picky eaters!!

Keli - posted on 12/29/2008 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Help! I'm a SAHM with 3 kids, ages 6,3,&2. I try to plan lunch/dinner menus to try to make grocery shopping a little easier. Well, my husband works late twice a week. My dilemma is finding dinners for me and the kids. My 3 year old has become VERY picky within the last year. Everything I give her now she says she doesn't like, even though months ago she did like it.. And it's EVERYTHING! Like all veggies, fruits; the only thing she will eat is chicken nuggets, chicken noodles (Ramen), hot dogs, and hamburger helper. But if I'm not giving her chips, cheetos, or french fries with it, (which I don't give in to her) she won't eat anything with it. I know kids go through phases, my son would only eat hot dogs when he was a toddler for awhile, but the problem is she doesn't eat anything with her main food. Also I'm trying to think of meals that I can make just me and the kids when my husband works late. But when I make something, my 6yr old is usually the only one to eat a little b/c my 2yr old eats just enough to breathe and my 3yr complains about all of it! So I don't want to cook for an hour and no one eat but me!! Then 30 min later everyone is hungry! Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions! I've surfed the internet and am out of ideas!! Thank you!

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Kari - posted on 01/05/2009

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The standing rule in our family is that if the kids don't like something that I have prepared for them they have to eat as many bites of it as how old they are. Another rule that I implemented at an early age is that I am not a short order cook. Just remember that your kids will figure it out and eat at dinner time eventually. Just stick to your guns. If you start catering to the likes and dislikes of one child you will end up making different meals for the whole family. One suggestion that I have for when your husband is working late is to pull out your crock pot. That way you and the kids can eat when you are ready and your husband will have a hot meal when he gets home too.

Tolieth - posted on 12/31/2008

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Thanks ladies! I have the same issue. My child is a picky eater, but then again so am I. lol

Misty - posted on 12/31/2008

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Keli,

One weekend my neice asked to stay with us, I knew it would be a challenge because her mom (my sil) had a habit of taking her two kids to fast food places ALL the time...only one would get (say) McDonalds while the other got Taco Bell. They were never made to eat REAL food.

So when she came that weekend....she told me that she would just eat "Bread and water"....NOT!!

So I had her and my son help me make a soup and we named it after them....She ate more than ONE bowl.

Her mother was shocked.

Danielle was 3-4 at the time. So maybe this would work for you too. They can do all the easy stuff.

Stephanie - posted on 12/31/2008

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I got lucky with my 4 and 2 yr old they will eat anything, they are not picky at all. My 2 yr old doesn't like tuna but thats about it. My girls are really good about trying everything no matter what it is.

Katie - posted on 12/31/2008

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Oh yeah! My two year old went through a very picky time. I just put the food on his little table. I don't strap him into a chair, so he can excuse himself and get up. Sometimes he would throw a fit, but I would just calmly tell him that that is all he is getting. He might ignore the food for a while, but after 30 minutes or so, his little tummy would get hungry and he would go sit and eat what I had put on his table. I just won't fight with him about it. If he doesn't want to eat what I give him, that's fine - but I won't fix anything else... and I guarantee you he won't starve. :-)

Keli - posted on 12/31/2008

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You're right Lisa. Thanks for your post! Good idea about making them try everything and if they truly don't like it, having a default meal. Maybe I'm making it worse by stressing over it, but like you said I feel awful when I throw platefuls of food away! Anyway, also thank you and your husband for defending our country and we will put your family in our prayers for your days to go smoothly and your husband a safe return. Thanks again!

Lisa - posted on 12/30/2008

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You wouldn't go to a restaurant and order food you don't like, right? My husband is a US Marine currently deployed in Iraq and we have a 5 yr old, 3 yr old, and a 10 month old. I make out our menu for the next 2 weeks and one big shopping list. Like you, I try to make each meal well-rounded, fish at least once a week, etc, etc. but some nights are just good ol' soup and sandwiches or a frozen pizza because it is hard when you are the only adult and a lot of food was getting wasted. My children MUST try everything but I'm open-minded to making a PB&J or a hot dog if the meal just didn't appeal. I also make healthy snacks so I don't stress if the meals don't go well. My son and I had a battle over broccoli a few months ago and when I cooled down, I realized how stupid and unnecessary the incident had been. There is enough stress with their Dad being gone that eating broccoli was the least of our concerns.

If you look around, the children are the healthiest, happiest, most active people at the table. I try to keep that in mind so that meals are merely a pleasant part of the day but not a major issue that will lead to unhealthy food obsessions down the road.

Keli - posted on 12/30/2008

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Thank you Sheila for your post! I guess one of my concerns is that she won't eat any sides with the few meats she will eat. So it's not only that she is picky about what she will eat, it's like she no longer eats ANY fruits or veggies. So if our dinner (like tonight) is baked chicken, mac and cheese, and green beans she ate a couple bites of the chicken and that was all. I try to give them some healthy snacks, but she is picky with those also. Is this just a phase? My older child was picky but not like this!

Sheila - posted on 12/30/2008

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I have picky ones too. The baby, is slightly picky with the gerber foods he likes,My 2 year old will eat a fair amount, my 5 yr old is a little picky, but most of the times she will atleast try it first, but my 6 yr old and stepson who is almost 13 are the absolute worst. I stopped making 3 meals like I was and I will make the main dinner and a different meat selection for the younger kids. We have the very same saying Misty has of "you get what you get and don't throw a fit," I've come to a point where I will tell them that they will go to bed hungry if they choose not to eat what I have given them. Most times they will eat something off the plate that I've given them. I also just stop buying a bunch of different stuff at the grocery store- we just can't afford to do it anymore, so that helped push me into following through.

Keli - posted on 12/29/2008

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That's a great idea Stephanie! I don't know if Leah (my picky 3yr old) will take to it at first. I can see her complaining on the other nights, however, my 6 year old (who isnt that picky) will definitely enjoy that so maybe she will see how much he likes making the decision and she will take to it soon. I appreciate it and will definately try it! thank you!

Stephanie - posted on 12/29/2008

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each of their favorite meals a different night during the week, not all on one night lol .

Stephanie - posted on 12/29/2008

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oh i would come back with how do you know you don't like it you don't even know what we are having? Maybe one night a week you could make each of their favorite meals, and then explain to them that they have to at least try each what you make the rest of the week . this way you make one meal and hopefully they will be willing to at least try what you are making. . just a thought.

Keli - posted on 12/29/2008

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Thank you so much for your posts! I am really the same way. If my kids don't eat their dinner it sits for a while, then when they say they are hungry they know that is all they get. My 3 year old has boycotted dinner almost every night for months now! I'm not one to make different meals for everybody so when my husband is home and I cook dinner then thats all they get. I guess just being a stay at home mom if feels like I am in the kitchen all the time! And all the dinners I make when we are all here I hear complaining. I guess I would just like to not here the complaining every night! As for the casseroles, I make them b/c I love them, however my 3 yr old doesn't even come in the room when I say time to eat before she says "I don't like that!" She doesn't even know what I cooked! Anyway, maybe it's just a phase.. but I also feel like a short order cook and have to rack my brain to make everyone happy!! Thanks again!

Stephanie - posted on 12/29/2008

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i agree with Misty, I make if the kids do not want it, then it sits and thats what they have when they are hungry. If i make something that is new or different i make them at least try it. I will put a small amount on their plate and have them try it. Have you tried like casseroles? (spelling??) something with meat and veggies in it? www.cooks.com has good recipes, maybe you can find something there.

Misty - posted on 12/29/2008

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My kids "tried" to be picky eaters too. We have a rule, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit". I will fix breakfast, lunch and supper. If they don't eat what's for breakfast, it becomes a snack when they complain they are hungry again...if they wait me out to the next meal, it becomes that meal and so on. With each one, about after a week....they figured out I wasn't going to budge.

Believe me...they won't go hungry for long!

Now my older kids are 17, 15, and 11. They know if they don't eat what I fix, then they don't eat.

I am a picky eater myself. So I tend to fix the basics. Meat, potatoe or other veggie and fruit.

Hope this helps!

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