How to get my 2 and 4 year old to eat?????

Brandi - posted on 11/11/2008 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I have tried everything. There are only 5 things they will eat. Most of the time they will not even eat those things. They will always eat snacks.... but I will not let them have any if they don't eat which ever meal we are on. Not only do I need my kids to eat- I need them to eat more then; mac and chesse, pizza, chicken nugets and noddles w/butter.

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My 2 year old refuses to eat vegetables. so if she doesn't take one bite she gets no snack, but everyone who ate at least one bite of everything gets snack. I keep her plate on the table so that if she decides she wants snack too she can then eat her one bite. But do not keep everyone else from having snack, because then the concept may not make a point.

Brandi - posted on 11/12/2008

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Thanks everyone- sounds like great advise. I will start it this weekend. I will let everyone know how it worked out.!!

Leigh - posted on 11/11/2008

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The rule in our home is that you have to try 1-2 bites of everything and chew and swallow that bite. They are offered everything even if they didn't like it a week or two ago. Often they realize their tastebuds have changed. If they don't like the meal they are still required to sit at the table with the family. This way we still get our good family table bonding. Plus, this eliminates using "I don't like the food" as an excuse.



With my 3rd son I had to get creative. He didn't like texture. I began adding sweet potato baby food and carrot baby food to his mac and cheese. I would sneak in some baby food on his PB&J. I found ways to add the nutrition without him realizing I was doing it. I like keeping jars of these foods around just in case we're having a bad day nutrition wise because he has a problem with blood sugar. He's mostly outgrown it, but still struggles a little.



I agree with everyone on the grazing thing, though. It is actually how we are all supposed to eat and they just know that instinctively. You just want to make sure you find the balance between grazing and family meals. It is such a hard subject. If you're too over-bearing they know it is a place where they can "control" the situation and they will seemingly bewilling to go to bed hungry if it means they think they've "won". On the other hand, you want to make sure they form good habits and our healthy. Just be persistant and consistent. Offer foods over and over and over. Most of the time it is truly just a phase.

Sandy - posted on 11/11/2008

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Hi Brandi! I sympathize with you. For the longest time my boys who are 3 and 2 would not eat anything except pizza, nuggets, fruit, and noodles. I got tired of making seperate meals. So I kind of did what the other ladies said. They eat breakfast, have a mid morning snack, lunch, no snacks between lunch and dinner. Then I make a plate of whatever we are eating. There were many nights that they went to bed without dinner or an evening snack. After putting the same foods in front of them enough they began eating some of the foods, not all of them. Hope this helps some. Good luck!

Christylee - posted on 11/11/2008

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Oh one more point. Just make whatever it is you were going to make for dinner. Don't offer any subsitutes. If you are making lasagna and salad, that's what everyone is eating! That's what works best. Eventually they realize they aren't in control.

Christylee - posted on 11/11/2008

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Mykala has an excellent idea. You have to do what works best for your kids. Eliminating the snacks is the first step. My son wouldn't eat at meals either and once I eliminated all the snacking, he started becoming hungry at meals. I still let him have snack but they are healthy and small like some fruit or a cheese stick. Developing a meal routing like Mykala has done is an excellent way to help your children. Then they aren't eating snacks all day.

My toddler wakes up between 6 and 7 and always wants a cup of milk and a snack when he gets up. I give him a nutrigrain bar. Then at about 8:30 when I am putting my infant down for a nap, I make us breakfast. Something light but healhty. Like a wholegrain waffle, toast or eggs and a piece of fruit. The around 10 or 10:30 he is ready for a snack. So he gets a fruit or veggie and some sort of protein like a cheese stick. Not too much or he won't be hungry for lunch. Then around 12 or 12:30 he has lunch. Around 4:30 when he gets up from nap he has another snack which is light and then dinner at 6. It works out really well.

Back to the initial question :0) Don't give up, keep offering new things. If they are hungry they will eat it. That's what my ped said and it worked. They can go a couple days without eating too much. It won't hurt them. A keep piece of advice is to get rid of those food...m&c, pizza, nuggies and noodles. If they aren't in the house, they can't eat them and pretty soon they will forget about them. Good luck. Keep us posted.

Mykala - posted on 11/11/2008

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my daughter is a grazer , it feels like she always is hungry except when i put a meal on the table she wont eat a thing , i have given up the whole set m,eals and have devised a routine of breakfast at 7(ish) than i place a fruit plate out an hr later my two kids will graze on that on and off until about 11ish i tthan have a sandwich plate or lunch plate they eat at their won pace out until about 3 ish i than dont let them eat any thig else until dinner about 6thirty and if they dont eat what ever dinner is they go to bed with out they devour plenty through the day so im not tyo worried is they dont eat dinner , :)

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