Picky Eater Help - Mount Pleasant,PA

Updated on May 16, 2016
C.N. asks from Mount Pleasant, PA
11 answers

My 7 year old DD had developed picky eating habits. This is completely new for her. Before she would eat almost anything I made. A few things she didn't like, but now its everything. She only wants Mac and Chees . Peanut butter and Jelly, and fruit. She will eat almost any breakfast food, expect eggs, but lunch and dinner I can barely get her to eat. With all the kiddos we have(8) I do not make special meals, I would be cooking forever! The way I was raised, I ate what was made or I went hungry. I try to stick with that to be fair to each of the kids. But my DD just doesn't eat except for breakfast. I worry that she is hungry. And I feel so mean to do this. Its not just at home either, she isn't really eating in school either! So my question, any ideas to help a picky eater? Thanks everyone!!

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answers from Beaumont on

Hmmm. Options...tell her she has to pick from what you prepare or let her learn to cook alongside you and maybe tweak some of the dishes so she'd like them more (one of my sons doesn't like cheese so it's as easy as not adding it to his portion of that particular food). I think I'd opt to let her help make the meals. It would be one of her "chores", a way to bond with you and a way for her to contribute to the solution. No matter what I would never cater to the "only mac and cheese, PB & J" mentality.

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answers from Springfield on

My brother and I were and still are very picky eaters. Our parents would usually tell us to take 2 bites and if we still didn't want it we could make ourselves a sandwich or eat a yogurt. Would that work for you?

Don't forget, kids do go through stages where they don't require as much food.

Another thing to consider is that some picky eaters aren't really being picky. They genuinely do not like that many foods. I don't have a huge number of foods I like. I I have to eat something I don't like, it's usually a miserable experience. I will usually choose not to eat rather than eat something I don't like.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I have one picky eater and he would much rather eat nothing than something he does not like. It happens all the time. Really, it is nothing I can control for the most part. Believe me, I used to try and it just made all of us miserable. So, I don't have advice for you. He's 12 now and he can describe to me what he smells and tastes. I believe he might be what the doctors call a "supertaster". For example, a nice grilled hamburger tastes like super strong burnt charcoal to him. Honestly, I just try to make sure there are a couple things he likes each meal and I don't worry about it besides that. I will now put down tin foil under his meat when we grill...little tricks like that. He truly is different in some way...when first trying foods as a baby and toddler he gagged at everything. He could not eat so many foods...he would throw up. Just looking at certain foods made him gag and heave. My daughter who is now 7 will sometimes pretend to be picky...I basically just ignore her and put food in front of her. If she really doesn't want to eat something that's fine. I tell both of them they need to take one bite and then I change the subject. No complaining is the rule at the table. Usually the next week she likes that food again and eats it just fine. But she has always been an adventurous eater...she just sometimes wants to copy her older sibling. Added: I have some adult friends who say they were super picky as kids and all of them changed as young adults (in their 20s) around their peers. One friend said all he ever ate were hamburgers. Another friend say he only liked meat and potatoes and refused to eat anything else. They eat normally now...so something changed.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I remember sitting at the table long after everyone had left, staring at my plate. So I was a picky eater which you would never know now. I am the one who will eat anything and try everything. So she'll likely grow out of it.

In my house, two of my kids are like yours. And we do the - you have to try 2 bites - thing. They may not eat the meat/fish - but they will eat the sides, or if it's a casserole (they hate) then they are free to go make an egg or sandwich.

So long as they eat the fruit and some veggies, I don't really care. I gave up worrying about it. They're healthy according to their doctor.

Funny - these two love breakfasts too. They are happiest if we make crepes or pancakes or eggs and toast for supper. So sometimes I do that. They will eat cereal like there's no tomorrow. So I just make sure it's the good kind.

Just to note - they do develop more tastes (typically) as they get older. My picky eater teen is better than he was at seven. So there's hope :)

Is she snacking? Some kids at this age get into snacking, fill up and then don't eat their meals. That was one helpful tip that helped me. Cut out snacks before meals and they will be more inclined to eat what's in front of them if really hungry.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I used to take the kids to the buffet and let them pick their own food. I found it a good way to get them to try new things. At summer camp they serve bread and butter with every meal so that even the pickiest kids have something to eat. No one ever goes hungry.

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answers from Portland on

Have her make her own PBJ if she doesn't like what's for dinner. Pack that for lunch. I have a kid who isn't fond of a lot of what my husband and I like, so he's very often told "get a couple veggies for your plate" if he doesn't want what we are having. If he has carrots, some cheese and a sandwich he made himself, I'm fine with that.

You might just let go of this as a struggle and only ask that she 'has had some healthy choices' before any dessert comes out. Kiddo knows that before he can have a treat, some nutritious foods must be consumed. We regularly remind him that he needs a protein or a veg to round out a choice. We are teaching him to make healthier choices for himself. If he starts to protest, then we simply remind him "well, have some X or Y (ham or turkey slices/ a cup of frozen peas or some celery)... etc." I give a choice but don't let him wiggle out of it entirely. Seven is old enough to wash and prep a veg from the crisper. (offer a peeler or simple knife/butter knife) Put the work on her to do 'different', otherwise, she's welcome to choose what's available and to put away her mess when she's done.

For what it's worth, the foods I was forced to eat as a kid, I have a lifelong aversion toward. The stuff I was allowed to 'take a pass' on? I grew into many of those tastes. Have confidence that her palate will likely grow more sophisticated as A. she matures and B. she encounters more social situations where those foods are served. That's how I discovered I liked many things, including sushi, asparagus, and avocados. :)

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answers from Boston on

I'm wondering if it's a texture or sensory issue? The fact that she's not eating at school or throughout the day is very interesting - it's not just as home to get your attention.

I agree with you that you don't make 8 different meals for 8 different kids, but I think it's hard to force a kid to eat things too (and it can create more problems than it solves). At 7, she is capable of doing a lot for herself, so I suppose if she is making herself a PB&J sandwich instead of the dinner you fixed, that's possibly a solution. If she is demanding that you jump up and make it, that's something else again.

There are pretty simple ways to sneak nutrition into many other foods, so that's one way to go if you're doing it for the whole family. I was a master at getting tofu into things so the kids got protein when they didn't think they were, that sort of thing. There are tons of recipes now that add squash or cauliflower to the mac & cheese, for example. Same goes for healthy fats. Most kids like "breakfast foods" as yours does, but if that's all cereal and English muffins and no protein or fats (which will keep them satisfied longer), it's a problem.

Have the teachers commented that she's falling asleep or acting cranky, or do you find her lunches coming home untouched? Are there other examples of her having any sensory issues, or is it just around food?

Making food a big issue can create problems, but you can't ignore it if she's really depriving her brain of vital nutrition. If there are no major warning signs, I'd start by limiting the amount of filler foods she has access to, and letting her make her own substitute meal if she doesn't like what's offered. That also means cleaning up her separate dishes and cleaning up the prep space. If she gets tired of the work, she may decide it's easier to eat what's there. Where possible, if you can let kids assemble their own meals (through a giant salad bar or taco bar) that is the same amount of prep for you (chopping veggies, for example, and just putting them in separate bowls, that might give her a certain amount of control. If that doesn't work, and if the problem continues, you may have to have her evaluated.

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answers from Washington DC on

My 9 year old is picky now when he was my best eater before. All of my kids are willing to try new things, but the normal things are where we run in to problems. I have kid who REFUSES to eat anything at McDonalds...one who hates pizza and ice cream...and another who really loves his meat and potatoes.

What we serve is what's for dinner. They can eat it or not, but it's dinner. If I am making something I KNOW someone doesn't like, I'll try to accommodate. For instance, 3 of the 5 of us like chicken enchilada's, so I'll leave extra chicken out for the two who don't and they can make their own side. If it's spaghetti that I know everyone likes, that's it.

I say make her TRY whatever it is you give her. If she doesn't like it, she can make her own sandwich, but she must try it first.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids who don't eat don't eventually give up their independence and eat, they end up in the hospital and are sick.

If she doesn't eat what you fix then she sits at the table while everyone is eating and asked to at least attend the meal. Then afterwards she can fix her own pb&j or what ever.

I do suggest that you can fix a variety of foods at your meals and that you could always include something easy as one of the sides, like mac and cheese. It's a few minutes work and everyone can partake of it.

So if you fix fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy, you could fix a box of mac and cheese as a side too. They even have that as a side and KFC.

Don't fix her an entire solitary meal but do incorporate her likes into your menu planning. Ask her to help you plan it. Let her have some say. She will have more input and be more open to trying new things but she will continue to develop her likes and dislikes.

As for it being defiant, do you really want her to be a yes person? To adults? Because not letting kids have a say in things or have their own opinions only teaches them to be a victim to an aggressive person.


answers from Phoenix on

Its cool she use to be a better eater. I think to keep that ball rolling, maybe get her involved in cooking and grocery shopping with you and make it fun. I wouldn't be worried. I would do for the time being those pediashakes with vitamins if your worried she wont get her daily vitamins.



answers from Sacramento on

Look up ARFID, also known as selective eating disorder. It often crops up around this age. Goes well beyond typical picky eating. There are support groups for it on Facebook, so don't hesitate to join there if you think it might be a match.

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