How do I get my son to eat more different things?

Heather - posted on 06/03/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )




Hi everyone,

My son, 4, was recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS, very high functioning. He is a picky eater. Mostly brown rice and pasta. Once in a while spaghetti and sauce, tuna casserole or sheppard's pie. How do you get your child to eat different things or new things. Thank you!




User - posted on 06/03/2010




Hi Heather,

There is show on tv called House of Tiny Tear Aways...think that's the title. Anyways, it's a documentary type show where families live in a house, monitored by cameras, and this British child developmental specialist (she might be a dr...haven't watch it nough) gives these families parenting tips...

Well, coincidentally, the one family had two boys with eating issues...the only only eating pureed foods.

So, to encourage eating, she had five plates, covered with bowls. The Mystery Food! Little guy lifted up bowl one, something easy to eat...then progressively out of the comfort zone. Little guy had to put food in mouth at the start (these would have been pudding, yogurt...nothing to cause the gag reflex) but the last dishes had texture. For these foods, he simply touched, smelled...maybe long as he made contact it was a success. Each serving was a bite size/spoon serving portion. At the end, once through all five bowls....WOOHOO! Bells and whistle time! Little guy got a sticker,or a tiny car...a ribbon. Something, then a big smiley face on the chart.

The specialist stressed every step of it had to be a positive experience...little guy was not to feel pressure, only enjoy the success of trying.

So, taking a cue from that lady, you could set up the five bowl game of mystery foods and just introduce foods with that fun atmosphere.

I have also seen a program where they set up a big dice with six colours...and then there were six bowls with six different coloured foods and whatever colour that landed, that was the colour you tried (you could do it with coloured bowls and have a food in that bowl...again, fun times! Even if it means just smelling, licking, stress for you or child)

So, I think at this stage, back up and instead of thinking how to eat new foods, think of it as how to experiment with trying new food. Think exposure first and then build in steps.

Good luck.



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Tina - posted on 06/10/2010




My son was recently diagnosed PDD-NOS, sensory processing disorder. He has an extremely limited diet due to his sensory issues. His OT suggested at school that we have two plates at the table, one with his approved foods and one with new items to try, just a few, not overwhelming, Once he gets used to them, then we implement another technique, first we ask him to touch it. Then to hold it, then smell it, then kiss it, then to taste with his tongue, and finally to hold it in his mouth on his tongue. It's a very long process and can take quite some time but we've seen some progress with it.
Another OT that we have worked with suggested placing an approved food with a new food and eating the together. For example, my son loves crunchy, so we did some raw baby carrots (approved food) with some brown rice(not approved). Each bite had a crunchy carrot with it, it worked, he had almost five tablespoons of rice and it has been increasing since.
It seems to be all trial and error.
Hang in there!

Tahlia - posted on 06/10/2010




My son is a very picky eater and what ive been doing lately is not providing the things he usually eats. Put out different food for a week and see what he does. Thats how ive been getting my 4 1/2 year old to eat different things. Good luck hope it helps


Alisha - posted on 06/08/2010




Amanda~ food chaining is like first you would bring out lets say a ritz cracker...then you would bring out a chicken nugget..cause they are both tan on the outside and white on the inside and simular in shape..then after the chicken nugget you could bring out a chicken stick so you would just change the shape..then after the chicken stick you could bring out maybe a carrot stick there the same shape but now a different color..then it could be a cheeto puff same color same shape just different crunch..its very cool you can also do purees and put them in a pipping bag and then that way you can make it in any shape you need to match on the plate...Hope this made sense haha

Amanda - posted on 06/05/2010




Sheila - what an awesome idea! Can't wait to try ...

Alisha -- would you mind explaining a little bit about what "food chaining" is? it sounds intriguing.


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Morgan - posted on 06/05/2010




My son is the very same way! He has his favorites and of course when a new dish is introduced he will slap my hand away. I have figured out that if I put a small amount on his lips(without him see me) he will then have to taste it....that gives him the opportunity to make a decision on taste instead of sight. This works 70% of the time. Good luck :)

Alisha - posted on 06/04/2010




my son is a very picky eater he has a diet of about 4 foods and its yogurt, plain chips baked, ritz crackers, and sometimes chicken nuggets...we go to a feeding group they do SOS approach and food has been helpful it has brought him to the point of being able to tolerate the food in front of him and sometimes even touch it . Its very small baby steps but they are in the right direction..Good luck!

Karen - posted on 06/04/2010




With Ja (Joshua) I had 1 bite (and I made sure it wasn't spinish/broccilli/sour krout) on his plate (and ours) and if he tried it he got desert/ and one on one time. (time with me alone extra) LoL He's 11 now and though it worked well he doesn't crave that 1 on 1 time anymore; so I use his Pokemon game on the DS

Heather - posted on 06/03/2010




Hi Heather, it's all trial and error. Also ask him why he doesn't like certain dishes. Sometimes it's a texture thing with these kids, once it's in their mouth it doesn't "feel" right. Keep the faith, Heather

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