How do I get them to eat?

Kim - posted on 02/12/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My son is 4 years old and my daughter is 2 years old. They are the WORST eaters! My daughter only wants to eat cereal bars, waffles, spaghetti, taco, mac n cheese, pizza and french fries. Occasionally she'll eat spaghetios, chicken nuggets, fish sticks or ask for something off my plate but not often. My son is also not a good eater. He will eat an occasional mix veggie and been mash potatoes but not much more than my daughter. I cook almost every night and we always sit down as a family but there are a lot of nights when neither will eat anything I make. For instance, tonight I made steak, mashed potatoes, and mixed veggies. My son only ate potatoes and my daughter didn't eat anything. I'm so frustrated and don't know how to get them to eat. My oldest son will eat just about anything. While my 1 year old basically eats more than my 2 yr old everyday. Any ideas would be great! I am also a picky eater but I have been very careful to expose my children to all types of food, but I'm starting to get discouraged about cooking every night when half of the food is thrown away.

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[deleted account]

To begin with, throw out every item of junk food in your house. No more cereal bars, mac & cheese, fench fries etc. Do not buy them. If your children see them in the house or see you eating them, they'll want that stuff. Make sure you have the TV OFF! Produce what you've made, if they don't like it, tell them that's all that's on offer. Make sure they see you eating and enjoying it. Be calm, no yelling, no pleading. Save it and you can heat it up if they want it later.

When you're out and they want some food, just don't buy it for them. if they kick up a fuss, too bad.
But bear in mind, as you're a picky eater, they might turn out to be picky eaters too.
Best of luck.

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Sneaky - posted on 02/13/2011

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You can contact an Occupational Therapist for an assessment (I doubt that either of your picky eaters has eating problems and are just picky, but an assessment can rule that out). The OT should also be able to help you develop a method, that works for your kids, to encourage them to get familiar with unfamiliar (or undesirable) foods.

My five year old daughter is motivated by stickers and it works on five step process - one sticker for 'looking' (eg leaving the food on her plate instead of throwing a tantrum until the food she does not want is removed), one sticker for 'smelling' the food, one sticker for 'touching' (with her fingers) the food, one sticker for 'tasting' (even if she just touches her tongue to it) the food and one last sticker if she actually 'bites' the food. It's not about forcing her to eat, just about encouraging her to try new/different things. Even if she only gets one sticker for leaving her food on her plate I consider that a 'win' and give her lots of lavish praise for it :o)

Good luck.

[deleted account]

Kim, the cereal bars are probably the worst thing you can give him. They are so unhealthy:

Recently the campaigning group the Food Commission tested 18 cereal bar products and found that all of them were high in fats, sugars, or both. For reference purposes the UK Food Standards Agency defines a high sugar product as containing 10g/100g of product and a high fat product as containing 20g/100g. The Nutri-Grain cereal bar contains 31g/100g of sugar, and 13.5g/100g of fat.

A quick scan of the ingredients reveals not only a mind boggling array of different health depleting sugars, but also the ubiquitous ingredient ‘vegetable oil’. This term can be used to indicate any refined oil (other than olive oil), but is usually polyunsaturated corn or sunflower oil, which adds omega 6 fatty acids to a modern diet already overburdened with them. An overbalance of omega 6 (also known as linolenic acid) in relation to other essential fats has been linked to the development of cancer, immune system damage, hormone imbalance, heart disease and stroke. In short, with every bite of fatty junk food like this we are being polyunsaturated to death.
http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_...

So it would be agood idea to find something more nutritious for his snack.

Kim - posted on 02/12/2011

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I have those foods in my house, but I don't make them regularly. I think we've had mac n cheese twice in 3 months. They are for the nights that we don't have a lot of time to make a real meal and need something quick. I don't give them an option of whats for dinner. They just choose not to eat the nights that I'm not having anything they like. The cereal bars are the healthiest things they eat because they are the nutragrain bars. I really can't rid of them because it is the only thing that I can get my son to eat at pre-k for snack.

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