8 yr old won't eat ANY fruit, veggies, regular meals!

Shehla - posted on 03/08/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My son has always been a picky eater. Right from when I first introduced him to solids, he'd make faces and spit any new food, especially pureed fruit. Initially, I didn't take it too seriously and gave him whatever he seemed to like. However, as he grew older, his dislike for more or less all kinds of food I mean no matter how it was served: soft, cold, chunky, paste-like....whatever, he won't eat. He still is like that. For years we strived to feed him proper meals, coaxing him and tempting him but all he'd ever agree to have readily was milk. So for years it was milk, milk and more milk. We were afraid he'd starve himself so we obliged. We did try milkshakes, but of course milkshakes have fruit, or chunks or they don't taste like plain milk. So they were also rejected. The situation now is that apart from pizza (without any topping except cheese, all veggies or meat are removed by him) and nutella sandwiches, mcchicken nuggets, fries and of course the faithful cuppa milk he basically doesnt eat anything else. He is not a child willing to experiment with new flavors and textures. Help!

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Brandi - posted on 10/08/2014

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I have a 10 year old step son , he has been with me and his dad for 3 years now full custody , his mother just fed him whatever and sometimes his sister was responsible for feeding them ,which resulted in same foods mostly microwaved quick and easy or whatever he wanted. We have 3 other sons that live with us fulltime also. I cook home cooked meals so the other 3 are used to eating right and a wide varity of foods and will try new foods i cook . My 10 year old with cry his self sick befire he will try a new food and if he does take a bite he gags and its a big deal. I have cooked many different things i know he likes , example : spaghetti ,he loves it , but if i dont have noodles and i use bow tie noodles or macaroni noodles and make the spaghetti with that he wont touch it . Just last night he found out that spaghetti sauce was made from tomatoes and he would not touch his bowl of spaghetti. Why ? Its not fair to the other 3 that they cant have different from what i cook and it always ends up him getting something else because he will cry until he pukes over eating .please can anyone give me advice on what to do ? Note i didnt have him until he was turning 8 so im clueless to this cause my bio kids even like brussel sprouts ........

Melody - posted on 03/09/2012

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Some of these replies are well meant but bad advice-this child needs to go to a pediatrician that specalizes in behavior disorders. As a couple of mothers said this can be a symptom of Aspergers, or Sensory Processing Disorder, and that needs ruled out. Some of these children are so adverse to sight, texture and smell of food that they cannot eat it and will go without no matter what. Some of them will get dangerously underweight. Please get your child medically checked out by a Dr. who is experienced in this. You may find out that he has other symptoms that fit the spectrum of one of the conditions above. There is a lot that can be done to help them People should not automatically judge that it is about the parent being in manipulated or they'll eat when they get hungry. Once you've been to a specialist, and they rule out a medical issue then ask them for help to get your child to eat better.

Amanda - posted on 03/08/2012

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Shocking an 8 year old will only eat high carb junk food. Its simple, you make him dinner and he isnt allowed anyother food until he is done his dinner. Do not give him milk at the table, he can also have that when hes done his food. Dont worry eventually he will give in and start eatting his food, You will have to put up with a lot of yelling and screaming as you really should of started these steps around age 2-3 not age 8.

Staci - posted on 03/08/2012

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My son is the same way. He basically only eats pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, cheese, milk, milkshakes, and juice. Not much else. And the temp has to be lukewarm for things that are supposed to be hot and just barely cool for cold things.

We've recently discovered that he has sensory processing disorder and that picky eating is actually part of it. We're hoping that working with an OT will help with some of his aversions to trying new foods so we'll see.

We have also tried giving supplimenting his diet with PediaSure which is very similar to milk.

Hopefully this helps some. Good luck!

Chrystal - posted on 03/08/2012

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I don't have children this old but I'm a product of a mother that let us kids eat anything we wanted and trust me it can have horrible results. I was overweight my whole childhood and even now struggle not to eat crap because it's what my taste buds learn to like. My brother now 30 years old uses his veggie draw in the fridge to hold candy bars and though he isn't overweight he's been checked into the hospital 3 times for rectal bleeding because he eats so few nutritious foods his digestive system is damaged. Don't do that to your son follow these womens advice any upset he has now will be worth it for his future.

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Lesa - posted on 03/20/2012

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My son is the same, although all he likes is certain fruits and veggies. He does not seem to feel hunger. We have tried everything. He is 7 and weighed only 41lbs. It took a lot of work and commitment of trying to feed him every 2 hours and praising and rewarding him. This is not manipulation as he was this way since I introduced solids. My biggest worry is that he develops an eating disorder from us worrying about it so much

Nat_frank - posted on 03/20/2012

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If you give him the same balance meal that the family is having he will eventually have to eat it. He will resist for a couple of meals. Be firm and stand your ground, it will be a bit hard for you at first but stick to it...I hope this works for you

Connie - posted on 03/13/2012

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Children are instinctively incapable of starving themselves. Indigenous children eat chewed up grub worms because that is what they are GIVEN. Norwegian children learn to like lutefisk. Abandoned children are noted as eating sheetrock or paper if nothing else is available. How many adults like cigarettes, alcohol and coffee, and they didn't the first time they tried any of them. There is nothing in the American diet that children can not learn to like unless they have a genetic predisposition against certain foods such as to cilantro. There are only a couple of foods this is true for. ALL children spit out food when first introduced because it is different and unusual. Taste is acquired through repetition, usually about 12-20 introductions before they 'learn' to like it. Textures are the same. It's a two fold process to acquire a more varied palate. Unfortunately, parents give up and give in instead of seeing it as a learning experience and in the best interest of the child to persevere. Palates are created, not born. Unfortunately at 8, it really will take a nutritionist to step in and help correct the problem. Research has noted that a child can learn to like any food they taste a minimum of 20 times prior to the age of two, even if they hate it at the time. That 18 month window of 6-24 months is long past.

Kat - posted on 03/13/2012

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You need to hire a licensed nutritionist as soon as possible for your son. We get caught up in perceptions about food and limit ourselfves to trying out new receipes and cultures of food choices. You need to get to the root of his issues so that he can make a conscious choice about why he likes or dislikes a food group.The couselor will give you his BMI and optimum weight goals and help you help him choose a food program that you both live with. My daughter, same age group became anoxeric by time she was a pre-teen and had heart problems all though high school until her BMI increased. We did everything right except get her the couseling that could have stop her picky eater syndrome at the start. Good Luck

Anna - posted on 03/12/2012

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You MUST stop the crap food now. Only give him the option of good food or let him go hungry. He won't be able to hold out forever - his body won't let him. If he's hungry he can eat good stuff. Needless to say you probably should have had a firmer stance on this from the beginning, but you'll catch on and fear not - once he discovers that those foods really do taste good he will learn to want them and not the crap.

Amanda - posted on 03/11/2012

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My son is 3. when he was around 18 months to a year and a half he went through this phase where he didn't like veggies or meat. Even now meat is a bit tough because he is lazy and doesn't like chewing. When he does his tantrums about not wanting the food i give him, whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner I will wrap the food and serve it to him the next meal time. He is not allowed any other food till the next meal time and he is ready to eat what i earlier prepared for him. He does give in and eat and appreciates the fact that his tummy is being filled. This is extremely hard to do with a 3 and a half year old can't imagine it with a 8 year old. Bu maybe it would be easier because there is no language barrier. Good luck! I hope this helps

Gene Ann - posted on 03/10/2012

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We used to joke that the only two vegetables that my daughter ate were fries and catsup, neither of which were vegetables. She was having constipation problems as a result. Thankfully, my pediatrician helped me deal with this problem when my daughter was four. He knelt down to get eyeball to eyeball with her and told her that she needed to try one new food (can't remember if it was once a day or once a week) because she needed to learn to eat other foods be healthy and not have the consequences that she was having. She was petite, too, so he reminded her that her body needed a variety of foods to grow properly. Then he said that he would call and ask if she was following his instructions. When he forgot to call, I called him to have him call and ask her. He talked to her directly, and she was happy to tell him that she had. For several years at every annual checkup she made a point of telling him what new foods she was eating. Today as an adult she is very conscious of eating a balanced diet. I think that it helped her take ownership of her own habits by the way that Dr. Scott handled it.

Sehr - posted on 03/09/2012

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forgot to mention is a VERY intelligent girl-by the Grace of God ! Masha'Allah n Alhamdulillah !

Janice - posted on 03/09/2012

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It could be a a sensory disorder as some have said, so you should have that ruled out just to be sure.

With babies, sometimes they need to taste a food multiple times (8-12) before learn to eat it. But now your son is 8 so you cant really spoon feed him :)



You could approach it as many have already said and its either eat what is made or eat nothing. I think at least giving that a try for a few days is worth it. If he really is just being stubborn, hunger will win. However, if other forces are at play this may not work and you really cant let him completely starve.



So here is another idea. He is old enough to understand some reasoning. Find articles and pictures online of what can happen to his body if he refuses to eat fruits and veggies. Find the scariest things you can. Then tell him he just needs to find 2 of each that he likes. Make it an adventure to try 1 new food every few days. Let him pick what he wants to try. Let him choose how it is prepared. Have him rate each food so in the end if he doesnt like any you can say well which ones do you dislike the least, and make him eat those, "just so he doesnt get rickets" or some other health issue you have showed him.



Good luck!

Sehr - posted on 03/09/2012

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I am in the same boat ! n my girl is now 14 !!!!

All she eats is ice-cream, boiled chicken (sometimes) plain cheeses pizza-which has to have ONLY kraft cheese, plain roti, french fries n chips(ONLY lays lightly salted), chicken sausages n meat-loaves(those maple-lodge ones) n chocolate n chocolate milk. n all of this has to b one brand only ! She's driven me nuts ! People think I am a terrible mom-not to have "tried" enough. yeah, drives me insane. So you tell me !

I am scared she'll get terribly sick like this. I am sure she has NO vit C in her body. D3 n B12 am concerned about too. Iron iffy too. So I really dont know what to do. Tried everything-but she wont budge !

Genevieve - posted on 03/09/2012

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My nephew is the same. And he also has Sensory Proccessing Disorder like someone mentioned above. Its in the Autism Spectrum. But it is NOT treatable with medication. Its all about re wiring the brain to learn how to cope with environment. Most people remember the kid in school that didnt like to bathe, wore nothing but sweat pants, shiffled thier feet and ate the same thing every day for lunch. They most likely had SPD. And yes they did grow up and get over some of it. Some are still awkward in many ways. And if you can get occupational therapies it is amazing the things that will change. I would really look into this.

Mandy - posted on 03/08/2012

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Jut reading your article and that is my son down to a tee. I have tried most things that everyone had advised but he gets so stressed. About a year ago he got diagnosed with Aspergers and now it all makes sense. I would speak to your doctor before trying anything as if he has something similar to this then its not the poor mites fault. I totally understand how stressfull it is.

Jennifer - posted on 03/08/2012

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I am a mom of 6 boys, the oldest in college, the youngest in diapers. Firstly, food is not worth fighting over. Make a simple rule and stick with it even if you get upset. This is what has worked for us and we continue to use with our 6 year old today. Taste dinner or go to bed for the night. Taste means 1 bite. One. If he tastes dinner but doesn't like it, he gets to make his own dinner of peanut butter and jelly. He makes his own. I am not a short order cook and will not be treated as such in my own home. But, if you don't eat my dinner then you don't get my dessert. If he eats my dinner, he gets my dessert. I know it seems daunting to try something new...again...but if you stick to it long enough then he'll see that dinner isn't a battlefield or time for negotiations. Every kid knows that his parent isn't going to let him go without eating, so don't threaten something that you have no intention of doing. Above everything else, don't yell, follow through, and understand that it takes a lot of pbj's to make it to dessert every night!

Shehla - posted on 03/08/2012

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Thanks a heap ladies. Your responses are very encouraging. I have tried the 'eat or you go hungry' stategy, sadly, it always results in just that: he has an uncanny ability to stay hungry. There have been times when I've had to bribe/trick/ actually push something down his mouth forcefully just so he could taste it and realize it isn't all that bad, but that always fails. He just distances himself from the scene.

Teresa, spot on. There are days when my husband and I think: okay, we know this is junk, but there is SOME meat in there and he's eating it. So we give in, simply glad at the prospect that at least something's going down his gullet.

Shawnn Lively, care to share some tips on empowered parenting. You seem to be able to take the bull by the horns.

Once again, thanks for the input, ladies. I appreciate!

XL - posted on 03/08/2012

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We've dealt with this issue with two of my 4 kids (though all 4 have been through phases of similar eating patterns) and a few of my stepchildren, too. It is so hard. And for people to tell you that you're doing your kids a disservice or you've really done yourself in or to simply stop 'catering' to them really feels dismissive of your problem and really isn't helpful.



You could go the cold-turkey, 'eat what you're served or nothing' route which, depending on the child, can result in sick, super cranky kids and super stressed out mom...though it can work for some. Right now we're working on a 'here's what I've made and if you don't want it you may have a bowl of cereal (I am sure to stock healthful cereal) that you can fix yourself'.



My third child is really stubborn with this. My oldest WAS but worked through his food issues on his own and now, at age 12, eats a good variety and likes some very healthful veggies (carrots and spinach are his favorites).



Even if you 'force' a kid to eat what you are serving, it doesn't always translate into healthful habits once they are adults...and vice versa.



Good luck to you :)

Karenda - posted on 03/08/2012

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I recently read an article in Parent Magazine about picky eaters that offered options for helping a picky eater learn to expand their eating. Some children have strong aversions to texture and need to advance slowly to adding new items to their food choices. I have a picky 2 year old and I found some good tips in the article. Just saying tough luck and trying to force a super picky eater to eat items they have an aversion to can cause a lot of unnecessary strife. There are gentler approaches to work on the problem - see the article below.



http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoo...

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/08/2012

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Quit enabling him to eat what he wants. At 8, he can understand house rules, one of which (at our house) is "you eat what is fixed for you".



My kids TRIED to be picky eaters. Didn't work. There was no going to bed hungry, there were no tantrums tolerated. To this day, I still monitor my youngest (at 14) to make sure he doesn't take the veggies off of things, but he doesn't, because he knows we'll check.



They eat what is served. They don't have the option of not eating, and wasting what I've fixed. Until they buy their own food, and fix it, that's the rule.

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In general I agree w/ the responses here, but I also post on another board w/ ladies who have kids who literally won't eat anything else.... like won't eat anything for days and days straight and will get sick from not eating and still not eat anything else. They know because they tried that method already... which I WOULD advise first instead of letting things continue the way they are now. These other women still haven't given up on trying to get their kids to eat new things, but in some cases 'junk' is better than nothing.



Definitely give the new eating plan a try though. It is worth it if it works and since he's 8 it'll probably take a while. Good luck!

Bonnie - posted on 03/08/2012

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At this age you can't give in to what he does like only or it will stick with him. Don't give into it. Put in front of him what the rest of you are eating and tell him he needs to eat until he is either done or full (he won't be full after just a few bites). Eventually he will eat what is put in front of him.



I know of someone who only ate Kraft dinner and hot dogs as a kid and to this day (he is a grown adult now), he will still only eat those to items. Not good.

Elizabeth - posted on 03/08/2012

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Do you think that kids in Africa are starving because they don't like what their parents are cooking?



Seriously ...kids will eat anything if they are hungry enough and I hope this eases your worry about your child starving himself..it won't happen.



Stop buying junk and serve him the same meal the rest of the family eats. I have 3 children and they eat anything and everything we do. From seafood to veggies..they eat what is on their plate.



Amanda- I agree 100% with your entire post



There will be lots of pouting and screaming because you have never put boundries on this particular topic before...and now he will resist it. It won't take long and this will all feel like a distant memory if you put your foot down now.

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