How do you deal with a picky eater? Abosolutely refuses to try foods.

Kimberly - posted on 07/07/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

1

1

0

My son is almost 4 and will not try new things. I think he lives on chicken nuggets and mac n cheese. The only meat he will eat is chicken nuggets, breaded veal (if I tell him they are cut up chicken nuggets), bacon and eggs. He won't try new foods at all and I have tried a lot of things except sending him to bed hungry. I pretty much draw the line at that tactic. Need help!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

start first thing in the morning, don't offer anything you just listed. offer him something new for breakfast "don't want it" "okay, it will be here when you get hungry" eventually they do try the food. it takes some tantrums, but as long as you are strong it works.

Maria - posted on 07/07/2009

1

3

0

I think most kids go through this to some degree. As long as they are "thriving" at their well checks doctors do not seem to worry about the pickiness. We encourage our children to try new things, but my daughter is very stubborn. We don't force her to eat things,but she will not be allowed to have a desert or treat after dinner/before bed if she doesn't eat well. Good luck.

Vicki - posted on 07/07/2009

8

20

0

I totally agree with Heike! They are small children who do not know what is good for them. It is our job to teach them to try new things and to incorporate a healthy diet into their lives. They will not choose healthy things if they are offered their favorite foods everyday. Who would? If I could have chocolate cheesecake everyday (without the pounds) I would. We have to teach them at a young age, or they grow into unhealthy eating habits that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I went through this same thing with my 2nd son. I had to consult the doctor about it. She basically told me, what I just wrote. Her guidelines were... no junk food for breakfast ( overly sweet cereal, donuts, poptarts ), real meat or peanut butter sandwich with a serving of real fruit for lunch ( no bologna, hot dogs, chicken nuggets or pb&j's ), a serving of meat, at least two servings of vegetables, and a healthy grain serving for dinner. ( One serving of milk with meals, no sweet drinks in between, no refills on milk unless entire meal is finished.) One bite of everything, no 2nds unless all fruit or vegetables are finished. If they don't eat, they won't starve from one meal to the next. Doctors orders were hard to follow at first. A lot of tantrums the first week, a few the second, and none the third. Persistence totally paid off. Be strong and stay the course, it's worth it, knowing that you've given your child one of the best skills they will ever need. Hope this helps.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

17 Comments

View replies by

Carrie - posted on 07/16/2009

3

5

0

Have you ever seen the show "The Doctors" with that doctor from Nashville that was on one of the seasons of the Bachelor. They did a show once about a kid that was a picky eater and the doctor and the family sat down for a meal and they put all of the food on the table. The kid was in his seat and had a plate and fork but not food. The family started loading their plates and completely ignoring the kid. The started eating their food and talking still ignoring the kid. After about 5 minutes the kid asked for some of the food on the table. They only gave him what he asked for and only one piece at a time and went back to talking and ignoring him to see what he would do. He ended up trying a bunch of stuff and liking it and no one made a big deal at all. It worked. Granted Miles is just like Jake but I think he's too young to try this right now but I'm definitely going to have too within the next year I'm sure.

Charissa - posted on 07/09/2009

61

9

2

I have a 3 and 1/2 yr old who is also a very picky eater and an 18 month old who is the complete opposite. I'm still trying to figure it out myself!

I find now that if my daughter tries it first, he's more willing to try it.

The best trick for me, seems to be to just not give him an option. He has to eat what is put in front of him. Most of the time it works. If he really doesn't want to eat it, then I'll compromise and ask him to just give it a taste and then I'll give him something else. I'll usually ask him to try the food again another time. Eventually, he will accept the new food and eat it.

Jo - posted on 07/09/2009

6

10

0

If my 2.5yr old daughter doesn't like her dinner, I always ask her to have 3 big mouthfuls then she can have a treat (she loves dried fruit straps)- the 3 mouthfuls becomes 4 because we can't forget 'one for daddy'. I always ensure my girls get enough nutrition packed into their day so that I'm not in a panic about dinner which is the most difficult time of our day. Remember concentrate on foods that have calcium, iron, iodine and zinc- apart from everything else, your kids must eat these food groups every day.

Tanya - posted on 07/09/2009

29

4

4

Hi there, just something I did with both my kids was fill the bottom drawer of your fridge with healthy "snacks" like turkey bites cheese stix.baby bells cut veg in tupperware turkey 'pepperoni' washed fruit and let them know they could help themselves, change it up every now and then with cold meats and other stuff by "empowering"them with the choice they are more likely to try stuff (my friends used to say but what if they won't eat their dinner, ask yourself do you really care, they ate 'healthy snacks'from the drawer all day and tried all this new stuff!) I now take my kids shopping and let them choose things we go through cook books or you can try kraft online recipes and make something together even once a week to encourage them. have them stir a pot lay the table. Lives are so busy these days that we make try to make meal time an event we sit talk share ideas, with all the food in dishes in the center of the table you will be surprised at what they will try when they can help themselves ( the reality is You choose what went on the table) I also encourage my kids to order at a resturant take them to buffets the Mandarin is great as they have soooo much canadian food they can try it all and leave it if they do not like it. (during the week is cheaper and lunches) It tough I still often feel like a resturant cooking what seems like 10 different things the reality is I cook variations of the same meal, we like stir fry my daughter prefers her veg raw. we like sauce on our pasta she does not no sauce on pizza for her either no cheese for him she gets a sprinkle of olive oil thin sliced potatoes and cheese he gets the sauce etc, try to think out side the box a little I now cook all kinds of things for my kids I do not like, they love, its easy to get caught in that ,well I don't like it so I'm not going to make it for them! Good Luck this is a tough one with no overnite solution.

Take care Tanya

Anne - posted on 07/09/2009

2

2

0

I like to try new recipes. From the time my kid were very little, we made a big production out of trying something new. The entire family would rate it, from 1 star to 4 stars, with 4 stars being the best. It was so much fun for everyone to give their opinion, and sometimes we had to average the scores. My youngest daughter came up with the phrase, "I'll try a bite if you try a bite." This is the child who ate paella with shrimp, mussels, and squid in it! And gave it to the neighbor kid! By making it a family game to try new things, it will be fun. But be patient. This is very typical behavior for a 4-yr old.

Another thing that worked for me was to explain that every meal is made up of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. If there is something they don't like, then they have to substitute it with a similar item. For example, my daughter doesn't like potatoes. So it is her responsibility to get a piece of bread or cook some pasta to substitute for the potatoes. Sometimes they get tired of the chore of cooking for themselves, but sometimes it truly is a dislike or a consistency issue. It doesn't inconvenience me any for her to get her own carb. I do not cook around their likes and dislikes. With 4 kids, that would drive me crazy! (-er!)

Penny - posted on 07/09/2009

1

1

0

I have 2 boys. The 2 year old eats everything and the 5 year old eats the same as your son. I have been taking him to a behavioral specialist for a couple of months. They told me that it doesn't hurt to send him to bed hungry. So now he either eats his dinner or doesn't get anything else for the rest of the night. He is very slowly trying new things. He was at the point where he would throw up from getting so worked up about it but now its just the way it is.. I tell him "you get what you get and that's it".

Sharen - posted on 07/08/2009

32

8

5

I agree with some of the statements about eating what Mom gives you, but also make sure it is not a sensory issue for your child. Besides eating, does he not like to have dirty hands, won't touch certain items, obsesses with socks etc. If you think he is having some trouble processing textures, you can find help. It's usually just a phase, but needs a little assistance from you. A video with sensory activities that are fun and easy to do with household items might be helpful to you. see it on www.goofandgiggle.com It has helped others with problems and great fun for those who are not struggling but want to build brain power.

LaDonna - posted on 07/08/2009

21

10

1

the problem is you have to start them young. I do not eat vegetables at all and am an extremely picky eater it has never affected my children. When they were first trying foods I tried all kinds of things that I dont presonally eat because I didnt want to raise picky kids. We have what is called a no thank you bite in our house. We use a tablespoon amount and it is placed on their plate they must then take a bite and if they dont like it are allowed to say no thank you. However that being said i would start small introducing one new thing every couple of days. Also when you find something he does like there are websites that show you how to substitute good things like beets in cake so the child has no clue that they are eating something good for them because at this age nutrition over happiness is vital. The other REALLY big rule we have is noone is EVER allowed to say yuck. If one of the kids doesnt like something they dont have to eat it but if they say yuck they are to leave the table-only because the word yuck is contagious if one kid hears it they all say yuck. A child like an animal will not starve themselves they will eventually eat what is put in front of them. Most of all be the stronger person as the parent you know what is best for your child they have no clue. Also headstart is a fantastic program. My son came home from headstart one day and told me the food doctor (nutritionist) had been in and he needed to eat fruits and veggies at every single meal. For the last two years if hes hungry he opens a can of green beans or if there is something I make that he doesnt particularly like he opens a can of veggies. I also get him to retry the foods he doesnt like probably once a year as childrens taste buds change as they grow

Dena - posted on 07/08/2009

75

38

4

My son is/was the same way. He is 4 1/2 now and is getting a little more adventurous. Honestly it drives me crazy, but it won't kill him. I offer plenty of good foods and we are decent eaters. I figure he will either grow out of it, or in a year or 2 I will insist he try everything, at least once. Right now, I don't want to turn it into a battle. He is healthy and happy!! Good luck!

Gayle - posted on 07/08/2009

50

8

5

I asked my Dr about my children being picky eaters and she said that as long as what they would eat was healthy, it didn't really matter that there choice was limited. But I'm afraid I have resorted to "Well if you don't eat it there will be nothing else!" It worked for me though, they now try things and the sight of my son tucking into Lasagne and a Rocket Salad made the tears and the tantrums worthwhile. Good Luck in whatever you decide to do.

[deleted account]

Quoting Susan:

We always made sure we made a big deal about the delicious new food and then proceded to give some to everyone at the table except our picky eater. When she would ask we would tell here we didn't think she was big enough to have any. It's amazing how interesting she found things that were not on her own plate.


LOL thats great!

Susan - posted on 07/07/2009

1

0

0

We always made sure we made a big deal about the delicious new food and then proceded to give some to everyone at the table except our picky eater. When she would ask we would tell here we didn't think she was big enough to have any. It's amazing how interesting she found things that were not on her own plate.

Cheryle - posted on 07/07/2009

6

21

1

My 5 yr old daughter is a very picky eater also. I will sometimes trick her and tell her that she tried the food b4 and she liked it. Then she will take a bite and she usually likes it.

Heike - posted on 07/07/2009

14

18

1

Okay, I've got 4 kids (7,4,2 1/2, and 10 months). Our rules are: We eat together (as much as hubby's workschedule allows), you HAVE TO try at least one good bite of your food (chew AND swallow!), if you don't like it you don't have to eat it but there will be no other food until the next meal! Usually there is at least one thing on the table the kids will like. If they don't like the broccoli they can fill up on the potatoes and meat/fish. If the broccoli is in the soup - they can pick it out themselves! Usually they don't like dinking around with it and either try to get out of the whole meal or eat it anyways because they know the rules. And they know Mom, who means what she says!!!

My 4yr old son loves helping in the kitchen. I will let him dump the measured ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir things together (and of course, he gets to lick the spoon when we're done!). He helps set the table and takes care of his bowl after the meal.

If your son knows he won't need to go to bed hungry - he will not eat what you want him to eat unless its what HE wants to eat. You don't have to feel bad about sending him to bed hungry. He will understand that dinner/suppertime is at a certain time and after that there will be NO food (maybe a bowl of popcorn if you are having movie night) until breakfast. Just don't have movie night every night! Think of it that way: Hey good, he will be really hungry for a good breakfast!

So, try to involve him in the preparing of the meals and in the shopping. Let him decide whats for dinner once a week. The other nights you (or your other family members?) decide. Make sure he takes at least 1 big bite of each item on his plate. And make sure you put small portions on his plate. It turns kids off when there's too much on their plates.

Good luck and be strong! Remember that with every good and healthy meal you are adding years to your son's life!!!!!!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms