked out of nutritional value basically worthless to a growing child. Make my own baby food thought of that but unless you grow it yourself you don't know what insecticide was used. ?? Not safe. He also get Pediasure every morning. His favorite drink. He hasn't been to the doctor for an illness at any time. Has been for wellness check ups. They talk about terrible two's but I never had that issue with my other children who are now 28, 30,30, 32, 33, 34 and 36. Yes that's 7 4 are my half siblings. Same age as my 3. My children ate baby food up until they were 3 and I never had a sick kid. I do not allow koolaide because of the sugar and dyes. My children ate every 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I gave them snacks of fruits , yogurts, cheerios, cheese, but no candy. I have Nilla wafers and mini saltines. Maybe an m & m every now and then, but only about 2-3. I believe terrible 2's are because we stopped feeding our children enough food and encouraging them to eat. Most parents look at the child are u done and they haven't ate enough food to substain them til next meal. They become fussy, easily fustrated because they are hungry. Feed them and it stops. Naps on time and if it's late make sure you have fruits to help them over til nap comes. Obesity in a child is because a child isn't being fed the right foods and enough of them.. French Fries, grilled cheese, mac and cheese are bad carbs which means they burn fast and then you crash and burn. Hot dogs I never fed my kids just because it was made with parts of this and that. If they eat a hot dog it's 100 % beef. To bad they don't make 100 % chicken hot dogs. Anyway this is my thoughts on baby food and mixing table food. My two year I've had since he was 7 months old. I have no issues with him. Except when he thinks someone is going somewhere and he wants to go. To me the worst thing we can do to a child is let them become hungry. Oh honey we will eat in a minute while we fix dinner. Give them food before hand and you'll be able to enjoy your meal as a family. Along with family outings plan your outing after he has ate at home and be prepared to stop and feed them on time. Makes for a great day with family instead of a fussy child.

Resa - posted on 02/25/2012

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My about-to-be 2 yr. old only eats mac n' cheese, hot dogs, and anything bread (Waffles, pancakes, toast, bread sticks hamburger buns, tortillas w/ cheese, fries. No meat what-so-ever. Not chicken in any way shape or form, not hamburger, not ham, not turkey, nothing. (Besides the hot dogs which can hardly be considered real meat.) Aside from her picky eating she hasn't suffered any serious health related problems, and I've been assured her taste in food will broaden as time passes.

Resa - posted on 02/25/2012

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My about-to-be 2 yr. old only eats mac n' cheese, hot dogs, and anything bread (Waffles, pancakes, toast, bread sticks hamburger buns, tortillas w/ cheese, fries. No meat what-so-ever. Not chicken in any way shape or form, not hamburger, not ham, not turkey, nothing. (Besides the hot dogs which can hardly be considered real meat.) Aside from her picky eating she hasn't suffered any serious health related problems, and I've been assured her taste in food will broaden as time passes.

Claire - posted on 02/24/2012

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My daughter is a terrible eater as well. I try to introduce new foods to her,but she refuses to eat them. I can't even get her to try anything new. She eats pasta (no sauce), cheese, corn, peas, grilled cheese, peanut butter toast, raisins, chicken nuggets etc... The only meat she will eat is nuggets, no red meat at all. She wont even try things like cookies or cake! Things that kids like, and want to eat, she wont!! Its very frustrating!

Kristi - posted on 02/22/2012

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That's tricky! I find my little guy (who will be 3 in April) has days like that - and I find it frustrating! My kids love pasta (penne or bowties are favourites). The love berries and grapes - it seems like bite-size food is popular with my two! There is something to be said for homemade vs store bought, my kids do prefer homemade. Sometimes presentation can make a difference (I know sounds silly) but cutting a pb sandwich with a heart or star cookie cutter will et them to eat! I find meat is tough to get them to est so i really try to 'hide' it in their food. Try not to get frustrated - I'm sure your little one is getting the nutrients she needs and will strat eating solids when ready! It will happen - hang in there

Heather - posted on 02/20/2012

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sorry your having this problem...my children started eating real food @ about 9 months without a problem..once they got teeth we started little by little with table food. just try little things like hotdogs and things like that..maybe she will want to..then go from there.

Rachael - posted on 02/15/2012

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have you tried letting her "play with her food" try getting her to feed a doll. Let her help you cook. Good luck!!!! I asked about speech development because texture and mouth feel are huge issues with children on the autistic spectrum and they often suffer nutritional deficit because of it. Best of luck to you.

Allarna - posted on 02/14/2012

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I just wanted to say you are not alone, my two year old will eat foods but only the packaged meals (toddler ones with chucks of veggie and stuff). I know part of it is my fault as I went back to work when she was one and these foods were easy to use. Now she does not want to try normal meals. I think I will try the kiss, lick bite suggestion. Don't feel bad though I find sometimes other mum's make you feel bad because you haven't done things the perfect way but you are trying to improve things which is the most important thing. Good luck hope we are both successful soon.

Allarna - posted on 02/14/2012

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I just wanted to say you are not alone, my two year old will eat foods but only the packaged meals (toddler ones with chucks of veggie and stuff). I know part of it is my fault as I went back to work when she was one and these foods were easy to use. Now she does not want to try normal meals. I think I will try the kiss, lick bite suggestion. Don't feel bad though I find sometimes other mum's make you feel bad because you haven't done things the perfect way but you are trying to improve things which is the most important thing. Good luck hope we are both successful soon.

Lisa - posted on 06/11/2011

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Don't force her as that will just make it worse. If she screams and throwa things then try moving it out of reach and ignore her for a few minutes until she calms down. If you are eating at the same time she will see that she is not getting attention and calm down. My son has days like that too and we have even sometimes turned his chair around so he is facing away from us. We just carry on and after a while he calms down and will eat his food. Try and make it fun - the kiss it, lick it, bite it is quite fun especially if you can make a big thing of it. I would like to say she'll porbably grow out of it but I think once they have bad habits it takes a few days of tough love to get them out of it. Remember to praise good behaviour and ignore the bad - they soon get the message.

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2011

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Thank you for all of your replies. Her speech development is fine and the thing is that she USED to eat anything I gave her. I only feed her the menu she eats now because out of trial and error they are the only things she will eat. I got her to take a small bite out of a banana the other day, but she wouldn't touch it after that. If it was a case of she just didn't eat things I would just keep offering them, but she gets violent about it and spits and screams and throws the food. Even to the point of slamming her head against the chair if you even put something she doesn't like near her. I sometimes have to hold her hands down and just stick things in her mouth just to get her to try something, but I feel like I am just making it worse by doing that.

Lisa - posted on 06/07/2011

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I always remember advise from a kids pyscology doctor years ago - kiss it, lick it, bite it. Ask your daughter to kiss the bit of food first, then ask her to lick it then get her to bite it. It always seemed to work for her but fortunately I've never had to try it with my son as he has always been a good eater - better than me! I was always picky & I was always worried he would be like me but thankfully not. I never gave him jars of food either - I always gave him whatever we had just mashed up. Good luck x

Rebekah - posted on 06/06/2011

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I'm sorry you're having this problem! I can only imagine how frustrating this must be... my daughter is the same age as yours, and toddlers can be soooo picky! I used store-bought baby food, and so far have not had any problems with mine eating - I serve her what we eat, most of the time, with the exception that she doesn't eat most meats (but that's not uncommon for toddlers). Does she have any problems chewing and swallowing? Are the foods you have offered soft? Is she showing signs of a sensory disorder? Maybe you could try letting her watch as you blend her favorite veggies to a consistency thicker than baby food - just so she realizes that what she is eating really is the same thing you're eating????

Rachael - posted on 06/05/2011

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I also never used traditional baby foods and my son has been eating what I have from day one. have you tried ditching the babyfood jars and starting with taking REAL food and chopping it small to help with the mouth feel? just out of curiosity, how is your little ones speech development? Good luck!

Sriwanti - posted on 06/05/2011

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Hmm... i have no problem like that with my 2yo son. Probably because I used to feed him the baby food I made myself from vegs, grains and meats.. Those bottled baby food my son didnt like. I tried them once they're tasteless.. I dont cook separate food for my son since he's 1.5yo. We eat the same food. Maybe u can start by making your own baby food from fresh ingredients? then after a month or so dont mash it too smooth and months after that make it smaller cubes, then slightly bigger cubes and whenever she's ready u can feed her solid food hopefully :)

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