9 year old Picky Eater

Stephanie - posted on 02/07/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My son is almost 9 & is very picky. There are only a handful of foods that he will eat. 4 out of 5 days he will not eat lunch at school & when he does, there may be only 1 item served that he will touch. I try & send him something from home, but am not allowed to send anything w/ peanut butter (due to student w/ allergy) which only leaves Goldfish & Cheezits that he will eat that he can take. He absolutely refuses to try anything new. I have asked the dr but he isn't concerned about his development (Alex is 4'11 & makes straight A's). I just want to be able to make 1 meal at a time instead of 2. Is this selfish? Plus, he is missing out on so much.

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Michele - posted on 02/07/2010

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When I met my husband he was a very picky eater, as was his kids. The rule in our house is you have to try it, in a decent amount and at least twice before you can decide wether or not you like it. I've found that things the kids say they don't like often changes once they are required to try it. I also like to make different dishes or casseroles and add new veggies or meats to them, which often the kids don't know what they are eating and most of the time don't even notice the new item. I've also learned to avoid answering the question "what is this" until after they try it, that way they don't have the opportunity to judge it based on the name or what others might have said. I realize it can be a struggle but I always think back when my son was born and I was learning to breastfeed, the doctor told me if a child is hungry enough they will suck the paint off the walls. I still believe that, so I never cater to my kids if they don't like what I've fixed they know they have a choice they can it or be hungry. I have learned they like almost everything I fix, they just didn't want to give it a chance. My husband says everyday that he missed out on so many good foods before he met me and that he wishes his mom would have made him try things instead of just fixing him what he wanted. You won't hurt your son by requiring him to try new foods, and he might just find he likes them. Good Luck!!!

Katie - posted on 02/07/2010

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You are sooooo NOT selfish! Your doctor may not be concerned and it does sound like your son is developing just fine. But, this is the time in his life where he will learn good food habits and stick with them into adulthood. Have you tried sneaking in vegetables and other healthy foods? You might check out some books on this topic at your local library for suggestions. I can tell you what I do with my 8 year old son. He was super picky at about ages 3-5. Then I started introducing new, healthy foods, one at a time and requiring him to at least try one bite of the new food. Slowly, but surely, he found foods that he liked and now he eats whatever I make him. I have heard too many times that mothers should not be short-order cooks, meaning whatever the rest of the family eats, so does your son. He won't starve himself, especially if you introduce the new foods slowly. The habits you set for him during childhood will stick with him, so I think you are on the right track to want to start the change now. Good luck!

Lina - posted on 02/08/2013

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I am in the same situation, mine got a little bit worst because now my ex who spends 3 days of the week with my 9 year old, told him he has to eat only organic. I do but some organic at home but not everything, so now my son won't eat if its not organic... Sigh it gets so much on my nerves he is underweight and I have been giving him pediasure and now his father forbidden him to drink it because he heard it gives cancer... My question is there a better age to introduced him with new foods? Because as far as now everytime I cook a new thing there's a fight and tears... should I just stick with what he usually eats?

Katie - posted on 02/08/2010

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Hey just a suggestion I would talk to your sons school. My son is 8 and we had a child that was allergic to peanut butter but at that time that was all my son would eat. So I had to make special arrigments with the school. Also try a chart that he makes and colors for every new food he trys. We take a sheet of paper and fold in it to 12 squares I believe and everytime he trys (I mean 2-3 normal bites not a nibble) he colors one square once the paper is full he gets a reward. You can put a limit to is and it doesnt have to be to disneyland. It could be to the park or whatever just make sure to let him choose. Hope this helps

Danielle - posted on 02/07/2010

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I can understand your frustration. I have a picky daughter who is 11 and has always been this way. I used to get mad and frustrated myself. However; it doesn't do any good and I think it just makes her want to prove her point against me even more. I recently saw a Dr. Phil show about choosing your battles with kids, and this was one of them. He had a Doctor on the show that said if your child wants to eat peanut butter with fruit jelly on whole wheat bread every night for dinner, it's probably more nutritious than what your serving the rest of the family. Hopefully as they get older and their tastes start to change it will get better. For now, as long as they're eating and it's not just junk food all day, they'll be alright. As far as making two meals, don't. Make the alternative very simple. Also, they have ensure drinks for kids that provide vitamins and nutrients that kids don't get from eating normal. Good luck and remember, pick and choose your battles. There will be plenty of the big ones to fuss over. lol.

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Jennifer - posted on 02/07/2010

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Just wanted to add that some kids who are very picky have Celiac disease (gluten intolerance). You could ask your doctor to test him for this. Not all people with Celiac have it badly enough to be obvious.

Jennifer - posted on 02/07/2010

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Does he have texture issues? Sensory issues like sensitivity to sounds, textures, etc? That could explain it and an occupational therapist could help; your local children's hospital would be a good place to call. Also, often kids with food sensitivities will be very picky, and ironically are often sensitive to the few foods they will eat. If you eliminate them and substitute similar foods (like rice crackers for the wheat, etc.), you may find the pickiness goes away. A nutritionist may be able to help with that.

Carly - posted on 02/07/2010

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My daughter is 5 and a terrible eater, for a while she was eating no fruits or vegetables, NOT okay for a vegetarian!!! I got fed up of making 2 separate meals and started serving her what we were having, making sure there was something she enjoyed in the meal ( side of bread, cheese, whatever). I figure if she is hungry she will eat something, and so far it is working, slowly, but still. She is trying hew things. The other thing I find best is to not even mention the new foods, or her eating habits. I just stick it on the plate and keep my mouth shut.

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