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My 18 Month Old Son Is a Picky Eater!

So my 18 month old son has become a very picky eater as of lately. When he was a baby we would give him a wide variety of baby foods (fruit & veggies) and he loved them all! But now he is starting to become more independent and wants to feed himself. He is not that great with a spoon or fork yet so we try to give him finger foods. His favorite food is mixed veggies. I buy the frozen ones with carrots, peas, corn. And he will eat it all! He also loves fruits - mostly apples or bananas. And other veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers. BUT my problem is that I cannot get him to eat anything else! Especially meat! He will not touch chicken, hamburger, sausage, steak, turkey. I don't know if it's the texture or what. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get him to eat meat or at least get him to try other foods? I don't want him losing out on any of the nutrients that he needs. Thanks!

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He's eating. He will not starve. If it's safe for him, try peanut or sunflower butter for protein. He's just not ready for prime (rib) time. ;-0 Don't worry, he'll get there. The previous recommendations to add a variety of beans to his diet is great. If you add cheese cut them into the veggie/bean sized portions an mix them in. He may not even notice them. Then again, he may eat around them. I'm a 59 year old mother of 4, with the last one out of the nest on May 22 graduating from HS.

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Hey A.! Don't sweat it...my son hates meat too; so he is a vegetarian. I did all the research and found out he can be just as healthy if not more healthy from not eating meat. There was a study I read that followed 100 omnivore children and 100 vegetarian children and showed that the omnivore children were lacking in 9 vitamins and nutrients while the vegetarian children were only lacking in two. It's easy to get lazy when your kids are omnivore, like just assuming they get what they need. When your child chooses to be vegetarian you make sure they are getting what they need. We supplement his diet with fake chicken nuggets, quesadilla (with cheese) eggs, nuts, beans, and quinoa. If you don't know about quinoa, it's amazing. it's pronounced keenwa and is complete in all essential amino acids (typically found in meats) and is packed full of protein. It's way better to use in place of rice and they even make a pasta version. I would roll with it, see if he changes. Some people (depending on their blood type) are just naturally drawn to being a vegetarian, it's funny I was kinda freaked out at first but now it's so normal. I try to respect my son's choices. He's very healthy and happy and is growing just fine. Somewhere along the line someone gave him hot cheetos, THATS what I'm worried about! The kid can't get enough. he begs for them all the time. :) Good luck, if you need any more information send me a message and I can point you towards really good information (non PETA crazy talk).:)

1 mom found this helpful

He's eating. He will not starve. If it's safe for him, try peanut or sunflower butter for protein. He's just not ready for prime (rib) time. ;-0 Don't worry, he'll get there. The previous recommendations to add a variety of beans to his diet is great. If you add cheese cut them into the veggie/bean sized portions an mix them in. He may not even notice them. Then again, he may eat around them. I'm a 59 year old mother of 4, with the last one out of the nest on May 22 graduating from HS.

Almost every child goes through picky eating stages, it's a matter of how you handle them whether or not it will get worse or better. I have found, when working with my kids, that NOT catering to them helps get past this period without repercussions.

Here is how I approach it. First, I do not cater to them. I give each child the same thing as the rest of the family gets for meals. If they eat all their food, they get dessert or whatever other food they may want. If they don't eat all their food, they do not get anything else to eat until the next meal time. If they want anything in between, they must finish the food they had for the last meal.

I know this may seem a little harsh for a young child, but they need to know who is in charge. If you let them control everything at a young age, they will walk all over you for the rest of your life!

Be consistent, be strong and DO NOT give in!!


A friend of mine from Douglas County wrote a book and a website on this topic. www.babybites.info

The cool thing here is that instead of trying this method and trying that method, you can actually find out WHY some children are picky eaters, and then better understand the solution. (p.s. it's not about the taste of the food!)

My kids wanted little to do with meat at that age. The fact your son loves fruits and veggies I wouldn't classify him as picky! That is great!
Get the Gerber soft meat sticks, my KIDS LOVED them, they are turkey, chicken and soft but firm enough they can self feed.
I was always worried as my daughter just did not care for meat at all, hard to chew and just didn't care for it until later. I am sure your son will change later too.
Try really soft meats if you want to expose him to meats, even dice up chicken nuggets baked in the oven.
Funny when my daughter was two I was so worried about her getting protein and iron, so the Dr gave me lists of other foods she liked where she was getting it and then she ate a Cheeseburger from McDonalds while on vacation and I was so happy however not the meat I preferred her to eat. Her Pediatrician said "Well if she isn't eating the fries, and she likes the burgers as long as it isn't every meal that is a positive step and nothing wrong with it!"....So for a while once a week I got her a Cheeseburger from Mcdonalds!
Now she eats fish, chicken, turkey, pork chops, we eat little red meat but she likes it on occassion.
He will change his taste buds a million times, just expose him to it, try and eat with him during meals, that peaks their interest if you are eating the same things too.
Try the Gerber meat sticks though...

I feel your pain. I wouldn't worry too much as long as he's growing and healthy. All kids go through eating phases. It sounds like he is a great eater, the hard stuff for most parents are getting their kids to eat fruit and veggies so your doing great. I have a six year old that was and still is very much a fruit and veggie girl. She still wont do hamburger, ( I think its a texture thing) but has over the years learned to like most other meats. For protein you can do eggs, beans, cheese, and cottage cheese. I cant remember when you can start peanut butter, but if there are no allergies that is a good source too. When you go to your pediatrician next, ask him about a vitamin with iron. Its hard at 18 months to fight them with food, but it can become a control thing. I caved into my daughter for several years because I was always so scared that she was not eating enough ( always really high in height and really low in weight) soon I realized that she wouldn't starve herself so we came up with a rule that she had to try everything we had on our plates, but I always plan dinner so that there was one thing that she liked. Once she ate what we gave her she could have more of the stuff she likes. It takes many times to get use to a new food, so keep offering everything, but don't make it into a battle. I know as an adult it doesn't matter how many times I've eaten a hated food ( I still hate asparagus to this day) I don't like it. Our kids will be no different. Good luck.

Don't worry about it! It seems to be a hassle, but there are other foods that he can eat. You could try a peanut butter sandwich. Nuts are great protein and have a lot of other good things. My son loves chicken nuggets and quesadillas. He just went in for his five year old check and the doctor said that he is great and his eating habits are fine. Now that he is older and can rationalize I just tell him that he has to be four years old again if he can't eat dinner with the rest of us. It works because he wants to grow up and go to kindergarten. When he is a little older and can chew a vitamin I would get a prescription for multi-vitamins from the doctor. Things work out and this is just one of the eating stages he will go through.

I would try frozen soybeans - edamame - you can buy them in the shell or already shelled (my preference as it's a lot less work). They have them in the frozen food section of just about every store now.
Just heat them up and you can add a little salt or butter if you like. Kids LOVE these and it's great finger food for that age.
When my older kids were young, sometimes I'd slice a banana and put raw sunflower 'sprinkles' on it - they liked that a lot. Another good protein source is simply raw almonds or walnuts (don't get the salty kind of nuts). If he'll snack on these - or cheese sticks or other cheese - you may not have to worry so much about him being a vegetarian. I found that when i just give small, simple snacks like this, my kids will eat them up - and I know they are getting healthy food, so I don't worry when my toddler won't eat her dinner.

You could also try things like adding kidney, black, or garbanzo beans to pasta dishes, so he'll get protein in other ways.

Good luck!

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