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4 Year old son food advice PLEASE!?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Any advice on this subject will be appreciated..perhaps more so just to make me feel like I'm either NOT alone or that I'm NOT going crazy.

My 4 year old son has always eaten extremely well. He loves vegetables and cheeses and pretty much would eat or try anything minus eggs and potatoes. Suddenly in the last two or three months he has decided that the only thing he likes is peanut butter and jelly and pasta with nothing on it but butter. He truly barely eats. He gives us such a hard time at the dinner table and just flat out refuses to eat foods that he has consumed with gusto. I get angry but can't force feed the child. I have never been tyrannical about not giving him sweets. He does get a treat now and again...mostly things I bake myself. Clearly holiday time has been tough as it seems there is a sweet around every corner. We do try to give him rewards for eating well....like extended play times etc. I am also NOT the kind of person that is going to make three different dinners for everyone at the table just because everyone is fussy. I make one healthy meal and expect all to eat it or else not get dinner for the night (is that really mean of me?).

Any ideas for what I can do to bring back my "good" eater from the aliens that seem to have abducted him and put a fussy eater in his place?!!!

Have any other moms here experienced this phenomena and what have they done about it??? I seriously feel like I'm losing my grasp on reality. I do not want to have a kid that is obese at 7 and suffering from diabetes etc. I also worry that he isn't getting the proper daily amounts of nutrients.

Thank you very much.....

--anjie (losing her motherly grasp)
post #2 of 16
I've gone through a couple of these phases with my kids. A short lived one involved constant requests for California rolls -- not exactly in my "everyday groceries" budget! For a while my DS would eat only apples, not other fruit. NOw he's back to begging for all sorts of things -- usually out of season and expensive!

My personal take would be to continue to offer / have available a good variety of food but don't stress about things. A short-term departure from good eating won't have lasting consequences. If it really worries you, see if you can get a multi-vitamin into the mix every day. But I'd be willing to bet that if you don't make a fuss, he will quickly get back into habits you like. If you do make a big fuss over it, you risk having him dig his heels in.

Most people find eating habits go south during the holidays. Roll with it a while before deciding how big a deal to make of it.
post #3 of 16
He is old enought to start helping prepare food, even if it means just stiring together the ingrediants and fetching stuff from the cupboard.
Getting him his own apron and spoon and bowl will go a longs ways towards encouraging him.
Test it out with a recipe he likes first, and than move on to to ones he dislikes.

Of course he has to help clean up to
Paula
post #4 of 16
i just posted about this a couple of days ago. you are not alone. except my ds1 never did eat that great, it has just gone downhill from being slightly picky to uber picky. so i have no advice, except to persevere. heh.
post #5 of 16
This sounds very normal for a 4yo. I'd just keep on offering a variety of healthy foods and not stress about it.
post #6 of 16
You are not alone .. my child has sensory issues and went beyond a picky eater, he actually wouldn't eat anything that wasn't colorless. Even then certain textures really messed him up. So he got to where PediaSure was his crutch and all he wanted to eat.

I continued to offer plenty of healthy foods and at the same time used a wonderful book called "Just Take a Bite" (which I doubt is what you need in this situation!) and he did begin to eat.

Now, he's a wonderful eater. At Christmas everyone was joking about how healthy his food choices are ... he would complain if he didn't have wheat bread for his sandwich, chose carrots over dounuts.

As worried as I was back when he wasn't eating well (and I was checking into feeding therapy, etc) I also knew I REFUSED to make food a battle. That sets him up for food issues. As hard as it was, I'm so thankful I never forced him to eat anything or showed any emotion over his eating habbits.

I wish you the best. My advise is to get the junk (if any) out of the house, offer healthy foods with ones you know he will eat (pb&j on wheat bread with natural pb and jelly is fairly healthy) and relax. If you get very concerned, try the book I suggested above.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. I'm trying NOT to stress it but it does rather suck when your kid goes from plates of hummous and guacamole and flax seed pita bread and carrots to plain pasta and pb and j. And then declares "NEVER" to anything I suggest or make for dinner. I plan on just making dinners the regular way I do and hopefully he will stop complaining at the dinner table and stop making a scene an hour after the meal saying he is starving etc. etc. I will check out that book too.

He does actually help me cook WHEN he feels like it. I offer and most times he doesn't want to. I think I've worn out his fun with being in the kitchen. Now, if I can just keep my 1 year old daughter from skipping down the same path.....:
post #8 of 16
You are not alone!
My 6 year old ds has been like this for almost a year now.
His food choices have become increasingly small over time.

And I do get upset over meals, because I work hard to purchase, and make healthy food from scratch. And it is upsetting to hear "that's gross" or "I'm not eating THAT!" when he ate it (and requested it) last week. I always go out of the way to make something that I know he likes, so it's not like I'm making him eat some weird gross food. Plus, I have health and fatigue issues, so cooking two homemade dinners each night is not on my agenda. I personally think it's ok to let your child know that that type of behavior is not acceptable.

What really bugs me is that he will rave about the Mac n Cheese (Kraft or similar) or chicken nuggest that he had at a friend's house, but refuses to eat the homemade versions that I make for him. I don't, as a general rule, buy foods with preservatives or artificial colors, and ds knows that well.

I have a rule where he may not criticize the food, and he must be polite. "No thanks" is a acceptable answer.
He must try a bite but is never forced to eat more than that.
He has the option to eat fruit and cheese, or pbj instead, but he never does.

I am in the process of getting rid of "dessert". I have been very open minded about sweets, he basically can have them whenever he wants, and self regulates pretty well.
But lately he eats NONE of his dinner and only wants dessert. Which is usually something sweet with empty calories. We used to do fruit for dessert, until he decided that dessert always had to be cookies or ice cream. So dessert is going away for a while.
post #9 of 16
Just keep offering a variety and don't give him junk. I'm sure when he's hungry he'll eat. Sounds like a temporary phase.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by veganf View Post
I'm sure when he's hungry he'll eat.
my worry is that my ds won't! for two days last week i was a hard nose and said he could choose from leftovers abc or leftovers xyz or yogurt and he refused to eat anything at all those two days except for some homemade gf rolls which i consented too cuz they didn't turn out that great and he was the only one interested in eating them. then he woke up puking from low blood sugar, and was still refusing to eat anything that we offered.
post #11 of 16
My 4.5 year old used to be a great eater but now she goes through these kinds of phases as well. I just make sure to keep offering good foods up to her. When she gets hungry she eats. He won't starve! Give him a supplement daily as well if you're nervous about it.
post #12 of 16
No read advice here, but I'm definitely dealing with the same issue in my 3.5 year old. She flat out refuses to eat fruits or vegetables of any kind. Even white potatoes and spaghetti sauce are out now. It's gone beyond ridiculous.

She will drink juice, so I make sure that I have it on hand and that it's 100% juice. I'm seriously considering investing in a juicer, just because I figure it's got to be better than nothing. And she'll occasionally eat fruit leather. She ate some freeze-dried strawberries a few weeks ago and I just about threw a party.

For a while we had the rule that if you didn't like what was served for dinner, you could have a PBJ instead, but it got to where I'd make her one and she'd eat maybe 1 or 2 bites and leave the rest. So I've just started saying that dinner is dinner and if she doesn't want it, she'll be hungrier for breakfast. I, too, am in the process of eliminating dessert.

I have noticed she tends to eat one big meal per day--she'll have a big breakfast or lunch and just eat a tiny amount at other mealtimes/snacktimes during the day. I just wish I could get some fruits and veggies into her.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OakBerry View Post
You are not alone!
My 6 year old ds has been like this for almost a year now.
His food choices have become increasingly small over time.

And I do get upset over meals, because I work hard to purchase, and make healthy food from scratch. And it is upsetting to hear "that's gross" or "I'm not eating THAT!" when he ate it (and requested it) last week. I always go out of the way to make something that I know he likes, so it's not like I'm making him eat some weird gross food. Plus, I have health and fatigue issues, so cooking two homemade dinners each night is not on my agenda. I personally think it's ok to let your child know that that type of behavior is not acceptable.

What really bugs me is that he will rave about the Mac n Cheese (Kraft or similar) or chicken nuggest that he had at a friend's house, but refuses to eat the homemade versions that I make for him. I don't, as a general rule, buy foods with preservatives or artificial colors, and ds knows that well.

I have a rule where he may not criticize the food, and he must be polite. "No thanks" is a acceptable answer.
He must try a bite but is never forced to eat more than that.
He has the option to eat fruit and cheese, or pbj instead, but he never does.

I am in the process of getting rid of "dessert". I have been very open minded about sweets, he basically can have them whenever he wants, and self regulates pretty well.
But lately he eats NONE of his dinner and only wants dessert. Which is usually something sweet with empty calories. We used to do fruit for dessert, until he decided that dessert always had to be cookies or ice cream. So dessert is going away for a while.
wow..it's like you are living in MY house. I can relate to this almost word for word. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone and NOT going insane. we should have a group get together for moms dealing with picky eaters. hehehe
post #14 of 16
" I am also NOT the kind of person that is going to make three different dinners for everyone at the table just because everyone is fussy. I make one healthy meal and expect all to eat it or else not get dinner for the night (is that really mean of me?)."

No! You are not a short-order cook.

I have a 4 y.o. and a 2 y.o., and while they are never forced to eat anything, complaints at the dinner table are not allowed and alternative meals are not provided. Needless to say, I always have something on the table they I know they will eat - but we don't discuss it. To me, this is a huge point of basic social courtesy and it needs to be taught early. Complaining about a plate of food somebody has just set in front of you is the height of ingratitude - to the chef, to the family who has offered you hospitality, to what God figure you might happen to regard as the Provider of your sustanence, etc. I am militant on this topic. No complaints about food. Ever.

But that's manners. On the nutrition front, I keep a constant supply of healthy and popular snacks in the house (fruit, cheese sticks, good bread, raw milk) and try very hard not have any processed food around. I puree yellow veggies and mix them into organic mac and cheese. It works out.
post #15 of 16
My nearly 5 yr. old son is also going thru this phase, harder to deal with at the holidays, but we are all going to have more fruits and veggies in 2009. My plan is to just not have unacceptable options around (oh except my dark chocolate, and I'll keep that hidden, LOL).

The other thing that works with my son is to NOT call it "a meal" or "breakfast/lunch/dinner". If I say "Are you ready for a snack?" and serve him the meal food, he'll eat it. How stupid is that?? Also anything he can eat with a toothpick or chopsticks (cheater ones that are more like tongs) then he'll eat it too. Oh and muffins that have good stuff in them, carrot, applesauce, zucchini, even breakfast with eggs and ham and cheese. He loves anything that looks like a muffin.

Best wishes for a quick recovery!
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by anjie View Post
wow..it's like you are living in MY house. I can relate to this almost word for word. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone and NOT going insane. we should have a group get together for moms dealing with picky eaters. hehehe
I'll join the group, you aren't alone, or insane!

It's easy to say "it's just a phase, it'll pass, relax". But I started out very relaxed. I never made one food more important than the other. I never forced food on him. I let him self regulate with sweets. But somehow, over a course of two years (started when he was about 4), we have ended up in this situation. And it's only getting worse, the pickiness, rudeness, acting up at the table. He is not and has not been making sound food choices for a long time.

I really wanted to avoid the whole "not buying junk food" thing. Dh and I enjoy chips, cookies, and ice cream on a moderate basis.
Having "dessert" in the middle of the day (3pm or so) worked for a while, so that he didn't expect sweets (and forfeit his meal) after dinner. We are out alot then though.

Another issue I have is that sugar makes him act obnoxious, it always has. And throw in artificial colors and he becomes downright aggressive! But if I try to tell him that we avoid packaged crap, or even sugary foods, for that reason, it makes him more determined to get it. He also knows that protein and fats can help him feel better if he eats lots of carbs or sweets, so he will often refuse to eat them as well. I feel like a 6 y/o should be able to understand that without being contrary about it.
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