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1St Grader Is a Very Picky Eater! Help!

My daughter will be going to school all day long this year. My problem is she is a very picky eater!! At home it is pb&j sandwich or chicken nuggets or hot dogs. There will only be 7 days out of the month that she will eat at school. SO my question to you all you great moms, is what can I make at home that she can take to school and eat. Anyone have picky eaters at school. If so what do you make for them? Everything that she does like that is on the go sorta has to be warmed up and I know that can't happen at the school. SO I need ideas. Thanks so much for all your help!!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Has she always been a picky eater? Have you talked to her ped.? She could have some sensory issues with food.

You could start making what the school has for lunch, for her dinner. We get the school menu a month in advance, so if you copy theirs for awhile she might be okay.

My daughter is entering the third grade and has probably eaten school lunch 10 times in her life. Every other day, she has an Uncrustable ~ usually the grape jelly kind. I let her pick out what she wants for lunch. And she eats it. Yes, I know she does because the lunch room monitor is her grandma! It seemed silly to pay for school lunch that I know she won't eat and for her to go hungry. If she wants pb&j every day ~ who cares? There are much worse things in the world.

You pack her lunch and give her what she would like to eat in her lunch. You could also tell that it's okay try new things. When she eats at school tell at try one or two bites of the school food. Then she find what she likes and tell eat food she likes.

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Why not starve her out until she learns to eat normally? It sounds like you are giving her a heart attack diet! Peanut butter is only healthy in small amounts. It's high in natural fat, not bad fat in small amounts, very bad in large. Chicken nuggets and hot dogs?! These are treats, not actual meals on a regular basis.

She won't starve to death if she picks at her school lunch. But I am very worried about her health if she really is eating this way.


3 moms found this helpful

Here are some great articles:

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/T030800.asp "Feeding Toddlers: 17 Tips for Pleasing the Picky Eater" It has good ideas for introducing new, healthy foods to kids.

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/T040200.asp "ABC's of Teaching Nutrition to Kids" I thought this one was especially good because it teaches parents how to make learning about healthy food fun for kids. It talks about how to educate kids so that they make healthy choices on their own later on and so they know which kinds of food are healthy and why. The only thing I didn't agree with was that he suggested rewards, but everything else was pretty good advice. The article talks about referring to "grow" foods for kids.

The food that you mentioned she eats has very little nutrition. As I'm sure you know, her growing body need nutrients and vitamins to grow and develop properly. She needs to be eating fruits and vegetables in her diet. I know that is easier said than done though. However, you are in control over what kinds of food comes into your home. If another hot dog or chicken nugget never enters the door, then she will have to choose something else to eat.

Your taste buds change according to what you eat. If you only eat highly processed, low-nutrient food, like she does, then that is what you will crave. If you eliminate or cut back on those foods and eat mostly whole, natural food like fresh fruit, whole grains, fresh vegetables, etc, then that is what she will begin to like. I have tried this myself and trust me, it works. A great book to read is "If It's Not Food, Don't Eat It" by Kelly Hayford, C.N.C. It's really entertaining and is cheap on Amazon.com.

Remember, if the unhealthy food never enters your home, she won't be able to eat it. It can take up to 12 times of introducing a new food before someone gets used to it, so don't give up on offering healthier choices too soon. Most parents with picky eaters find this strategy helpful: offer her what YOU and your husband are eating for dinner, if she doesn't eat it, then she doesn't have too. But, next time she is hungry, that same meal is what she is to be offered again--whether it's an hour or two later, when she decides she is hungry, she gets her same lunch or dinner that was offered the first time--there are no alternatives or snacks (unless it's the next morning, then you wouldn't serve last night's dinner for breakfast). If she knows that pb&j, chicken nuggets and hot dogs are always an alternative, then she will never try something new. I work with children at a child development center and at meal times, they never ask for an alternative because they know there isn't one. They eat what they are given.

Sorry this isn't advice on new food suggestions for lunch, but I just thought I would give a bit of advice on the possible underlying issue as well. Hope this helps a little (those articles and book are great, I hope you try them)!
Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

My 8 year-old-son is a very picky eater as well, but when he started going to school, I let him have lunch at school one day a week, and then two days a week, so he could try something new different from home. He was a little bit reluctant at first, but the second week he liked because he was doing the same as his classmates. He started trying new things that never wanted to try before at home like broccoli, carrots, pears or grapes, etc...
Now, he is going to be a 3rd grader, and he is eating more different things, he is planning having lunch 4 times a week at school, which is great.
When my kid is not eating at school, I put in his lunch box, cheese sticks, slices of apples (I add a little bit of lemon juice because he does not like when the apples get brownish, the lemon juice will not have a taste after minutes you add it) multigrain crackers, pieces of cooked ham, orange juice or 1% milk, cold little sandwiches with margarine and colby jack cheese (he does not like melted o grilled cheese!!) frozen or liquid yoghurt... I put an ice pack in his lunch box when he has lunch at school.
It is not easy to deal with a picky eater, but sometimes is because we allow them to be picky eaters, and the best is to teach the kids to eat healthy food, never is too late. Kids never starve themselves (I learned that already with my younger one), remember that you are the MOM. I hope this has helped you. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with Suzi. Especially about hot dogs. They are loaded with nitrates that children's kidneys have a hard time filtering out. Peanut butter can be healthy only if you buy all natural. Make sure it doesn't have partially hydrogenated oils in it. Just tell her that she has to eat what is at school, and that is final. You're the mom. She won't starve.

1 mom found this helpful

my son is a picky eater but knowing what they serve aat school he still wants to buy lunch, he eats or not, he is the one to go hungry if he doesnt get accustomed to certain foods. He actually has learned to like some foods, he hates pasta of any kind so that kinda is a big deal as they serve a lot of that, a day or two a monh he wants a turkey and cheese sandwich or PB&J made at home and thats ok, on days he buys and doesnt eat much he is really hungry when he gets home. A good snack is the mandarin oranges in the individual containers. They'll survive being hungry until they learn to eat more things

1 mom found this helpful

I have a picky eater going in to kindergarten, ours is all day. I was worried about this too, but he went to the 4 week summer school in June, and I was surprised that he did as well as he did. He didn't always eat everything, but he tried some things there that he threw a fit over at home. This is a time when peer pressure is helpful. He has the same likes as you mentioned, and is really not good at eating fruits and veggies. He likes apples, but not much else (I sneak stuff in on him in casserols). At school he tried carrots and liked them, and they encouraged him to try more stuff. At home I put a bite of fruit or veggie that I make for meals, whether he likes it or not, on his plate and he has to eat it. I set a timer when the fit gets bad and if he doesn't take the one bite, or at least try in a set amount of time (5 or 10 minutes), he doesn't get a snack that he wants later. Believe it or not this works. He usually decides he likes the stuff, or that it isn't that bad. He may not ask for more, but on occasion does... That happened with scrambled eggs, ham and cheese...a thirty minute fit of "I don't like it", then when he tried it he loved it. After this is when we started using the timer... He knows now that it is the rule and if the timer gets set we're done discussing it. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

I agree with one of the posters that hot dogs are so full of stuff and I wish I would have known that when my kids were little. But I also agreed with the post that said once she gets to school, it will open her taste buds just due to peer pressure. I remember one of my kids came home one day asking why I didn't buy kiwi because she LOVED it. News to me!
While I never had a picky eater, I can honestly say that I didn't really tolerate it either. Both kids ate what was served, no special meals or food just for them. I did NOT have the rule that they had to eat everything or clean their plates, (I think there are enough issues around food in this society) but they did have to take a bite.
No they will not starve and remember it may take up to 15 tries before kids or adults may even learn to like new foods. Most people will stop after the child says "Yuk" for the first time.
I can tell you it is still a process in our home even with the kids at 18 and 14. But they (husband too) have learned to love asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, mango, papaya, even odd things like tofu and calamari!
Don't give up, keep trying.

L. K

1 mom found this helpful

My kids always took their lunch until last year, about idway through they decided to buy ther lunch & made them promise to eat it. I didn't want to pay for a lunch & have them go hungry because they wouldn't eat it. Let's face it, school food is not all that great even when it is something you like:)
I used to send those cracker sticks with cheese, handi-snacks, yogurts/gogurts,ham/cheese/crackers, fruit snacks, puddings, dry cereal, fruit & grain bars, granola bars, poptarts (alot of time they didn't have much of a main course, but I tried to send healthy snack things)

I also bought these metal thermoses (they were
kid sized & decorated @ Target & Toy R Us) & I would heat up ravioli, soup, hamburger helper, even chicken nuggets & put it in there & it would still be warm at lunch.

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