15 Month Old Picky Eater

Updated on October 19, 2008
M.C. asks from San Jose, CA
30 answers

My 15 month old is a really picky eater. She will eat meat, cheese or rice. No fruits or veggies. She refuses to try things I know she would like if she gave it a chance. She WILL NOT let me feed her. She has to feed herself but can't use a spoon yet. So only finger foods and if it doesn't look familiar, she won't touch it. I've tried sticking new foods in her mouth real fast so she will try them, but she spits it out and gets frustrated at me for tricking her. Any suggestions?

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T.R.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,
I am a mom of a 16 year old. When she was little she was very picky. Not only about the food, but also how it was cut and even arranged on the plate. She would not eat vegetables and did not like most meat. I did not want to create any food issues, so I did not force her to eat what she did not like. I snuck some veggies- minced!- into pasta sauce. I also tried to give her kids vitamins. I made popscicles out of real fruit juice.

She eventually became much more open minded about new foods. Since Jr High School, she has eaten and enjoyed many kinds of vegetables, fruits and healthy foods. Now she is often more health conscious than I am! She is, and always has been, very healthy.

I hope this helps.

One last thing: I used to be a preschool teacher. I have known many children who are picky eaters. One boy only ate Annie's Mac & Cheese for every meal. ...It's common for kids to be picky eaters. I wouldn't worry.

Good luck!

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B.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Give her the fruits and veggies only for several days and when she gets hungry, she will eat them. It IS than simple.

You are the parent and if you let her control this at her age, you have no idea what is coming when she gets older.

You can do this!!

Good luck -

B.

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C.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Put the vegetables on her tray whether she will eat them or not. Eventually, they will look familiar. For my daughter, sometimes I would put vegetables on her plate next to something completely unfamiliar, and she would choose the vegetables to avoid the "weird" thing. : )

C.

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L.N.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter also went on an absolute spoon strike at 12 months--simply refused to let me feed her. Eventually, I saw that I had to get really creative about handfeeding and simply let go of spoonfeeding. She did learn to use a spoon, but the motor skills required for that take a long time. Be patient! Keep very steady about exposing her to fruits and veggies and consider hiding healthy purees in foods she likes. There's a great book about healthy hiding strategies called the Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. You can't only hide foods, however, because our kids need to learn to accept and like them. Also check out a book called Child of Mine, Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellen Satter. Finally--I'd suggest being really accepting about her being a messy eater, playing with her food, etc. Oh--other fun books that make food really fun and attractive are by Annabel Karmel. Really great photos of super fun kids food. As my daughter has gotten older, we look at these cool food books together for fun, and she loves the pictures. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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C.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello M.,
If I didn't know any better I would have thought I wrote this post =o) My daughter (15 months also) is SO picky. She loves Cheerios, dried fruit, gold fish and her morning smoothie. she LOVED meat for a while, but seems to have set that aside at the moment. My daughter is also almost always constipated. When I went to the doctor at her 12 month and 15 month check ups this is what the pedi had to say. She should be getting 1 cup of fruits and/or vegetables a day and 12 oz of Vit D milk and/or Vit D yogurt. I started making my daughter smoothies every morning with 8oz yogurt and 1/2 cup fruit, which she loves. I can mix it up and give her strawberry and blue berry one day, and watermelon the next. I feel better knowing half her fruit/veggie is done for the day and I give her 4 oz of milk at night. I always offer her fruits and veggies at every meal, although it's hard to get her to eat that last 1/2 cup. I shred or puree veggies into everything. I smear them on toast, hide them in meatballs, add peas and carrots to spaghetti etc. She only eats whole grains (whole grain gold fish, high fiber whole grain Cheerios, etc). I've also found that if I give her different fruit or veggies different ways she will try them. My mom sliced up strawberries for her yesterday and she wouldn't touch them, I made a big deal about how good the smelled and gave her a whole one and she ate 2. She wouldn't touch carrots for weeks and I gave her a whole baby carrot (cooked) and she ate it. I also slip food into her mouth (that I know she will love) by joking around and saying "you can have this...no you can't" and sometimes that's just a bite, but a bite is a bite right?
I also give her spaghetti with either whole wheat pasta or Trader Joe's version of Wacky Mac, which is pasta made out of vegetables.
Know you're not alone and I've been told they will out grow this =o)
C.
PS. I've also been told to count what she eats all week, not daily.
PPS. One last thing. My daughter hasn't mastered the spoon, but I still give her things (especially on bath night) that she can feed to herself. I hope to have her using a spoon by soup season, so she's gotta practice =o)

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

My son is the same way. For him it is all about texture. I have found he will eat freeze dried fruit from Trader Joes. It is the only fruit or veggie I can get him to eat. You could also try adding purees to food. I have tried this and it worked but I haven't been to consistent.

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H.C.

answers from Sacramento on

I went through that with my son. He seemed to barely eat and I was always worried about him that it was going to affect his growth and other skills. I was worried that I wasn't being a good enough mom and was being judged as such. I finally had to let all my worries go because that seemed to make the situation worse. My mom and family and friends would tell me not to worry it is just a phase but it was still hard. I finally consulted with our pediatrician and he told me he wasn't worried at all about my son. He said yes his weight is low but he makes progress at every check up. He said to just keep offering him food and when he's ready he will eat. So that is what I did. I would offer him whatever food I was making instead of making a special meal just for him. Eventually he did start eating. He is now 2 and there are still some things that he won't try or he will choose and then not eat. But He is doing better little by little. Hopefully at some point he will actually swallow the veggies and fruits I give him instead of taking a bite,chewing and then spitting it out. I would just keep trying to give her the different foods and letting her choose when to eat them and as long as your doctor tells you she is healthy I would not worry so much or stress over it. Once I stopped stressing over it things became more easy for us.

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T.J.

answers from Sacramento on

I had the same problem with my youngest daughter when she was just over a year. My solution may seem cruel to some, but I'm telling you, it worked. After about a week of my little one eating NO veggies that she was served, my 2 girls sat down for lunch and I gave them a plate with a serving of veggies on it. My oldest ate her veggies and I gave her the rest of her food. My youngest watched and still refused to try the veggies. She took her nap without eating lunch. After naptime, the girls always have a snack. I gave her another plate of veggies for snack. (a new plate, new vegetables - old cooked veggies are gross!) When she was convinced she wasn't getting something else, she ate the veggies. We served meals with vegetables first for about two weeks and then went back to serving everything together. She is now three and eats like a champ!

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M.L.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi,

My suggestion is to not worry about it and don't make a big deal about it. Do you eat fruits and veggies? Put them on everyone's plate, let her see you eat them. Encourage her to try it, if she doesn't want to then, tell her that is ok, leave it on her plate. She will eat them eventually, but not if you force it or make a huge deal out of it. Both of my girls did the same exact thing you described at the same age! I just give them a multi-vitamin. My three year old is just now starting to eat her veggies! And she is asking for them. My two year old, well, she is getting there. I also tell my girls that they can try it and spit it out of they don't like it. That works some of the time. We also clap for each other when we eat a good dinner and we eat meat. The girls love this and it is so cute to see them clap for their sister. Good luck! Just don't make a big deal out of food, be a good example and she will be fine.

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

You just have to keep puting new foods infront of her. My daughter is the same way & I am hoping she will come around. Over the summer I really wanted her to each fresh blueberries. I swear I had to introduce them 15 times before she finally ate one. She kept spitting them out or throwing them on the floor. The next thing I knew she ate an entire bowl. Try to be patient, just don't give up.

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K.B.

answers from San Francisco on

M.-
I have a 17-month old son and he has also become a picky little eater! Although he will let us spoon feed him, he still wasn't in love with veggies. I now take all kinds of veggies, steam them, puree them and add some vanilla yogurt to the puree. Needless to say, he gobbles up those veggies. You might try cutting cooked veggies into small pieces, and giving her some yogurt to dip them into. The dipping will be fun for her and hopefully she'll also eat a veggie or two! Best of luck.

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J.Y.

answers from San Francisco on

How about just putting 20 different bite sized pieces of different healthy foods (include 1 or 2 she knows perhaps)on her plate in front of her. You could have the same plate and she could watch you telling her what they are called and describing to her how they taste. See what happens. Don't encourage her to eat them or she may pull the power card. I hope this works. They say you have to introduce the same new food 3-5 times sometimes before a child will taste it or develop a taste for it. Good luck!!

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A.T.

answers from Stockton on

If she drinks juice - put multi vitamin drops(no iron) in her juice to get a little more nutrition in her. My son went through a similar phase - he ate some veggies and lots of fruit as a baby and then went on an all carb & cheese kick for several months. I've found if I really limit snacks and stick to 3 meals a day he is more willing to try what Daddy eats. Also, he tries foods at daycare if the other kids eat it first. Distrustful little bugger, huh?
Picky eating is common - partly kiddo trying to become independent, partly kiddo pushing your buttons perhaps.
Try the bendy spoons that look like caterpillars - they help self-feeding and really boost confidence - especially if you cheer her on. I don't know the name but I found them at Target.

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M.H.

answers from Merced on

M., You made me laugh. I can picture myself trying to put something in my almost 2 yr old's mouth real fast...and so on. It's a funny image! I know what you are feeling. My son is very picky also. He loves bananas, apples, bagels, bisquits and crackers. Other than that, he just picks at everything. I've been told that making it look cute would work, but I'm not crafty like that...but I do know this...my son will try something if I give him a tooth pick to pick it up. I get myself a bowl and start eating (with a tooth pick) and before I know it, he wants what I have. I've also noticed that if he sees other kids his age eating something, (like at playgroup) he wants to try it.

Good luck and God bless!

M....

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C.V.

answers from San Francisco on

OMG! I can relate to all these responses. I feel your pain in so many ways. I have a 2.5yo son who is so picky when it comes to meal time I can't stnad it. When he was about 18 months old meal time went from fun to insane. My son didn't like to eat anything but cereal, crackers, puff rice all the finger foods. He liked the dried corn by gerber and i acutally would mix it up with real corn and he would pick out the real corn and put it to the side and go back to eating the dried corn. Talk about wanting to rip your hair out. He loved yogart so that was a way to get him to eat fruit. I found this great sweet potato soup in a box at trader joes he lived on for months. I warmed it up a little and put it in a sippy cup. I would try anything. To this day he doesn't eat meat ever and has nothing to do with it. I just got him to eat rice and mac cheese. Sometimes he will eat turkey meatballs, He will not touch any fruit what so ever. He ate great when he was on baby food and then when i took him off it that was the start of my nightmare. I talked to his dr many times about this. He said he will eat when he is ready and he can make the choice to eat or not. He told me not to become a "short order cook". The good news here is he doesn't like sweets at all. We don't even have soda in our house as my husband and I don't drink it. We eat pretty healthy in our house but its been a struggle during meal time. I now make his food give it to him and if he doesn't eat it we are done. I tell him that this is all he gets till the next meal. I cut down on snack time and don't give him much milk during dionner time. He is super healthy and was 31 lbs at a year. He isn't starving so if your daughter is growing well and there are no health issues let her eat at her own pace. I agree it is a control thing with them at this age. If they are hungery they will eat what is in front of them. There is this great pear sauce. I got tired of apple sauce all the time. There are other kinds of fruit in an apple scause form. There are also micky mouse and car's pasta i found at safeway. I found bite size pasta in the fridge isle that my son will eat sometimes. Good luck.

SAHM, with a 2.5yo son and a 4,month old son. Love being a full time mom

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C.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Keep trying and offering fruits and veggies, Your daughter is exercising her independence through food and you do not want to start a tug of control war with her over what she eats. Try some butter on veggies or a cheese dip she can do herself, try to make it fun and don't give up. There are lots of cook books out there with recipes for "hiding" veggie purees in foods. I sometimes hide small veggies in mashed potatoes or pasta, making little balls that my son will pick up and eat
good luck

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P.C.

answers from San Francisco on

The most important thing you need to do is give your child a multi-vitamin every day. That way, you don't need to worry about her vitamin intake. Continue to offer her a variety of foods and over time she may try a few things. It sounds like your daughter has chosen a low-fiber diet. This could cause long-term health problems. So, perhaps you can find fiber foods that she likes. Be sure that you give her brown rice and not white rice, for example. Use multi-grain breads and not white bread. Anything you can get her to eat that has dietary fiber will be a good investment. Best wishes.

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H.D.

answers from Redding on

When my daughter was that age, she ate only meat. No cheese or rice. LOL. They go thru phases. Don't stress over it. For one it'll pass, and two if she knows your getting frustrated she can play off that.

Good Luck,
H.

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H.H.

answers from Sacramento on

I feel you! My 28 month old is the same way and has been this way since 12 months! I try to make healthy meal muffins for my son that have zucchini, carrots, raisins, ground walnuts, yogurt and other healthy things in them. We eat a huge variety of grains and veggies and it astonishes me that my son will ask, "Is mommy eating quinoa?" but won't try any of it. Its so frustrating that they won't try it. Try not to make a big deal out of any of it. I, too, have tried sticking the foods in his mouth, but I feel terrible and he gets so angry about it. It doesn't work, no matter how much we want it to. At 15 months my son would eat oatmeal by himself. He also didn't have great motor skills with the spoon, but its thick enough to help him feel successful with spoon feeding. Stir in ground beans or dehydrated soy grits into the cooking oatmeal to make a complete protein. When the oatmeal is done cooking, mash some bananas or other fruit into it. I also used to be able to add veggie cubes to his oatmeal, but one day he figured it out. I also add nutritional yeast, ground nuts, wheat germ and flax to the oatmeal. Finally, I sweeten it with agave nectar, honey or maple syrup. I also give my son green smoothies that have yogurt, spinach, pineapple, berries, apple juice, wheat germ, flax and nutritional yeast and he loves it, but this is a new for him. If you can get your daughter to eat eggs, I grate zucchini or spinach into the eggs with lots of cheese and nutritional yeast and he was able to eat this as a finger food at 15 months. I also found a supplement called kidz greens that my son loves. Good luck!

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D.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,

If it makes you feel any better I envy you. I am the mommy to an 18 month old who will ONLY eat fruit and veg. He begs for more broccoli, gobbles up brussel sprouts and one of his first words was 'blu' for blueberry. I dream of the day he will happily eat meat and not spit out rice like I've just fed him bugs or something. I will recommend the same site I just recommended to someone with a similar problem. It's called something to the effect of '15 Ways to Disguise Vegetables'. I hope it helps. http://life.familyeducation.com/nutrition-and-diet/foods/...

All the best,
D.

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J.V.

answers from San Francisco on

You could try putting fruit or veggie purees into foods she will eat. There are recipe books like Sneaky Chef or Deceptively Delicious that can help you with that. I do that some for my 16 month old because he won't eat any veggies.

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K.G.

answers from San Francisco on

thank god she eats cheese and meat. my little one is very picky and these are the things she would eat:
sugar snap peas (only green she has ever put in her mouth)
turkey dogs, cut and pan grilled into small bite sizes
try israeli cous cous

We also give her good multi vitamins and juice plus gummi's, recommended by dr sears, she loves them and they give them all the nutrients she is missing from refusing fruits and veggies. you can find the website online. my kid slove them, think they are a special treats.

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Have you tried putting shredded veggies into the rice dish? Stuff like squash doesn't change the color much and she might not notice. Does she like mini pasta? You might try some of the little stars or other shapes and see if she'll eat those. Make a big deal about the shapes. My kids seemed to like them. Did she like her baby food fruit? If so, give her a spoon and let her go at some of that. It may not all make it, but even a little helps. My youngest only wanted the pureed food for the longest time. Just keep trying. They change the minds fairly often.

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D.K.

answers from San Francisco on

Have you heard of Juice Plus+? It's 17 different fruits, vegetables and grains in a capsule, chewable or gummie. I had the same problem with my 2 children and was worried if they were getting all of the nutrients they needed. What I love about JP+ is that it is a whole food product (approved by the FDA) and not isolated vitamins. It is also the #1 most researched nutritional product on the market today. We have all been taking it for 3.5 years now and we love it. I can send you more info if you are interested. Check out www.DianeLovesJuicePlus.com or contact me personally at [email protected]____.com or
###-###-####.

Good Luck!

-D.

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J.K.

answers from Fresno on

Keep trying or puree them and add to things she does like. What she doesn't know wont hurt her.

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B.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Not much to add, but I did notice that people seem to have an idea of what is, or is not finger food. To a child this age, EVERYTHING is finger food. You should have seen the two boys at our table yesterday .. one is just a year old, and the other is 21 months old. I had made homemade strawberry frozen yogurt. I served it in a small bowl with a spoon, but both boys decided it was fun to pick it up with their hands and get it to their mouths that way. They each managed to eat most of their yogurt, and had a great time feeling the texture, and the cold temperature of it in the process. I think we sometimes try to avoid letting our kids go through this stage because we hate to clean up the mess. Remember these messes will soon pass, and probably sooner by us allowing them now. Believe it or not, the day will come when you long for a baby mess at the table!

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K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

My oldest is 4 years now, and exactly the same. Still. I give him "Shaklee" brand multi-vitamins everyday, and he is healthy. That's all I can ask I guess. Fortunately, he's not a desert eater either.

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H.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi there,

I will definitely be checking back to see what other mommies suggest because my 13-month old sounds a lot like your bundle of joy! She only eats what she can pick up (won't let me feed her with a spoon), and it's hard to prepare veggies so that she can feed herself, since she only has 4 teeth. Her favorite foods at the moment are tofu, avocado, pear, pasta, and bread with olive oil on top. She has a dairy allergy and constipation problems, so many other foods are not options. She's also breast feeding a lot still. We're always trying to get her to eat new things. Meal times can be so frustrating! We just try to have fun, be patient, and stay positive about it all. She's not starving and she'll eventually enjoy eating, I'm sure.

If you want to introduce more fruit, I've found that if I let her take bites off of the whole fruit (while I hold it) she will eat it, even when she won't eat the little pieces I cut up for her of the same fruit. You might try that. Also, sometimes I dip my finger into a veggie puree and touch it to her lips to get her to try it. Then she might take a few bites if she likes the taste. But I have to force or sneak that taste, like your daughter she won't try new things.

Sorry I can't help with better suggestions, but know you're not alone!

H.

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S.E.

answers from San Francisco on

Our daughters ped said we should offer a new food 25 times before think she might try it. We literally made broccoli for her for over a month before she ate it.

Let her eat with her fingers. We helped our daughter hold a spoon so she could master that and eat applesauce, which she loved.

s

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear M.,
Trust me....you do NOT want to be on the picky eater bandwagon.
I raised two children of my own and amazingly.....have gotten some of the world's pickiest eaters in other families to try things they would never try at home.
My kids have always eaten what I gave them.
If they saw me eating it, they would eat it.
We're talking brussel sprouts, green beans, brocolli, eggplant, cucumber, yams, mashed potatoes and gravy.
You said your daughter will only eat finger food so I'm wondering if she has ever tried a bowl of rice cereal, oatmeal or cream of wheat?
Two things stick out in my mind.....
She doesn't want you to feed her and you feel that she can't use a spoon yet.
By the time my kids were 15 months old, they both had their own little forks and spoons and plastic bowls and plates. I put them in their high chair and let them go at it.
Try giving your daughter a bowl of something yummy, like yogurt, and a little spoon of her own. You take a bite with your own spoon and encourage her to take a bite with her spoon. She may be apt to try more things if she can do it herself. If you make steamed green beans for dinner, put a couple of them, broken up, on her plate and give her a spoon.
One of the ways kids explore different foods and how they work and taste is by getting messy about it sometimes at first. But that's okay. I bought vinyl tablecloths at the dollar store and put under their high chairs. I dumped any chunks into the sink disposal and threw it in the washer or wiped it off for the next use.
I'm thinking that your little one might have more fun with food if you give her a spoon and just keep trying to introduce different things as you make them. I don't know any kid that age that won't like mashed potatoes and gravy. Certainly not a finger food.
Give it a try!

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