L.J. asks from Riverton, UT on April 01, 2008
Picky Eater - Riverton, UT
My little boy has become somewhat of a picky eater. I give him something one day that he will do really good at eating, then a few days later he doesn't want to touch it. Weeks later he still wont even taste the food that he devoured previously. Sometimes when i sneek a bite into his mouth while he's watching "Baby Einstein," he will spit it out. I really don't want him to be a picky eater and was wondering if there is anything i can do to help him NOT be a picky eater in the future. Any suggestions?
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Whoa!! I got so many responses, thank you all so much!! I am glad to hear that mostly everyone said that this is normal and that he'll eventually grow out of it. That has helped calm my nerves and I'm not going to worry about it as long as he's growing. Thanks again everyone!!
J.F. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2008
From the time my son was old enough to sit up, I had him work with me int the kitchen. If I was cutting peppers, I'd pop a small piece into my mouth. I found him wanting to taste too. I would ask him questions about what he was tasting like if he could taste the sweetness in the peppers and that it is crunchy etc. When I cooked with onions we would talk about the aroma etc. He became quite a little eater and wasn't picky about much of anything. He is still really good to this day and he is twelve now. Good luck.
A.P. answers from Denver on April 02, 2008
This is normal. And, no, there is nothing you can control about whether or not he's a picky eater or not. This is an area in which he expresses his freedom and personality. However, he is learning how to eat. It's important for you to be a role model. Keep introducing new foods to him. I would keep meal time at the table. Eat w/ him. Snack time can be elsewhere. Maybe set out some things that he can graze on. Now that he's mobile, the world is more interesting than eating. And his hunger levels are changing. Make sure he's getting vitamins (polyvisol). As long as he's not losing weight, he's fine. When he's older you can start enforcing rules with eating.
J.S. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2008
You've had a lot of great advice already. I would just add that eating is one of those areas that you don't want to become a battlefield. Don't develop associations between eating and emotion. This is one of the few areas kids feel they can control, so they try to do just that. The best advise I ever got is to always offer them healthy options and let them decide what to eat. Kids will not starve themselves. Just make sure he doesn't get unhralthy snacks in between. And don't allow yourself to become a short-order cook. Make healthy food and if they don't want it, they don't have to eat it. They will eat enough when they are ready. The other suggestions about getting him involved in the food preparation is also really good. Just try not to worry so much about it - (easier said that done, right?) You'll find that kids go through phases & if you don't make it into something to fight about, it soon will pass. Good luck!
K.W. answers from Provo on April 02, 2008
Keep trying! The taste buds on kids this age are changing all the time and my doctor advised me to just keep trying. I have an 18 month old daughter and some days she likes things and some days she doesn't.
One thing I have learned (with my 4 year old son especially) is that I am not going be a "short order cook". What I make for meals is what we have to eat until the next snack or meal. I prepare things that are appropriate for a toddler palate and my kids have learned that if they don't eat what is offered they will be hungry until later. Sometimes this isn't reason enough to eat and they don't mind to be hungry for a while. If this happens I make sure their next snack or meal is a food they will eat without question. This way they follow-up with a positive eating experience.
We had a really hard time with food and my 4 year old. He wouldn't eat anything and didn't care one bit that he was hungry. We talked with him very calmly and specifically what we expected of him and he has been doing much better over the last year. I give him a very small amount of what is offered and he knows he has to eat everything on this small plate. This amount is not enough to fill him up but when he is finished he can choose what he would like more of. What this has done is open his eyes to many foods he didn't realize he liked. He is willing to try just about anything and most of the time he likes it! If we have a similar problem with my 18 mo old daughter we will begin this process a lot earlier.
My 18 mo old has started to throw the food she doesn't want. Most of the time this is when she isn't hungry enough to try something. If this behavior happens we take her out of her high chair right away and tell her that is not how we act and if she wants food she has to sit and eat nice. Sometimes she wants to be put back in and will eat and sometimes she runs away and eats at the next meal or snack. As she gets older we will have her sit quiet while the rest of us eat but this is a little advanced for an 18 mo old.
I guess through all of my ramblings my suggestion is to keep trying and stay consistant. Let your daughter know what is expected and praise often. Good luck!
M.H. answers from Provo on April 02, 2008
S.M. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2008
This is one of the most common complaints on the sight and with my friends who have kids. I have 2 step sons that are in their mid twenties now and went through this when they were younger and now have a son of my own who is 9. They all had their phases of being picky eaters, my oldest was continually allowed to control everyone around him by having separate meals made, throwing fits when he didn't get what he wanted...he is still that way today, he is 27.
With my next step son and my youngest I did what some call tough love but I learned about it in a course about child rearing, don't give in on this particular item. Fix a meal and that is it. If they don't like it they don't have to eat it but they don't get to fix something else. They will eventually eat when they are hungry enough. My petiatrician says they won't starve themselves.
You can also make cooking fun where they participate, my 9 year old has been cracking eggs, stirring, helping pick fruit and veggies out at the market... since he was 18 months, not always the cleanest thing to do but they have fun doing it, want to try the foods they helped make, they learn about measuring, weight, responsibility, participation....
Also keep in mind it takes a lot of times for something to taste good to a kid, they may have to try it 15 different times, before their taste buds say it is good so have at least one item you know they have liked before. If they don't like it now then don't eat it but nothing else will be made. It didn't take long for my younger step son and my son to be fine with whatever we had.
It is only the last couple generations that have had the luxury of saying 'I don't like this I want something else'. My son loves the stories of how in pioneer days they ate whatever was shot that day with very simple biscuits and were happy to have it. He said he feels lucky we have so many choices.
Make it fun and don't be manipulated because it teaches really bad habits that last a life time.
L.S. answers from Grand Junction on April 04, 2008
Well Mom...who's in charge of this little mans eating habits? Him or you? Think about this for a moment then come to your senses and realize that he will eventually get quite hungry if you are not offering him anything else. You aren't doing that are you? Why shouldn't he become a picky eater if he knows he can get anything he really likes by "waiting Mom out" knowing sooner or later you'll give in and give him what he wants. It will only take you a couple of days of being very consistent to wean him off the picky eaters list. Whatever you are preparing for his meals that is what goes...nothing else!! Nothing!! Oh and by the way..shut the Baby Einstein off, make mealtime an important quality filled family/table time. Blessings!
M.M. answers from Salt Lake City on April 01, 2008
I have 2 boys 8 and 5 and I learned the hard way of food allergies. My oldest is allergic 2 the whey protein in dairy and had hives and other horrible reactions to eggs and cheese and ice cream. He is a very picky eater.
I look at how I was with offering food 2 them when they were babies and it was so different. I didnt expose my oldest 2 much (picky) and I overexposed the youngest(great eater).
All you can do as a parent is offer the food.
My boys go through stages of eating and not. I have to remember when they are hungry they will eat and they are learning 2 listen 2 their bodies. I dont want to force that they have 2 finish all the food on the plate because in this society it enforces over eating. That is a whole other subject anyway. Good Luck and be patient.
E.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2008
Just keep reintroducing the food every few days. He just needs to develop a taste for it, then he won't spit it out. But he needs to taste it to develop a taste for it. Just keep doing what you're doing.