Need help..my daugher will not eat veggies or fruit!

Rebecca - posted on 11/24/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My 5 year old daughter will not eat veggies or fruit, with the exception of pineapples. I always put things on her plate at dinner but she has never ate any of them. I've tried making her sit at the table until she ate them and telling her that she would not get certain things if she didnt eat them but it always ends up in a yelling and crying match. She is always constipated and I just don't know what to do. I know this isnt good for her, and I tried taking her to the doctor to ask his opinion but he just told me to give her a mild kids laxative....what the heck? I just don't know what to do, I need help!

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Taj - posted on 12/02/2010

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I really think the issue is very child-dependent. Some children, with coaxing, threats, bribery, force, or some combination of any or all of the above, will eat what is put in front of them. Some kids are simply more stubborn or resistant than that and despite threats, removal of desired toys/objects, refusal to provide a different meal option, etc. will simply NOT eat the item. Have you ever truly tried to force a child to eat? I mean truly? You CAN'T force a person to eat. You can force them to put food in their mouth. You can move their jaws for them to simulate chewing, you can't force the food down their throat. Try it. Even if you succeed in getting some to go down, some children will gag or throw it up. Will every child do that? No. Will your child do that, only you know. But from personal experience of having tried ALL of the various options mentioned above, I know that my child has a strong will that would prevent me from being able to force him to eat. He WILL NOT knowingly eat vegetables or fruit. So what's the alternative? I do not allow my child to eat junk food in lieu of veggies/fruits. I simply feed him the items I know that he will eat without the tears and misery and starvation that would ensure if I tried to force the other items. He always has a lean meat (no sauces) and a lot of whole grains (he loves those). He eats brown rice, quinoa, cous cous, whole wheat pasta or noodles, whole wheat bread, etc. If I can slip in a veggie somewhere, I'll try. But that's very rare that I can sneak one past him. I have gotten him to eat a few sweet potato french fries (he thinks they're regular fries, with seasoning), but it depends on the day if he will eat them as he says they taste funny. The real issue for me is making sure he's healthy, not making sure I can force him to eat what I want him to eat. Ensure is a full nutritional supplement. Cancer patients undergoing chemo use it to keep weight and nutrition met. Why fight about food when there are safe alternatives that meet nutritional needs? Again, it's very kid dependent. If you have a child who is capable of being coaxed or prodded into eating more, definitely try that. If you don't, don't drive yourself crazy listening to the rest of the world try to make you feel bad for not beating or forcing or starving your child into eating what you know they are simply NOT going to eat.

April - posted on 12/01/2010

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the best advise my very first pediatrician gave me when we had our very first child was not fix my child something different from the rest of the family.So I would fix his plate and when he said he was not going to eat. I would wrap ans set his plate up and the next time he said he was hungry I gave him back the same plate until he ate it and he now will eat anything except keylime anything and almonds. Now my 2nd child this did not work with so I have to become more creative. I puree spinich and zucinni in to my homemade spaghetti sauce.. We also have a rule that you can not just say you don't like something,you have to at least take a decent size bite. I also started putting sugar in my greenbeans and made them sweet and then slowly backed off of that. Will she eat cereal b/c sometimes my youngest will eat several bowls of cereal a day which is ok if it not pure sugar he loves Honeynut Cheeroies. Gives him the fiber he needs and just making sure they stay hydrated,hydrated,hydrated!Most kids do not drink enough fluid really push fluid and maybe avoid dairy for a while b/c they can also stop you up so to speak and chocolate can also constipate. It is not the end of the world if you do end up using a laxative, both of my boys at various times have had to do so. One of my boys is currently 5 and one is 13. I wish you luck every child will be so different my 13 yr old will eat anything that does not eat him firs,t my 5 yr old is a the challenge.

Lori - posted on 11/25/2010

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Check out the show called JUST ONE BITE she gives some great ideas-my teens love veggies so its never been an issue for us-but one thing I was told early one is to hide it small enough they dont enough notice or big enough they can be taken out-kids love to dip so try doing a cheese or sauce dip for your child-is it the texture of the fruits and veggies - if so and you are serving them cooked try serving raw and vice versa-that way you can figure out if its the texture or the taste of the fruits and veggies she doesnt care for-another thing are you eating them-if you arent setting the example it can lead to your child not being willing to try things either. Take her shopping with you and let her help with meal prep-kids that get to participate tend to eat more of the foods since they were active in the meal prep.

Jeanet - posted on 11/25/2010

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Give her vitamin pills to make sure she gets enough vitamins.

Most cereal have wholegrain in them which helps with constipation. Try to find foods that have a laxative effect that she will eat to help with the constipation you could also try wholegrain rice and pasta.

You can put pureed veg in pasta sauces without her noticing.

Make a face out of veg on a pizza.

Start with one veg. and just put a few on her plate every day for weeks and she might get use to them being there and be more likely to eat them eventually. Don't make a big issue of it then it become a battle of wills and let face it at that age they are very willfull. Maybe take her shopping and ask her to pick something from the food and veg section that she would like to try.

Try fruit smoothies you can always use pinapple juice to mix with.

Maybe make a carrot cake.

Take it slow and don't make a big deal of it and hopefully she will slowly get use to eating a few fruits and veg.

Hope some of this might help. Good luck

Taj - posted on 12/01/2010

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I have the same problem with my almost 10 year old son. I have tried everything, but he hasn't knowingly had a vegetable or fruit since he was about 4. My almost 8 year old son eats everything and LOVES veggies and fruits. Our pediatrician says forcing food on kids can create eating issues and is not a good practice, so I don't do that. I try to sneak in veggies when I can, but he can always tell (even the deceptively delicious recipes don't work for him). I have finally accepted that this is probably not going to change and I simply buy cases of Ensure and keep them in stock. I make sure that he drinks at least 2-3 a day so I know his nutritional needs are being met. It's not a perfect solution and it's expensive, but it's worth it to know that he's getting his basic nutritional needs met even when he doesn't eat fruits or veggies.

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[deleted account]

hello..when I went through this stage with my son, I made him "supershakes" *giggle*. He liked the title and would drink it with gusto - even though all he would eat was pasta at the time. My supershakes were made up of things like bananas, berries,dates and lettuce with some nutmilk thrown into it. (make your own in a blender with some water, its cheaper). If you are feeding your child any animal product it is going to naturally make them constipated and especially if you are of latino, asian or african american heritage because of the low tolerance for casein in the milk. I also used to hide veggies in pancakes by mashing the veggies up first (potatoes were a favourite - very, very finely in the food processor) before adding them to the pancake/pikelet mixture. I would make tomato pasta sauce and do the same thing (if she eats pasta?). I would make choc muffins with squash/pumpkin, carrot and raisins/sultanas, berries. I would juice a lettuce and add mix it in with pineapple juice. (you can't taste the lettuce then!). I would make cheesy muffins that contain broccoli (finely mashed of course!)
hope that is a start...

Amanda - posted on 12/07/2010

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my step son wont eat any fruit he only eats vedgies if i tell him there fresh he still isnt that found of them though so what we do is "no thank you " helpings about 1 1/2 tablespoons full enough to taste it but not a whole lot and you get nothing more untill you eat that and you dont get excused untill your plate is clean "happy platers" with fruit i try and leave fruit on the counter or table already washed and cut if need be and sometimes if its not there fav fruit i put either carmel or coolwhip out out for diping and the fruit always flys you might also try bribing her with if you eat this ill give you pineapple or something else she likes hope this helps

Nancy - posted on 12/07/2010

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Try making her fruit smoothies! I buy frozen fruit or use fresh, plain unsweetened yogurt, or fruit juice and maybe a small amount of sugar if the fruit is too tart.

Kim - posted on 12/05/2010

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My Daughter has been getting constipated since she was 1 yr old. I finally asked if I could give her Miralax when she was like 3-4 and he said ok. I was soo upset because she would be crying it hurt her so badly. Miralax is great, I'd try it. Still try veggies and fruits but my 3 kids really don't eat them either. I try and try. My son used to eat everything until he hit 3 yrs old. Even the fruits they 'love' they get sick of and will only eat once and awhile. My son used to do better if he had pear juice, my daughter had to have prune juice, but soon got sick of it. Good luck.

[deleted account]

I have one who loves veggies and will eat anything including spinach and Brussels sprouts my younger daughter who hates all veggies I have to sneak things in like baby food sweet potatoes in the sloppy joes or tacos I puree some corn and broccoli and mix it in her mac n cheese. There is a whole cook book made by Jerry Seinfelds wife (I can't remember her 1st name or the name of the book) about how to mix pureed fruits & veggies into meals Try V-8 splash also my 4yr old loves the strawberry banana one she will drink the whole bottle of it in about 3 -4 days I only give it to her with dinner but I do give her a 2nd glass is she asks for it.



As for the constipation I am a pro at that one I have that problem with my Veggie eater we tried Miralax and all the other fiber and laxative medicines for it. Here is what works for her constipation first try the fiber one cereal either the original (cinnamon) or honey cluster (both have 50%+ of the days fiber) then buy the Double the fiber wheat bread from Nature's Own (that's the company) U can find it in ANY grocery store when she has toast or bread make sure to give her that u can't tell the difference and it has 20% of the daily fiber. So right there between breakfast and lunch my 9 year old has 70% of her daily fiber and for a snack either a fruit (she likes fruit) or a fiber one snack bar. Plus make sure u limit WHITE rice and pasta intake to no more than 2x a week (brown rice or wheat pasta she can have more often). Limit milk and cheese to no more than 2x a day (that is the hardest for my daughter). Yogurt is ok to have everyday and doesn't count toward 2 dairy servings a day because of the natural (good) bacteria in it. Though I give my daughter the Activia (not the one with fiber she says it tastes nasty) while this diet does take a few days to "work" it makes a world of difference for my daughter she has had problems with constipation since she was 4 months old.



Any other questions about anything feel free to message me I am always willing to help.



P.S. I wrote this without reading anyone else's posts so u may have gotten some of this info already

Karen - posted on 12/02/2010

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This is all so foreign to me, my kids love vegetables...always have! Right now their favorite is brussel sprouts.

Karen - posted on 12/02/2010

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For constipation, there is a tea called Kleri tea that really helps my daughter. As far as the missed nutrition, have you tried anything like juice plus?

Karen - posted on 12/02/2010

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I understand, in theory, the "expert" opinion that forcing kids to eat what they don't want to will cause food issues. Do people actually allow their kids to not eat what is served? What happens when they are hungry later? Do you allow them to load up on their preferred items figuring something is better than nothing?



I'm also trying to remember what would have happened had I refused what was served growing up. The reason I can't remember is it would not have happened. The refused food would still be sitting on my plate, waiting for me to eat it. And, guess what, the only food issue that I have is that I like it too much! ;-) Call me old school, but being made to eat what I didn't want didn't scar me, cause food issues, or anything else but was simply a result of me being the kid and my parents being the parent and what they said went, regardless of my opinon. But, it's a situation that was set up long before I was 10 or 12 but as soon as I could remember. I don't think that making kids eat something like a vegetable will scar them, either. Part of the reason I say that is I have encountered many kids who, if you ask their parents, will not eat certain things, but if you put them with someone (like my folks or my family) will eat it because that is what is being served at the time. I have yet to encounter any ill effects.

[deleted account]

My six yr old daughter is the same way and OMG as a parent I worry about the future of her health. One thing I have learned is that vit. & mineral supplements are not as affective as once believed. It has to be whole food nutition and not isolated vitamin and mineral supplements. I do what I can to get her to eat as many servings of fruit and veggies as possible which is way too few - approx 2-3 servings per week. They should be getting more like 5 per day! - hence the worry. I have found that whole food fruit and veggie supplements help bridge the gap and have given our family some peace of mind that we are getting the nutrients that we need on a daily basis. If you go with a whole food supplement just remember that they are not a replacement for fruit and veggies just something to help bridge the gap. One thing I try to always remember and repeat to myself is this to shall pass :) Best of luck!

Karen - posted on 12/01/2010

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First of all, huge caveat - none of my views apply if you are dealing with a child with sensory issues. If that is not the case:

When we were little velveeta cheese was the trick on most veggies except lima beans - none of my brothers and sisters like them, either. First thing, it is not a battle just a house rule, you eat what is served and you have to at least try something. When it becomes a battle it becomes about the child and they get attention. State the rule, follow through, end of story. You are being tested so if a fight, crying, etc. might work it will be tried. Secondly, no short order cook stuff (for anyone including Mom and Dad) - meals are meals and everyone eats it. Are Mom and Dad setting the example? I think it's really unfair to expect a child to do something / eat something that Mom and Dad will not. Third - make sure that everyone in your family including Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, favorite neighbors, etc. are on board with it. I'll never forget one niece who sat at Easter Dinner for at least an hour hoping that one of her Aunts and Uncles would help her get away with not eating green vegetables. It took her awhile to learn that we all stuck together. Make sure, too, that both Mom and Dad are on board and are not undermining each other. Also, watch the snacks. In my opinion kids snack too much (pushed by the schools, we survived without eating during the school day except at lunch). If kids are hungry at meal times they are more likely to eat what is served. Also, make sure you are cooking the veggies correctly - my sister swears that Brussel Sprouts taste really good if they are very young and not over-cooked. Too often veggies are overcooked. Try different veggies - squash with brown sugar and butter, parsnips (taste like mild, sweet carrots) roasted along with carrots and potatoes (roast with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper they end up tasting very sweet), maybe raw, maybe sweet potato fries. Try roasting them or serving them raw - I prefer raw broccoli to cooked or steamed broccoli any day. My 7 y.o. went through a huge carrot juice phase. Lastly, try growing them yourself. I am convinced that the biggest reason that my 7 y.o. loves peas is she began picking them off of the vine at a year old. Also, a little reward in the form of dessert never hurt anyone. Bottom line is, though, that eating what is good and balanced is not a negotiable house rule - you are the boss and what you say goes.

Basia - posted on 12/01/2010

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Check out the cook book called Delightfully Deceptive by Jessica Seinfield... you may find a surprising way to get the fruits and veggies past your daughter and she will never know.

Lisa - posted on 12/01/2010

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Ketchup! My son had to dip his veggies in ketchup for awhile. His ped said go for it, as long as he's eating it. Although, he did put it on lasagna one time. But he'll eat almost anything as long as he has his "dippins"

Heather - posted on 12/01/2010

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It didn't matter how much water, whole grains or fruit my son ate. He still had severe constipation. Our naturopath said that Miralax is very gentle and safe. It is sold over the counter. What a relief it has been.
Some kids have very sensitive taste buds. It is a medical fact. Don't fight about it every night, it can lead to eating disorders in the future. Just continue to offer different foods, but don't threaten or force.
Hope this helps. :)

Cathy - posted on 11/30/2010

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Pasta sauce! My nieces were just the same ,and what my sister couldnt get in a tomato sauce for pasta.You can put almost anything in it and blend it, they will never know!
Also fruit dipped in chocolate!
The constipation might be a different thing, my (just turned)5 yr old has it, and we are seeing the paediatric constinence nurse for it; he already eats very healthily on the fruit and veg front, but we swapped his bread to wholemeal and he is much better.You can get the half and half bread that looks white if it is a problem and don't forget water, they need plenty; I put my sons in a plastic bottle so I can monitor what he drinks. But keep going, it can take 23 tries to get a child to eat new foods I read once!
ps my nieces always were picky, but the eldest is now studying Law at university- they will be fine even though we worry!

Gina - posted on 11/30/2010

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I have a picky eater too, except fruit is just about all she wants to eat, plus grains,breads and pasta. I have a hard time getting her to eat vegetables or meat. I've found she eats meat better if it's the only thing on her plate, but that doesn't work as well with vegetables. Have you ever heard of the sneaky chef? I've never tried the stuff, but I've wanted too. She has these purees that can be added to anything, like a purple puree that she adds to brownies and a red puree that she adds to spaghetti. You should look into it. My advice is, don't let it become such a battle. Always put it on her plate, but don't put so much pressure to eat it because it can cause her to have eating difficulties in the future.

Tammy - posted on 11/26/2010

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I agree with Lori, my youngest is more likely to eat a raw veggie than a cooked one! She eats plenty of fruit, but it's more of a struggle with veggies. Only corn on the cob, and brocolli(no cheese)!

Robyn And Donny - posted on 11/25/2010

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First don't let her win by allowing the yelling match. Try doing cheese on green beans or califlower. Make snacks with the veggies in a cool way. Look online you can find some cool ways to serve veggies to kids. Also for the dinner deal let her know it doesn't matter if she doesn't WANT it she just has to eat it if not then it would make an amazing breakfast. Stick to your guns and you will conquer the no's. Don't back down but don't yell either just ignore the scream and state matter of factly. Find a different doc as well. Salads are great for getting the system moving. Make them interesting. Make the snacks in the house only fruit and veggies as well.

Joy - posted on 11/24/2010

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Hi,try asking her to help prepair the food but tell her if she helps she has to eat what she makes ,Another thing to do is purray vegie's then add some kind of spread to make a vegie spread.And veggie patties with fish or chicken mashed toghether so they think its meat.The only other way is hard disapline taking toys away and time out but be consistant thats the key.hope it gets better.

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