Food Help for a Picky Eater

Updated on January 28, 2010
S.L. asks from Urbana, IL
7 answers

Hi Moms... I need some help...My almost 3 year is very very picky. He doesn't eat or won't even try a lot of things...he eats the same things all the time. i can't get him to eat vegetables at all, fruit is minimal, and forget a lot of protein. He won't eat beef or pork, only eats chicken, won't eat eggs (hasn't even tried them). At first I thought it was just at home...but there are days that he won't eat at daycare either because of the food served (so I refuse to let him come home and not eat either). I asked on the fruits & veggies he gets and they said he won't touch them. I've tried the Juicy Juicy Harvest Blend, he takes a sip and is done, I've tried the Nutripal's drink supplements - again takes a sip and he's done. Tells me he doesn't like them. Tried giving him ketchyp or ranch to dip things in - still won't do it...He does drink milk and eats cheese (no yogurt or cottage cheese), and does take a vitamin regularly - but I'm worried about the lack of nutrition. He goes to the doctor in 6 weeks for his 3 year old check up so I'll talk to the doctors then...but any other mom's have this problem? Any thoughts?

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answers from Norfolk on

My son is the same way .....very very picky eater since 15 months. He had 105 fever and rushed to emergency room since that day he came home a different baby as in eating. Before he would eat anything I put infront of him and after that incident, most pickest eater ever. I'm so jealous that your son eating chicken...LOL. That's awesome some sort of protein. If I can only wish. My son will not eat any meats, vegs, peanut butter, etc and same thing will not even try alot of things. It's to the point that he evens "feels" the food and if it does not feel right to him he will not eat it. So weird.
But have you tried muffins with him yet? My son will only eat Cinnamon Struel muffins(and I hardly put any of the sugary struel part on it). Since it's hard to have him eat "protein" foods, I puree zuchinis, mix the Carnation breakfast vanilla powder with the milk, eggs, etc. I have to load all the veg and protein that way. And he only eats the top part of the muffins. Try to slip in vegs that way. I would try to "sneak" foods in the foods he does eat. Does he like applesauce? If so, I take just a small amount of puree zuchini and mix it in with the applesauce. Enough where he cannot feel the texture or make it funny tasting. See if he would like to help you make lunch or dinner (like with the muffins). Keep on introducing new day it will happen. Even if he doesnt eat it put it on his plate so he sees it. I even have my son hand me his foods(like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, you know hard foods) that he does not want so he has to touch the food to hand it to me so he feels the texture. Spaghetti and squishy foods I dont have him pick up, we just leave on plate. For my son, big thing is for him to touch the food at least. Trying it is a different story but feeling it is huge. New thing with my son is he ate yogurt that he picked out by himself in the store. Saw Dora yogurt and wanted it. I asked him will you eat it? He said Yes. I did not think that would happen but got it. When we got home I gave it to him while it was fresh in his head...and oh my gosh he ate it! Even wanted more! He did not like yogurt before. So they need to make Dora on chicken, veggies, etc for me.. :) So keep on trying...

If the doctor says he's not underweight think should be ok and keep on trying. I know its frustrating but all we can do is hang on there.
I have a friend whos son is older than mine and is in the same boat with me and she tried the hard core way and gave him food and if he did not eat, he did not eat. To make the long story short, it did not work! He is still picky. As he got older he has "tried" new foods but still picky. I cant do the hardcore yet.

Well good luck to you and hope your doctor gives you some good advice.

Take care


answers from Milwaukee on

Yup this is a common problem in my household... daughter is picky but getting a tad bit better. We also struggle with constipation due to lack of fiber so we do fiber enriched breads and rice.

Just the other day I was watching Doctor Phil and had one of the guys from The Doctors on, I take advice and will try anything for my picky eater (as long as it is not harmful to my daughter of course)... They said some kids are more sensitive to foods texture and just do not eat as much... of course the following is if your child is at a health weight and no other medical issues... always offer one thing they like at every meal, even if that means making a grilled cheese, chicken or PB&J for many meals (which is healthy for them anyway). Also put the other items on their plate along with the one other thing you know he will eat, eat yourself do not put pressure on your kid to eat because it will create a negitiave enviroment which later will create bad eating/food habits. Both men said they had/have kids that were/are picky and they did/will grow out of it but did not see that until 4th or 5th grade.

Many meals I make something for hubby and I then something different for daughter (grilled cheese or chicken)... I do put whatever we are eating on her plate because she has surprised use and taken bites (but only when we did not push it, had to be her idea). Some days she tries other she does not... some families will have no picky eaters but other will and it is a struggle. I have found sending them to time out and bed because they did not try something did NOT work and only set us months back. We do have a game we try called "Eating Moe" where we do the eenny meny miny moe game and whatever piece we land on is moe and moe wants to be eaten. It sometimes works, sometimes not.

Veggies are a struggle so I give her V8 Fusion which has veggies and fruit servings but taste like yummy juice. Homemade smoothies are another great way to get fruit, add fruit, yogurt, OJ together and serve.

Protein is good but most Americans eat too much protein so no need to push it. You could cook a few days worth of chicken at once and that way you just need to warm it up for him instead od spending a huge amount of time besides what you are making for you and hubby for dinner.

Grab on to the good things he likes to eat and have them premade so you just need to reheat... then at every meal give corn or peas, it works best to just serve one at every meal for a week or so, the more they see it the more willing to try it but it has to be seen EVERYday for them to remember and then hopefully they will try a bit or two along the way.



answers from Phoenix on

I have a somewhat picky eater too, not to the degree you are experiencing is VERY frustrating, I know. There are 2 books, "the sneaky chef" and "deceptively delicious" and both are about pureeing veggies and hiding them in the foods that they like. They are both good, and some of the tips are amazing and totally work (like making green juice from spinach and hiding it in chocolate pudding, sounds gross but you CANNOT tell its in there. Or putting pureed yams or squash in french toast, etc.) Try some of those in the foods that he does eat, it'll put your mind at ease knowing he's getting some veggies even though it is only a little, but over time it adds up! Also we drink the V8 fusion juice (NOT V8 splash) which tastes great and has veggies in it. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

My son is the exact same way , became fussy at 15 months and is still the same way (he's now 6 1/2), He still won't eat fruit or veggies , eggs , pasta , pizza , meat....the list goes on to be honest. He eats fries , chicken tenders , sausages , pancakes , garlic bread , bagels , crackers....carbs basically. I tried the giving what we had and if he didn't eat then he went without...well he went without for 5 days!!! , in the end I just wanted him to eat something , so I just give him what he likes and he eats lot's of it , if he asks to try something then great I let him. Doctor has checked him over and he is not under weight and he is rarely sick....his dad was the same way as a kid and now he eats everything in sight!!!

If he is ok weight wise , you supplement with vitamins and he does eat some fruit then I would go with it , the worst thing is to have a battle of wills every meal time with tears and screaming.



answers from Chicago on

Texture could be an issue. My son seems to prefer crunchy so the nutritionist recommended crunchy green beans from Trader Joes and Snap Pea Crisps which are also at TJs in the chip isle or nut isle. He also loves TJs meatballs - all kinds. Tortilini is another thing he'll eat, but only if smothered in sauce. We also do freeze dried fruits from TJs. Bothwell's fruit drinks are good too; they are in the produce area. Mine will drink the "green goddess" one which has fruits and veggies in it - but it's green, so your son may not. You could also try the yogurt in a tube and freeze them and tell him it's ice cream. Frozen peas and corn are another possible option. Also, try the freeze dried fruits from TJs. Blueberries, strawberries and apples are a big hit here. Mandarin oranges are another big hit.



answers from Chicago on

S.- I have a 2.5 y/o that is the same way, it's very frustrating & worrys me as well. Does he like smoothies at all? My daughter will luckily drink those, and I can even sneak in some carrots. I've found recipes online for 'green slime' smoothies that you can put green veggies in & they taste good. I would try that. If your son likes chicken, I'd try different recipes with chicken, veggies etc. I would definitely push your ped. for suggestions on how to get your son to eat. Has your son always been this picky? Or just recently? My daughter has always had oral sensitivity issues, and has been working with a feeding therapist since 16 mos. old. It has not helped much, in my opinion, she's a horrible eater. Good luck to you, feel free to email if you'd like, I'd be interested to hear what your doctor says.



answers from New York on

My son is very picky as well. He used to eat EVERYTHING (salmon, chicken, steak), then he got his taste buds, I guess.
Now my son will only eat turkey burgers and refuses to eat all other meats and fish. He's ok with some vegetables. Some he likes raw, rather than cooked. Try some tofu nuggets. My son will nibble on those as well as peanut butter. I was also worried about the protien he was getting. Talk to your doctor. I think it's a stage kids go through. Good luck!

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