Resistance to proper meals

[deleted account] ( 37 moms have responded )

I always felt it was important to feed my boy his main meals at a similar time each day and while sitting in his high chair. He would have his cereal fed to him at 8am each morning and have his lunch fed to him after his midday nap - about 1pm.
At lunch i always fed him store bought baby food that is age appropriate - the jar stuff as i found it was a peace of mind to know exactly how much and what he was eatting. This has worked well until now!

He is now driving me crazy with refusing to eat these foods - especially his lunch meal. He'll have a few spoonfulls and then just start spitting it out and no trick that has worked before works anymore at all - he cannot be distracted, i think he's now old enough to know that he can control whether he eats or not.

I dont know what to do??? I really want him to eat his meals properly so that i know he's being well fed. Any ideas or stories about how your 17 month old is eating?

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[deleted account]

Bake/prepare something new. Something interesting for him to eat with his hands. My son wouldn't touch pureed food after 8 months...wanted everything whole so he could tear it apart or mash it himself. If he's not eating meat, then substitute grains, legumes and seeds for his protein sources. Or try a variety of meats? My son definately prefers lamb over any other meat but also loves duck...who knew?! Experiment with other foods. So long as you're feeding him a well rounded wholesome diet don't worry about controlling the amount he eats. Whole grain brown rice is a very fun thing for him to muck around in and have steamed broccoli or carrots with. Bake some sweet potatoes...jazz them up with a touch of cinnamon if he's adverse to them. Just experiment and have fun doing it!

[deleted account]

My 17 mo. old son has become much more picky than he used to, but he still eats well. He's been eating table food from about 11 months along with his baby food. About two months ago I stopped feeding him baby food altogether. Too bland for him, and he really likes feeding himself finger foods. For me the key has been to find which foods he likes within each food group and keep rotating them, trying new ones every now and then because his tastes keep changing. One thing I do which is very simple and he always loves it, is to cook up some macaroni noodles and then mix with a little spaghetti sauce. (He prefers the Ragu brand). I then freeze up portions in the freezer and get them out and heat them up each night we have dinner that's not something he'll eat. Here are some examples of foods my son likes:

Protein: any cold cut meats diced into tiny pieces, (Hormel brand is good - no added preservatives), Tyson all natural chicken nuggets, scrambled eggs with cheese, yogurt

Dairy: Yogurt, cubed cheese, and whole milk (occasionally ice cream and pudding.)

Fruits and Veggies: Cooked soft green beans, peas, corn, carrots (sliced into spears and cooked until soft.), squash, asparagus. I season with a little butter and salt. Andrew loves any fruit! I just dice into small pieces and let him feed himself. Raw apple is a bit too hard for him yet, but he LOVES the Mott's brand applesauce. His fav. is the Pomegranate/ Apple blend. Canned fruits are good too if you can find them preserved in fruit juice. BTW, lite peaches are in pear juice and he loves them!

Grains: Pasta (homemade Mac' n' cheese, stuffed ravioli with spaghetti sauce, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, etc.), rice (spanish rice or other seasoned rice - add some veggies!), bread (grilled cheese - not too crispy and diced into small cubes, rolls with butter, banana bread or muffins, pumpkin bread), Cereal (Life cereal soaked in whole milk, Multigrain cheerios, Regular Cheerios)

Hopefully this will give you some ideas. I let Andrew feed himself anything he can. He's learning to use his fork and spoon now. I feed him everything else. Hope this helps! :)

Michelle - posted on 05/10/2010

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My 18 month old twins will refuse dinner some nights and eat lots the next - I keep serving (ie placing the food on their high chari table with a sppon and fork) them their meat and 5 veg, followed by fruit and yogurt irrespectibe of their protests - may seem a waste when they dont eat it but as I said other nights they will eat the lot - mine have also started eating the food and then spitting it back out or throwing it over the high chair to our horror - but everyone keeps telling me thats normal!

Amy - posted on 05/10/2010

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Let him feed himself!!! He is refusing because he wants to be independent. He also wants to eat what you are eating so cut his food up if necessary but let him do it. My 18 month old refused all mushy baby food at around 11 months. Cheaper and easier if he eats what the family is having. Also, it is normal and healthy for kids to "graze" throughout the day. As long as you give him healthy snacks he will be fine.

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Catherine - posted on 02/21/2013

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Taste those jars of processed over priced mush. Cook real foods for him.There are lots of wonderful ideas given here. Lunch can be left overs from your dinner last night. Just don't salt & pepper your dishes. He is old enough to experiment with new flavors and spices.
Kids love to snack and dip foods so as long as you make those calories count there is no need to fret over how much he eats or you'll end up with a picky eater.
Choose your battles,never make them about food and never loose the ones you do pick.
There are so many sites on feeding kids of all ages these days..avail yourself of them.

Marguerite - posted on 05/25/2010

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I would suggest giving him foods he can chew, cooked or raw veg, cut up fruit, pieces of cheese, pasta, cut up chicken or other meats. Also give him him a different type of cereal and allow him to spoon feed himself as well as yogurt or cottage cheese, soup or any other runny foods. He may be messy and perhaps need a little assistance, but he will love the independence. This will help him develop his fine motor skills.

My 18 month old loves to use spoons and forks (made especcially for little ones). He is picky at times, and won't always eat very much. He has days where he will eat a lot and days he won't. I figure that's just him and he gets what he needs. I try to offer a variety of healthy foods that I would eat too which works well. If he doesn't like something, I try it again another day. I also provide snacks, this is good especcially if he has a meal where he doesn't eat much. For snacks I give fruit or veg, crackers, yogurt, or cottage cheese.

Katrina - posted on 05/23/2010

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Rest assured my daughter did exactly the same thing! I used to feed her baby food from jars for her main meals but let her snack on a variety of 'adult' food to get her used to different textures & tastes e.g. bananas, grapes, blueberries, cherrios, mini sandwhiches etc. At about 6/7mths she satrted refusing baby food, I always added a few extra veggies with each meal & so just switched to 'adult' meals. Luckily for us she switched with ease. All I can recommend is make her a small portion of whatever you're having......within reason ofcourse....& just let him experiment. My daughter loves fish pie, chicken rissotto, mild chicken curry, beef casserole, mini pizza with cucumber fingers & for ease good old fishfingers, potato waffle & beans. Try loads of different things & don't overload his plate, at the end of the day, wouldn't you get bored of mush from a jar after a while lol! Oh, & something else someone told me which really helps, don't analyse what he eats daily, analyse it weekly as some days he'll eat like a horse & others he'll just pick. Happy experimenting x

Abbey - posted on 05/18/2010

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Doesn't always help me, but make sure everyone else is eating with your little one. Let him feed himself as much as possible....they should be using a spoon about now (I am resistant to this bc of the mess, not that food being tossed on the floor is less messy). My son eats better at daycare bc all the kids are eating with him. But it's normal for their appetite to drop and want to play instead.

[deleted account]

I actually make sure there is variety by keeping a daily nutrition map in mind, but mixing up the times of day it gets served. So for example, if he wants a banana, cottage cheese with applesauce and a whole grain muffin for breakfast; a cheese stick, grapes and whole grain hot cereal for lunch and edamame, minced chicken and broccoli and apple slices for dinner one day and some variation on the theme the next, I know he's getting fruit, vegetables, protein and grains every day in some combination.

Regina - posted on 05/18/2010

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My daughter has been eating regular table food since she was about 7 months old. She hated baby food. He probably wants more variety in his diet besides baby food like texture. Has he eaten any solid foods? My daughter eats whatever I'm eating. She loves meat, fruit and some veggies. For snacks she usually has a multi-grain cereal bar or cheerios (her favorite!), I dont let her have any cookies or anything like that (she gets enough of that at grandma and papa's house). He probably does want to feed himself. My daughter loves to feed herself and has gotten really good at using a spoon and fork. If I try and feed her, sometimes she has a fit. Dont worry if he wont eat that much in a particular day, he will eat when he is hungry and will eat enough to get the nutrition he needs.

Julie - posted on 05/17/2010

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I noticed that no one has mentioned that it could be the seating. My son at 7 months started eating what my husband and I do for dinners and lunches but then I started to notice that around 12 months he ate less than was on the floor. So I decided to take him out of his highchair and get him a booster seat so he can sit at the table with us. Now at 18 months he eats pretty much everything that is given to him at meal time. That is just another suggestion that might help.

[deleted account]

We are going through the same thing! My son has decided baby food is no longer an option for his meals. I feed him cheerios with milk (he loves picking the bowl up to drink the milk when he is done!) for breakfast and cut up some fresh fruit such as bananas or strawberries at about 8:30. He snacks from the time he finishes (takes about 20 minutes and I let him do it all himself) on dry cheerios or Gerber "lil crunchies" (he loves the mild cheddar, Goldfish or whatever else I have on hand for snacks. I do still give him 2 bottles a day, one at his morning nap time and bedtime. A doctor told me that all children 2 and under don't get enough vitamin D if they don't have formula until 2 and as I couldn't breast feed and had to use formula, I figure he is still getting the nutrition that he needs this way. At lunch I will either give him some of what I am eating or make him PB & J or he will eat the Gerber raviolis as he can eat them with his hands or his fork! It is all about independence and learning right now! For dinner, he eats whatever we are having. He usually eats some on his own and then my husband will try to give him a few bites off of his plate (this seems to make him think he is getting something special since it is from daddy's plate!) and when he is full, my son will stop. I make sure he gets milk and water all day, as much as he wants. Since he eats fresh fruit quite a bit, I don't give him juice much.

I hope this helps, but I think from what my family tells me, this is totally normal! They are learning to be little people and are exploring what they can do. I try to let my son do as much as possible, but am always right there to "help" if he will let me! Encourage your son as much as he can and praise him when he finishes. My son loves to carry his "plastic" cereal bowl (it has the suction cup on the bottom so it doesn't spill as easily) to the sink and throw it in when he is done! Wish I could get my husband to carry his plate to the sink as easily as my son! LOL! Good luck and have fun with it, if you get stressed out, it will affect your son and in the end, won't help at all! LOL

Sharon - posted on 05/17/2010

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I to am dealing with my DD ( 18 months) not wanting to eat and it is very frustrating. It's only a phase and they will grow out of it like so many others they'll go through. The important thing is to have him at the table at meal times and offer the food to him if he don't eat much that's ok as long as you are teaching when meal times are and that you all sit at the table.
The eating will pick up again when he's hungry. Try give him regular food (bits from your plate) and see if he will eat what your eating better. If he does then don't feed him baby food any more. My DD was off baby food at 12 months because she just refused to eat a bit of it after 12 months.

Erin - posted on 05/16/2010

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My son is a 'hands-on' kid. He never ate pureed baby food and didn't want to eat anything solid until he was almost 9 months. I gave him a 'puffed rice' cereal that he could pick up on his own and turned to mush in his mouth so no choking, and then we moved onto peas and then cooked cubed carrots.

It's not a bad thing to let them get messy when they are learning about new foods. They will mess around for a while, but if you keep offering a spoon they will eventually use it.

I've heard it said too that if a kid is refusing a certain food then they don't really 'need' it. Like if meat or milk is being refused, it's because their body doesnt need the extra protein at that moment. Usually a few days later they will feast on whatever it was they were refusing and then they'll suddenly be turned off by it again. If you're worried about the amount of food they're getting too, don't panic about it... when they're hungry, they'll eat. It's better to look at what your child eats over the course of a week instead of day to day.

Also sometimes serving size can be intimidating for a small person. If you put one piece of chicken, a few carrots and a few peas on a plate, you child may be more likely to eat it up and want three more helpings than if you give them a plate loaded with what you expect them to eat.

The fact that you're placing him in his high chair at meal times is good though. Even if he's not eating he's learning that this is a meal time and eventually he'll become curious about what other people are eating and what they're doing with those odd pronged sticks....

Ruth - posted on 05/16/2010

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Hi all, this is something that I've been really struggling with too. Hala, my 18mth boy also has refused any form of milk since he decided to wean from breastfeeding at 15mths. I have been so worried about his development due to him not drinking milk, however he eats heaps of yoghurt and cheese, so I guess he must be getting what he needs. It's a comfort to hear that your doctor thinks your boy is getting what he needs - as this is what my doctor has said about our son too... but I still worry.
He has been a fussy eater since around 11mths when he refused baby food. So we now give him what we are eating and finger food, and we always give him a baby spoon and fork with each meal now. Since we have started giving him a spoon and fork with every meal and we let him feed himself - he is eating much better. It was really messy at first - but now he is using his cutlery like a pro.
Another strategy we use, is if he refuses to eat in his high chair - then we take him out of it, and let him sit on a regular dining chair with us, and we give him his food again, and usually he will start eating again. This is not ideal - but at least he eats more than when he's in his high chair. I think we may phase out the high chair altogether soon. I think the trapped feeling that he must feel in it distracts him from his hunger and eating.
Thanks to all - you have giving me many more ideas to help us through this picky stage.

Hala - posted on 05/15/2010

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Hello everyone. I usually read your posts, but never posted before. I have an 18 month old boy and I have the same problem. He refuses to sit in the high chair and eat. He prefers to sit on a normal chair like us and feed himself. Meal time is a hassle because he will be playing and eating at the same time. He only sits in his high chair in the morning while his sisters are having their breakfast and will eat cereal without milk and some fresh fruits. He loves bread and it has to be included in every meal. Sometimes he ends up eating it without any veggies or cheese or anything else. Also since I stopped breastfeeding him at 14 months, he stopped taking any kind of milk. So i always try to give him yogurt or cheese to substitute.
What Katia said helps and I see myself doing that on many days. His doctor tell me not to worry because even though I might think that he is not getting enough, when I give him a variety of everything he still gets a little of everything at each meal and his health is good. I keep trying to make his meal time more organized day after day, but I guess once he starts going to preschool next year, things will get easier. Good luck to you all and thanks for the posts. I find them always very helpful.

Sally - posted on 05/15/2010

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My exact sentiments! since last month my 17 month old baby stopped eating regularly. she became very picky. sometimes she won't even taste the food. other times she would try it but then she would spit it out. since then i've always been in search of the best tricks or best tips to make her eat. i've tried cutting her food in fun shapes, cutting them in small pieces, using dips to hide veggies, using smorgasbord style of serving her food and a lot more but none of them really worked. until now i'm still struggling to feed her but i don't force her. i just feel sad because a lot of food are getting into waste. the only consolation i have is that she drinks a lot of milk. so i guess somehow she's getting the nutrients that she needs.

Kira - posted on 05/15/2010

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My son is just about 18 months old... I have found lately that giving his meals to him in "stages", rather than everything all at once is working pretty well. I pick by giving him the most important things first. Like the meat... He really likes chicken nuggets and turkey dogs... I know it doesn't sound that healthy; but if you buy the ones with 100% breast meat its good! Also, I noticed that my son will eat a TON of canned greenbeans... he chews up the fresh one; but ends up spitting them out. So I usually give him meat, then veggies, then fruit/startch... it works well with my older kids too!!

Georgia - posted on 05/13/2010

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While the ingredients in Tyson's nuggets may be natural, the way they raise the chickens is not. Totally misleading.

ANNETTE - posted on 05/13/2010

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My little man won't eat much at the moment either. As for the 'wanting to be independant' part, well I don't think this is always the case. My son (17 months), likes to feed himself, he likes to eat what we eat and when we eat and I have tried all of these bnumerous times and nothing works.
What I have heard is that your child will not go hungry, he wont starve himself, he will eat when he wants something to eat. It's human instinct to eat and they always will when they are hungry. Just persist with different and exciting things and your little one will eat when he's ready.

Crystal - posted on 05/13/2010

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My daughter didn't eat very well either at first I thought it was the food, how it tasted or the texture. Every time I brought a spoonful to her mouth she'd give me that face. I realized after awhile of her doing this she just wanted to be Ms. independent and feed herself, so I let her. At first it was really messy and she didn't know how to use the spoon very well, but it didn't take long for her to learn her stuff, shes doing great. I still sit with her while shes eating because I believe meal time is very important. When she's done she tell me done. For me feedings are going much more smoother this way, atleast now shes getting something in her!!

Chelsie - posted on 05/12/2010

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My 17 month old went from eating everything to eating everything but fresh fruits and any veggies. I have been told its a phase...but I mix fruit in with yogurt, or make him fruit and veg. smoothies. for that part of his diet. Your baby will eat when he is hungry.

[deleted account]

:)))) no i didn't recognize the brands of foods, but you have given me plenty of advice and great ideas. i esp love the one with macaroni noodles mixed with spaghetti sauce and stored in freezer for later! sounds very convenient. Thank you heaps Amanda, this was very helpful.

[deleted account]

I just noticed you're in Australia, so the brand names of the food I listed won't help - sorry! Hopefully the rest of the food ideas will, though. Take care!

Nelly - posted on 05/12/2010

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My daughter likes it spiced up, and has hated jar food since 7 months or thereabouts. Now I make my own, put salt, pepper, mustard and so on and free batches on ice cube trays. She also enjoy different textures, and the food processor allows that too. As for quantities, 1 square of the ice cube tray is 1 oz. Hope this helps!

Mrunmayee - posted on 05/12/2010

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I had the same problem with my son at around 13 months - he started turning up his nose at the jarred baby foods he used to love and I could not get him to eat more than a few bites at most! I know it sounds hard, but the the best thing to do right now is switch him to "normal" foods. Babies at this age start developing some major taste buds, & store bought food may just be too bland for them. The first few days may be tough on you, but it's soo much better for him (& you!) in the long run. Here are some tips:

1) Try a few different things & see what foods he likes more than others.

2) If he shakes his head or spits out his food, don't force it on him. Try again in 2-3 hours & see how well he eats!

3) Lay down some newspapers near the high chair & let him try eating on his own once in a while - some toast cut up into bite-sized pieces, pasta, fruit, veggies, cheese, anything he likes. You'll probably have a big mess on your hands, but your toddler will love it & will probably eat better too! This will also pave the way for introducing spoons & forks!

4) Vitamin drops - major worry reliever! That way you won't lie awake at night worrying about his development...

All the best & keep us posted on how you do!

Rebecca - posted on 05/12/2010

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Your son sounds just like mine. Joshua eats a couple of bites then spits it out. Never any meat!!! We joke about him being vegetarian, but its not funny! I worry he is not eating enough, but the health workers seem to think he is fine.
We tried eating altogether but we all work different hours so it is hard to eat together.
He will eat bananas - he loves them. So if he will not eat his dinner I give him a banana so i feel happy that he has had some fruit, but it is less than perfect. I just hope he grows out of it.

Jill - posted on 05/12/2010

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A friend of mine had problems with their daughter not eating and was losing weight. The Dr told her that at this stage they are more "snackers" because they would rather be playing then sitting and eating. They would start in the high chair and do the best then let her down with food she can carry in a 'snack trap'. Luckily that was just a phase and she is eating better now!

[deleted account]

thanks all for sharing your stories, its given me a lot of relief and good ideas on what else to try. i have been feeding him a lot more finger food on his high chair tray now and that sorta works, but he is pretty fussy, like only eats the cheese and ham from the sandwhich and ditches the bread, but its not to bad if i give him lots of different snacks throughout the day.



however, i must say that the other day i had a break through. i tried to feed him his jar meal again (i've still got a few left in the cupboard that i cant bring myself just to chuck out) and he kept acting up, shaking his head, spitting it out, even if i let him feed himself, he still wouldnt have it, he wouldnt even take one spoonful. i was so frustrated, my husband was there with me and he caught my eye and said, lets force him to eat it! i know this sounds horrible, but we've had to do this with panadol recently when he had a fever and refused to take it, so thats where the idea came from. we forced like 3 spoonfuls down his throat and then what do you know? he just started eating it all. he ate all the rest of it absolutely no fuss, and has not fussed since. i think that when he realised he had no choice, he got over his fussyness! we felt bad doing it that way, but it worked, so we're not sure what to think anymore, like what if all they need is to know when they have a choice or not and then when they dont they accept it?



hmm...food for thought.

Crystal - posted on 05/11/2010

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Well my daughter is 17 months and at 9 months she was getting sick of jar food, slowly i started giving her our food little bit at a time. now she loves everything fruits, veggies, meat, pasta and im so glad cause she is not fussy or nothing. i cant give you advise on a trick that works because i felt when she was ready for our food she would show signs and she did.

I have not had a problem with her eating since. Dont force him to eat anything he is not happy with instead go with the flow. My daughter loves toast and jam or eggs for breakfast, start small and work your way up.

goo luck

Kayla - posted on 05/11/2010

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I know you are frustrated but I have found with my daughter if she starts acting like she doesn't want it I let her feed herself. Sometimes that works and then sometimes I figure she isn't hungry. I feel better about her getting her proper nutrients b/c I give her the Graduate Smart Sip Milk, it's fat free but is high in vitamins. But for the most part she eats everything that we eat at the table, (hasn't had baby food since around 11 months old) breakfast she loves pancakes and sausage, lunch is mac n cheese, hot dogs, sandwich, ravioli etc and she loves broc., collards, peas and fruit. Occassionaly I will buy some of the Gerber toddler meals jsut b/c it's simple for my husband to feed - for some reason he can't grasp how to feed her - men lol For snack she likes the danino yogurt and then fruit. Best of Luck and sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Sue - posted on 05/11/2010

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HAAHAHHAHA I geuss it is normal..as everyone keeps saying the same thing LOL Thx

[deleted account]

You won't be able to keep him eating his meals properly. My son stopped it some months ago and I'd worry too that he was not eating enough. However, there is nothing you can do. You can't force him to eat when he does not want to. So, I continue to offer him food that I cook for him or some of the food that we will eat at lunch time. I wash his hands and sit him on his high chair at the table with us so he knows it's time to eat and offer him foods that a proper for his age (soft meat, rice, beans, oatmeal, fruits and lots of veggies). Some days he will eat a lot, other days not so much...but so far, so good. No wars anymore.

Cathy - posted on 05/08/2010

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My daughter is 17 months and hasn't eaten jarred baby food since she was about 13 months. She eats all table foods. She has oatmeal and bananas for breakfast. Lunch is usually a fruit, a protein, bread, a veggie things like lasagna, hot dogs, roast chicken, meatballs, casserole (she is at daycare 3 days a week so eats what they serve), snack is again, fruit, maybe cheese, crackers, applesauce or something like a cereal bar. Dinner she will eat chicken tenders, pasta, fish. My daughter doesn't love bread so sandwiches are out for her. She likes dinner rolls though. She also eats yogurt once a day generally at snack time and somethimes she has a second yogurt at dinner. She loves yogurt so if she is having a picky eating date we let her eat another yogurt. We have found she sometimes INSISTS on feeding herself or she won't eat. She either uses her fingers or a fork or spoon. It is messy but we go with it. She is actually pretty good with the utensils.

Tina - posted on 05/08/2010

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My son is 17 months and he has been eating regular food since he was 1. He started throwing the baby food around 10 months so we slowly switched him over to our food. He will eat cereal with bananas, or oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch is a sandwich or something like mac and cheese or spaghetti o's with something healthy as a side snack. Snack time is basically anything, and for dinner, he eats what we eat, or we make him something. It's easier to feed him while we are eating as well so he knows it's time to eat..we haven't had a problem with him eating in months.

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