How do I get my daughter to eat what I cook?

Allison - posted on 05/21/2012 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I'm having alot of trouble getting my 2 year old to eat what I cook for us (the family). I don't want to be one of those parents who cooks up everything in the house trying to find something for her to eat, but I don't want her to go hungry either. What should I do?

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/22/2012

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Nope. That is not how it works in my home. If I make a meal that i know they will not eat, I simply provide them with something else. Sometimes the food I cook my husband is too spicy for them. I am a vegetarian, so i often don't eat the same thing as all of them. It is not a trap. It is my choice to mother this way, and no one makes me. You can say what you want, but you obviously don't know.

Amy - posted on 05/22/2012

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I have a picky 6 year old and like Little Miss I know there are things that my husband and I will eat that he will not. For example he doesn't like spaghetti sauce so if I make meatballs and sausage I simply don't put them all in the sauce and set a portion aside for him. If I'm making chili I set aside some turkey to make him a turkey burger to eat while the rest of us eat chili, I don't really think I'm making separate meals and if worst comes to worst he gets sandwich meat.

There are also non negotiables in the house, he doesn't really care for meat but doesn't like the alternatives either so until he will eat the alternatives he has to keep eating meat.

Amy - posted on 05/22/2012

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My son went through a phase around two where he was super picky & then a phase aroung 4 when he wanted nothing green (kid you not, he wouldn't even eat green candy). When he was being picky @ 2yrs old my rule was he had to try 1 bite of what we were having but other than that I always made something he enjoyed ( I agree with asking what their in the mood for, it makes it way easier) he "got over it" in about four months & went back to eating normal. With the nothing green phase we had to do a "yes, please" helping or a "no, thank you" helping because he loves green beas, broccoli etc but I also made other veggies of different colors. He wasn't try to be "tricky" or anything else he just went through phases...even adults do it the only difference is we make our own food! Our bodies sometimes crave different things depending on what we need nutritionally. My son is now 9 & I still give him the choice between 2-4 things for breakfast, lunch for school & dinner that way I'm not pushing him to eat something that doesn't sound good but I am also not just letting him have anything he wants. I try very hard to always have yogurt & a good variety of fruits & veggies on hand too because I refuse to let him go to school without eating but sometimes he truly is not hungry. For example yesterday he had a yogurt, a cutie, celery & a slice of turkey for breakfast, not what sounded good to me but it worked for him :) Hope this helps, good luck

Kelina - posted on 05/22/2012

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haha little miss, I had a friend once who would eat nothing but grilled cheese for over a month. She was about 7 at the time I believe. Kids do know how to get their way. And if we fall into the pattern of making them something different for dinner every night simply because our kids say they don't like it(which some kids will do even if they've never tried it simply because it looks different or they want something else)then they will learn that all they have to do is tell mom they don't like it and she'll cook something else which can get incredibly time consuming and frustrating. Call it a pattern, call it whatever you like, it's still something that most parents don't want to do. Personally I call that a trap.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/22/2012

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It is not a trap either, thank you very much. Kids don't know to "trap" their mom into making different things, they just know what they don't want and what they DO like.

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Allison - posted on 05/22/2012

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Thank yall so much for the advice. I am going to start trying to use the tips yall gave me. Yall have been a great help.

Brittany - posted on 05/22/2012

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I would never make everyone in the family a different meal, either they eat what I make, or they can have PB&J after sitting through dinner with the family.

Now that being said, my children are not that young. I would also be concerned that my child was going hungry. Try to incorporate a small amount of a food you know she will like (mashed potatoes ect) along with new foods. I also like the idea of seeing what she would like for dinner, or see if you can get her to help you with preparing dinner, even if it`s something small, like pouring the noodles in the water - her feeling part of the process may help make her want to try the new things.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/22/2012

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I actually don't mind cooking different meals for everyone. My kids ate oatmeal last night, my husband and I had veggie tacos. Some nights we all eat the same thing, sometimes I make 4 different meals. No biggy. My choice though. I would prefer not to fight at every meal.

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It's normal for the kids to get fussy with food at this age. Don't stress it and don't let her become stressed either. You can't force the food into her and she will soon learn to eat what is on offer. If there are one or two foods she particularly likes and will eat anytime, you can perhaps incorporate small amounts of those into her meals while still offering the other food that your whole family enjoys. At two, she is still learning about taste and texture and this may go on for many years to come, but stay persistent and keep encouraging new foods. My kids are 5 and 9 and are really starting to appreciate the new and different recipes we are trying, and I NEVER fell into the trap of cooking separate food for either of them. Good Luck.

Kelina - posted on 05/21/2012

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On top of the other advice, you can try having her help plan out the meals. What does she want for dinner? Would she like to help you make it? Is there a reason she doesn't want to eat specific foods(ie there's onions in it or mushrooms) Then fi you can, try cooking more foods without those things or setting aside portions without those things in them. I use onions and mushrooms as an example cause I can't stand the darn things, lol. Crunchy worms and sponges-yuck! sometimes it's a texture thing, sometimes it's just a taste thing like ginger or garlic. Then try to work with what she tells you.

Medic - posted on 05/21/2012

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Kids don't let themselves go hungry. Just stand your ground and she will learn to eat.

Firebird - posted on 05/21/2012

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If she's hungry, she'll eat. As long as you don't cater to her, she'll learn to eat what's in front of her. Your life can't revolve around cooking a hundred things trying to find one that she'll eat, and that's just one of those lessons that she has to learn. Don't worry about it. You did your job, you put edible food in front of her, it's up to her if she eats it. There are some cases where a person has problems eating certain textures, but chances are, you'd notice that.

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