B.S. asks from Missoula, MT on October 21, 2011
Picky Eater - Missoula,MT
My two-and-a-half year old is the pickiest eater ever. I don't understand because my husband and I are not picky at all and we are always trying new foods. My son will not even try new foods, he looks at it and says "I don't like that" and pushes it away. We always give him a little of whatever we are having but every night we end up falling back on what we know he will eat: yogurt, hummus, cheese, cottage cheese, bread. He usually will eat mac and cheese, pb & j, and grilled cheese, so I have tried hiding meat, veggies, or fruit in them, but almost always picks them out. We've also tried only serving him what we are eating and if he won't eat it, he goes to bed without eating. Then he is up all night, I'm assuming because he is hungry. I'm terrified that he will be a picky eater for the rest of his life, but I don't know how to get him to change! Any ideas?
C.O. answers from Washington DC on October 21, 2011
I'm sorry. I don't give in.
My kids MUST try what we are eating. I am NOT a short order cook and as mean as it sounds, if they don't try it, they can have a piece of bread and water or they can go to bed hungry. They have to AT LEAST TRY IT...
As long as he knows that he will get yogurt, cheese, etc. then he will keep saying "I don't like it"...
Since he's almost 3, have him create a menu with you. He can voice his opinion, likes and dislikes...then he has some say and if doesn't eat it? bread and water or bed hungry...he will learn that HE does not rule the roost and will have to try things...
All three of my kids have tried whatever I have put on their plate. IF they don't like it...okay...thanks for trying it. but I don't make them a special meal.
1 mom found this helpful
C.T. answers from Santa Fe on October 21, 2011
It's so hard to have a picky eater. One of our kids is very picky but he is veeeeery slowly getting better about this. I make the same dinner for everyone but I make sure there is one or 2 things he will like. We have the rule that he has to take one "no thank you bite". He is encouraged to touch, taste, smell and take tiny bites of something new. He often sees us enjoying something and he really wants to like it but 99.99% of the time after he tries it he says it is terrible. I slowly introduce him to new foods. For example he always liked plain pasta with parmesan cheese. I started adding a tiny amount of spag sauce and over time added more and more. Now he loves it. I mashed up cauliflower into the mashed potatoes for years (maybe about 1/4th cauliflower) and when we served plain cauliflower he had to take his one bite. Now he likes it. It has been a very slow process and it is maddening. I really don't understand it myself but it seems like a texture issue and at the same time he actually seems afraid of new foods (he is 7 now). I have a good friend who told me she was the exact same way but worse as a child and all those foods were truly unedible to her. She said she finally started trying foods in middle school and now as an adult she seems like a normal eater. I can only hope that my son improves. We try to keep mealtimes happy and positive. Anyway, you can search on picky eaters in mamapedia and read a LOT of responses that people have given over time.
B.W. answers from Washington DC on October 21, 2011
I must agree with Cheryl. Children will realize that going to be hungry stinks and will suddenly be more willing to try. But I agree, if you always have his preferences readily available, what is the motivation to try something different. The menu idea is wonderful but ultimately, he has the option of eating or not. He will learn if you set the rules. It's not too late to turn it around. Best of luck.
C.P. answers from Albuquerque on October 21, 2011
My girl isn't very picky, but she tries the "I don't like that" card with us, too! My first thing is "Well, did you try it? You have to try one bite before you can say you don't like it." Most of the time, she tries the "one bite" and decides that it really does taste good. When that doesn't work, I try the distraction method--Put Cheese On It! My girl will each any kind of cheese you give her--so I just put a sprinkle of shredded cheddar, or a slice of whatever, and she will eat some of it. Last resort: Applesauce--goes good on pork and chicken dishes! I say, if your kid really loves something (yogurt, hummus, cheese), use that as a way to make him try/eat other things!
We have 2 very picky eater nephews and when my MIL sees all the "crazy" things my daugter eats, she's just amazed!! I try to tell her and my SIL, Sorry, but it's not okay for my kid to eat McD's chicken nuggets & fries for lunch & dinner every day! Good luck!
G.B. answers from Oklahoma City on October 21, 2011
It can be a battle or you can just decide to not fight about it. I choose to not fight. I fix food I like and one eats it and one won't touch it, she has Geographic Tongue and food is a bit tricky for her on a good day. Google it if you want to know more, it does not hurt but one day food tastes totally different to her and she gags and pukes it up, even if it was her favorite food the day before.
Fighting over food is the silliest thing I see. I choose to let her have some choices and always ask her opinion on some of the things I am going to cook. For instance, if I have Tuna Helper on the shelf I ask her if she's like that for dinner, if not there is usually something else like HB Helper that I have a variety of. If she isn't in the mood for it why put everyone through a fight over her not eating it.
There are times when she will tell me she doesn't want it and I will still fix it because I want to, I just recognize she can eat something else. I let her have TV dinners or some other thing that is easy to fix for her or by her.
R.R. answers from Dallas on October 21, 2011
2 of my 4 are picky eaters. The oldest is 26 and SHE has a picky eater too.
What I did with all 4 of my kids is first off realize and respect that there are a handful of things that they really and truly detest and they got a pass on those things. BUT, I always cook at least 3 items for a meal, and wouldn't include more than one of those "pass" items, so they would have to eat extra of the other 2. And with my oldest, she was so stubborn, and I would set her plate in the fridge and tell her she had to eat her meal before anything else. I'd guess we did that for several YEARS before she finally just dealt with it. When she turned 16 and had a job and freedom, I allowed her to control her own diet and if she didn't want what I cooked, she had to either cook her own or use her money and gas to go buy something. Now she actually tells me that she doesn't like being a picky eater, and her own doctor calls her a "eat to live" person. She kind of thinks that eating is a chore and she doesn't enjoy food very much.
My youngest is 10 and a semi-picky eater. But he eats many things that are extremely healthy, so when he prefers not to eat potatoes or rice, I don't really care, considering that he will eat a ton of brocolli! I don't MAKE him eat because he will eat good stuff and not create a big scene. But I do realize that he really just dislikes some things.