HELP...I have a picky eater and I'm at my wits end

Adriel - posted on 10/06/2009 ( 105 moms have responded )

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My daughter, Rylie, who is 4 is a terrible eater. She complains constantly that she is hungry, but when it comes time for her meals (especially dinner) she takes one bite and refuses to eat the rest. She only gets 3 meals and one light snack between lunch and dinner. I know she isn't full because she'll refuse to eat her dinner but still ask for food. Dinner time has become a battlefield, and I am wearing so thin. Please give me some advice, I'll try anything!

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Lori - posted on 10/06/2009

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Also, tell her that once you are finished eating dinner is finished and proceed to clear the table of all plates and food items. Don't fix her anything else or allow a snack after dinner either. Once she goes to bed hungry a couple of times, she will begin eating.

Shonnie - posted on 10/08/2009

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I have had 4 children--and the youngest is autistic and I do not let him have what he wants--he has to eat what we eat. It is really hard to do this --because we are their mothers and love them, and want them to be happy.

Bottom line--unless there is a food allergy--and you can have that tested--they need to go hungry until they eat what you give them. I wouldn't give any snacks or sweet treats until they eat main meals prepared regularly.

You are dealing with a power struggle--believe me--it is so much easier to deal with on this "little" issue than later on the BIG things. Your little one is not bad--neither are you--you will just have to tough it out for a while. Sometimes these little ones can last a while. Promise--You will do yourself and your child a HUGE favor not to give in. It may wear you out now--but if you don't pull this behavior in you will create a little monster that will grow with time.

One day you will laugh about this battle--and see it as cherished part of childhood. Blessings

Maggie - posted on 10/09/2009

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I was that picky eater as a child. My parents thought making me sit at the table til bed or until I finished my dinner would make me adjust to their meal plan. I can't count the number of times I fell asleep at the table, and as a teen-ager, I would literally goes 3 days at a time without eating because I couldn't force food that tasted bad to me in my mouth.

Imagine being told to eat dirt, or forced to regurgitate. That is the same level of disgust I had for certain foods at various times. The body uses taste receptors to inform us of nutrients we need by making them pleasing to the palate. When the body has an abundance of a nutrient or doesn't make good use of it, it will reject food with that nutrient by making it taste unappealing. You may understand better if you were one who had cravings during your pregnancy. Either your or your child needed nutrients so the body made them appealing.

As an adult I still eat very little meat or starch. I get my protein level checked for this reason and am always told it is ideal. Since I started eating according to my palate, I have been in exceptionally good heath, where the routinely smaller than comfortable meals as a child because I was finicky left me prone to sickness much more often than my peers or siblings.

I feel the need to add how much I still remember the stomach pains from hunger I often went to bed with, how difficult it was to fall asleep that way, and how irrelevant that knowledge was to me while sitting at the table.

I understand your frustration, I am now a mother of 4 and 2 are very picky. I often caught them (1 yr apart) trading food off each others plate, as one was a vegetable eater and the other preferred meat. Meal planning can some times be very frustrating, and I often have to make 2 or more dinners available. The upside is now leftover are sufficient for my picky eaters another night. When all else fails, a glass of milk and a slice of bread will usually satisfy palate and hunger pains once in a while.

Good luck, and don't worry, as long as you're not providing an overabundance of sweets and you always offer a balanced meal your child will always eat what is required for her unique system to stay in good health and grow properly.

Shonnie - posted on 10/08/2009

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There is a problem with this idea:
Quote from Cheryl Katz: "It talks about making one thing to eat - no short-order cook - but always have something on the table that your child WILL eat (even if it's just bread and butter). If he/she wants to eat nine pieces of bread, fine. As long as there's enough for everyone else, too."

This is where food allergy develop--allowing a child to over eat a particular item. Also, if they eat large amounts of bread--they can develop type II diabetes--or other serious problems.

I agree--try to have something you know the child likes. I have sensory issues--so I understand not liking textures--but I also know with time and effort that you can overcome them. That is what we have done with me--and the autistic child.

Main focus--you are the parent and you know what a "good meal" is--the child is not old enough to make good choices for themselves. let them have expression in other areas.

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Beck - posted on 10/18/2011

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I agree that "they will eat when they're hungry" and that putting too much emphasis on "cleaning your plate" can have ramifications in the future. We're going thru this now with my 8 yr old grandson and it's a battle every evening to the point that I have bowed out of these meals because I see the conflict and feel the stress as I'm sure he does. It's beginning to affect my daughter's marriage. This is the kind of input I needed to hear. Now I can let them fight this battle and not feel so bad.

Angela - posted on 10/15/2009

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Quoting RHONDA:

Jerry Seinfeld's wife has a good handle on this. She has written a "cookbook" with her little tricks. Good luck


Exactly what i was talking about, try this it may help you.

[deleted account]

Have you tried involving her in the preparing of her meals.My daughter would refuse to eat certain things and i was concerned for her nutrion, so i started making meal time a joint thing where we would make the meals toghther and sometimes in funny shapes or a game out of it. Make animals ,there are alot of stuff on the internet kids recipes. My husband and i would have little tea parties with her make it a postive experience, rather than you have to eat or go to bed with out dessert kind of thing. Little by little we would introduce new foods, and say only have to try three bites. Now she is 11 years old she is still very picky but she trys everything at least some of it, and gives a good reason why she won't eat it.

Valerie - posted on 10/13/2009

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Hi, I had the same problem with my son, I had to figure out what things he actually liked and started having him help me in the kitchen while we prepared the food. By him helping, he felt like he had made dinner or whatever meal it was and he ate the food.

Nicole - posted on 10/12/2009

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my eldest son was a standard 3 meals a day child but my youngest was a grazer. i just went with the flow and had lots of healthy things in fridge for him to snack on. as he has finally gotten older he has out grown this pattern. sometimes it is easier to go with the flow. they will eat but you can never force them. there are so many alternatives. little tubes of yogurt fruit, vegies, cheeses, meats, and just arrange once a day on a plate into a nice design even just a happy face and it tends to work. at least it is only 1 meal a day you have to prepare for a couple of years then you really have to put in the work to do the full on meals every meal. just take it easy on your self and test out foods she will definitly eat and leave it there for her. she will eat. you cant force a grazer. they do grow out of it though so done stress to much. ta

Tyrina - posted on 10/11/2009

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well u know when they eat 2 times a day then a snack they tin to not b hungry but its ok my 2 year old do that but i no she has had 2 meals and a snack but ur daughter is ok

Brandy - posted on 10/11/2009

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My son is just like your daughter and he is now 9. He has been like this since about the age of 2. He will go to bed hungry before he eats what he does not like. So everynight now for dinner I have to plan something that I know he likes even if that means fixing 2 meals. Its horrible and sucks but I cant watch him go to bed hungry every night either and I dont agree with that anyway. Good Luck and remember you are not the only one with this problem and I think it is normal

Christine - posted on 10/11/2009

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And then there's the child who will be a picky eater for life. mine started being picky at about 2 1/2 years.... she's now 23 and has awful eating habits despite the variety of foods I put in front of her.

Nicole - posted on 10/11/2009

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Quoting Nicole:

I forgot to say that it would also help if you gave your daughter very small potions, because a big plate of food my be a bit intimidating for her, with the understanding that a small potion to you may be precieved by her as a big portion. If she is still hungry she will asks for more, give her more but make sure it is a small portion. Hope this helps!!


 

Nicole - posted on 10/11/2009

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Quoting Nicole:

I was a picky eater when I was little. My mom tried to force me to eat, but I wouldn't. She would punish me but that still didn't work. When I got older I still had the same eating habits. I found out that I was a "GRAZER." A person who needed to eat in small portions every couple of hours.That is just how I am wired. I found that eating this way is actually healthier for you because it doesn't overload your digestive system. My daughter is a picky eater too, but my son isn't. She doesn't eat a lot of meat. She prefers fruits & veggie. My guess is that she may grow up as a Vegetarian & I'm okay with that as long as she is healthy. One thing is for sure. Your daughter will not have a problem with obesity which I believe is a blessing. One thing we as parents have to realize is that our children are not us & allow them to be who they were created to be.


 

Karen - posted on 10/11/2009

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Have you had her checked out by your family doctor/pediatrician to rule out any physical problems? My son went for 6 months not eating potatoes, rice or pasta when he was 4. I gave him vegetables, fruit, bread, and protein and tried the others once in awhile. A child will never starve themselves. I had a friend whose daughter couldn't stand certain textures of foods during this age. Maybe her teeth or jaw hurts.

No one wins in power struggles. My daughter used to drive me nuts until I blew up at her. A friend observed this and I decided to change the pattern we were stuck in. I spent more positive time with her and things improved dramatically.

Your daughter is probably distressed by what is happening as well. She needs your help in figuring out what is going on. Perhaps some brainstorming together.

Being a parent is a hard job. You are an amazing Mom, remember that. You and your daughter will figure it out.

Michelle - posted on 10/11/2009

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Personally, I am the mom that just "lays down the law" when it comes to dinner. It has worked for me. I have also known parents that fix ten different options just trying to get some food in the kid. Their kids have eventually grown out of picky eating, but have expectations when it comes to making choices in other areas of life. The pediatrician will tell you if she is growing at a normal rate there is nothing to worry about. You do whatever feels right for you! Kids wont starve themselves to death, but I still made sure that mine had her vitamins every morning!

Debra - posted on 10/11/2009

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I have a very picky eater too. My 4 year old son refuses to eat his vegetables and will only eat a little meat. I've discussed it with his pediatrician because I was concerned with him only gaining at the most 3 pounds in a year and his doctor said that as long as he is eating something and is gaining weight and not losing it then there's nothing to be concerned about. I also have a 6 year old son who has autism. It's a battle with him sometimes too to eat, but what I noticed that works with him is coming down to his level and talking to him extremely nicely and explaining to him that he only has to eat what he wants to. Usually that ends up in him eating everything on his plate.

Nicole - posted on 10/11/2009

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I forgot to say that it would also help if you gave your daughter very small potions, because a big plate of food my be a bit intimidating for her, with the understanding that a small potion to you may be precieved by her as a big portion. If she is still hungry she will asks for more, give her more but make sure it is a small portion. Hope this helps!!

Nicole - posted on 10/11/2009

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I was a picky eater when I was little. My mom tried to force me to eat, but I wouldn't. She would punish me but that still didn't work. When I got older I still had the same eating habits. I found out that I was a "GRAZER." A person who needed to eat in small portions every couple of hours.That is just how I am wired. I found that eating this way is actually healthier for you because it doesn't overload your digestive system. My daughter is a picky eater too, but my son isn't. She doesn't eat a lot of meat. She prefers fruits & veggie. My guess is that she may grow up as a Vegetarian & I'm okay with that as long as she is healthy. One thing is for sure. Your daughter will not have a problem with obesity which I believe is a blessing. One thing we as parents have to realize is that our children are not us & allow them to be who they were created to be.

Tammy - posted on 10/10/2009

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I absolutely agree with Jodi - I have a 13 and 9 year old that tried to do the same things to me. Dad used to let them get away with it. Well Dad is no longer around. I finally put my foot down. What I fix is what is for dinner and nothing else. Snacks were after dinner and only if I was satisfied by the amount that was eaten and that no arguing occurred. It may take awhile but it worked for me.

[deleted account]

I can always count on a few things and I try to incorporate them into alot of meals. She loves peppers and olives. Those are easy to add to lots of things but she overall she would be more than happy with the good old childrens standby kind of stuff...mac and cheese, hotdogs, corn and just about any fruit. If she cooked dinners thats all this family would eat. LOL...I'm going to check out Rachel Ray's site right now!

Shannon - posted on 10/10/2009

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Does she have any favorites? Rachel Ray is great about little tricks to get your kids to eat healthier without them knowing. Check out her site she is great.

[deleted account]

I know this may sound kind of gross but I found my 4 year old will eat alot more of the foods I offer if I let her have "dippin sauce." She will eat most anything if I let her have a little dab of catsup and mustard on her plate. Those days when she still refuses to eat she just doesnt eat. I promise she wont starve. I also give her one of those childrens supplement drinks if she has had a lot of meal refusals. I dont want her to get rundown and make her open to catch whatever illness is floating around. The catch is I ask her to do something for me and then give it as a reward so she doesnt think she can get one whenever she doesnt eat. Hope I might have helped a little.

Patricia - posted on 10/10/2009

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I have been a picky eater most of my life and i guess only ate what i needed to eat. Sometimes we worry about our children's eating because they are not eating what we think they should, but sometimes kids listen to their bodies better!

Lisa - posted on 10/10/2009

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What if you have sensory child that wont eat ???Not as easy as some of you ladies say.....every meal time is a struggle if anyone has ideas let me know..

Vanessa - posted on 10/10/2009

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Have your child tested for sensory issues, my son didn't eat solids until the age of 3

he would gag at the sight of food after he was tested his therapist use all kinds of things to cause stimilation to his mouth. most kids with sensory issue will refuse food because of its color ,smell, or texure. so it has nothing to do with taste, He's also taking vite-chews and drinking pedia sure for poor growth. thank god i got the help he needed at a young age and he is doing great. Doctors say if you don't get the therapy soon it will be harder to correct

[deleted account]

4 year olds need far less food than I first thought. It sounds like you are not feeding too frequently. I found that if we skip snack, the kids will eat really well at dinner, but you aren't eating too often. Also, I recently learned that you have to offer a food something like 15 times before a child will like it. So, maybe offering predictable food could help. If she has some foods that she really likes (for example, my daughter loves bell peppers), you can offer those so she has a choice of something she likes. We offer only food that we are comfortable with them eating a lot of - rice, veggies, cheese, etc. My kids tend to prefer veggies raw, and are even more likely to eat them if they have grown, harvested, or selected them from the market themselves. If your child is losing too much weight, and refusing food, then there may be a medical issue... maybe an allergy or something that is upsetting her tummy. Good luck, Joy

Abby - posted on 10/10/2009

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I concur with Jodi, I've been trying new tricks so to speak with my soon to be 4 year old and its starting to work. If she doesn't like what she is made for breakfast i say okay don't ask for snacks nothing to lunch so on and so forth you get the Idea

Jane - posted on 10/10/2009

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tell her she needs to take a few bites before she can leave the table and then don't battle about it after that. she won't starve and she'll learn manners as well as what's for dinner is what's on the table. she'll get it. you shouldn't be making more than one meal to put on the table. my mom had seven kids and we all ate.

Marlyne - posted on 10/10/2009

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what are you cooking that she dont like? try puting diffrent colors on her plate: corn(yellow) noodles(white).....or make her eat it....if she dont thats all she gets let her kow you are not making anything else....it may sound mean,but she will come around to fill that tummy with what she see's....sometimes they out grow it...good luck

[deleted account]

When my children were small they were made to try the food before they could say whether they liked it or not. If sandwiches try making them into fun shapes. You could try letting her "help" with preparing the meal by giving her a small task (setting the table, if making mashed potatoes letting her hold the mixer, things like this). They are small but if she thinks she helped in making the meal she may eat more.

User - posted on 10/10/2009

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When considering the advice of others please bare in mind that this advice is assuming you have a healthy, happy child other than her picky eating. If she is steadily loosing weight or appears sickly (skin pallor, or weakness, listlessness, etc.) please see a doctor. Follow your instinct, if you suspect something is wrong check into it. Also, it may help you to know that some people, especially children have extra sensitive taste buds. Every flavor is heightened because of this. Things with mild flavor to you may taste very strong to her. Take note of what she is willing to eat, and not eat. You might even keep a food diary for a few days. See if you notice any patterns concerning taste or texture. Also, perhaps there is a food allergy, or a sensitve stomache at the root of the issue. Also children tend to eat more during a growth spurt than at other times. If the only issue is that she would rather eat junk food and turns away from the healthy food you are offering; than yes the answer is to be firm as others have suggested. It may take a period of consistency on your part to change inappropriate behavior. As a child I never could eat peas or cooked carrots—they made me gag every time (flavor and texture). I am fifty years old now and still do not eat cooked carrots or peas. One tactic that really seemed to help with my children was to provide them with choices concerning them. I.e.: would you like a story before nap time or a short video… would you like corn or carrots with your supper… you get the idea. Hope this helps.

Jacqueline - posted on 10/10/2009

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I have a 4 year old also who has been going through spells also , right now all he wants is pan-cakes , breakfast lunch and dinner if he can. He very picky I cant get him to eat veges ....but the doctor said its a faze. But Good Luck.

Fanny - posted on 10/10/2009

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I dont agree with going to bed hungry, not at her age. Have you tried having Rylie help prepare a meal? This worked for me when two of my kids went through the pickey stage (I have 4 kids). Maybe if she helps and the family makes a big deal about her helping to cook dinner, and how good it tastes, she will eat more. Good Luck.

Lisa - posted on 10/10/2009

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My personal opinion.....because my son was extremely picky as well. The child will let you know when they are hungry and you cannot hold food from them because that would be neglectful to say the least. Food is a necessity, not a privaledge. If you make dinner for your family and she decides not to eat it, offer her a bowl of cereal, oatmeal, or soup, somthing that is quick for you to make and thats it. No snack before bed, the snack in a privaledge, but at least she ate something. I do agree that if you make her something she will eat for dinner and your family and you are eating something entirely different then it is promoting the picky eater and it will drive you crazy.....if she eats at different times than you, enjoy the peace and quiet and eat your dinner. She will grow out of it....mine did. No use in sweating the small stuff and growing gray hair over it.....pick your battles....you have a lifetime of other things with her that are far more important. Good Luck!

Samantha - posted on 10/10/2009

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Try giving her a big meal for lunch eg like dinner food. If she eats it then then you really don't need to stress at dinner. Give her a sandwich at dinner or something light eg cheese biscuits, carrot sticks etc. Maybe she is too tired by dinner time to be bothered to eat something big. Then if she doesn't eat, atleast you know she has had her vege's/meat for the day. Good luck.

User - posted on 10/09/2009

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my aunt said she let her kids have a list of 5 things they didn't "have" to eat (ex: one was mushrooms) . otherwise, they had to eat what was put on the table. or at least try it. they could change the top 5 if they wanted to,but, they couldn't change all of a sudden at dinnertime, for example,

Carrie - posted on 10/09/2009

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I have the same problem. I find that my daughter will eat certain foods I will but, likes things a little more bland. For example, Velveeta mac cheese, spaghetti noodles minus the sauce. You honestly have to keep trying different things. Also, get some smaller divided plates, this makes them feel special. I found divided ones work best. Also sometimes, not often, I will place a very small piece of candy with the meal on the condition that she eats the meal or the offer of candy goes away. Now she usually will eat dinner without the candy. Take crusts off of bread. My daughter loves butter bread. If i know we are having something she absolutely won't eat I get her one of those Kid Cuisines. This is only every once in a while though. I also tell her that she needs to try everything once. She wouldn't touch cabbage rolls. I finally got to try the meat part and now she loves it.

Amber - posted on 10/09/2009

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I haven't read all the comments and someone may have said the same thing I'm saying but I make this homeade macaroni and cheese casserole that has corn in it. I'm all about the you fix what I make theory but sometimes hiding vegetables in the casseroles work. There is a book by Jerry Seinfeld's wife that talks about this. I don't know the title but you should check it out. It may help. The recipe for the mac/n/cheese is 1 c. velveeta, 1 stick margarine, 1 cup noodles, 1 can cream corn, 1 can corn...put in 8 x 8 and cook on 350 for an hour. Stir about every 20 minutes.

Diane - posted on 10/09/2009

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The result where negitive! Eventually we just made a game of dare, and he started to try new foods. I still blend some extra veggie's into the pasta sauce, and make some really good fruite smoothies. Fighting over food was something I felt wasn't worth the battle and negitive response. Try a new reciepe and incoporate something they like to eat into the meal. Sorry to disagree with the Mom's who would send their kids to bed hunrgy. That just doesn't sit well with me!!!

[deleted account]

Why is dinnertime the problem?

Is she tired? are there other siblings? She seems to require your attention at dinner time.

If there is no other reason then give her loads of cuddles make recipes and theme nights ie: scary sausages with monster mashh allow her to make menus place names, mats etc create a menu that she understands and participates with food is squishy and exciting (even if it goes in the bin) participation and love is a key ingredient.

There are alot of scares and pressures in this world do not force the issue make it fun x

ANGELICA - posted on 10/09/2009

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my son is a picky eater. when he was little i could get him to eat anything if I put katchup on it. yuck but it worked.

Joyce - posted on 10/09/2009

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Don't make this a battle of wills. Food should be enjoyed. Meal time should be looked forward to as family time. Does she eat fruit? Does she eat Peanut butter? Does she eat sweet potatoes? There are many ways to feed the hungry.



I have a four year old granddaughter that hasn't eaten a vegetable since baby food. We make sure she gets several servings of fruit each day. Peanut butter and whole wheat bread make the perfect protein. Last night for supper she wanted oatmeal (instance, apples and cinnamon with 50% sugar) I gave it to her. She is very healthy. Sweet Potatoes are nearly the perfect food! Bake her one and put some butter, sugar and cinnamon on it. Relax, fix her a plate of what you are eating, very small portions and if she doesn't eat it let it go. Make sure she gets some healthy fresh food each day.

Priscilla - posted on 10/09/2009

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When I was still young, I was also a picky eater. I was very skinny.But I'll tell you, time changes. Now I'm eating almost any kind of food. I never say no to what I've not yet tried to.It's just the same with my children (got 5 daughters) and some of my grandchildren (got 8, 5 boys ang 3 girls) Just let her and never force a child to eat if she doesn't want to. It's alright as long as she,s eating but not getting sick and malnourished. That's only a phase in a child's life until she past the poberty age or even some already older. But as I said, time changes everything. Don't get worried that much, it will only makes you looking older that your actual age, hi hi hi smile!

Patty - posted on 10/09/2009

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great aswsome way to get your kids to eat because forsing them to eat is not healthy

Patty - posted on 10/09/2009

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most kids are like that i have 4 and 3 were pickey eaters they like to eat on the go food cut up cheese grapes apples keep them in there reach the more you push the less she will eat give her good on the go choices and be glad she is not over waight because it is harder to stop them from eating to much because one of my children is over waight and it is much harder to control

Zina - posted on 10/09/2009

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Figure out what he/she likes to eat and give them enough to get full. Eventually they will eat.

Tammy - posted on 10/09/2009

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While I have not gone through this with my own children, I do believe in the whole philosophy of they will eat when they are hungry... however, let's be real - for a mom that just doesn't cut it! We worry too much, right??? As my dear friend has and is still going through this - my advise was simple... get a "treasure chest" and fill it with treats - not food items and not those cheesy little trinkets that the children don't really care about any. Put actual treasures that you know she can't resist inside of it. then work toward nightly/daily goals first. Once you see an improvement, move it to weekly incentives, etc... Eventually, ADD a major "bonus"... if you earn a treat everyday for this week...., if you earn one everyday for the month...etc... It can't hurt - right??? I just think that sometimes it should be a more positive experience - rather than some of the other approaches.

Lesley - posted on 10/09/2009

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Get your daughter to help you to cook dinner. Let her get utensils/food out, put the chopped veggies into a pan, pour things out the packet. Can end up a bit messy but it was the best thing I did. My son used to scream at dinner time every day with out fail the day he helped me cook dinner he sat down quietly and ate his dinner. Now hes enthusiastic about cooking and baking. Good luck

Karen - posted on 10/09/2009

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I know this sounds crazy, but give it a try. It worked for me. Don't focus so much on the "mealtimes". Have healthy snacks around 3 to 4 times a day. Put them within her reach, but DON'T tell her she has to eat them. Let her discover them for herself and let her think she's doing this all on her own. Most poor eaters are engaging their parents in a power struggle. Gradually get those snacks closer to mealtimes. This takes time and patience. Don't give up! It really works. Good luck!

Margie - posted on 10/09/2009

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My son is 11 and has always been a picky eater, he will not eat veggies or anything red, green or yellow this includes sauces which are usually made from veggies. I have taken him to the doctors to have blood work done and because I have him take vitamines he is doing ok. As for the replacement of the veg he doesn't eat he drinks V8 Splash ( he chooses the flavor). I gave up forcing him to eat them years ago he would just make him self vomit. He knows better now at his age what is good for him but he just doesn't like the way some things smell, taste or feel in his mouth. I have tried the whole whats on you plate is it and when he was younger he would go hungry. Some children will stand their ground firm. I know I am the parent but forcing is not the answer. Just don't allow empty calorie snack between meals or even after offer healthy juice or fruit. My thoughts are to have her checked by the doc and find foods or drinks to replace what she is missing.

User - posted on 10/08/2009

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I know you may have solved your problem by now but I thought I would share advice from a nutritionist I worked with. At 4 your daughter is old enough to help plan meal giving her a choice in what she eats and if your eating what she picked she will eat what you picked and at 4 she should take 4 bites of each item then 5 when she is older we needed this advice for a grandson who wouldn't eat anything but mac and cheese.

Kate - posted on 10/08/2009

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Most of the advice is good. Atleast you know you are not the only one! My two cents are:

1. Don't make a second meal for the child. You're setting them up for failure there, but do have something with the meal that they will eat. My son is not a huge veggie kid, but loved fruit...so we eat a lot of fruit.

2. I never "forced" the kids to eat. I learned the hard way that you don't do that when the kid gets the stomach flu and then throws up what you forced him to eat a few hours earlier. As an adult you know that sometimes you are just not hungry. Let it be.

3. When they were smaller and refused, that was fine. I made them sit at the table with the rest of family. They were told that if they were hungry later, they would get the re-heated food. I always followed thru with the threat. Sometimes they would eat, other times they just weren't hungry.

4. I am guilty of bribing them with treats; however, if they fussed about eating their food they would have to eat it and NOT get a treat. I wasn't going to reward that behavior. Its not a good practice because they need to learn to eat food that is good for them because it is good for them, NOT because they get ice cream when they are done. If i could eat chocolate all day I would, but I eat vegetable because they are good for me.



I tried the "let the kid help with dinner" stuff and never had much luck.

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