Daughter Not Eating Fruits or Vegetables

Updated on August 28, 2008
B.P. asks from Summerville, SC
32 answers

My daughter is just over 1 year old. I am very particular about what I give her to eat. I breast fed her until 9 months (wanted a year but lost milk supply) and then she went on organic formula. I gave her only organic baby food but at one point tried to make her baby food but she didn't like the consistancy and wouldn't eat it. So she ate baby food right up until it was almost her 1st birthday and then she started being more interested in table food but she wouldn't eat fruits or vegetables because of the texture she would and still will just let them slide right out of her mouth. I've tried mashing them but she doesn't want me spoon feeding her ANYTHING pretty much she will only eat chz quesadilla or grilled cheese. A cereal bar or a waffle. Her little snack foods are some gerber graduates arrow root cookies or veggie crackers (I got those because of the iron, her hemoglobin was low at last dr. appt.) she will also eat fig newmans (organic fig newtons) frosted mini wheats and occasionally I can get some yogurt or applesauce down her throat. This obviously doesn't seem like an adequate diet for a toddler but I have no clue what to do???? If anyone has experienced this I'd love some pointers or even just to find out that other children ate such a limited diet and still survived.
I've considered trying to disciplining her by putting the pack n play in the dining room and when she refuses to eat something or wont let me feed her the baby fruits and vegetables isolating her for a min and then trying again...but I wonder if it will work? I just think she (like her mom and dad) is very picky about textures. Thanks so much!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the advice...I am going to try a few things mentioned. I especially appreciate the comment about how babies don't know what they want...I offer her foods that she has never eaten and she will just throw them off the tray simply because she doesn't want to try it or she would just prefer a quesadilla. Many people express concern about the discipline part but it is clear to me that she is being defiant she has discovered her will and is fighting me for control. The fact of the matter is I know what is best for her, she does not. I know that it is not good for her to live off of cheese quesadillas and she thinks it would be nice too. At some point I can't let her do that. I am not sure how I am going to do it. I am going to start putting some veggies in with her quesadillas and grilled cheeses but that still isn't going to cover all of the bases I am def. going to keep offering her fruits and veggies but soon I might try the whole this is what I am giving you to eat and if you don't at least try it then you just won't eat...like someone's response said she won't starve herself and also she gets her milk so she would be fine. I know I probably have a different parenting philosophy than some and I really appreciate everyones input! Thanks so much...pray for us!

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B.M.

answers from Atlanta on

Try letting her feed herself. I made all my own baby foods, but at some point I let my daughter feed herself. Maybe she likes the control that she has when she feeds herself the cheese quesadillas, etc. and doesn't want you spoon feeding her. It may be messy, but try some organic applesauce while you are making the other stuff. That is how I trick my kids to eat veggies, I serve them first while I am "finishing up" all the other stuff. I don't serve the other stuff until the veggies are gone. At age 1 I would think she could eat banana and pear pieces, peas, and other finger foods. It may be messy, but that is okay. My other suggestion would be to "hide" veggies into things. Just keep trying, their tastes change every fews weeks. My daughter ended up eating babyfood for a long time because she loved to spoon feed it to herself (my homemade kind was thicker, not as messy as the watery jarred kind).

Good luck. This too shall pass.

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K.L.

answers from Savannah on

My mother-in-law was telling me about an article she read...she said that if kids won't eat healthy food, then plant a garden. They will be interested in eating food they played a part in growing. Broccoli becomes a cool thing to eat if they grew it with Mommy.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

My DD is getting picky too. I I let her she would eat graham crackers and ketchup for every meal. First - remember it is more important what they get over a week, not just one day or meal. We have tried veggies in cheese sauce with some success. She really likes tomato sauce so we mix it with other veggies like squash. The order we give her things seems to matter too. We also have some success if we put the food on a fork or spoon and let her take it and put it in her mouth. She much prefers to feed herself. We don't try to force her because it doesn't work (a wise person told us you can control what is on their plates but not what goes in their mouths). Plus it just makes us both unhappy.

Good luck!

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B.

answers from Augusta on

I wouldn't worry she's just a baby. her food preferances will change a couple of dozen times before she is 3 yrs old then she will prob go through another phase where she wont eat anything but noodles and rice ( our current food phase with my son). Just give her a vitaman if you are THAT worried about it.

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B.F.

answers from Atlanta on

She just a baby and remember this all is really new to her and if you and your hubby are a bit picky sometimes your little off spring can be too. Rather then punish her and possible give her more reasons as she gets older in life to have some issues about food....why not sneak god stuff in to good stuff??? How about always offering fruits and veggies and is she doesn't eat it no big deal you eat it beside her they say after something being offered about 15 times kids will try it....she really young so she can only go by what she see others do. Try making muffins with a jar of blueberries added to the mixture or applesauce or better yet zucchini....you can add a bay jar of prunes even. Better yet take her on a special trip to the store an let her pick out a fruit they love the colors and talk about how pretty they all are. I'd try chopping things and try getting away from feeding her from the jars...take a bananna mash it..bang you have baby food or cut it small pieces and let her try. She will be fine many children eat a limited diet and grow and are just fine, she'll try things give her time and if you make no big thing out of she may be more willing.

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M.C.

answers from Charleston on

Keep trying to introduce new foods, but also check out this book: The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. It has great ideas on how to make traditional kid foods healthy (grilled cheese and quesadillas are in there!!:). Keep trying new things and she'll come around eventually--I know it's frustrating though! good luck!

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K.F.

answers from Atlanta on

I would recommend only offering her the fruits and veggies. Go cold turkey on all the other options. After a while, she will eat what she's offered b/c she'll be hungry. Even at the twelve month age food can become a war of the wills. If you only offer her the fruits and veggies there won't be a need to discipline her (although I certainly understand your thinking there.) In my experience (four and three year old boys who had strong attitudes about food but now eat whatever they are offered) letting a child be hungry for a meal or two in order to help them understand that Mommy's in charge of mealtime works like a charm. And as many experienced Mom's and doctors have told me - they won't go hungry. Eventually they'll give in - how long it takes depends on how strong-willed they are as well as how strong-willed you are. May God bless your efforts!

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A.H.

answers from Savannah on

Hi B.! I have 2 daughters and the youngest is a year old too! I would encourage you to keep trying to offer her a variety of foods. My little girl never would eat baby food. She never liked the runny foods and so she went straight to table food. At about 9 months old, she was completely feeding herself. Sometimes our family has food at dinner that is harder for her to eat, so I might substitute a food that is easier for her to chew/swallow. She won't eat it because she wants to have the same thing that the rest of the family is eating. Every kid is different and they all go through stages of eating certain things and then the next day refusing to do so.

I also wanted to address the part in your post where you are talking about 'considering to discipline her by putting her in the pack and play'. Please don't do this. She is only 12 months old and she is not capable of understanding what you are doing. She is not deliberately disobeying you or trying to be difficult. She is just acting her age! :)

Good Luck!
A.

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M.G.

answers from Atlanta on

I know you are worried about your daughter's diet, but please do not punish her for not eating something. The worst thing you can do is make an issue out of food. This is something you have no control over. She is the one to decide what goes in. You can lead her to fruit, but you can't make her eat it! Just keep offering. Hide fruit or veg in yogurt or grilled cheese sandwiches. Your job is to offer healthy food. It's her job to eat it, or not.

Try the Cheerios with dried strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in them. Try the Stonyfield Farms Yo'Baby with fruit and cereal. Just keep offering and see what happens. It's not a crisis. She's learning.

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S.B.

answers from Atlanta on

I know how frustrating it can be with a picky eater!! I am still going through this with my daughter who will be 3 in two weeks. She is very picky about texture, but so am I. She will find about 3 or 4 things that she will only eat and then all of a sudden she won't have anything to do with it anymore and we have to find something else for her to eat. And the new thing is usually something that we have tried a hundred times before. She just went through a stage where she would only eat pasta and now she won't touch it. I give her a vitamin and she is fine. She has never really been sick except for 1 ear infection (6mo) and 2 stomach virus 9mo and 2 1/2 yr). I find my self getting so mad at her and I have to realize that she is growing and healthy. Hopefully she will find a balance in her life and sooner than later would be nice. I wish you the best. Just take a deep breath and know that even on a very limited diet, your little one will survive!

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C.R.

answers from Atlanta on

Hey B.,

I'm going through the very same thing with my 16 mth old daughter. I've been told by a nutritionist to "keep at it" and that the saying "babies are finnicky" isn't right because babies don't know what they like or don't like. It usually comes down to the parent and them not staying strong with a meal plan. For me, this made a lot of sense. I BF'd my daughter until she was 9 mths and started making her baby food at 6 mths old. She ate ANYTHING I made. But then around 1 yrs old everything changed. Suddenly mommy's food wasn't good enough and she started shaking her head at almost everything except meat. So naturally, I went to a nutritionist and that's where she told me to "KEEP AT IT". So that's my advice to you. I know it can get extremely discouraging for you. I have to remind myself daily that....she doesn't KNOW what she wants...I just have to keep at it. And you know what? I made some broccoli last night and mixed it with her chicken and she fussed for about 10 min but I kept at it and kept telling her to eat and walked away from her and she ate up everything. Talk about monumental!!! Yippey!!!

One thing I've realized is that "I'm the mom" and that I let meal time turn into "battle time". I believe it's because of her coming into her own but again...I'm the mom so I have to manage how she comes into her own and staying strong with the meals is just a start.

Good Luck and hope this helps.

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C.C.

answers from Atlanta on

My pediatrician said 1. you can't force your child to eat something and 2. a child will not refuse food to the point of starvation. So, even though it doesn't seem to you like your child is getting what she needs, she is eating some and therefore not starving. How was her growth at her 1 year old appt? What did your pediatrician say? Also, are you still giving formula first? When we dropped the bottle we found that our son greatly increased his solid foods. It seems that it is normal for children this little to be picky. I have heard you just need to keep offering them different foods and one day they might start eating them! Keep up the good work :)

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D.S.

answers from Atlanta on

I know you said that your daughter likes cheese quesadillas - I have taken veggies and steamed them, (works really well with squashes like butternut and yellow squash) and them mixed them up with the cheese and made a quesadilla. My son had no clue!

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S.B.

answers from Atlanta on

B.,

This is one of the first parts of your daughter's life where she realizes SHE has some control over the situation by not eating what you'd like her to eat and she is enjoying the control. It sounds like you are trying what you can to get some variety in there sometimes with the fig cookies and veggie crackers, etc. LOTS of kids start out by not wanting certain foods because of the texture, don't worry. You have to just continue EVERY day to try to give her the chance to eat the foods you'd like her to eat. Talk up the foods, especially when you and your husband are eating them and you offer her some, but don't let her see your frustration too much--she'll she that as "I'm able to control Mommy" and like it. Try to be casual about all the different foods you try with her and she'll hopefully eventually surprise you with new likes. Try to offer everything you can so that offering a new food isn't a big deal either. At one year old, we gave our kids vitamins per our peds recommendation. That way, the vitamin helped suppliment where her tastes lacked in food. I would NOT recommend the pack n play punishment method, she still won't eat the foods like you would like and it's best to not associate any foods or mealtime with punishment if possible. Some kids are totally fussier than others with eating, any I've found with my kids and friends' kids, that the more easy-going we are about the food we give them, the less we and they stress about it and they'll just eventually try stuff and sometimes (but still rarely) find they like it. Good luck and don't worry--this too shall pass :-)

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K.W.

answers from Atlanta on

You could try letting her feed herself baby food. Put some in a plastic bowl and give her a spoon. She will make a huge mess, but if she will take the fruits and veggies this way, it would be good for her. My son wouldn't eat table food consistently until he was over a year, but he did start to feed himself his own baby food prior to turning a year.

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K.R.

answers from Savannah on

My daughter is 3 years old and we had similiar issues with her. She still loves her cheese more than anything else:) I definitely would not discipline her at this point for not choosing to eat. I have done some research on that because I was at my wits end with my daughter and found that most professionals said that could lead to unhealthy relationships with food. What I did and continue to do is just put the food on her plate at every meal. If she eats it, great and if not she will one day. Every toddler goes through stages where they will only eat certain things and sometimes don't eat much at all and then they go through times where you can't keep enough food in the house. Just keep trying. I am also going through the same thing with my son. He is 16 months and refuses to eat meat of any kind. We just keep putting it on his plate and some times he totally shocks me and will have a bite or two. It isn't much, but it is a start. Good luck, keep trying!

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J.D.

answers from Atlanta on

My son did not eat well when he was that age. He is still not a huge eater but his variety is better. I started using Juice Plus on his food to make sure he was getting proper nutrition.

When he was that age I would sprinkle a capsule full on his food and he never knew the difference. Now he takes the chewables even though he eats better. This way he is gauranteed proper nutrition. I became a distributor for the product because of all the proven studies and doctors who support its claims. You can visit my website at www.jdych.com for more info or you can call me ###-###-####.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

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F.H.

answers from Atlanta on

I would suggest trying Pediasure and a vitamin supplement while continuting to offer her a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, etc. This may just be a phase and she is exerting her independence.

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L.C.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

Try giving her her veggies first with nothing esle on her tray or plate. It took my son a while to get used to the texture in his fingers and his mouth. I just kept trying and at meal time gave him the vegiies first. I usually waited about 10 to 15 minutes before I gave hime anythign else. He usualy got hngry enought to try them. Eventually he got used to them and started liking them.

Good Luck
L.

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A.M.

answers from Atlanta on

As a terrific and caring mom, you are providing her with healthy options, organic to boot! Other mothers have told me their child lived on a single food (ie peanut butter) for months at a time! Children do not starve themselves. Make sure she is taking a multivitamin every day. I wonder what you think the impact or result of disciplining would be? I would be afraid that punishment and/or forcing her to eat would lead to longer-term negative associations around eating and possibly eating disorders, so personally would not discipline her because of what she does not eat or force her to eat. As you said, she is very picky about textures...that won't change because of disciplining. Keep offering a variety of options in very small portions. If she is not growing or thriving obviously see your pediatrician. Good luck!

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C.O.

answers from Atlanta on

From a mom of 2 (almost 6 yr old and 3 yr old) I would get on amazon and buy the following book: How to get your kid to eat...but not too much by Ellyn Satter. I wish I knew about this book 3 yrs ago! My first child eats anything: black beans, sushi, shrimp, guacamole, etc. I mean anything, my 2nd child VERY picky. She drives me crazy and this very quickly became a power struggle for us. As you know there are 2 things you can not force: anything to go in, anything to come out. So, feeding and potty training are the 2 sources of power. Check out the book. I got it off Amazon recently and it has been a blessing. I got a used copy of the book and with shipping was less than $5. Best $5 ever spent! It totally took the pressure off me and I could relax. It has also increased what my daughter is eating without playing games to get her to eat. Very dangerous to punish/reward with food. Read up. My doctor scared the [email protected]#$ out of me that I was creating an eating disorder. This book reversed everything I had been taught and what we grew up with. I highly recommend...My daughter is eating so much better now and all the power struggles are gone.
Best of luck.
C. in Alpharetta/Johns Creek

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M.F.

answers from Athens on

Hey B.!

I have twin 19 month old daughters and went through the same thing! Out of no where they would not eat!! I finally got fed up and said whatever. I continued to give them their fruits and vegetables but with a spoon or fork for them to eat at will. Now anything I give them with a spoon or fork goes down no problem!! Maybe she is just ready to do it on her own?! I can put applesauce down and it is messy, but they love it spoon it up! And salad is the same way. They love to eat it with a fork. Some days they get frustrated and use their hands, but who cares as long as they eat!! Good luck!!!!!

M.

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D.C.

answers from Atlanta on

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A.J.

answers from Atlanta on

My daughter has begun rejecting veggies since about 2 yrs. old, so I feel your concern! Though it's not an easy or quick answer, I'd say just keep, keep, keep trying. They say that kids tend to become accepting of new textures/flavors after a dozen introductions, so persistence really does pay off. Also, since you've gotten applesauce to pass on occasion, maybe try getting a similar consistency from other fruits/veg - pears, etc. You could also try one of the cookbooks like Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious, which tells you how to sneak pureed vegetables into everyday foods, many of which may be appropriate to cut up and give to your daughter at this stage. I would encourage you to keep trying, presenting wide varieties of options, and presenting them time and time again, but would encourage you not to go the disciplinary route - punishment associated with food can become a very problematic power struggle and psychological issue for years to come, as we've seen in our own family. Good luck!!!

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K.R.

answers from Savannah on

Hi, All babies go through this to some degree. I have two, 6 and 1 and my smallest goes through it some but the key is to NOT stop offering them to her. What I am doing is I will spread a piece of bread with veggie cream cheese with some sliced soft cooked veggies on it(Im sure you could do tortilla with cheese and cooked veggies in it). Sneak them in stuff but put some separately on the plate still so you still offer them. They will surprise you sometimes. Put some ketchup on them or a good sauce. Also, I cook chix and dumplings with cooked carrots added. Cooked noodles with a yummy sauce with veggies added to them. Fruit....hmmmmm, if she has teeth let her chew on a slice of strawberry or a grape halved. I know mine wants more than just bananas and once I started doing different things besides apples, bananas, pears she started to eat more of it. She has 5 teeth and I can give her a strawberry halved and she thinks she is big and chews on it. Also, you could try those net things that you put the veggies in and let her chew on them or you can freeze them a little. They are great for teething too. Watermelon.
Regardless, its just a phase. Im alot more relaxed about it 2nd time around because I know it will pass but it wont pass if you stop offering them to her. My oldest orders a salad at McDonalds now instead of hamburgers and chicken nuggets....I swear! So he loves veggies now. I serve them whatever we eat. Quiche, veggie pasta even spinach pie and they will eat it! Keep trying!!

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J.J.

answers from Augusta on

My son had the same problem with texture. His stemmed from catching a virus and having uncontrollable vomiting at age two. He wouldn't take anything that was soft or juicy or grainy into his mouth. It was like starting all over with baby food. He would eat absolutely no fruit but he came around with green beans. Needless to say we had green beans allot for a while. I would try new veggies and he would only get the veggies and he wouldn't get the other items until he had some of the veggies. The only way he would eat fruits would be in waffles or in fresh smoothies. He started eating apples when I put him in daycare at age four and I think it was because he was seeing other kids like him eat it. In the beginning, I couldn't even get him to eat mashed potatoes but he says it's his favorite now. He's five and a half now and now eats apples, sucks the juice from oranges, bananas and recently seedless grapes. Won't touch a watermelon... crazy!!! Good Luck

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M.B.

answers from Savannah on

Sounds like you are in a little bit of a problem here huh. First let me share that I have five- soon to be six kids and I totally remember being a first time mom- glad I only had to do that once!
First do not discipline her for this issue- she is not being disobedient she is doing "what she was trained to do". Yes that is right- what she was TRAINED to do. And let me also say that you did what many moms do today believing that is the right way to do it. Motherhood is a journey and you have to go through it for yourself but if you go on to have more children there are things that you will do differently to avoid issues that arose with your first. Lets just say that with my first I did things very similar to you and by the time I got to the 5th he got reglar tablefoods to much with at around 8 months by 10 he got 2 meals a day not subsitiuting for any nursings and he ate whatever we did. And at 14 1/2 months he just started eating all three meals.
Okay back to how to fix the problem- remembering that you have trained her to eat the textures you have you need to do 2 things- one find ways to give her the food she needs and 2 get her used to eating real food and not mush.

So- for number one you take out your litte blender and you blend- blend frozen fruit- canned fruit, fresh fruit. And yes your blender will work for doing this. Blend blend blend and there ya go.

do the same for veggies- blend the veggies you prepare for yourself for dinner, steam some veggies, canned veggies- it can all be blended.

Since she is used to eating mush you have to now feed it to her until she gets used to other stuff..

"how do we get her used to other stuff?"

Before you give her her mush let her sit in her highchair and and play/eat steamed carrots, green beans and squash, etc. Give her slices of different fruits apples, oranges, bananas. As she handles it she will become more comfrtable with it and will start trying to eat it on her own.

Also you need to start plumping up things she normally will eat in order to get her desensitized to texture. Make some brown rice and add a little into her normal baby mush- gradually adding more so that she will go from maybe one piece of rice per spoon to a big chunky bite.

Try giving her refried beans, black beans, add some canned spinich to it. Dont be afraid of giving your baby things with spice- this is good to do! It will help her not to have a picky palate!

Really whatever you are eating your child should be eating so that is the goal you are working towards. Good luck and eventually she will get the hang of it.

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E.R.

answers from Sumter on

There are a lot of products that mix fruit and vegetable juices. My son is the same way, but he drinks 3 full servings of veggies a day! I know it's not as good as eating them, but I feel that it's better than nothing. His bowel movements have also normalized after I began the veggie juices. I had to slowly get him used to the juices. First I mixed 1/3 regular juice, 1/3 water, and 1/3 fruit and veggie juice (like V8 fusion, apple and eve fruitables, or harvest surprise, all can be found at Walmart in Camden). After several days he got used to this, and I slowly increased the amount of veggie juice. He loves and and drinks a lot- but it took a couple of weeks! Be patient. I also give him an Adora chocolate calcium supplement (Walgreens) as he can't drink milk.

Good luck! My son is gradually getting more adventurous. Yesterday he ate sweet potatoes! He also likes oatmeal (I have to hand him the spoon, not feed him), PB&J, etc.

Hope it helps!

E.

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H.D.

answers from Charleston on

B.,
Please don't discipline your daughter for not eating. She's too young to understand, and it creates negative feelings about food. Let her play with her food. Give her all different textures of foods, crunchy, soft, meltable solids (like graham crakers), fruits, veggies, etc. It may get messy, but that's OK! Kids learn about their environment, including eating food, by interacting with it. Talk about the properties of the foods - what color and shape it is, how it feels in your fingers, and also how it feels in your mouth. Eat what she is eating and exaggerate your mouth movements, talking about how you move food from side to side with your tongue. This is how most kids learn to eat...watching mom and dad. Don't worry about her learning bad habits of playing with her food, this is perfectly normal at her age. She'll learn to use utensils later, but she needs to learn how to deal with the textures first, and touching food comes before actually eating it. Let her feed herself, or try to. Give her utensils to play with too. And remember to offer new foods...it typically takes 10 times of offering a new food before it is accepted into a child's diet. Good luck and I hope this gives you some things to try.

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D.H.

answers from Atlanta on

My 2yo was the same way and still is. She has this thing about textures. I can't even get her to physically touch something like a strawberry, etc. It hasn't changed for us and she was my only child that did this texture thing...in mouth or touch.

I wouldn't punish her, but then I can be picky myself and I believe you said you are as well, so you know what it can be like to be made to eat something you don't want to do. I would LOVE for my daughter to eat veggies and fruits, but she won't. She has to be really hungry in order to even eat a banana!

But funny thing is, I can get her to eat avacado. I'll make it like I would guacamole (but without the chunks) and I'll give her some tortilla chips and she'll actually eat it. Amazing, but she'll do that. That's about the only thing I can get her to do.

I've found that if I don't offer her some food and just eat it myself in front of her, she'll ask. Now, she doesn't always keep it down, but ever so often she'll surprise me. Good luck!

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L.S.

answers from Columbia on

Hey B., when my daughter was 2 the only thing I could get her to eat for months was cole slaw! Nothing but cole slaw. She will eventually eat the foods that you offer her, just give it time. Atleast she is eating and I can think of a lot worse things she could be wanting to eat than what she is.

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S.G.

answers from Savannah on

Just remember, no child has ever starved themselves. I wouldn't punish her for not wanting to eat something either. Just keep offering her new foods and old foods to try along with the ones that she will eat and one day before you know it, she'll eat something she wouldn't touch before!! If she won't let you feed her with a spoon, offer her a toddler fork and spoon and let her have at it herself. This might also encourage her to eat more if you allow her to use some of the independance she is trying to display. A friend of mine just went though this with her son who just turned 2 not too long ago. He just woke up one day and decided to eat all the things he wouldn't before!! Oh, and when he would be at my house he would eat pretty good for me while he sat at the table with everyone else too. He kinda sat off to the side at home, not at the table.

Good luck!
~S.

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