REALLY Picky Eater, Any Suggestions?

Updated on February 08, 2008
K.G. asks from Fort Lauderdale, FL
14 answers

Hi Moms,

I need some suggestions to feed my "really" picky eater.. I've tried everything it seems, and over and over again, but still no luck... He goes in phases but right now will "only" eat:

breakfast: 8 oz bottle, fruit cup and 1/2 waffle (wont eat anything else)....
lunch: 8 oz. bottle, fruit cup, black beans, cheese, "sometimes" peas and corn (refuses to eat anything else)
same for dinner....
Snacks are: fruit snacks, cheerios, cherries, goldfish, puffs, loves most fruit, and crackers.....

He used to like: grilled cheese, pancakes, pasta (rarely), yogurt, baby food, bananas, and green peppers..Won't eat any of that anymore though!

I have tried over and over again to get him to eat: chicken, ham, eggs, beef hot dogs, chicken fingers, turkey meat, lima beans, kidney beans, fish sticks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, applesauce, mac and cheese, brocolli, rice, ravoili.....( I even try to hide the food in cheese, no luck) He REFUSES to eat that stuff...

I feel his nutrition intake is not up to standards and worry he will grow up to be a picky eater.. I give him liquid vitamins daily (Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol)... I don't eat pork or red meat ( I haven't in years, could his picky eating with meat be due to me not eating that stuff when I was pregnant?) I do eat fish and chicken though

Any suggestions??? Does anyone have a picky eater out there that only eats a few things? I feel horrible because he literally eats the same things over and over again.. I thought all kids loved grilled cheese, mac and cheese and chicken fingers? Apparently not.

What can I do next?

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answers from Port St. Lucie on

I too have a VERY picky eater who is also a self-made vegetarian! He is almost 3 and only likes fresh fruit, a few raw veggies, steamed plain borccoli and grilled cheese and french fries (plus a few snacks like goldfish, cheerios) -I give him a multi-vitamin with iron since he doesn't eat meat (you have beans, that's awesome!)!! I understand how you are feeling, that all kids like chicken nuggets and pizza, etc. -mine does not! He would eat fries and fruit for every meal if I let him. I read all the time that kids go through these periods and it's normal. What does the peditrician say -if they say he is growing normally, you have to try not to stress about it. It took me a few years, but I am finally not worried, mine is thin but not sickly and he is growing and strong and healthy so that's all that matters. Also, my son has expanded his diet slightly the last 6 months or so and he is almost 3 -so it will happen!

Also, I was a vegetarian for 15 years or so, so I feel like I am getting payback for being so picky with my mom when I was younger. The only advice I have is to keep offering and explaining that he is always welcome to try what you're eating, etc. if he wants, I used to suggest he lick something before he decided he didn't like it (because I could never get him to go for the "no thank you bite").



answers from Boca Raton on

We went through the same thing with our daughter around the same age (She's almost 3 now). I spoke to her pediatrician (which I highly suggest when you have questions- they are a really great source of info). But back to what I was saying- he said to not make a big deal out of it at all. Right now it's just about exerting some sort of control and if you try to force them, they will pull back and meal time will be an even bigger struggle. This is totally normal and it will pass eventually. In the meantime, here are some suggestions if you are afraid he isn't getting adequate nutrition (which it actually sounds like he is- because the beans do provide protein and fiber) you can try these things:

1. Pediasure shakes or snack bars (the shakes come in vanilla, strawberry and chocolate and the snack bars come in a lot of flavors like strawberry, chocolate and peanut butter)

2. If he eats eggs (which you can try) I used to mix in stage 2 or 3 babyfood that I had left over- peas, carrots, squash- just a little bit- and then she loved the fact that her eggs were green or orange or really Y....

3. Sometimes giving them something to dip in really turns them on to the idea of eating stuff like chicken or veggies- try a little bit of low fat ranch or yogurt.

If none of that works, like I said, just keep giving him what he likes and he WILL eventually grow out of it. He's not being a picky eater because he has already shown he likes other foods. He's just in a stage where he wants to show he can choose for himself.



answers from Miami on

I can relate to where you are now. I have a two and half year old and went through the same sort of doubt as to whether she was getting the right nutrition. i can now say that my picky little eater of a year ago is a great eater now! I never gave up. i continued to offer her new things. And I found that it really helped if I ate with her all the same stuff, i would take a bite or two and offer her a bite or two. and there were many days that she would try what i was offering, but eventually she did and generally likes everything. My strategy still works when she is trying something new. Sort of expect that if you don't eat beef or pork he probably not want to try it either, and that is ok. Grilled cheese, chicken fingers and mac and cheese are as aquired tastes as sushi and edamame are. What is most important is that you are exposing him to as much as possible. I read something a while ago from a mom on another site, and she was relaying advice that her pediatrician had given her. She basically said that you should view your child's diet from the perspective of a week rather than a day. and that advice helped me stop obsessing and worrying over every bite. one meal all my daughter ate was broccoli the next it was chicken and maybe all she would eat for breakfast the next day would be cantalope. Remember too that the formula has so many nutrients in it. don't make food a fight, relax sit with him, eat with him, continue to offer him everything you would like for him to eat. And in a year you will have a healthy, happy great little eater.



answers from Boca Raton on

Kristy ~ I been through this routine a couple times now! My daughter is 2 1/2 now but she has gone months (literally) with a handful of select foods. I also give her Poly-Vi-Sol with iron everyday. She loves the breakfast bars by Pediasure (I think that's the brand). I also give her the Dan Active Immunity drinkable yogurt mixed with milk. Wheat Thins also makes a Veggie chip that my daughter liked alot. Then one day she started eating everything again. I guess they just go through stages. Trust me.....I stressed myself out so much over this but it will work itself out.




answers from Orlando on

Hi Kristy. Try not to worry too much, at least the things he's eating are pretty healthy. My sister has two kids and one has similar eating habits as the ones you mention while the other will eat anything and everything. She has had success with making corn muffins and mixing different veggies and very finely diced up chicken in it. Also, while it's ideal to get our needed nutrients from food there are veggies vitamins for kids (I forget what they're called) that are next to the kids vitamins at the store.
Also, I don't know the name but there's a new book out by Jerry Seinfeld's wife about doing puree's and adding them to the foods your child likes already. Definately check it out!
Best of luck!



answers from Daytona Beach on

Oh God !!! I know how you feel, my son was just like that, he sometimes I feel so bad that he hardly eats sometimes or he eats the same thing! you know what I keep giving him all the healthy food, and hopefully he will get used to it. Just be patient..cause mine he can eat mac and cheese, chicken fingers (but will sweet and sour sauce from mcdonalds or polinesian sauce from chick filla), spagetty,pizza and sometimes rice...but something that he can eat all day are beans..but there are days that he won't hardly eat anything, BUT I GIVE LOTS OF FLUID!!! GOOD LUCK AND LET ME KNOW IF THERE IS ANYTHING I CAN DO FOR YOU!



answers from Boca Raton on

What is in the meal times he should be learing to use a cup. Let him eat what he wants, I had a really picky eater as a baby now he is a gourmet cook and will try anything! Patience, it is the only thing in their life they have true control over. As my children are adults..Thanksgivingwe still have macaroni & cheese as that is how they remember the holiday dinner!



answers from Daytona Beach on

I have a three and five year old (both girl's) and they both went through the picky eater phase. Don't worry, it is a phase!! (I promise) We tried to use that time to introduce more veggies. My girl's both LOVE frozen peas, right out of the bag! (Especiallly in summer). Scambled eggs, broccoli (Especially uncooked!!), green beans (Again, love them raw!!), mashed potatoes, apples with peanut butter, cherries, strawberries,an orange and/or bananna. I say relax, be happy they don't want mac and cheese or chicken fingers, and Celebrate!! My Doc said their taste buds sort of get stuck for awhile and eventially they out grow it, (It's true...mine did!!)in the mean time experiement with fruit and vegetables. I swear to you, there is nothing more satisfying that to hear your three year old ask for a bowl of strawberries for breakfast, or your five year old (who still to this day does't eat meat) ask for an apple with her green beans at dinner!!


answers from Miami on

Dear Kristy G,

Go to Orpah's website. Look for Jessica Steinfeld's Food and Home link.

She has some really good Receipes called
Deceptively Delicious Receipes for picky eater.

Make meals that are fun. Like a disney character grilled cheese sandwich. Use character dishes to serve meals for your son.

My kids loved peanut butter and fluff sandwiches.
Does he eat pizza or smashed potatoes? Make him a fruit milk shake.

I wish you luck.

If you need more ideas. Let me know.


G. H.



answers from Miami on

Your child is in tune with his body and is listening to it and be glad he is what you call "picky" because a lot of the things you wanted him to eat are very bad for him like hot dogs, chicken fingers, mac and cheese and fish sticks? I know it is the standard thing to do in the US but that does not make it healthy. Ask Dr. Mercola what to do at



answers from Port St. Lucie on

Hello, Kristy...

I don't really have much advice except to say that what you are going through is perfectly normal. I have a 2 year old daughter (26 months) that eats even LESS than what you described! She basically likes nothing and what she does like she'll eat in phases (i.e. one day she loves blueberries and the next day she says she doesn't like them). This has gone on from the beginning. She has never been a good eater. Her doctor has told us not to worry about it as long as she maintains her position on the growth chart. He told us that studies have shown that even though most toddlers are picky eaters, when you look at their food choices over time you will find that they actually eat what they need and it is pretty balanced overall. He suggested we continue to offer a variety of foods but not to worry if the only thing she wants to eat for days on end is milk, bananas & corn! Needless to say, we just stopped worrying about it. I would suggest you continue to offer him different foods but not to be too concerned about it. It sounds like he's actually eating pretty good foods from what you mentioned so he'll probably do just fine. To reassure yourself, talk it over with his doctor at your next visit and see what he suggests.




answers from Boca Raton on

Picky eater? Take the bottle away. He will eat more. Trust me I have a picky eater too!



answers from Port St. Lucie on

Hi, my son is 19 months and he also is a VERY picky eater. He eats waffles, chicken nuggets, and fruit... thats all sometimes veggies if its a good night. I am not sure if this will help but a friend of mine suggested to me to give him frozen peas and corn, so I did and now he loves to eat it... so I buy the mixed bag with peas, carrots, and corn... he wont try anything new... but he is gaining weight and looks healthy so I try not to worry about it.. I know it is hard you want only the best, but sometimes what they will only eat has to do.....hope this helped get a little veggies in his diet. oh one more thing my son loves is oatmeal with milk and I add a little cinnamon and sugar..

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