Toddler, refuses to eat pretty much everything...HELP!!!

Richeda - posted on 09/02/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My toddler is a very reluctant eater. He only like cereal, snack crakers, and pretty much anything sweet. He has eaten some veggies when hidden in soups or chilli. His weight is just fine but I feel he needs more that sweets and fried food. He like fries and tempura veggies!!! I need more options; he carefully examines food presented to him. I need tips, he will not fall for cute decorative foods.

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JuLeah - posted on 09/02/2011

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:) Carefully examines - cute

Well, does he like colors? Make a sticker chart ... every color of the rainbow listed and when he eats something from that color group he gets a sticker to put up

Red: strawberries, red pepper, tomatoes
Orange: oranges, carrots, mango
Yellow: Banana, pears, yellow squash
Green: Kale, spinach, broc, Kiwi
Blue: berries, cabbage,
Purple: some cherries, purple carrots, egg plant

By cute decorative foods you mean, like celery with peanut butter in it- tooth picks through the sides to act as axels, carrots circles to act as wheels and raisins to act as little dudes driving?

What if he helps to make the food?

You are correct that he needs more: In this era of diabetes and obesity in children ... we have use care

His youth, adult, and elder health depends on the nourishment he received in these years

His school performance, his sleep patterns, his mood ... so much is riding on diet and nutrition

No trans fats, but that goes without saying - dyes, added sugars, processed crap .... no artificial sweeteners ever ever ever .... organic if you can

Have him help shop, help make a list .... have him help your cook

What really worked with my kid was putting most of the food I wanted her to eat on my plate. She wanted to eat off of my plate ... I'd say, "You have your plate"

"Peeese Mama, I want dat"

And, I would reluctantly put broccoli on her plate ... she is nearly 10 and that still sometimes works

Tracy - posted on 09/04/2011

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A toddler will be very selective if they know they can get the options they like by refusing other stuff. who gives in and hands over the sweet stuff and the fried stuff?? ; ) Offer him small amounts of good foods at a time, make it interesting by using colour and making faces etc with the food. DONT make a big fuss about the food, don't say anything, dont try and talk him into it etc. Just assume he will eat it. Try to eat with him and make sure your choices are the same. If he sees you eating the same food without fuss, he will eventually follow suit. Don't give up after one try, keep offering the food each time until! It's a known fact that a child needs to see a food about 20 times before it becomes familiar enough to try. If he does eat anything good, make a big fuss over him as encouragement. If he resists, encourage him gently ie. look, mama's also having some yum, yum. Don't force else food will become a control tool to him. If he won't eat anything, after awhile remove the food and try again with something different but good later. When he's hungry enough he'll eat. DON'T crack and give in to the easy option. Ultimately you are shooting yourself, and him, in the foot if you do. If you can stick to this he WILL be eating better within a week. Be strong and stick to your guns. Tell yourself it's for his good, which it is. It's not cruel and he won't starve. Keeps the sweets and the fried foods away until you have achieved this. Good Luck!!

Lisa - posted on 09/03/2011

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In our household, we offer whatever the meal is for that meal. If the kids choose not to eat it, they can have a PB&J or cereal. If I'm making something I know my kids won't eat, I make them something else. I know many people will disagree with making two meals but I would rather meals be a pleasant experience, not something that becomes a battle. I've had talks with our pediatrician and he said when his kids were young, his oldest would only eat PB&J and milk for almost a year.

As far as sweets and junk food. Those are treats to my kids and they know it (4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 7 months) because they are hardly ever in the house. I only buy whole grain bread and put lots of fruits and veggies in the fridge along with yogurts, cottage cheese, string cheese, whole wheat crackers, raisins, etc.
I would only allow the foods in your house that you feel are acceptable for everyday eating and let the sweets and fried foods become treats. It may be a battle for awhile but he’ll get used to it. I also find that my kids are better eaters and make better choices when they are allowed to make the choice of what they want to eat.

Jodi - posted on 09/03/2011

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Oh, and I remember someone saying at one stage that her fussy eater LOVED sausages. So she got creative and purchased a sausage making machine and made her own sausages. By making her own, she was able to make them with LOTS of veggies in them. I thought that was a great idea, so I thought I'd share. If he likes pasta, there are also ways of including pureed vegetables in the pasta too....

Also, look up Jessica Seinfeld's book "Deceptively Delicious". I think she has also done a sequel. I have never had fussy eaters (except my husband, LOL), but she has some fantastic recipes to enhance your vegetable intake.

Sherri - posted on 09/02/2011

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I have a rule of thumb in my house. I make 1 meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They either opt to eat it or they don't but they do NOT get anything else. So if they are not hungry at meal time it stays on the table till the next meal as they will not get anything else.

I have to say my kids very rarely refuse anything they will at least try it and eat at least a tsp full. I always try and have one thing I know they like and add other things.

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Stifler's - posted on 09/04/2011

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My kid is the same. But I keep offering him healthy foods and he doesn't get anything else if he won't eat it.

Cindy - posted on 09/03/2011

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Our son is a very picky eater. We make him sandwiches then cut them out with a cookie cutter. Kids that age are not big eaters anyways. As long as his Iron & protein levels are good and his weight don't start to worry.

Sherri - posted on 09/03/2011

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@Jodi it is prepared food and is not hot here so no have no fears of being left on the table for a couple of hours, Heck it is only hot here for 8-12 wks out of the entire year.

Richeda - posted on 09/03/2011

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Eating from my plate worked with my daughter not my son. However, I thank you for your advice. We do sit down togetherfor meals because that is a fun and peaceful time for my family and I.

Richeda - posted on 09/03/2011

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I have tried this one many times...he will just not eat. But I thank you for your advice:)

Richeda - posted on 09/03/2011

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Thank you for your response very informative and I am hoping useful. I am going to try your tips ASAP!!! Thanks again:)

Maggie - posted on 09/03/2011

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if your son is that reluctant, i think it might be a good idea to eliminate those foods from your home entirely. the eating habits your child establishes now will stick with him for life. provide him with colourful meals, little bits of a large variety of things - veggies, fruit, cheese, meat, pasta, etc. And ... always keep in mind that children will not starve themselves. If he doesn't eat at mealtime and wants to eat afterwards, provide him with the same types of foods he was provided with during that meal otherwise he will learn to just wait it out.

how old of a toddler?

Jodi - posted on 09/03/2011

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"it stays on the table till the next meal as they will not get anything else."

You don't worry about the food spoiling?

Richeda, just a quick question, are you sitting and eating together as a family, or are you feeding your toddler separately? I often found with my kids, when they were going through that fussy stage, that if we were all sitting together and they were able to eat from my plate, they would eat more than if I fed them separately, and were also more likely to try things.

JuLeah has given you some great tips :)

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