What should I do when my child will not eat anything I'm eating?

Jenn - posted on 02/14/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My 3 year old daughter and I are vegetarians. But she will not eat a vegetable to save her life. She doesn't want anything to do with meals all she wants is snacks. I've tried all different kinds of methods to encourage her eating, but still no success. Any suggestions?

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Sarah - posted on 02/14/2010

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I am having the same issue with my son. He ate mashed potatoes tonight, but hasn't ate since he came home from his fathers. He will drink milk and thats about it. Im not going to start giving him sweet stuff or junk food. I figure he will eat when he is hungry. What else can i do....

Casey - posted on 02/18/2010

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I know that sometimes it can be frustrating. My 3 yr old has always been a picky eater. We tried everything with him, including the "he will eat it if he gets hungry enough" philosophy. Unfortunately, my son is stubborn and won't eat anything he doesn't want to eat. He would sometimes even choose to go with out rather than eat what I wanted him to. I didn't like the idea of him being hungry, so I just started making seperate meals for him. He also is more of a "grazer" and eats more snacks throughout the day in place of larger meals. It hasn't hurt his growth any and his doctor says he is perfectly healthy. I would just advise you to humor her for now. As long as she is healthy, that is all that matters. Also, we added ensure and vitamins to help with the nutrients he might miss otherwise They have lots of flavors, so hopefully you will find one she likes. Best of luck, I hope this helps!

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Here is what we did when our son was going through that stage....I'm not sure it really "helped" because he still doesn't eat what we do, but we do get healthy food into him.
The rule is that he must eat at least one food from each food group everyday. (and he can only eat cereal & milk one time)

For breakfast he usually has bread and dairy. Bread is his favorite--If I let him, he would eat nothing but dry toast and water all the time.
So at lunch time, he must pick something with a fruit or veggie. Usually applesauce, pairs or an apple.
By dinnertime, his only option is a veggie. He can eat it if he likes, or go to bed hungry. He usually eats green peas or corn, but sometimes he does choose to be hungry.

If he is still hungry after any of his meals, he gets the choice of having more of what he ate (unless it's cold cereal), or another food group. For snacks between meals (he eats 2 snacks a day) he can pick what ever food group he wants--it's usually bread, but occasionally, he'll surprise me and ask for fruit!

Jennifer - posted on 02/15/2010

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I have a similar problem with my 2 and 3 year old's at the moment. My other 2 children also went through this.

We are not vegetarians but my 3 yr old son does not really eat any meat. I think it is quite common for children to refuse meals, my little ones seem to just graze/snack during the day.



I make up little tasting platters for them with some strawberries,watermelon,sliced apples crackers & cheese, sliced cucumber, dips and bread.

I think that they feel in control of what they can eat, they can pick and choose what they want. 99% of the time everything on the platter is finished. I recently started adding sliced capsicum, cherry tomatoes and olives, and they love dipping them in hummus.



My now 5 year old would not touch his vegies so I juiced carrots, cucumbers, celery along with fruits such as apples.orranges and kiwi. This worked wonders because he would never eat a whole piece of friut either and at least I knew that he was getting his fruit and veg on a daily basis.



It wouldn't hurt taking her to your maternal child health nurse or doctor to get her checked out as they may recommend a supplement if she needs it.



Good luck, I know how frustrating it can be.

Liz - posted on 02/16/2010

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I was concerned about the fact that my 18 month old son would not eat ANYTHING besides bread or fruit bars - and I mean anything. I brought it up to my doctor and he said that's normal and NOT to make him a separate meal. He said to give him what we were eating, and if he didn't want it, fine, but he got nothing else. If he's hungry, he'll eat what's put in front of him. Something to think about: if you start making your child their own meal now, do you really want that to become a habit? I try to think of that whenever my child does anything new. I know it's hard to watch your child not eat, but they will eat when they are hungry. Since I stopped worrying about it, my son now eats nearly anything we give him - not always, but he's much better than he was! Hope I could help...

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Lindsey - posted on 02/16/2010

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We have done this with both of our children. Our oldest child (who is 8) have never really liked red meat and our son (almost 3) isn't a huge fan of veggies and he likes to snack on granola bars. Here is what worked for us... We would make their plates with child size portions of what we were having (for our daughter we would give her just a little meat and for our son just a little veggies) and they had to finish what was on their plate before they could have more of what they liked. There were many nights when our children chose to not really eat because it wasn't what they liked. Now, we have two children who we don't have issues with eating. My daughter still isn't a fan of red meat, but she eats it and my son will finish his veggies just so he can have more of something else. Basically don't give them any other options. Children will eat when they are hungry regardless of what is in front of them. Just keep in mind what they like and don't like and make sure you put on their plate a little of what they don't like and more of what they do. Also, if your child likes snacks, limit the amount of snacks so that she is hungry at meal time and if she is determined to have a snack, only offer her light, healthy snacks.

Lol - posted on 02/15/2010

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oh thank goodness i am not the only one... it feels like a struggle every night to get some food into my 3 1/2 yr old. She had me eating salads etc even when she was in my belly! lol now she still won't eat meat... just loves her vegies. has been eating only carrots for nearly two weeks now. I have always made her meals separate from mine, and then offer her to pick off my dinner plate if anything tempts her.
Don't worry too much if yours snacks all day though. I have been keeping an food diary for my girl... and was actually surprised with how much she does eat through the day.

Claudia - posted on 02/14/2010

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hi! my family are not vegetarians but I actually had the opposite problem my daughter LOVES fruit and veggies and wouldn't eat meat, I was worried she'd get anemic and my Dr. told her that it was ok as long as I found stuff she liked that gave her protien and iron so we added nuts, raisins, peanut butter and daily vitamins to her diet. We also have the same problem and she doesn't want to eat what we eat so we make her separate meals with the stuff she does like and eat. I would talk to her Dr. and ask for some advice or look up vegetarian meals for kids. Best of luck!

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