A 4 year old who want eat like regualr kids!

Alexis - posted on 11/14/2009 ( 32 moms have responded )

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Can anyone give me advice on how I can get my 4 year old to eat like he should. The only foods he will eat are: chicken nuggets (only the ones from McDonalds and Wendys), chips, cereal, sausage, rasins, crakers, popcorn, pizza, frenchfries, and anything with sugar. I have tried everything, even begging and briveing him with new toys, but nothing has worked. So if anyone can help I would really appreciate it thanks alot.

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Christine - posted on 11/19/2009

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Well I have the same problem but my daughter is only 3. Yes, I started to pick and choose what I bought and had in the pantry / refrigerator which has started to help but is a long, difficult road. Just stop buying one thing and try and replace it with something else. My daughter still not great with meat and vegies but now eats fruit and yoghurt. The only junk food in the house is jelly snakes in the cupboard and chocolate custard in the fridge. No other junk food lives in this house. I have also tried the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook which has helped a little. Her recipes are delicious but the rest of the family ate most of them. Although there is a sweet slice which has jam and spinach in it. Sounds awful but my daughter loves it. Don't give up, just keep trying new foods until you find something he likes but the trick is to slowly get rid of some of the "bad" foods so he will be hungry enough to try something new. The other night I gave my daughter the option that she at least taste her dinner otherwise go straight to bed. She chose to go straight to bed and I let her. However, when I gave her that option the next night, she chose to taste her dinner. I now do this every night. She still isn't eating her whole dinner but at least now she tries food. Good Luck !

Missy - posted on 11/14/2009

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Picky eating is such a hard thing to deal with. The number one thing to remember is the he will not starve himself. While he may favor those foods, he can enjoy many other foods aside from them. He just has to know that you are going to make one meal and he can either eat it, or not. Once he knows that you are going to stick to your guns, this will likely help out.



It's going to be a hard thing to do, but you have to be ready to say what you mean and mean what you say. Then, prepare a dinner that you know he will like but that isn't on his list of favorites. Prepare the meal and carry on with dinner as usual. Only, if he argues, fusses or fights, you simply say to him " Sweetie, this is what I made for dinner. If you don't care for it, maybe there will be something better at breakfast". I know! Easier said than done! But if you can stick with it, he will quickly learn that you mean business.



They key to picky eating to take the argument factor out of it. State what you are going to do and let him decide the rest. You are going to serve ____ for dinner. Anyone who doesn't want to eat it, can see if there's something better for breakfast. If you argue and fuss and beg for him to eat, he will see that he gets his way and that he gets LOTS of attention. By setting your foot down, you can do a lot to curb this.



If you aren't comfortable sending him to bed with out dinner , you can offer a stand by. " Anyone who doesn't like lasagna, can have peanut butter and jelly". If he says he hungry later, offer him his plate from dinner. He can take it or leave it.



Pay no attention to fits and don't get into an argument with him. Just simply remind him that he is welcome to eat the dinner you've made or he can wait for breakfast.



I sure hope this helps! I know it's hard to do but I've seen it work lots of times ( I worked in pediatrics before staying at home with daughter).



Good luck!

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Sarah - posted on 11/20/2009

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OMG I thought I was the only one. My 3 year old daughter does the same thing. I feel as though I am failing as a mother. It sucks. Her meals are not structured like a normal kid, but I make sure I buy Pedialite and "princess" vitamins to make up for the nutrients she isn't getting. It is very frustrating, but I keep doing research and keeping my options open. Things will only progress and get worse as she grows older. My parents did the same thing to me, and now I see it happening to my little girl...it breaks my heart. Glad to here other mothers that are in the same boat I am in. Hope things get better. Good luck.

Emi - posted on 11/19/2009

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well,my 3 years old stoped eating normally and would eat raisins, peanuts, and very few little things. We don't buy or offer any of other stuff that has sugar so he does not have the idea of all those other stuff , just pizza sometimes. Also, we eat well if we have family meals and eat all at the same time, or at least his older brother, and if he is hungry. I dont try to feed him between the meals and he will eat what is put before him. hope it helps

Esther - posted on 11/19/2009

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Jessica Seinfeld (in cooperation with a nutritionist) wrote a cook book with recipes for picky eaters (I think it's called Deceptively Delicious). You could try some of those. My friend has it and told me that the beet pancakes were to die for (and she doesn't like beets). Other than that, I agree with Missy.

Amber - posted on 11/19/2009

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I agree with Missy...if he's hungry he'll eat what you've set before him. With my kids, they have to at least try it before they tell me they dont like it, then i might make them something different...but if my kids start throwin a fit about eating i have them get down and when they settle down and wanna eat i'll them come back to the table...something else that helps is if everyone else get dessert and he/she doesn't bc they didnt eat enough dinner...i dont do this everynight however

Maggie - posted on 11/18/2009

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Hi Alexis, my daughter is now 5 but a year ago she was afraid to try anything new. I kept trying to make her eat different things but if it wasn't the regular kid foods then she would have nothing to do with it. I began to feel like she was afraid of these other foods because I was making a big deal about it, so I eased off and just told her that it's good to try new things because she won't know if she likes it unless she gives it a try. I planted the seed in her head to think if she doesn't try it she

might be missing out on something that she would end up really enjoying. So that peeked her curiousity. I also made her feel more at ease by saying, if she didn't like it she didn't have to eat it. Gradually she would try more things. Some new things she liked and others she didn't, but the impotant things is that she is willing to taste new things. I hope this can help you. Just take the pressure off the situation and hopefully your child will be more receptive. Good luck!

Jacqueline - posted on 11/18/2009

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Have you tried any all natural colors and flavors Multi-vatamins for kids?

We use Lil' Critters multi-vitamins for our 4 year old..... : )

Alison - posted on 11/18/2009

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This is up to you. If it were my kid, I would ban all sugary things until this behavior changed. I would buy lots of fruit so he would be getting healthy sugar, and make healthy pizza at home with lots of veggies on it if he likes pizza. Just cut out the fast food for awhile. If he throws a fit, just remind him that "no, we are not eating there. I am the parent and you are not in charge of what we eat." Definitly don't bother begging or bribing, it won't work. If you give him an option to choose what he eats, he will only choose what he wants. If you don't give him the option, he won't like it but in a short period of time will learn that he doesn't have the power in this matter. It takes commitment to do that though - I've already had some food battles with my 2 year old and sometimes he didn't eat anything at dinner, but a few hours later he was ready to eat what I gave him. For an older kid they might hold out longer, but it's really your decision if you are going to be in charge of his diet or he is.

Terra - posted on 11/18/2009

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Many people keep saying it's easy, but it is not as easy for everyone. It is great that you all have the whole parenting thing down to a science, but not all of us are that wonderful. Saying it's easy would make me feel like you are saying I'm an idiot for not figuring it out already. I don't know how productive that advice would be for me, but maybe I'm wrong...

There was so much great advice on here and I only thought to add that we do try to make one part of the meal, whether the veggie or meat or other side, something I know my two and a half year old will eat. I give her a little bit of everything, including only a small amount of what she does like, and when she eats it all she can have seconds of her favorite item, but only after she finishes everything. If it is something I know she is picky about, I only give her a couple of bites. This way, she knows that she has to eat what is cooked or else she goes hungry, but I also don't feel bad for starving her because even if she only eats one thing in the meal at least she got something. Some nights meals end in tantrums that are made worse by the fact that she is hungry, but usually she eats almost everything. I also avoid foods I KNOW she doesn't like, but I don't think this is bad because I avoid foods that me or her dad don't like, so what is the difference?

Melissa - posted on 11/18/2009

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I also have a picky eater. But not with the junk food or mcdonalds, but with meat. I make one thing for dinner and have him help with the preperation. example pouring food into the bowl, mixing eggs, watching the timer to let me know when it is done.. and so on. Luckily he loves vegetables so I always make sure he gets to choose the vegetable. When preparing their plates for dinner I continue to put the meat on his plate, just a bite of it. I think eventually he will try it.. at least I hope so. I also have the same rule, if my boys do not eat thier dinner that is it.. that was dinner so take it or leave it. maybe try making his food fun looking. or doctoring them up a bit. for instance, since he does like sugar make candied carrots.. all it is, is some sliced carrots cooked in a frying pan in butter and brown sugar, they are sweet but not full of lots of sugar. or when making broccolli add some cheese to it.. I hope this helps

Vicky - posted on 11/17/2009

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don't buy the rubbish food! just give him what you want to give him & he'll soon learn that if he doesn't eat what you give him then he'll go to bed hungry & i think he'll eventually eat it! you aren't mistreating him by doing this! give it a go? x

Stacy - posted on 11/17/2009

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I have to agree with the only cooking one dinner thing. My daughter don't like sertain foods, when I do cook the things that she doesn't like, she knows that if she don't eat thats it. There is no after dinner snack either. It is hard, and you feel like your misstreating them. We have to remember we are the parents. If we show special treatment, they will expect it all the time. As they get older, it will only get worse. My husband had this special treatment when he was younger. He does not like my rules either. There are times he goes to bed hungry as well as the kids.

Kymm - posted on 11/17/2009

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My doctor told me it's normal for kids to be picky eaters and just to keep putting other stuff on his plate. He said to cut down on the size of the stuff he eats (instead of 6 chicken nuggets do 4 and some carrots or broccoli, etc) I was highly skeptical since my almost-three-year-old is STUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBBORN! But it worked and he now eats just about anything as long as I don't give in when he sits there. If he doesn't eat it for lunch, the same food gets put on his plate for dinner. If he doesn't eat it for dinner, he gets it for breakfast, etc....It's REALLY hard to put into practice but it DOES work.

Lisa - posted on 11/17/2009

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My daughter is almost 3 and if she doesn't want to eat what was made for dinner, she's allowed to have juice or milk and toast. I don't make special meals for my kids unless my husband and I are having something out of the ordinary.
I agree with the mother who said, "easy, don't buy those foods." You are the parents and that's what you have to remember, you make the decisions, not him.

Andrea - posted on 11/16/2009

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My son is the same way.. But my hubby was raised that you eat whatever is put in front of you with no other options. Now i was raised if we didn't like something then we could have a peanut butter sandwhich and that was it.. So we have made a few changes to how we were raised and now at lunch time he get one of the thing that he likes and then and dinner time he is to eat what we are eating.. It might be that he sits at the table for an hour or so but it has worked.. Really i should say to much cause he would rather have carrots and apples any thing like that but then he has days of junk food city.. But I do not bleive in just giving him candy just cause, my hubby will give him more candy then I would like, But I use some of his fav food as a way to get him to eat something new.. Like when I make Chicken mash potatoes he don't like this so i tell him that if he eats Half of whats on his plate then he may have m&m's or whatever he likes.. this has helped us otherwise i mix thing in with some of his fav's.. Hope that maybe this will help you out a little bit.. take care and all the best to you..

Tonya - posted on 11/16/2009

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Don't offer those food when he gets hungry enough he will eat. The saying in our house is you get what you get and don't throw a fit.. It seems to work.

Natasha - posted on 11/16/2009

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try cooking sumthink from skrach with him make him feall like a big boy when its redy ask him if u can sher his lovly cooking i dun this with my 4 yrold and naw she is allways asking to try wot i have

Ebony - posted on 11/16/2009

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wow...my son eats everything from broccolli to anything!!!! Sometimes he will shake his head like he doesnt like something, but I will reassure him by saying ummmm good and thats how i get him to eat it. he will be two in december though

Mikayllah - posted on 11/16/2009

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i had this same issue with my 3 year old daughter, the doctor stated,along with all of the other mothers that i know, that it is only a phase. in the meantime give him pedialite or juices that have servings of fruits and vegies. hope this helped

Charlene - posted on 11/15/2009

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Quoting Missy:

Picky eating is such a hard thing to deal with. The number one thing to remember is the he will not starve himself. While he may favor those foods, he can enjoy many other foods aside from them. He just has to know that you are going to make one meal and he can either eat it, or not. Once he knows that you are going to stick to your guns, this will likely help out.

It's going to be a hard thing to do, but you have to be ready to say what you mean and mean what you say. Then, prepare a dinner that you know he will like but that isn't on his list of favorites. Prepare the meal and carry on with dinner as usual. Only, if he argues, fusses or fights, you simply say to him " Sweetie, this is what I made for dinner. If you don't care for it, maybe there will be something better at breakfast". I know! Easier said than done! But if you can stick with it, he will quickly learn that you mean business.

They key to picky eating to take the argument factor out of it. State what you are going to do and let him decide the rest. You are going to serve ____ for dinner. Anyone who doesn't want to eat it, can see if there's something better for breakfast. If you argue and fuss and beg for him to eat, he will see that he gets his way and that he gets LOTS of attention. By setting your foot down, you can do a lot to curb this.

If you aren't comfortable sending him to bed with out dinner , you can offer a stand by. " Anyone who doesn't like lasagna, can have peanut butter and jelly". If he says he hungry later, offer him his plate from dinner. He can take it or leave it.

Pay no attention to fits and don't get into an argument with him. Just simply remind him that he is welcome to eat the dinner you've made or he can wait for breakfast.

I sure hope this helps! I know it's hard to do but I've seen it work lots of times ( I worked in pediatrics before staying at home with daughter).

Good luck!



I couldn't say it better than this.  I too have a 3 year old son who has become picky.  One other thing that I do that seems to be working some, is if he won't eat his meal, he doesn't get any other treats or snacks.  If he gets hungry, he knows he needs to eat what he left over from breakfast, lunch or supper.  It seems that this has been working so far, and he is starting to eat better.

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Trust me, I'm going through the same problem right now! Mine is only 3, and he's my youngest. What is driving me craziest is that he used to love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Zatarain's Dirty Rice (weird, I know!), pastas, etc..... and now he won't touch them!! Your son will at least eat a wider variety than mine, according to your list! I know from experience (with both my older son and my younger nephew) that I need to force myself to let him be, to not cave and make him what he wants... but I, too, find it extremely difficult. But everyone is correct--- he WILL NOT STARVE TO DEATH if he chooses not to eat. You and I both need to remember that and stick to it. Good luck!!

Jasmine - posted on 11/14/2009

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i think its a stage they go thru cuz my 2 year old he will eat somethin and then he will spit it out.. he dont like to swallow meat... idk... i worried 2

Debra - posted on 11/14/2009

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Try making a tortilla pizza, with ricotta and mozzarella as the sauce, some skinless chicken breasts and some spinach. My daughter is OBSESSED with it. We use whole wheat tortillas, since MO WIC finally allows us to get bread/tortillas. Even quesadillas with some kind of hidden veggie ( I usually do pico deguillo (sp?) or salsa)

Just google search some kid friendly recipes. You can find some really good ones that mimic his current munchy obsession.

Kelly - posted on 11/14/2009

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Your son is normal. The foods he eats are what all kids love and would eat all the time given the option. So like all the other mum's have said, take the option away. He needs to learn that these are treat meals only.

My oldest isn't even two yet, but ever since he started eating regular meals with us we've been very clear that if he doesn't eat what is in front of him he doesn't get anything else (that's not to say we make him clear his whole plate and will often even reward a good effort with yoghurt for desert). What we do, do however is we try to make sure that there is something on his plate that he does like everynight. Luckily for us this is generally vegies (peas, corn and carrot). This way we know he'll at least eat something and it also encourages him to try the other food on the plate.

With the list of foods you put above, there may be some ways to modify these and make them acceptable options for him to eat. Look for good quality gourmet sausages and home made pizza can be a healthy option if made with lots of fresh vegies.

Definately give away the begging and the bribing. As Missy said, your son won't let himself starve.

[deleted account]

My parents have this problem with my younger sister who is now 13 years old and still has eating habits like that. It only gets worse, unless you do something. I would go through your kitchen and get rid of all junk food. I myself like to have sweets but I try to get low fat or sugar free deserts. It's important for anyone's body to get the proper nutrition so it can function properly. For my parents, their eating style is blamed on lack of time; I'm a busy mom, but I make a point to cook nutritional foods. I would definitely get him started on healthy food now rather than later or it's just going to get harder. He probably won't eat them at first, but stay consistent and don't give up. If he's hungry he will eventually eat the healthy food. You're not starving them because you're putting the healthy food right in front of them. Also it's important that all of your family eats this way, to set a good example. Just be patient with it and eventually he will come around. Use fast food as a treat every once in a while.

Melissa - posted on 11/14/2009

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Quoting Michelle:

easy dont buy those foods...


Thank you! It really is that simple. 

Melissa - posted on 11/14/2009

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You are the parent. It is your decision what you feed your child. You do the groceries and you decide weather or not to go to McDonald's.Your 4 year old does not drive himself. I am really not trying to be rude here but this really is simple. You don't need to bribe your child or beg your child to eat something. Give your child a healthy meal and if he throws a fit either handle it or walk away. Eventually your child will be hungry and will eat what is put in front of him. You are the mother and it's up to you to do what is best for your child. McDonald's, sugary cereal and greasy breakfast food does nothing for his little body but destroy it. Put your foot down and do what is best for him, not what he thinks is yummy at the time. His eating habits now will effect his eating habits in the future.

Sylvia - posted on 11/14/2009

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Tell him that he will only get McDonalds as a treat for eating things at home you give him. But stick to your promise. Nothing bad about taking him to MCdonalds just make better choices for him. No fries maybe apple dippers and regular milk instead of Chocolate milk. You have the power!!!

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