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Feeding My 5-Year Old

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
DD is 5.5 DS is 20mos. Help! DD's tastes are rapidly changing and to topp it off she regularly says "yuck" to our dinner meals.

I know this is not unusual, but it is still highly discouraging. I am comforted by DS b/c he eats almost every dish I put in front of him with gusto and he has quite a few allergies so that is saying something (quinoa with sun-dried tomatoes anyone?).

B/c of the allergies that DS has, I usually cook to suit the whole family and then add X to DD's meal (bread, tortilla, nuts, etc). She loves meat and I rarely cook it--organic is $$. She turns her nose up at most vegetables even if they are lovingly folded into a luscious frittata topped with organic cheese. She spots 'em!

It hasn't always been this way. She ate like DS did (with fervor) until age 3.5 when she entered school and slowly her taste for veggies and all that is natural has ebbed away.

I do alot of baking with honey and wheat-free grains and veggies--usually she will eat this but I am concerned that it isn't enough. She's dealing with a staph infection right now and though we are treating it I think it is especially important that in addition to the supplements (and homeopathic regime) she needs a good balanced diet!

It takes so much energy to keep good things around for DS and I (I'm nursing) that it is hard to also cater to her particular fancy. She needs to listen to her body and learn its cues so if she isn't hungry I never force her to eat or "finish her plate". If she wants a sweet, I try to help her satisfy it with something wholesome--even if that is chocolate.

She wants hot-dogs in her luch b/c her classmates bring them (and cookies and cheese the color of hot dogs--what is this???). This vs. the cute little rice cups I put in her lunch bots that have happy faces on them and fruit or veggies cut like flowers. Even an occasional homemade brownie. I'm trying!

Sorry, this ended up being a long post. I'm sure I am not a minority in this but would just love some good ideas to get me into a more positive zone.
post #2 of 9
I understand what you are going through, because I am currently going through the same thing with my 2.5 year old daughter. She used to eat anything, now she's really picky! I slave over the kitchen just to cook my two daughters fresh healthy meals only to have it snubbed and I feel so discouraged afterwards. It's gotten to the point where I have to bargain with her even if I don't like it, but I am so desperate to have her eat at least some of the food I cook for her. I will tell her if you eat at least half of your plate, you can have so and so (like some juice or some cranberries or she can watch so and so for a little while)... SOMETIMES it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I think we just have to be patient and consistent with continuously trying to offer them healthy meals when we can and sooner or later they will eventually learn to like it and appreciate it... I hope!

Sometimes she won't eat veggies either so I sneak it in her smoothie. I will sautee some spinach in a little bit of olive oil. Wait for it to cool. I then put it in a blender along with a banana, some plain yogurt and some milk. I blend it up and she actually drinks it even though it's green!
post #3 of 9
My dd is 4 right now and we go through rotating phases of hating xyz and the next week eating it with fervor...its insane really. ie. All summer long dd insisted she hated brocoli, whatever, so whenever I made steamed brocoli I would put one small floret on her plate and also make sure that I made another type of green veggie I knew she would eat (fresh green beans anyone?) even though she would never eat the brocoli and I would never mention the brocoli it was always there. One day she ate it and asked for more...whatever lol..now she hates green beans. (eye roll here...) I think its just remember to expose expose expose and to continue offering it. I talk todd sometimes about how I used to hate chili but I had never even tried it then one day I tried it and LOVED it and how sad I was that all that time I could have been eating it and wasn't.
Dd is in halfday kindy right now but she is totally influenced by the things other people are eating. She would totally eat mcdonalds and hot dogs with chips everyday if she could but we explain that foods like that aren't truly healthy and are a treat and that you can have any treat you want but only a little bit everyonce in a while and never alot or it will make you feel ill and its not healthy so your body cannot grow right. I also find that at this age dd is more into eating simple meals, chicken with something to dip it in (acorn squash with brownsugar and cinnamon...yum), rice or potatoes with lots of butter, and at least two sides of vegs with lots of butter and some sea salt. When I make soup or any type of cassorole she will eat a ton the first night and not really want the leftovers...who knows lol but she will eat it if I turn it into something else (above recipe made into shepards pie).
I totally understand organic meat is $$ but I do find that dd is a bit of a carnivore in the last few months. Is there anyway you can really keep an eye out for the meat on sale (so you can buy more and freeze some) or ask the butcher what the cheapest cuts are and explain you cannot afford alot but you do want to be able to only feed organic meat. I do this at our butcher and he will tell me what that weeks sales are and "oh yeah big bags of 5lbs of chicken pieces skin on are going to be $12 next week" I find this relationship to be really important because he will also throw in the innards of the chickens/turkeys of my bag of necks and backs and charge me the same cheap price etc...
What about "green eggs" which is an advocado and eggs blended in a blender (sometimes with some sneaky spinach) and scrambled with cheese on top...I alsways make it so that I put the eggs in the blender, let dd drop one tiny drop of green food color let her press the button and then she gets down and I quickly drop in the offending veggies...lol. yes tricky but sometimes neccesssary...
post #4 of 9
TOTALLY sympathetic here! DS just turned 6. He used to eat, well, ANYTHING. All of my children's first favorite food has been Daddy's okra stew, which is this African thing with obviously okra, tomatoes, and meat--lamb or beef, cooked till soft. Also onion, garlic.

Now? Well, he *did* eat the chicken in the chicken fettucine alfredo I made the other night, which is huge . Picked out the broccoli, IIRC, and did try the mushrooms.

Since he started preschool and ate lunch there, he won't eat chicken--which he used to *love*....unless it is breaded. So he will happily eat the chicken strips I buy once in awhile as a treat. His food of choice when his dad picks up McDonald's is the McChicken sandwich. He will also eat their chicken nuggets of course.

But chicken at home? RARELY he will eat a bone-in piece of chicken. Like maybe one out of 10 times. He *will* eat my chicken pot pie where the chicken is small enough not to be noticed I think. He managed to pick the chicken out of chicken enchiladas last time I made them. He *sometimes* won't notice it in a pasta or rice dish, or just eats it anyway.

It's gotten to where for 6 of us I will make smaller amounts of 2 things, because DH also gets sick of always eating beef...like I'll use two pans and make ground beef taco meat in one and chicken fajitas in the other--not really more effort while I'm at the stove anyway, and I just reduce the amount of each. Then I just put it all on the table and everybody fills their tortillas with what they like.
I also for a night like that might allow an alternative like simply allowing DS to melt cheese in a tortilla and eat it with salsa if he won't eat the fajitas. It's all stuff I have on the table anyway.

Oh and he won't eat beans for the most part. DH made this fabulous thing the other day at lunchtime and DS would not eat it. (don't ask me what you'd call it, it was one of his creations from random stuff in the cabinet.) But he WILL eat refried beans in tacos and whatnot, so I do that. I wish they'd serve their chili and fritos for school lunch on a tues. so i can see if he actually eats that, he says he does and does not request a sack lunch...

I think school lunch destroys them :P and I had no choice at his preschool, they didn't allow them to bring their own lunches. The school accomodates allergies.
post #5 of 9
So I'm reading these posts thinking that my kids are about the same age and we're going through the same thing (younger eats everything and older is super picky). However, I do not blame school food. Our child care center serves extremely healthy, local, organic, food. Kids are eating bok choy and brussel sprouts as soon as they start solids. Asian chicken and turkey meatloaf are regular menu items. My kid used to eat it all...but now, he said he tried it and he didn't like it. Why now? How did it change? Do the other kids say things? One thought that I've read too much about is that he might have a gluten intolerance and if we can pull the gluten back, he might expand his tastes. Problem is that without some kind of diagnosis, it's hard to get #1) DH, #2) school, #3) extended family to buy into the change in diet. The school would probably be the easiest to change since they have a handful of other gluten free kids. However, what doesn't make sense with that argument is that he prefers baked chicken on the bone (eats it all!) to breaded chicken (picks off the breading)!
post #6 of 9
DS1 (19months) can be finicky at times. One of our all time favorites are Green Smoothies! He LOVES these! We drink them for breakfast, lunch or even as a snack. They're a great!

I start with about a cup of plain yogurt/kifer as the base (homemade from organic whole raw milk, so it's very reasonably priced). It's a great source of protein and probiotics! I add to that 1 banana, and any frozen fruit/berries I have on hand (about 1 cup?), and then two large handfuls of fresh raw spinach! Due to the colorful berries, once it's all blended up you can hardly see the spinach! You may need to thin with some milk (we use raw cows or coconut milk) or juice.

If that's not sweet enough for you, add a few drops of stevia, a tsp of honey or maple syrup, or a Tbsp of apple juice concentrate. Friends of mine have also used dates.

A few other things I'll add for added nutrition; 1 Tbsp coconut oil(so very healthy for you!!) and/or some ground flax seed.

You could even add soaked almonds or cashews for extra protein.

These aren't lunch box friendly, but they're a great way of sneaking some of their daily greens into them!
post #7 of 9
What about grating veggies like carrots/zucchini into foods? I put grated veggies in things like quesadillas, burritos, pasta sauce all the time. Or even put them in the pasta sauce, then puree it all up so that the veggies are in there but not really noticeable?
One of my favorite recipes is Garden muffins--loaded with zucchini, beets, carrots, but it's dessert, adn seriously SO good. Here's the recipe:
http://laineysplate.blogspot.com/201...rden-cake.html
post #8 of 9
I don't know either. Ds started becoming picky around 3 years old. Everyone said it was the "picky 3's" but here he is at 5 and nothing has changed. He was never an adventurous eater, but would eat a healthy variety of things. Not so much anymore.

I am able to occasionally hide some things in ds's food. He'll eat cheese quessadillas and cheese burritos and I'll hide a bit of either quinoa or brown rice in it. I've tried yellow squash with some success, but sometimes he has spotted it and refused to eat it.

Funny thing is he loves the "Naked" green smoothies. But we really can't afford them and I haven't been able to replicate it at home to his satisfaction.

I think the only vegetable he's eating now is the zuchinni brownies (I have cut the sugar back in them). Kind of sad I know but he doesn't know it's there. He once saw the batter and asked why it looked funny. I told him it was "snail surprise".....no questions he was just a bit intrigued and thought it was funny.

We're doing a lot of winter squash right now. He's been asking a lot about what I'm making with it because they did a whole unit in kindergarten on pumpkins....I'm hopeful.
post #9 of 9
kids under 10 often have vegetable aversions. from what i've read this is due to them detecting small amounts of bitter flavors that they instictively shy away from (from an evolutionary perspective the idea is that bitter foods can be poison).

i really like cynthia lair's cookbook Feeding the Whole Family (http://cookusinterruptus.com/), she discusses the veggie aversion stuff and has some cooking techniques which she finds tone down the naturally occuring bitter flavor in some veggies.

if your daughter likes meat, id try and make room for more of it if at all possible. in my opinion thats a healthy thing for a kid to like vs. say, lots of bread or sweets or fast-food which so many kids nowadays expect to get. grassfed all beef hotdogs are actually pretty good sources of healthy fat, protien and other nutrients. i fry them w/saurkraut, potatos and chopped kale and my kids like that.

kids often like sweeter vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, all of which are delicious roasted in olive oil with salt, pepper and cumin! i cut 'em up like french fries.
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