Picky, Picky Eater

Updated on March 24, 2008
M.V. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

Thanks to all the VERY helpful responses.
I had to LOL at the kethcup thing, I can almost bet he wouldn't like it! :)- but I will try. I'll try everything and or anything.
Yesterday night he cried when i offered him gerber lasangna...when i took him out of his highchair and fed it to him while i was on the couch he ate it fine! hmmmm....
He does like cheese (but lately is turning down string cheese, but will eat cut up slices) he likes waffles, oatmeal and anything sweet by gerber, he likes , or loves apple sauce, but not apples. He ate grilled cheese one and then the few other times i offered it, he turned it down. He used to eat spaghettio o's but not any more, and i think he used to eat mac and cheese.
So anyways, he picky. Oh and yeah someone mentioned don't go out of your way to make him something special. I don't, he wont eat what were eating. He eats baby food.
I will keep trucking along at this feeding thing. It's just sometimes i get so frustrated and our wallets are drained from all the food we buy him and throw out.
thanks again for all your responses!
I'm curious to see how he will do with pizza

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So What Happened?

I'm not sure if this is the area i respond in....
Cayden doens't like dried fruit, or mac and cheese or pan cakes :) lol. I had pancakes today and he turned them down. He wont eat any meat. I think it may be a texture thing?
It's easier for me to list the foods he likes. BABY food, gerber fruit roll up thingy, granola bar, curves granola bar, nutrigrain bar...sometimes banana, but the last two weeks he is turning it down.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

There are a lot of different "schools of thought" on this topic.
Our daughter had to see a speech therapist specializing in food issues from age 7mos-12mos because she refused ALL spoon foods. We eventually figured out she had 3 legitimate medical problems and she finally started eating from a spoon around 10mos, finger foods around 12mos. So anyways, the therapist said that you could kind of do both- be tough and lenient at the same time. You know, find common ground. He is NOT going to die of starvation, but on the other hand a huge battle is not worth the trouble either. Most of the time eating issues are phases.

In the end, we were told to never make special food for her. To always only offer some version of what you are eating. Then let the child pick out what they want off the plate and dont make a huge fuss about what they dont eat. Kids can turn this whole business into a game of manipulation very easily. He will eat when he's hungry, but you dont have to dig your heels in either. Compromise, pick your battles, but dont cater to his every whim.

Hope that helps. I'm sure you'll get very different answers to your question! In the end, he'll survive no matter what you do. I would really ask your pediatrician, or rather the nurse. They can answer a lot of questions on nutrition and when to worry and when to just say "whatever".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Around that age all my son wanted to eat was pretzels. So I got creative and stuck pretzels into pieces of food -- avocado, chicken, potato, etc. it worked! He had a plate of little 'appetizers' and he loved crunching on them!

Another thing I do even now is take out his 'dessert' (usually apple sauce) and have the bowl ready and in plain sight, and then say "you can have the apple sauce when you eat what's on your plate" - it usually helps move things along.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My soon to be 16 month old does this to me sometimes. One day he likes peas, the next day not :) Sometimes he only wants his goldfish crackers, sometimes only teddy grahams. I tell him 'no, i'm sorry, we have to eat this first, and when it's all gone we can have teddy bears (what we call teddy grahams). Sometimes I have to say 'ok, we'll get down and try again when you're ready' and I pull him out of his high chair. he knows he doesn't get food anywhere but his highchair and typically within a few minutes he'll concede defeat and go back by his chair and point to get back in and eat. sometimes he will even whine (as if to say 'ok ok i'll eat') before the tray is even off.

I dont give in unless it's a new food and i think it's possible he may not like it yet... but if it's a food he's always liked, he WILL eat it - HA! I win :)

I have always 'operated' this way with my kids and none of them are finicky or picky about any foods. I truly believe that your son is just trying to test his limits and it's up to you to let him know where the line is. That being said ,I do not make them eat anything they truly dont like... but my rule is, they have to try it before they can say that :) I don't allow manipulation and in MHO, I think your son is just manipulating you. let him skip a meal, I bet he's more likely to gobble up what he's eaten and liked in the past.

I know, it's easier said than done, but God knows, that GOOD parenting isn't easy...

Good luck mom... stand your ground or he'll be walking all over you in other areas too, and really... YOU know what's best... not him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

I have 2 grandsons that were both like that. My son and daughter-in-law tried several things but the grandkids knew who was the boss, also, and it was not the parents. It turned out that they were getting way too much to drink, even though the drinks were good for them (juice and milk). When the parents changed that and did not let them drink much until they were almost done with their food, we saw a big change in the eating habits. But they needed to be very consistent with it. Not that this same solution will always work, but I guess it doesn't hurt to try.



answers from Chicago on


My daughter is 17 months and is having some of the same problems. Our pediatrician said it can take introducing food 10 times for them sometimes even to try it. I keep changing things up and put a protein a carb and a fruit on her plate. Some days (oddly enough) she will devour some very "out there" things like roasted fennel, and then the next night, she will spit it out with avengence. Could you try an avocado? Maggie loved them when she was teething because they have kind of a sweet taste and a softer texture. I could cut it up in chunks and she could eat it herself. Again, not your normal to see a child wolfing down avocados, but pretty healthy for him too. Just another thought.



answers from Chicago on

maybe you could try things like dried fruit, honey on sweet potatoes? at least he likes those things and not mac and cheese!



answers from Chicago on

I've got one word for you Ketchup! My twins will eat chicken fingers,grilled cheese , even eggs with ketchup. Pasta is good because you can put a little butter on it and let him eat it himself and then put some sauce on it and feed it to him yourself.What about yoghurt, string cheese,raisin toast,mandarin oranges,apple slices,strawberries. I don't put everything on my kids plates at once. I start with maybe chicken and then move onto a veggie or fruit and then to yogurt or cheese etc after they have eaten the first thing. It makes them focus on one thing and they eat better. Otherwise they only eat what they love.Also,you try eating what you want him to eat and he will want to try it too.



answers from Decatur on

I have 4 normal healthy grown children who for the most part were all picky eaters as toddlers. Kids will eat when they are hungry and will eat only what appeals to them at the time.I wouldn't necessarily not offer foods,but I wouldn't fix anything extra or special than what the rest of you are eating. If Cayden is teething that too can have an effect on his eating habits. Believe me!!!! kids will eat when they are hungry. I have seen my grandson at 3 years old eat a dbl quarterpounder from McD's when he was hungry!!! Don't get discouraged.......keep trying little things at a time. And letting him be the "boss" is OK to a point. Otherwise,you might be wasting a lot of food got nothing.Hang in there....he'll grow up one day and eat you out of house and home!!!! PROMISE!!!! good luck!!! J.



answers from Chicago on

Dear M.,

I just wanted to say that most kids will not even eat a new food until being introduced to the item about 15 times. i run a daycare and have found this to be true. One thing is not to force him to eat, that also doesn't mean you have to cook him his own meal. The thing that I did to my daughter when she was that age, I would put a little amount of what she liked on her plate with the other food and then after she ate what she like and wanted more, I told her to take a bite of something else and then I would give her a little more. Unfortantly with this you are constantly giveing more of the good stuff, but after about a month she realized that she had to eat other things too and that they weren't that bad. She used to be my pickiest eater and now she is a lot better. There are some things that she still refuses to eat and that is fine and I know to make other things with that meal. For example when we have pizza we have to make something else for she will not eat pizza. Does your son feed himself? Does he use silverware. I am not trying to be mean, but I have had some three year olds in my daycare that do not feed themselves. If you think that is his teeth bothering him, i would stick with trying him to eat foods like what he already is eating. Good luck and don't give up.



answers from Chicago on

Hi there! Yes, we have gone through phases - he'll eat something on Monday and declare it's garbage worthy on Wednesday (with the exception of PB&J). My son is 2 1/2 and the picky eating comes and goes. I found great help and peace of mind from a book my pediatrician recommended: The New Basics: A to Z Child Care for the Modern Parent by Michel Cohen. It's set up alphabetically and you will find his discussion under "Picky Eating!" It has made a lot of sense in our house. Today, my son did not like his lunch. He didn't eat it. He was hungry for dinner though! I can't recommend that book highly enough for a variety of situations we have had (I think Amazon.com has it for $10) - full of practical solutions. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I do the same thing my mother did. I fix meals and I put a little of everything on the plate. She made us try one bite of everything on our plate. If we didn't like it that was fine. But she never made us another meal or let us eat anything between meals if we didn't finish what she fixed. (she never piled up our plates because she didn't want us to learn to overeat either).

We were told if we didn't want to finish what was on our plates that was fine, but we didn't get anything else to eat until the next meal time. And she meant it. No amount of whining or crying helped. We learned to eat what was on our plate so that later we could have a snack more like what we would have picked.

I do the same with my daughters. They don't get snacks if they don't finish their regular meals. They won't starve to death or get sick. And I've found that if they are stuck on something that isn't the best type of food, then it is best for me not to have it in the house.

I decide what a suitable snack is...like yogurt, cheese, fruit, veggies w/dip.

They will acquire a test for things if you constantly introduce them. My youngest will now eat bell peppers, cucumber, all fruit, and so on. The oldest went through a phase where she didn't want pasta of any kind...she's over that now. I just tell them one bite of everything and no snacks if you don't clean your plate.

Now they are 5 and 3...I typically put a tablespoon of each food item I've cooked and offer them a slice of whole wheat bread with butter at each meal. If they clean that up along with at least a 4 oz beverage (milk, juice...they don't like to drink much)..then they can have a snack later if they get hungry.

Don't worry he won't starve and he will learn to abide by the rules if you insist. I just always remind them that mommy won't give-in.



answers from Chicago on

My son is 18 months and extremely picky as well. He will only eat chicken if it is snuck into his mouth after being cooked in chicken soup, and only likes certain brands of certain foods. Kraft singles, no velveeta; kraft mac and cheese, no other kind; a specific chicken nugget, which I can't find any more, etc... Ths kid wont even eat french toast unless it has the right topping, sour cream and rasperry jelly. My only saving grace is that he loves peas, corn, peaches, apples and bananas. This way I know he at least eats fruis and veggies, though getting protein into him is a challenge. I have to load him up on cheese and tofu. This seems to be a stage right around 16-19 months, from what it looks like on these boards, and the only thing anyone can really do is keep trying to introduce the foods differently. The book Baby's First Meals shows some creative ways to present foods which may help with the introductions. I just made Pizza crackers last night and my son loved them. Saltine crackers, with a dollop of tomato sauce on top, and covered with cheese, microwave for 1min and presto, bitesize pizza they can feed themselves, and oddly love. It's really bland, but somehow I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't love them, and depending on what type of sauce and cheese you use, its actually healthy and can mark off quite a few food groups.

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