Milk and Picky Eating

Updated on January 17, 2009
C.G. asks from Salem, IL
16 answers

I have a 7-year-old daughter who is an extremely picky eater. I don't make special things for her at mealtime, she either eats what the rest of eat or she doesn't eat at all. The bad thing is, she has no problem going to bed hungry! I try to include at least one thing with each meal that she will eat, but we can only have mac & cheese and bread so many times per week! I have heard a couple of times that parents have limited their child's milk intake, and the picky eating has improved. My daughter drinks milk with almost every meal. She really doesn't drink anything other than milk most of the time. Have any of you tried this, and what were your results? Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Joplin on

They are right. Milk fills a child up, so that is why she is willing to "go hungry". She is not really hungry at all, just not eating a well balanced diet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

it's a good idea to limit her milk C., it just makes good common sense - milk is very filling, especially if you're giving her 2% or whole milk. maybe for dinner just give her water and see if she's more inclined to eat. i would definitely try it.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on

The doctors always say they won't starve, when they get hungry enough they'll eat. But I know that doesn't limit our worry. Drinking does make them full though, especially milk. We know that as a diet trick, don't eat a snack drink a glass of water and you'll feel full. I have kept drinks from my kiddos when they're weren't eating their meal. So, good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Joseph on

It doesn't sound like she's actually going to bed "hungry," just going to bed without having eaten dinner. ;-)

Consider this:
One 8-oz. serving (1 cup) of one-percent milk has 100 calories. At 7, a girl needs about 1400-1600 calories (depending on activity level). So if she's getting just three or four 16-oz. glasses of (1%) milk a day, she's getting HALF her calories from milk--more if you use 2% or whole milk!

Many cups and glasses are marked on the bottom with how many oz. they can hold. If you're not sure, or it's not marked, use a measuring cup to find out. (1 cup = 8 ounces) A single serving is often quite a bit smaller than we think!

Milk and juice are great in moderation, but she really should not be drinking them at every meal, nor between meals (I know, easier said than done!). Water can be filling, but it goes through the system faster and doesn't provide calories, so it shouldn't ruin a child's appetite the way milk and juice often do. Plus, most kids won't drink more water than they need, but they will drink more milk (or juice, or pop, or kool-aid...) than they need!

If she doesn't like to drink water, try using a squirt bottle, a straw, or something else to make it more fun. I can't get my kids to drink much water when it's in a regular cup, but put it in a squirt bottle, and it goes fast! I don't understand it, but it works, lol.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Have not read the other responses, but my first response is pretty much what you have already done. Kids eat when they are hungry and that is how we have always done it. We don't MAKE our kids eat at dinner, but then if they don't there is no trips to the snacks and etc until the next meal. SHould that prove tobe the next morning, Breakfast usually is much more appealing :O).

THEN, We have also noticed then they will "fill up" on their favorite drink at dinner so then food isn't really the issue. Sooo noone gets ANYTHING to drink BEFORE they eat at least SOME food. We serve ONLY water with meals and offer it only once the meal has begun.

Our middle daughter went three days with little than water and crackers ONLY ONCE! You just have to stay strong and fight the fears of malnutrition and child reports, but truth is, she is not going to starve. I refuse to reason / debate with a three year old, and is by far my "head strong" one. Now 6,She does not like to be in / sent to her room, so now we fight with her at dinner over when items are presented ( waiting until we pray etc. ) and where we put them on her plate, which lands with her eating alone in her room.... which she really hates, so then she gets over that episode pretty quickly.

We just "don't fight" at dinner. You don't like it, go to your room and eat alone because the magority would like to eat our food in peace and will be happy with what was presented before us ....thankfully. When she is thankful and grateful to be with us, then she be with us. Which then too we are VERY excited to have her with us as well......all is forgiven. It is important to eat in the "right spirit" anyways, for everyone involved!

Hang in there. THIS TO SHALL PASS. Provide lots of cut up fresh fruits and fresh snacks on the counter for her to graze on. Maybe she is just a grazer like my youngest was, is still... :O). She is the thinnest of my three, but just likes to eat fruit...or gummy fruit snacks. That is her thing. You know, to be honest, "I'm a hotdog person" ... so I give my kids hotdogs, and macNcheese if that is what they want. We do natural as much as possible, but man, Hot Dogs just do it for me sometimes you know? So what if they eat them...just do the bargining thing. You get that, but you have to eat "this" first ...sort of bargin.

OH...I would like to add too, now after reading a few responses. I'd like to say Good Job to the "new mom" that suggested getting them invovled in the food Prep!

YES! HUGE deal!!! 9yrold...doesn't do alot of the cutting, but CAN! I let her stir and brown meat on med. heat and she really has done alot of food prep with me from the get go.She can make Mac N Cheese and Hot Dogs, and Spaghetti Sauce, and pretty much anything on her own that has easy heat up or minimal ingredients. By seven she was making toast and eggs for herself in the morning! But she is tall for her age and can reach the stove and etc.
Middle daughter just has one of those personalities really that just "would rather get out of anything" than to HAVE to DO anything, unless it is JUST her and ME. So we have invited her to join us with "clear boundaries" :O) Ie. MOM's way or the Highway pretty much when it comes to the kitchen. She gets to load and unload the dishwasher ( all dishes / silverware are in lower cabinets so the littler ones can reach with out breaking anything) . She has always been able to set the table and other "readiness" chores since she was able to walk. My four year old now takes on the "readiness" chores of getting water ready, paper towel napkins, silverware and plates for everyone ( which teaches math just so you know) , hot pads for the food to set on, and pretty much anything she can reach and carry to the table she does.

We all "talk about" the meal while we are preparing it / Being thankful myself is HUGE as well. We talk about being thankful while we cook, and that has helped a ton too! We talk about cooking and what we are putting in the most all meals start with "carrots/celery/oninons" . Carrots are good for our "yada yada" , celery is good for "yada yada" , onions help with this ... etc etc. Plus they are always good for a good cry, and we laugh!

Middle daughter hates carrots, and anything that would be natural in any way pretty much....tee hee... BUT Getting to cut them (with a dinner knife) :O)...takes a LOT of effort, so it lets them help, but safe, and they can see that there IS EFFORT that goes into a meal...She can peel carrots, and is our Resident Strawberry Cleaner and Cutter! She LOVES strawberries, and she does not let anyone else clean or cut them. When we buy them , while everyone else "happily" loads groceries, THIS is what she "gets on" right away VERY PROUDLY!

(6 yr old) She is also incharge of any food that needs to be put up for leftovers. If it is something really hot, she scoops it all out first at the table and then nothing is being "carried" anywhere, etc. I say ALL of this because ...she is only SIX. You said your daughter was 7 right?

At SEVEN.....Your daughter should be able to "do" alot in the kitchen anyway.
ALL of my children have jobs in the meal prep and clean up. EVEN if they went to their room during dinner, they still have to help clean up that meal :O). Bummer huh?
(He who goes to his room because he wouldn't eat what was presented is for sure the one who gets to "pack up" the food he thought was inedible.....) Maybe it sounds mean, but you know, (most)americans have NO idea what real hunger is. Not all, but the majority~ please don't condemn me for that comment political moms....I DO know for myself, so , that is probably where my opinion comes from on that matter.

Suffice to say , I am NO Cinderella and not every meal is "Family" prepared. ALL and every meal is EVERYONE cleaned up though! BUT , start with the small things and the more you invite her and the boys ( yes boys can help cook too) to help the more fun it really is anyways. Since I see that you are beginning a PC career/ RIGHT ON~!/ THIS too can be a huge selling point for your clients. PC is so HUGE for allowing easier ways of preparing food , safe enough for kids to be a part!
The slicers and can openers and the apple corer, etc etc. How do you think my 6yr old can so easily clean and cut strawberries??? WOW, this is so exciting for you, and maybe this is the answer you need to this food issue , you think? How fun to be able to " Help Mom" cut with the little sandwich circle maker! The apple corer is easy enough for my 4year old to use (she just has to be up high enough over the apple to get enough force to push down ) !!! VERY COOL!
Can't wait to hear how far your DD & Sons! have come in the next few weeks with helping her mom with her PC career~!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You could try this instead. Unless we are eating something spicy or too dry, we serve the milk at the end of the meal. I've found in my group lunch atmosphere of the daycare, it only takes one child to be silly and spill their drink on purpose and then the whole group will do it and be laughing about the mess. I never thought about it. But my daycare kids do have great appetites. They try nearly everything I serve and eat most of it everyday. They know as soon as they clean up their plate they can have their milk. They do drink all their milk even after they have ate.

I've heard that licensed caregivers are required to serve the milk with the meal. I haven't been licensed for a number of years. But if this is the reason my kids are eating well maybe they are wrong. I thought it was our great cooking LOL!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Wow this is not very encouraging to me that my four year old will grow out of it!! I also have to make mac-n-cheese with everything! But I will say when my daughter downs a whole cup of milk she will not eat very much at all! One morning I was being cool mom and let her have chocolate milk, she drank the whole cup and took 2 bites of her breakfast! Breakfast is the only decent meal I can get her to eat! So this milk thing really makes sense, maybe make her drink more water? Hey maybe I should drink more milk, I could afford to miss a couple meals!!! Haha! Hope it helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita on

I don't have time to read all the responses, but just wanted to make sure you know that nobody truly needs cow milk (except baby cows). If you offer a balanced diet with lots of fresh, whole foods, esp including leafy greens like broccoli, there is no harm in avoiding dairy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My 9 yr old daughter sounds a lot like yours. My daughter absolutely refuses to eat meat. Unless it is hot dogs. She is gradually getting better, and I did the same thing you did. Didn't cook anything just for her and you know she is now starting to eat meat. I think it is something that you are going to have to be firm on and I think she will come around just give her time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Try not giving her any milk about 2 hours before dinner time, AND/OR do not give her a glass of milk with dinner until she eats something, or everything, off of her plate. Tell her when she eats dinner, then she can have a glass of milk????

Good luck and God Bless :)



answers from St. Louis on

You sound like you could be talking about my 5 year old! Her favorite "meal" is bread and butter! lol I hadn't heard about the milk switch thing before, but I know my daughter prefers water over anything, and she's still verrry picky. She does have her moments when she'll eat a bunch of meat for dinner, but other than that, it's pretty slim picking. One thing I did do was get her some Pediasure, just so I know she's getting the nutrients she needs. Of course, she was picky about the flavor she wants, too, but at least she's getting the nutrients. I have a dr's appt for her next week, and will talk this over more with her pediatrician, as well. I hope that helps and good luck! Hopefully it's mostly just a phase for us both! :)



answers from St. Louis on

I agree with the mom about including her in the meal decisions and prep. Plan a menu in advance and let her voice her opinion. Kraft Foods puts out a wonderful magazine with lots of easy flexible recipes.



answers from Kansas City on

Hi there! I have an almost 8 year old boy who went through this and also an almost 5 year old boy that is going through it now! My 8 year old would eat a variety of breakfast foods, but when it came to dinner, it was hotdogs or chicken nuggets (and I am not even kidding). I would also send him to bed with no food and it didn't seem to bother him. I called his doctor (who is a very well respected doctor) who said "What's the big deal, feed him what he will eat...DO NOT make food an issue". So, I didn't. Ya know what? He eats everything now.
Here's my thing(and moms, please don't start cussing me out), I will inform my children what we are eating for dinner. I will tell them to at least try one bite and if they do not like it, I will make them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I do not like to send my kids to bed hungry because they don't sleep well when you do that.
I know it is frustrating, you just have to remember that this will eventually pass......I tell myself this everyday with my 5 year old!
Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

I'm no expert by any means as my daughter is 7 months and usually eats what I put in her mouth although she makes some pretty awful faces...but, what about trying to get your daughter involved in the meal prep? Picking out new recipes, letting her help in kitchen, sampling, critiqing? Not sure if that might help, but just a thought. Good luck. My cousin has a child that refuses to eat and they totally cater to her, so good for you for not making a big fuss. I think the more attention kids get with this, the bigger problem it leads to.



answers from St. Louis on

I would say that if you have consulted your pediatrician and you are including a good multi-vitamin daily in her diet, she might still grow out of her picky habits. Milk is high in protein, B- and D-vitamins so she might not be missing as much as you think. It is very filling for some kids and limiting her intake might make her hungry for other things...but at 7, she's getting pretty set in her ways. Again, talk to a good pediatrician, dietician, and even get on WebMD and take a look at some strategies. Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

We tried limiting the milk for our daughter, and she still wouldn't eat anything. Finally we figured at least the milk was giving her some nutrition. Kids just like what they like. My daughter is now eleven, and she's still ridiculously picky (orders plain pasta at restaurants), whereas my second daughter eats pretty much everything. I figure my oldest will eventually start getting teased by her friends for her wierd eating habits, and then maybe she'll branch out a little. I am just starting to see a little improvement and willingness to try new things. Good luck with your daughter, and for now, I would let her drink the milk.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches