11 answers

Help! My Child Will Only Eat Chicken Nuggets and Crackers!!!

My 16 month old will only eat chicken nuggets, crackers, gogurt, french fries, and cheerios-sometimes. He would rather starve than eat other things. I tried for two days to give him what we were eating and give him healthier foods. He did not eat at all. He drinks 8 ounces of milk 3 times a day and that was all he had those days. My doctor says just keep offering the other foods but it is not working. He used to eat some good things but he has just been stubborn the last few months. I worry about his health. Yes, his height and weight are fine but that doesn't mean he is getting the nutrition he needs. Does anyone have any ideas?

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I am going through the same thing right now with my 16 month old. I had success this week with maple & brown sugar oatmeal. The most important thing is to get calories in them. Mine has lost weight since his first birthday, and the Dr. and I are concerned.

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I understand your concern and frustration. My 3 year old son only started eating solid table food in July of this year. Prior to that he would ONLY eat stage 2 baby food. It was killing us financially and any textured food offered was vomitted or gagged. We went through a year of therapy because we thought he had sensory intergration issues, meaning he was unable to process (mentally) solid food in his mouth. Eventually we determined he was just being stubborn (he eats popcorn on a regualar basis, which is one of the most challenging textured foods you can eat). Currently without fail the ONLY things my son will eat/drink are: Turkey Meatballs, whole kernal sweet corn, green beans, biscuits, graham and club crackers, Golden Graham cereal, Orea and animal cookies, turkey sausage, and water. He does not drink anything but water! I did a LOT of research and I tried the same advice my pediatrician recommended - only offer what you want him to eat and he will come around. That did NOT work. My son did not eat ANYTHING for 3 days and I noticed his system sort of shutting down. He became very lethargic and ceased to have any bowel movements and only urinated very little. Fortunately, I realized what was happening and started him back on his stage 2 baby food. My research stated that the approach of "Only offer what you want him to eat" sometimes will get a child to eat one or two items and that is it. That is what leads to a malnourished child. I say all this to say, you are not alone. I was so upset because I did something wrong, but later realized from my Mother-in-Law, this may be hereditary. My husband did the same thing as a child. The only way we transistioned over to the limited diet he is on now is offering a majority of what he likes with a little of something new. We had to negotiate to be honest. "If you eat a piece of whatever, you can have 1 cookie" This approach took forever but it at least got us on solid table food. Now we are concerned that his diet is still very limited, but at least he is getting a protein, vegtable, and some starch. We also put a little olive oil in his green beans to address his need for fat. I really hope my message helps. If nothing else- you aren't alone. I am the mother of two with a third on the way. I work from home now, but was a total stay-at-home Mom with my first two. My 16 month old daughter is a little finicky but will eat almost anything if it is on YOUR plate. I am concerned about how my son will do once he enters grade school, he is currently in a private pre-school and they are willing to heat the lunch I prepare for him each day.

Stay encouraged,

OOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!! I know what you are going through! My son is 2 1/2 and is just finally starting to try stuff! YES, he would rather starve too!!! AMAZING! Your baby will be fine. Keep putting stuff in front of her. Try to sit down with her and eat meals as a family (they always eat better that way) and if you are really afraid she isn't getting the nutrition she needs, try Pedisure. Good luck!

My son went through this. Just give him what he likes but put something else on his plate every day. Eventually he'll start to eat it.

My daughter went through a stage at about 15 months where she would nurse, eat cheerios and fruit, and nothing else. She is 8 now and is a thin child but very healthy...she has thick hair, plays guitar and does gymnastics, and has healthy bones and muscles. She has not ever been to the hospital for illness or broken a bone; so I say just roll with it and keep offering different food. I am big on fruits; you could do fruit smoothies with protein powder and just a little bit of sugar to sweeten it and get him to drink it.

I am going through the same thing right now with my 16 month old. I had success this week with maple & brown sugar oatmeal. The most important thing is to get calories in them. Mine has lost weight since his first birthday, and the Dr. and I are concerned.

Hi J. I to am going through the same thing with my 3 year old all he eats is chicken nuggets and hot dogs and of course drinks plenty of milk. So i took him to a nutritionist (hope i spelled it right). They told me to try to continue giving him what we eat at night but if he doesnt want it then give him chicken nuggets that way he is not goin to bed hungry and is eating something. They told to get the Tyson brand chicken nuggets. It will take time to get them back to eating regular food but as long as he/she drinks plenty of milk. And also make sure you give them vitamins everything will work out. In my situation my 3 year old only weighs 28 pounds and barely 3 feet tall they also suggested pediasure that has alot of the nutrients that kids need and my 3 year old loves it. I hope this helps you.

Hey J.,

My 2yr old daughter was the same way for a while but it didn't take long before she tried other things. She now eats macaroni and loves hamburger meat. I still can't get her to eat vegetables which is a shame because I love my vegetables. She is very picky but I have been told that she will grow out of it and if you just keep putting other foods on their plate with the ones they love to may try it. We have told my little boy if he will try something then he could have his favorite foods but he is 3 and understands a little more. Just keep trying to introduce and don't give up on him he will change and get tired of those things and eventually it will be something else you can't get him to stop eating (cheese..haha). Good luck! A. www.busymomsworkathome.com

Hi J., I have a 2 1/2 year old with the same problem. He likes PPB&J sandwiches the most. He goes to a daycare and they only have healthy food day on Thursday. So me tryin to get him to eat what we do is very difficult. My mom keeps telling me to keep giving him what we eat unless you want to fix 2 different meals everyday. Who has time for that. She says as long as we are consistent and tell hime that is it, he will eat when he is hungry. You just can't given with something else. Try setting a menu everyday and fix the same things every meal for a few weeks and add things to the meal that he will eat. Like with the chicken nuggets, corn or green beans, mashed potatoes instead of fries or cherrios. When you fix something like meatloaf, add cherrios with it. That way you know he is not going to bed hungry and eventually he will eat the other things. My one year old eats whatever I put in front of him. I did things diferently with him. As far as making sure he is getting nutrutious foods, get a book called You on a diet. Dr. Oz is on Oprah all the time and has great advice for what we should not be eating.

when I talked to my doctor about my son doing the same this he said that kids sometimes choose to only eat certain things and not to worry about it as long as he was eating something. I still to this day try to get him to try new things and hes 2 1/2 now and for the mos part he has expanded the food he will eat alot better. so my suggestion is keep trying and don't get frustrated by it. At leas your child is eating.

How frustrating! I somewhat understand - my brother was so finicky as a small child, he was in and out of the hospital. We had to threaten him with getting a "herbie" (IV) in his arm if he didn't eat! The doctors always said, "A child will not starve himself to death", but I think they may have been mistaken. My other brother only existed on pizza and corn. My child, though eats a path through whaever's on the table. Kids are funny. If you can, if you aren't already, try making the things he will eat as healthy as humanly possible. Kashi TLC crackers are really tasty, come in different flavors, and have seven whole grains. Perhaps make your own chicken nuggets with breasts, rolled in crumbled Kashi crackers? You can even make "baked" chicken nuggets, to avoid the frying and avoid getting him hooked on fried. Same thing with fries - cut them up, spray on Pam, and bake. Have you tried sweet potato fries? If you live in Athens, the Grit has awesome sweet potato fries, and their cookbook, I think, has the recipe. That would get a lttle more vitamins in him. At this point, he needs to eat something, so feed him what you can, but try to be really careful about other offerings. If you offer more junk food, like pizza or spaghetti-oh's (which is soooooo tempting when he hardly eats in the first place), chances are he'll like it, and he'll just keep expanding his diet of bad foods and developing bad habits. Of course, you still have to be kid-friendly. My standard favorite is a grilled cheese on whole-wheat with cooked, finely chopped broccoli placed inside the cheese. Everyone - from grandparents to neighbor's kids - love it. Another thing that helps is offering fun dips - so long as they are not primarily sugar, like caramel. I can only get my daughter to eat her apples if I cut them up and offer a spoonful of peanut butter to dip them in - which is just as well, because she's getting some fat and protein that are good for her, too. Try some edamame beans (in the frozen section near the health foods - get them without the shell and microwave a few with water - they have a great taste and texture kids love, and are packed with protein. The most important piece of advice is getting him a really GOOD daily vitamin. Try your local health food store, and make sure it is from whole-food sources - not synthetic, and more soluable that way (otherwise it just passes through him and wastes money). My daughter has gotten moe picky as she's encountered more junk foods, and one thing that has helped her to clear a plate of salad or broccoli is telling her that I don't want her to it, I don't want her growing any more, she needs to stay my baby, etc. We've been doing that for so long now, she asks me to say that to her before she eats her veggies. She is three, and I know your son is too young yet, but you may find that kind of psychology helpful later on. I hope something helps, definitely get a vitamin, and so long as he eats something (unlike my anorexic little toddler-brother), he'll be fine. Good luck! Don't pull your hair out!

My son is 2 1/2 and he is the same way. When he was younger he would eat anything and now he only like similar things. I just try to give him something he will eat so I know he eats something and I give him a Flinstone Vitamin with iron so I know he is gettting what he needs. I remember when my sister went through a cereal stage where she would only eat cereal. I think it is phases they go thru. I try to get him to taste something so that he knows what it tastes like and sometimes he likes it. Be thankful he likes to drink milk. I hope that helps.


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