my 10 soon to be 11 year old boy will not eat food for me. When he was about 2 he just seemed to get a turn off of regular food and for the past 8 years his diet consists of cereals, yoghurts, bread, peanutbutter and crackers or biscuits. His dinner every day is 4 weetabix we have tried everything from bribing him with money to buying him any game console he wants just to try 1 spoonfull of any meat veg or fruit but he refuses .He just seems to have a real phobia about trying anything new at all unless its sweets or chocolate. Having said all this he is a good weight and very healthy child and our G.P. does not seem too worried about him but I would really like him to start trying other foods especially as christmas dinner is always marred when he sits down with us with his weetabix. He looks on as though he wants to try something but is afraid to. If anyone has a similar problem or any suggestions I would love to hear from them. One person did suggest we have him admitted to hospital and have him force fed but I am very opposed to that idea

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Dena - posted on 07/13/2010

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I was wondering how you were doing with this. My son is 11.5 yrs old and eats 4 things. No veggies. No fruit. No meat. No pasta. My doctor says "pick your battles". The INSTANT I make him try something, he gags over the texture. I've tried EVERYTHING. Therapy. Forcing him to sit at the table with a spoonful of what we had. Bribing him with new XBox games, money, even his friends were trying. NOTHING. He wont budge. Hes teeting at 70 lbs. He's a twig. He plays sports year round and he takes a multivitamin every day and his menu options are getting smaller and smaller. What did you do?

Janina - posted on 02/25/2009

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Not to alarm you - have you ever thought that he might have a sensory integration issue? Some kids won't eat foods that are certain textures. They simply can't do it. If you attempt to force them they will gag. Other kids with sensory integration problems are hypo or hyper-sensitive to auditory or visual stimuli. There are strategies for overcoming these issues - if you google sid or sensory integration you will found tons of info. Once again, not to alarm you but I've come to discover that GPs are pretty ill-informed when it comes to this diagnosis. At the least - you will be able to add to the wealth of information that you probably already have regarding cajoling/coercing your little guy to take "at least five bites!"!

Misty - posted on 02/25/2009

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I'm so sorry to tell you this, but you gotta get rid of the Wheetabix.



He's 10 now.  If he were 2, I would give you completely different advice.



But, his body can only seem "healthy" for so long...it will eventually show evidence of his diet.



He won't starve himself.  (You might think he will, and he might give it a really good fight just to make you pay for trying to change things).  But he won't starve himself.



Ask his teachers to keep an eye out for you as to what he is eating at school, so that you'll know if he's eating through the day (while he is convincing you at night that he has eaten NOTHING all day, to make you concerned and change your mind).



He needs more nutrition, simply put.  I know you love him very much, or else he wouldn't have been able to get away with this for so long.  But you're going to have to love him more than showing him affection and understanding...you're going to have to show him that people who love him are concerned about his health and his future, and that it may not feel like "love" when Mom takes away the Wheetabix, but it is....

Nicky - posted on 02/25/2009

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Hi Ann...I met a woman in the beauty shop who had a similar situation but her son was a little younger. She told me that she was seeing a specialist for diet training. Her son was being trained on how and what to eat because there was something psychological going on. So maybe try calling a GI or dietitian for training. Best of luck

Jennifer - posted on 02/25/2009

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I was the same way when I was little and I'm fine now :) Whatever you do, PLEASE do not try to force him to eat new things, there are certain foods I still won't eat because of tramatic experiences I associate with them. Just know that he will grow out of it eventually!

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Ann - posted on 09/05/2012

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I have a 11year old daughter she will wont eat she bad asthma I am all in and out of hospital with hir we have try something she wont eat everything put in front of hir only toast

Ann - posted on 02/26/2009

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Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions maybe solutions to my problem I will be taking all your comments on board

Jen - posted on 02/25/2009

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well it sounds like you have a problem don't you? I was watching murry one time and it was about the same problem you have and what he sugested is that when you have dinner don't make him anything different make him the same thig as everyone else when he tells you he won't eat it tell him he eats what everyone else is eating or he dosen't eat at all. Don't get me wrong he will put up a fight but you need to stand your ground!!!!! As long as he drinks lots of fluids and eats his weetabix in the morning he will eventually eat what is in front of him because he will be hungry and not want to go hungry again till morning. Mind you start small something that looks good, tastes good yet good for you. eventually he'll come around. Hang in there Ann

Debbie - posted on 02/25/2009

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No, he wont eat any of that either, he will have a slice of bread but with now butter on it, I have to send him to school with dry bread and fruit juice or water, that is all he will drink besides the occasional rooibos tea.

Amber - posted on 02/25/2009

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Does he like condiments such as ketchup, jam, ranch dressing, etc.? i have very picky eaters. My son is very picky. I have started to puree steak and mix it in his ketchup. I have pureed chicken and put it in jam, peanut butter anything that it can be well disguised in that he likes. Just a suggestion, The Magic Bullet is amazing for doing this.

[deleted account]

my nephew was the same way he is now 13 a year ago his mom took him to a kids chiropractor it was something in is neck area that was out and now he eats alot of different foods

Debbie - posted on 02/25/2009

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P.S my son will go to bed hungry, I have tried to keep all biscuits e.tc away from him, although i must say he is not really keen on too much sweet things, so witholding things from him doesnt make a difference, he would rather go to bed without food than try anything new.

Debbie - posted on 02/25/2009

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I am having the same problem with my son, he is 6 years old and the only place where his diet differs is that he eats oats for supper and breakfast. He will eat chicken nuggets at times but simply refuses to eat anything. I have even threatend to call SUPER NANNY. I have tried everything and like your son, my son is also healthy and growing well. I know that this could affect his health in the long run so I do not want to leave it but am at my wits end with him. I could really do with some help here.

[deleted account]

well the thing that works best at my house is. I got rid of all the fruit snacks, puddings, chips, candy etc.. I cook 3 meals a day . I leave fruits out for them to grab when they get hungry they don't eat what I make then they can go with out foor that meal, they can't fix something else and they can't have cereal. I've never known a kid to starve to death by missing a meal or two. They will start eating what you cook if you get rid of the junk and put out the fruit. Get rid of the crackers and have them be a treat. This has worked great in my family and I have 5 children between the ages of 20-3

Rebecca - posted on 02/25/2009

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I just attended a child development class that talked about this issue. The nurse that led the class recommended reading books by Ellyn Satter. I just read "How to Get Your Kid to Eat, But Not Too Much" and I think the advice is great. You should definitely read one of her books because there's a lot of information there for all kinds or problems.



But to moms who are feeding their kids to eat limited diet because you think you have no choice, just imagine if all those products/foods were no longer available and no matter how much your kid whined or cried he or she still couldn't get them. They wouldn't starve, right? Our kids are smart. They'd adapt. I'm not saying to get rid of all your kid's staples but that there is a way to change their eating and to get them healthier, which is important.



Good luck!

Amanda - posted on 02/25/2009

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I would not be hugely concerned that he will not eat meat. Protien comes in many ways, only one of which is animal protien. My son has some sensory issues, part of his Asbergers, and he will not eat certain textures. It took him until just a few months ago to be willing to ask to try a new food or willing try one. He will be 12 very soon. His diet has been a basic mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and hot dogs for years. We have simply given up on forcinghte issue after his doctor said he was doing ok. He is essentially keeping himself a restricted diet.



My son will eat vegetables provided they are not cooked in any way. He preference is right out of the garden without being washed, but NO tomatoes. We allow him to eat most of what he wants if it is healthy, and if its not he is given a choice of other healthy items. it is his choice to eat or not, but he is not starving so all is well. Trust your doctor and trust your child to know what he needs. his body just may work differently from what you think it should.

Susana - posted on 02/25/2009

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Im really glad to see that there are other's out there with the same issue.  My son 6 soon to be 7 stopped eating at the age of 1.  He use to have baby food , veggies,  rice, chicken.  He only eats casadian farm cereal with cream cheese on top of each square, chicken tenders from Burger king only, lunchable pizzas without the cheese.  It really kills me!  It's really difficult especially when we go on vacation.  I guess the only thing I can say and hope is that he will get over it as he gets older. I HOPE!!!!  We just have to all hang in there and thank God that they are healthy although their eating habits aren't.  Lots of Luck to all.

Sarah - posted on 02/25/2009

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4 of my 6 children were like that. One would only eat fruit, which isnt too bad I suppose and one of the others would only eat vegemite sandwiches. The only thing that worked for me was to give them no other option than to eat the meal you have prepared for them. They may not eat for a day or two, which I understand is fine as long as they have fluids. When they are really hungry, they will be grateful for the food and eat anything. I know it sounds harsh, but as long as you give them options and buy them game consoles, they will continue to use that to their advantage. Hope this helps.

Alison - posted on 02/25/2009

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I have a 12 year old boy thats exactly the same...he has a good appetite, but will only eat potatoes ( in any format) bacon, beans, bread, milk, cereals apples and bananas(under duress!!) He ate everything put in front of him till 3 years old, stir frys, pasta you name it and then just stopped. I look forward to readign the replies to your question.

Alexis - posted on 02/25/2009

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im not sure if this is going to help, but if all he know is the diet he has had for the last 8 yrs then it might be a bit daunting for him to try new foods..... i wouldnt focus too much on him and his eating. kids can be funny little creatures, maybe there is more to it than just the food, maybe its attention seeking, maybe he is embarred to try someting new as to the reaction he may think he will get, maybe offer him 1 pea, 1 piece of carrot and one small piece of meat, or what ever you have for dinner and leave it on the plate for him, dont watch him and dont make a fuss if he wont eat it..... but leave it there for him, that is his and if it takes him all night then it does but if not then he has to throw it away and wash the plate....... i dont know, i wouldnt force him to eat but then i wouldnt make a big deal about it either, if it is attention then hopefully it will wear off and he will start eating.....

good luck,, i do hope i have offered some sort of help........

[deleted account]

when my younger sister turned 9 she just stopped eating anything new. she stopped eating fruit and anything that was brightly colored or had a weird looking texture.

my mothers solution was a mircle in it self!

she created this game and if you won you got to go on a solo night out to dinner with mom. my oldersister and i were in on it and alwasys let my sister win.

this is how the game went:

you start off by blindfolding the child or children and sitting them at the table.

then they open there mouth and you put a small amount of food on there tongue, barely enough to chew at all but enough to give them the flavour.

they then hav to guess what the food is.

the child then tries to guess what the food is. the one with the most right wins.

this is a great way to get them over the aversion of trying things they don't like the look of because they can't see it.

after playing this game 2 to 3 times a week for 2 monts my little sister loved to eat everything and try new foods.

hope this helps

Misty - posted on 02/25/2009

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In the meantime, I agree...don't force feed!



If he wants to eat, he will eat things that taste bad (we've all been there).



But, don't make him.



And, do try to be considerate of his likes...don't fix anything he absolutely hates during this time...for instance, don't go crazy and serve salad all week.



Give him some "other" options. 



It's kind of like clothes...



You want your 4-year-old child to look nice for family pictures...they want to dress themselves.



Give them some options, and they can pick the "best" of all the stuff mom picked out for them. (even if they wouldn't have chosen it themselves).



 

Roberta - posted on 02/25/2009

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You are describing me!  I am 29 years old with a new baby and I am scared that he will have my habits.  I don't eat vegtables, none.  I plan on doing what I do at work and wishing for the best.



Don't force it, just offer it is the way it works at the day care I work at,  we just offer the kids what was made and don't give them other options.  They will not starve, but they will eventually start to eat what is put in front of them. 

Holly - posted on 02/25/2009

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I have seven children everyone of them has different tastes and eating habits. My pediatrician told me to give them a mult vitamin everyday. I make a plate for each one of them they eat what they want. I try to make meal time as less stressful as possible and don't make a big deal of it and they eventually will come around to trying new things when sibling or other children are. I have a six year old who had texture issues and he lives on Life Cereal, Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, and corn dogs. He is actually my healthiest child. So I think the more that everyone stresses over food the less likely he is to try, Let it go as long as he is healthy and see what happens. My six year old now likes corn, steak, and apples.

Lauren - posted on 02/25/2009

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Do what Dr. Kevin Leman says in his book How to make children mind without loosing yours.



He says, "next time you make dinner don't make him a plate, let everyone else eat dinner and don't make a plate for him."  "When he comes to the table and asks where is is his food, tell him you didin't make him any b/c he doesn't like food." 



Leman suggested this to all of his readers and at all of his conferences and it works every time.



My kids don't like to eat the same vegetables, so one day I didn't set them a plate, and when they asked where their food was, I told them I didn't make them any b/c they never liked it before and it went to waste.  I said I didn't want to do that again.  My children would then look at the food and smell it and think about how hungry they were and said to me, mommy i'll eat the food, i'm hungry.  So I made them a plate and they ate every bite.  No screaming, no crying, no negotiating.  It was glorious.  To this day I do not have problems with them eating the food.



 



ALSO, something i noticed,  if you don't put different food on their plate they will never try anything new.  You may have to offer something 10 or more times before they will even try it.

Eugenia - posted on 02/25/2009

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Just a question....

Do you give him snacks in between meals??? Most kids live with snacks, what happens with that is that later they're no hungry, if they're not hungry... they lose interest. I'm not saying that even without snacks your kid will eat better or try new things.

I think it's good to be hard in situations like yours. For example, I don't give them choices at the main meals of the day. If I make chicken with brocoli for dinner and they don't eat all of it (or most of it) then they cannot get off the dinner table until they finish, or they just can spend the rest of the evening in their bedroom (no TV, no toys). This is just my way to make them understand that they need to eat to be healthy and there isn't any other choices, this is it! The more choices the more difficult for them. Again, this is my own way to teach them and to not let them get away with their own way.

If you try this, you might end up being so worry because your kid might not eat for a couple of days, but as long as he drinks plenty of fluids and his breakfast... you shouldn't give up to soon.

The option to take the weetabix at friends house or family gatherings for your kid's dinner I think it's wrong. Kids are too smart and at this point he has finishing testing you, he knows he can have his weetabix for dinner every day, and he knows you are worried about him and that you would rather him to eat that than not eating anything!.

My suggestion is for you to be a little harder on him, let him have a big breakfast and see what happens at dinner time if he refuses to eat what you made. Start with chicken ( you could make chicken tenders and homemade potato chips), you know! meals that kids ussually like and little by little give them more complex stuff.

Mary - posted on 02/25/2009

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There is a really good book that addresses this issue exactly. Its called Disease Proof Your Child- Feeding Kids Right by Joel Furhman, MD. Good luck!

Stephanie - posted on 02/25/2009

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I would certainly suggest that you place a plate with the items you serve everyone else at the table.  Encourage him to try at least two bites of each item before eating anything of no nutritional value or something of his choice.  If he sits there long enough or becomes hungry he will eventually try the items placed in front him.  You are basically giving a 10 control of his own diet.  I have had troubles with two of my children refusing to eat items placed on their plates at 10 and 12 simply because they had never been introduced these food groups by their other parent.  We have a rule you eat 1/2 of each item on your plate and you have to eat everything on your plate before getting seconds of another.  So for every item of his choice he he should try at least two bites of each item placed in front of him at meal time.  He's a child and you should't be forced to make seperate meals because of his refusals.  He will eventually become anemic or starve from foods which have no nutritional value that his body will need.  This in turn could make him ill or even become very weak.  Let me know ....try dried fruits as a snack on the go or fresh fruits something swee with nutrition.

Debbie - posted on 02/25/2009

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My son was the same way. I started to cook breads and let him help and we put in some fruit (mushed up) in the dough. I also froze the yogurts with mashed up fruit in it. Vegies can be added in the bread also. He has since grown out of it and now eats me out of house and home so just hang in there.

Tracy - posted on 02/25/2009

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I had this problem with my son. If he hadn't had it before, he didn't like it. One year, when we were on vacation, I told him that vacations were about trying new things, so he had to try at least one new thing a day. It didn't necessarily have to be food, but he had to try something new. Most days, it was food, and he just quietly accepted it. If he didn't like it, that was fine, but he had to at least try it. Another thing you might try is ordering appetizers at a restaurant, to share. Make a point of saying that you have never had it before, but want to try it. Let him see you trying new things.

Christina - posted on 02/25/2009

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I have a boy, the same age, he'll be 11 next Monday.  He eats very little, and won't try anything.  I don't think that there is anything to do except continual offering, but I can't stand to see him not eat, so I'll prepare him something he likes.  My son is on the small side, but not off the chart or anything, and he has plenty of energy.  I did start giving him vitamins, to help (me more than him probably).  I was a super picky eater as a kid (I lived on Nutella sandwiches for many years), and now I will try anything and like many different types and cultures of foods, so I am just hoping he is the same.



If you ever come up with anything, please let me know.



Thanks,

Marie - posted on 02/25/2009

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It sounds like he has oral tactile issues. You might want to ask your pediatrician about referring you to a therapist.

Joanne - posted on 02/25/2009

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I have a 5 year old daughter who is exactly the same. She wont eat cooked meals and leaves off marmite on toast. She also seems afraid of food and I worry that she will have problems as a teenager. Doctors says she is health weight and growing so wont do anything!!! You have my sympathy

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