ok i have a 7 year old who literally refuses to eat what i cook--help?!!

Nadalye - posted on 09/24/2009 ( 45 moms have responded )

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She will not eat what i cook if it isnt like JUNK FOOD---ive tried everything from not adding seasonings to adding it---what more can i do or what am i doing wrong? PLEASE HELP

45 Comments

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Renee - posted on 10/01/2009

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i have a four year old that does that at times. i find that when i am deciding what to cook i let her help choose, like which veggie to pick or do u ant chicken or steak? it makes her feel involved, sometimes i even let her "help" cook, like putting veggies in pot etc. just a suggestion. sorry its all in lower case but im typing with one hand and baby in other!

Jessica - posted on 10/01/2009

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My son was a picky eater too, so I got him invovled with the shopping for food and had him help me prepare the meal, that really worked. Sometime getting them involved will make them think differently. But of course your child will not starve. Try also giving her small portions of each thing, so it doesn't look overwhelming to her, them if she wants more she will ask.

Amanda - posted on 10/01/2009

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Try this... its the most awesome cookbook EVER!!
deceptively delicious by jessica seinfeld
your 7 year old will eat well and not even know it! :)

Jennifer - posted on 09/29/2009

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I was having trouble with that with my children who are 9 and 10, so i told them that they are responsible for dinner each one night a week and we will eat what they put on the table. but in return they had to eat what i put on the table when it was my turn. So far that has worked at my house.

Beth - posted on 09/29/2009

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My 7 year old loves to pick a meal for dinner and sooo wants to help. So we have done both to varying degrees and it sure helps smooth dinner time - and I wouldn't say my DD is picky - but we still have food battles.



Friends of ours had two picky eaters and was making three seperate meals until we told her she was nuts and that they would eat or not but to stop driving herself crazy trying to keep up with what both her kids and her picky husband would eat. She ended up making one meal and if no one liked it they didn't get to eat - that included DH.



FYI - it takes something like a minimum of 10 times trying a food before you get used to the new food.

Shannon - posted on 09/29/2009

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If she doesn't have any other option than what you cook then she will eat it...eventually...don't worry she won't starve herself...when she is hungry she will eat but it may take awhile so don't sweat it...my kids didn't want to eat what was given to them for a while either because my mother-in-law would always make them something different than everyone else...but now they eat what is given to them so just don't sweat it and don't give any other options other than "eat it or don't".

Julie - posted on 09/29/2009

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My 6 year old is picky as well. He has been since he started eating solid food. At first I gave in but finally I got as stubborn as him. Before he can be done with dinner he has to have at least 1 bite of everything on his plate. There are some things we do differently for him. We leave off sour cream, mayo, butter and whip cream which he has never liked. But other than that he eats what's on his plate. When he is hungry enough he will eat what is served. I wish my mom would have done what I am doing for me. then maybe I wouldn't have the weight problem I have now. Yes fast food tastes good and if I had a choice I would do that too every night. but the best you can do is to serve him your good home cooking.
Also, that idea of having the kids help with the cooking is a big hit in our house and the kids will at least try what they have cooked. We have special aprons for them and they are always running back to put them on so that they can join in with cooking the meal. This is also great because it teaches them safety and how to cook so that when they grow up they don't hit the fast food. their home cooking is so much better.

Flecia - posted on 09/29/2009

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well i have 4kids ages13 to 3 just let her know that's all she's going to get i did my kid's like and hey it worked

[deleted account]

I too agree with Jodi...don't give her any other options but to eat what you make. The one thing we as mothers do is make the mistake of letting a child run you. We must stand firm no matter how they react...a child will only try to get away with things if you allow it. Now, as for the step-mom...that'sa tough one...I can only say this...she's going to take the easy way out honestly. Which in the end, its your problem. Sit both of them down, have a "mommy meeting", and explain to your daughter that she is to eat what is made...that her step mom is not to give her anything different. And she'll suffer the consequences if you find out that she's making a fuss. Working as a team will get you all through this. Right now, your daughter's got the upper hand. It needs to be the other way around. Consistancy is Key.

Melissa - posted on 09/29/2009

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I had a similar situation with my children. What worked for us was a "special" shopping trip where I let them choose a kids cookbook. Once back home I had them help make the meals...you'd be surprised what kids will eat if they've made it themselves!!! Good luck Nadalye :)

Jennifer - posted on 09/28/2009

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Maybe if you give your child some small things to do in helping with the cooking, maybe they will eat it because they helped cook it? Or if they eat a part of everything on the plate, they get to pick out the movie on movie night or something that might get the child's attention? Start a sticker reward system, if they try everything on their plate, they get a sticker. If they clean their plate they get 3 stickers. When they get a large number of stickers they get some thing small like ice cream sundae night. They get to make their own sundae? Once they see the other children are getting more stickers then they have and the other children are getting the surprise more often and sooner then they are, maybe they will try more foods and like more foods?

Adele - posted on 09/28/2009

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Pack away everything, and put her plate of food on the kitchen table - if she is hungry you tell her that her food is on the table - she will eat eventually! - I always say a child will eat when they are hungry.

Brenda - posted on 09/28/2009

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Have your 7 yrs old go to the store and pick out food to make dinner. And have her make it! With your help of course. Kids who are involved with more likely eat what they make. Give her an easy recipe that has pasta, veggies and /or chicken-something really easy to do. My son loves to make turkey burgers! He thinks it fun to mush all the ground turkey meat with the seasonings and shape into patties. Now he gets his burger but it's a healthier version! Good luck.

Shannon - posted on 09/27/2009

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As Jodi stated-----
Just DON'T make it a battle. MAKE IT A RULE. This is the rule, no argument. DON'T argue with them, if they don't want to eat it, then just agree they can go to bed hungry now. Don't force them to eat it by battling with them. It gets nowhere and everyone involved just ends up upset and distressed. I have always found that if my kids don't want to eat, (1) they get no treat and (2) they can go hungry. Simple. If they yell, scream, throw tantrums about that, they are told this isn't acceptable behaviour and go straight to bed.


We have this rule in our house. My 7 and 5 yrs old will try to tell me they don't like what is being served and the moment they start with the crying and pouting I say "this is a nice family dinner. If you are going to act this way then go to bed now"and I point their bodies toward their room.
What worked for my oldest when she was 5 yrs old (and I was starting to give in with the food fight)(I was a single mom living with my parents). My father played a game with her. He would say " I bet you can't beat me eating your pasta (changed every bite)" It really worked. They started laughing and sometimes he wouldn't let her win and sometimes it was a tie. My daughter was more focused on winning then complaining.
My husband and I even used that game with my now 7 yrs old when she was 4-5 yrs. It really worked.

Good Luck. Remember kids will throw the temper tantrum until you give in. They will remember at what point you give in. and repeat and repeat the behavior. You have to be the strong one. If your kid is a healthly kid then they can go without food. They WILL NOT starve themselves forever. It just feels like forever in our mind. Also a medical note (I am a nurse) a person/kid and go days without eating, just need hydration (water) only. They need water only. And don't give in with fruit drinks and gatorade. If they are going to be hard heading then give WATER only.

Hope this helps all the ones struggling

[deleted account]

Do not give in!!! When she is hungry she will eat it. Talk to her father about the step-mom issue, everyone has to work together not against one another. My youngest has to eat half of his plate to be allowed to leave the table and to be allowed some sweets during the week which he buys from his allowance. It is a hard road but good luck to you!!!

Christie - posted on 09/27/2009

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I explain to my girls that the reason I want them to eat certain things is because I care about them and want them to be health. Help her make the connection between good food and health. Maybe explain what junk food does to your body...a little health lesson:) My 8 yr old got it last yr I think and will turn down sweets or seconds at parties because she either full or already had enough sweets earlier. This was a girl up until age 5 or 6 would eat herself sick if sweets were around. It wasn't until I explained her responsibility to take care of her body and how food works that the poor choices slowly came to a halt. With kids it's all about control and if your able to educate her then it won't matter what the step mom offers.

Jodi - posted on 09/26/2009

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Andrea, if your son is still doing this at 7, he won't grow out of it if you don't put your foot down. Forget the McDonalds stuff - don't take him at all unless he eats some healthy home cooked meals. Really, if you go to McDonalds and make him try something different each time, you're not exactly making him eat his veggies are you?



You just have to apply some tough love. He is 7. He will not starve. It will be absolute hell initially, but you have to stop feeling guilty about it. That's the problem, we do feel bad sending our kids to bed hungry, but they WILL NOT STARVE THEMSELVES. If they won't eat for 24 hours, that's their choice, and especially at age 7!! By giving in because they go without for 24 hours, you have just shown them that they are winning the battle. It will not kill them. I know it sounds cruel, and yes, you will feel awful. You'll probably even have a good cry and curse yourself for it. Your kids will "hate" you, and they will tell you this. But in the short term pain for long term gain. Your children will not thank you when they get to 20 and have a major weight problem, and on the way to diabetes or heart problems. Many of the weight problems that exist today begin in early childhood eating habits.



Just don't make it a battle. Make it a rule. This is the rule, no argument. Don't argue with them, if they don't want to eat it, then just agree they can go to bed hungry now. Don't force them to eat it by battling with them. It gets nowhere and everyone involved just ends up upset and distressed. I have always found that if my kids don't want to eat, (1) they get no treat and (2) they can go hungry. Simple. If they yell, scream, throw tantrums about that, they are told this isn't acceptable behaviour and go straight to bed.

Nadalye - posted on 09/26/2009

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Lord I thought I had it hard with my daughter but after reading what you wrote Andrea I have it easy. My daughter just will not eat veggies for me and some meats. As far as fruits she eats most of them but not all. I just dont want a battle when it comes to eating. Alot of her problem is that whatever her daddy eats or wont eat thats how she is (thank god she only goes to her dads every other weekend). When she was a baby she ate everything except for a few things but I never had a problem until she was introduced to chicken nuggets ugh

Andrea - posted on 09/26/2009

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Quoting Andrea:

LOL Sounds QUITE familiar to me, I actually have a 7yr old who is the SAME EXACT WAY. I can list all the things he eats on ONE HAND..
1. French Fries
2. Pizza (but not just ANY pizza, it has2B this 1specific "no name" type brand from WalMart)
3. Yogurt
4. Chicken noodle soup (the kind WITHOUT the chunks of chicken - NOODLES ONLY)
5. Chips (Plain "Lays" or "Dorito's" ONLY)

'n thats prettymuch it. I've tried EVERYTHING -- from NOT giving him food, with the hopes that he'll get hungry enough to eat what I want him to.. but NOPE - he went almost a FULL 24 hours w/out eating! So I finally let him eat one of his 5"regulars"... I tried the "I'm not taking u to the PlayGround OR McDonalds PlayPlace unless u try something new each time u wanna go"

Andrea - posted on 09/26/2009

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LOL Sounds QUITE familiar to me, I actually have a 7yr old who is the SAME EXACT WAY. I can list all the things he eats on ONE HAND..

1. French Fries

2. Pizza (but not just ANY pizza, it has2B this 1specific "no name" type brand from WalMart)

3. Yogurt

4. Chicken noodle soup (the kind WITHOUT the chunks of chicken - NOODLES ONLY)

5. Chips (Plain "Lays" or "Dorito's" ONLY)



'n thats prettymuch it. I've tried EVERYTHING -- from NOT giving him food, with the hopes that he'll get hungry enough to eat what I want him to.. but NOPE - he went almost a FULL 24 hours w/out eating! So I finally let him eat one of his 5"regulars"... I tried the "I'm not taking u to the PlayGround OR McDonalds PlayPlace unless u try something new each time u wanna go"

Nadalye - posted on 09/26/2009

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but Brittiny you cant let him have his way. If you continue to do that then it will be harder on you later. My daughter only does it when I'm at home. She doesnt give her step dad hardly any problems at all. I'm not saying that she doesnt give him any problems just not as much. It's ME that she gives the problems to. She tries to get her way with everything when it comes to me and I'm having to show her that she can't always have her way.

Brittiny - posted on 09/26/2009

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I am going through the same thing with my 7year son. It has been like this since he could talk and tell me he didnt want the stuff I had made. I cook my meals and i just make what he likes on the side. Im not gonna send him to bed hungry. If he doesnt like what im making he makes toast or i make him some macaroni, basically what he likes. This year he just started eating meat, so things are changing with him.

Nadalye - posted on 09/26/2009

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I want to thank all of you that have giving me VERY encouraging suggestions. I will start trying AGAIN on Monday night since she is at her dads this weekend. To those of you who are just starting to try this GOOD LUCK to you. It isn't easy at all but I'm not giving up. She has got to see that what I am doing is for her own good and health and that I'm not doing this to be mean. You all have been very helpful and I really do appreaciate this. I wish that I had all this advice a couple of years ago when my two oldest ones did this to me but with them I gave in----BIG MISTAKE!!!!!!!! My boys now see that I was trying to get them to eat healthy because it was good for them and so now they do eat alot healthier than they did before. You are all such wonderful mothers and parents and friends thank you again.

Jodi - posted on 09/26/2009

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Quoting Karen:

I think my son is the pickiest eater I have ever seen ... I can sum it up for you:

Chicken Nuggets
Hot Dogs
Ramen Noodles
Rice
peanut butter sandwich

Yes, that is about it! Of course he will eat a kids meal or t-bell ... but that is about it! My son will choose not to eat anything if I do not make what he will eat. He will not touch spaghetti sauce or any home cooking I make. So, I end up making him his own dinner ... it has become 2nd nature to me. It sucks real bad & I am so sick of it. I thought it was so mean if I sent him to bed hungry ... but now that I see lots of people give their kiddos options (eat what I cook or go hungry) I must start putting my foot down! I make weekly meal plans & always tell myself to only make enough for us because he won't eat it. But not anymore ... he is gonna hate me in a few days when he see's I am not budging!



LOL Karen :)  Good luck.  He will hate you for a while, it won't be easy starting this all of a sudden. You could be in for some tough nights because he has had it they way he likes it for so long.  But you will thank yourself for it later in life.  I know someone whose children are grown up (youngest is 16), and she still makes different meals for all of them because one won't eat this, and another won't eat that, and so on, and I think she's mad!  But she did this from the time they were little, and created a culture in her house that you don't have to eat whatever she cooks, because she will provide what you want. 

Shana - posted on 09/26/2009

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I have always told my kids" I am not running a restaurant". Be strong and don't give in. I know it makes you feel bad if they don't eat, but trust me, a couple nights of this and she will eat what you make. I try to make a 3 course meal and if they only like one item of the three I let them do that. But I NEVER make them something special. I have also started using a food processor to put veggies in that they wont eat! They will never know!!! Hahaha I process califlower and broccoli and mix in in the spagetti sauce! Mix Califlower in with mash potatoes! They will never know!!

Karen - posted on 09/26/2009

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I think my son is the pickiest eater I have ever seen ... I can sum it up for you:

Chicken Nuggets
Hot Dogs
Ramen Noodles
Rice
peanut butter sandwich

Yes, that is about it! Of course he will eat a kids meal or t-bell ... but that is about it! My son will choose not to eat anything if I do not make what he will eat. He will not touch spaghetti sauce or any home cooking I make. So, I end up making him his own dinner ... it has become 2nd nature to me. It sucks real bad & I am so sick of it. I thought it was so mean if I sent him to bed hungry ... but now that I see lots of people give their kiddos options (eat what I cook or go hungry) I must start putting my foot down! I make weekly meal plans & always tell myself to only make enough for us because he won't eat it. But not anymore ... he is gonna hate me in a few days when he see's I am not budging!

Lisa - posted on 09/26/2009

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Jodi's got the right idea.. if you get the point across that what you give them is all they get, they'll be more interested in eating what you're giving them. I've used this philosophy with my daughter since she was a toddler, and at 5 I have very few battles over what she will and will not eat. She still opts to go to bed without dinner sometimes, but she's not eating candy while we're eating chicken and rice.

Paula - posted on 09/26/2009

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Gday, Im in the same boat darl, my 6yr old sons diet consist of nuggets chips Mcdonals sausages & thats about it! He wont try anything hed prefer to go without ANY food if it means eating a HOME cooked meal! Its soooooooooooo frustrating,



If you somehow find a solution plase let me know it would be greatly appreciated



Good luck with it

Deanna - posted on 09/25/2009

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Had that problem with my step son he is 8 yrs old. He said he did not like certain things like tuna well I make a lot of tuna helpers so I just stopped telling him what was in the pasta he would eat it with no problem. I always tell my kids when you are in my house you eat what the family eats. Like someone already commented on kids will not starve they will eat when they are hungry.

Nikki - posted on 09/25/2009

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I know it sounds cold. I had a problem like that for a while. I just said okay, get down from the table and you get nothing else until breakfast. the key is you have to stick to it. Our children are not going to starve to death by missing a meal or two and eventually they will realize that they cannot have everything the way they want it. Your child will get hungry and eventually start eating. If you do get concerned, cook something she will eat and slip vitamins in it. But dont give in. Children will test us every chance they get.

Mindy - posted on 09/25/2009

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My 5 year old didn't like to eat a lot of things---UNTIL he started helping me cook. He thought this was real cool and loved the thought of being a big boy and eating whatever it was he whipped up. Maybe letting her be the chef for a night (you pick the ingredients and help a little of course) might help you out---it did me!

Jodi - posted on 09/24/2009

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Quoting Nadalye:

 She did however go to bed hungry tonight. My husband and I stood our ground on this matter bigger than anything tonight.


As I suggested above, it sounds like you are having a battle with her over it every night.  See if stopping the battle works. 

Jodi - posted on 09/24/2009

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Quoting Nadalye:
In away Jodi it's like she is trying to see what buttons she can push where and with who to see what she can get away with. Maybe I am looking at it wrong but I don't think that I am. The bad part is she will eat ALOT of the things that I am fixing at her dads but not here. So there again I do BELIEVE that she is trying to see what she can and can not get away with and with who and where.?.?



You could be absolutely right.  My stepson used to pull this at our place each time he was here, until he realised he could eat or go hungry.  You need to show that it doesn't bother you at all.  Don't try to coax her or push her.  Just make it a "fine, then, just go hungry" and walk away from the situation.  If she can see that you are bothered by it, she will keep doing it.  See if that works (it will take some time).



 



With the school lunch thing, I am not certain how it works where you live.  Here, we supply our kids lunches and they only have a canteen lunch when we order it and pay for it for them.  Is there an option where she can't have a school lunch, but only what you pack for her?

Dorothy - posted on 09/24/2009

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try putting out a plate of raw veggies about 30 min before dinner...

she just might be hungry enough waiting for dinner that she would try them.....I cut everything into strips so they are easy to grab

Nadalye - posted on 09/24/2009

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See we have that problem with some of the ingredients ie. onions so i started using onion powder instead until she no longer realized that she was actually eating onions but for everything else i have no clue. I've cooked things that have veggies in them and no luck and I've cooked things with no veggies and sill no luck. My husband and I both have made up our minds that she either eats what I cook or go to bed hungry. It's no sense in making "two" meals when what I'm cooking is fine but how do you get them to understand that? She was never this picky until she started noticing that her dad doesnt eat certain things and now I have the problem of getting her to eat or to believe that it is good for her. She is not in any kind of sports so I'm really trying to get her to realize that she must eat healthy to stay well. I have talked to the doctors and everything and everything they have told me to try has not worked so now I am just as puzzled as before. She did however go to bed hungry tonight. My husband and I stood our ground on this matter bigger than anything tonight. Now if I can get her dad and step mom on board with the idea we might just make a break through

Patricia - posted on 09/24/2009

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You dont want to give in to her. I had a problem with my oldest when he was young. He was really picky and didnt like much. I would add what he didnt like to stuff he did so that he would eat food that was good for him and he usually did not notice. My eight year old tries that on me now sometimes I tell her that is what we are eating so you will have to eat it or make yourself something else to eat. She usually will just say ok fine. But once she made herself a sandwich. I did not help. I said no I am cooking one super tonight I am not making two.

Nadalye - posted on 09/24/2009

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Well I had a parent teacher conference today and did ask if she was eating the junk food stuff ONLY and she said that she was unsure but that she would start to pay attention to that at lunch and see what is going on. The dad and I get along at times we do try to more often because of our daughter. I don't keep any kind of junk food in the house for "free taking". I do minimize the amount of junk food in the house. As far as the step mom thing my husband and I both have told my daughter that we have our rules and her dad and step mom have theirs. She is aware (or so I thought) what is expected of her in our house. But it is like a constant battle with her. In away Jodi it's like she is trying to see what buttons she can push where and with who to see what she can get away with. Maybe I am looking at it wrong but I don't think that I am. The bad part is she will eat ALOT of the things that I am fixing at her dads but not here. So there again I do BELIEVE that she is trying to see what she can and can not get away with and with who and where.?.?

Jodi - posted on 09/24/2009

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Nadalye, with regard to the step-mother situation, you probably need to explain to your daughter the difference between their house rules and yours. Make it very clear to her what your house rules are, and don't give in on it. Yes, you are the bad guy, but you are also the mother, and one day, your kids WILL appreciate what you do for them. How often is she with step mum? Unfortunately, you can't actually control what happens in the other home, you can only control what happens in yours. So you need to focus on that, although perhaps a chat to dad would be a good idea (if you get along).



I think you also need to monitor what she is getting through the day and make sure she is not filling up on junk (if you have not been checking up on this before now :)).



In our house, we have always had a policy of special treat. I never expect the kids to eat all of their meal, but once I am satisfied that they have had enough of their dinner (variety of meat and veg, etc) then they get to have a special treat, which could be from an ice cream, a chocolate bar, generally something they really like. I don't throw out the rest of the dinner, I keep it aside, and if someone claims they are still hungry, they are offered their dinner again. They have 2 choices. They can eat it, or go to bed still hungry. These days, they generally choose to eat it rather than go hungry.

Nadalye - posted on 09/24/2009

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That is basiclly what happened tonight---she cried and went to bed with an empty tummy how long did it take before things got better for you

Dorothy - posted on 09/24/2009

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my youngest likes to eat pasta (every meal)...he has gotten much better NOW...

but in the beginning it was a give and take....if he ate 5 bites of what ever mommy cooked then he could have a bowel of pasta. it was a hard road...some nights we both cried and he went to bed with an empty tummy. :-(

Nadalye - posted on 09/24/2009

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I was giving in in the beginning but not anymore. Im tired of doing that. I want her to learn that what I cook is better for her than all that junk food but its like she wont listen and thinks that I am the bad guy. I know that I'm not but another problem I'm having with this is her step mom IS giving in and I've asked her NOT to---so what do I do

Jodi - posted on 09/24/2009

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Nadalye, so what are you giving her instead? Or are you just letting her go hungry? A kid that age won't starve themselves, so I suspect you are giving in and cooking something else for her? I could be wrong, but if that is what you are doing, DON'T!! Just let her go hungry until she learns that she is to eat what is put in front of her.

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