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Worried about my 6 yr. old's eating habits

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

All she wants to eat are fruits and vegetables.  And raw pasta.  If I want her to eat anything else, I have to feed her by hand and pretend that she's a possum.  Or sometimes I just tell her that she has to eat 5 more bites of the food before she can go play.  I don't give her anything that she dislikes.  But she just doesn't want to eat it and it's always a struggle - every...single....meal.  It's worrysome and it's driving me crazy. 


I've tried not saying anything, and going by the theory that she will eat what she needs when she gets hungry enough, but then she will literally go all day eating half a package of raw pasta, 5 raw turnips, some lettuce, a carrot, a bunch of basil and dill from the garden, 3 peaches, and a popsicle from my mom.  Not anywhere near enough for a child to grow on, even if her belly feels full from all the fiber.  And I don't even know if raw pasta is digestible.  I don't feel like it's responsible to trust her to eat what her body needs.  She just doesn't seem to crave foods with protein or carbohydrates. 


I'm starting to feel like a bad mom by engaging in the mealtime struggles.  It's obviously not good for her to be coerced to eat at every meal.  But I think it is worse for her to not get any good food into her body.  Any ideas?

post #2 of 14



No ideas, just a hug. What she eats seems very, very healthy, if that makes you feel better. (Well, I don`t know about the raw pasta, but everything else seems great.) There are carbs in all fruit and vegetables, so I bet she IS getting atleast a part of the carbs she needs. But it seems like she isn`t getting much protein. Are you vegan, or vegetarian? I ask because I thought about cheese. Would she eat the veggies if you made a cheese sauce?


I really hope you will get a lot of replies. hug2.gif

post #3 of 14

what about kabobs? If she likes raw veggies skewer raw veg and cubes of cheese and tofu along with it and a hummus to dip the sticks into?

post #4 of 14

Could you put your focus on having her eat something higher protein/fat weekly (1-2x/week) instead of every day?  It's easy to feel like every meal needs to be balanced - even when you know it doesn't need to be and the bigger picture of balanced eating is more important.  Might be able to ease the stress for each of you a little bit, yet still get a bit more of something 'better' eaten.


One of my dd's cuts how much and what she eats WAY down during summertime, drinks tons of water and ice.  Probably stops gaining weight or even loses some because of this.  But eventually when it isn't so hot she'll pick up on eating.  It's kinda hard to see cause she's so tiny already and we do feel like she needs to eat more in the first place, but because it's happened before we also know it's just her habit to do this.  If it's really hot where you are, that might be going on for your dd too.



Would she like raw tofu (might be sorta like the raw pasta - is that uncooked fresh pasta, right?  can you get tofu or ricotta filled for a bit of extra fat/protein?  If you're worried about the rawness, you can cook some and keep it in the fridge cold)



Popsicles made with greek yogurt or tofu blended with fruit.

Cold fruit/yogurt or veggie/yogurt soups.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the ideas.  It is really hot here - maybe that does have something to do with it. 


She is nearly vegan.  We have pet chickens and eggs, but she doesn't really like them, so she doesn't eat much of them unless I cook with them.  And since she doesn't eat too much prepared food, there aren't too many eggs.  Sometimes she eats dairy if we go out to eat and she orders a dessert.


I think I will try the popsicle idea.  She definitely likes popsicles, and I don't think she would notice if I put some soy yogurt or tofu in them.  The kabobs may be appealing to her too. 


BTW, the raw pasta is the dried crunchy kind from the bulk aisle.  Odd.  She seems to have a need to eat strange things like crayons, strings, cloth, sticks, woodchips, glue sticks (yuck!).  So I am sort of worried that she has some kind of a nutritional deficiency.  We give her a multivitamin and calcium and B12.  She looks healthy though - not super skinny, round face, soft skin and hair.....so I don't know.

post #6 of 14

Pica? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pica_%28disorder%29 (keep in mind this is a Wikipedia article). Then again, my DD chewed her clothes and paper as a younger kid, but grew out of it. You sound concerned, though, so maybe check this with a doc?

post #7 of 14

I loved sneaking raw pasta when I was a kid! I also remember loving to eat raw rice. DS2 likes it, too, but I limit him to having a few pieces when I'm cooking pasta. I'm curious if their little bodies can digest it.


I agree that having her eat carbs/protein a few times a week makes sense. So much less stressful for you and it should be enough for her growing body. Maybe ask her what textures she likes... and try to cook things that resemble that. It seems like she likes crunchy and chewy. So maybe tofu jerky? I recently saw and bought crunchy edamame at the store. It doesn't have a ton of protein in it, but it's a legume, so that's something.

post #8 of 14
Since you mention it's the crunchy uncooked pasta - it reminds me of some of these crunchy Indian snack mixes of fried/roasted lentils, or chickpeas, or Noodle-like stuff. Here's[=http://nuts.com/snacks/indian/][/] a site with a bunch of different kinds. Some of them might be able to add some extra nutrition but be similar to the uncooked pasta. Might be worth trying out.
post #9 of 14

If she likes crunchy food, to improve on the uncooked pasta you might try dehydrating some cooked black beans in the oven (or a dehydrator) -- they dry out to be a super crunchy snack, and they're loaded with healthy stuff and protein/carbs.  I toss mine with a pinch of mild chili powder, salt, nutritional yeast and olive oil, then spread thinly on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for an hour or so, stirring occasionally, until they're really dry.  These keep well, too, and make a good purse snack.  


ETA: unless they're the little salad turnips, I'd be careful about allowing her to eat so many raw turnips!  They taste good, but uncooked turnips are really indigestible and can make her really sick to her stomach if she eats too many.  My FIL tells a (really inappropriate for the table) story about a time when he ate too many raw turnips -- every time we make them for dinner, which is often.  

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

I like the bean and lentil ideas.  I didn't know that you could dehydrate cooked beans.  We'll have to try them. 


The turnip she eats are salad turnips.  My sister's farm grew a huge amount of them this year.  They were tasty, but I had to stop at 2 or 3.  I'm sure they would cause stomach upset if eaten in quantity.


Hopefully she doesn't have pica.  Maybe I will check with a doctor though, because she likes to eat lots of things on the list in that Wiki article.  She always has eaten strange things though.  I used to jokingly complain about spending a lot of money buying organic food for her when I spent most of the day removing strange inedible objects from her mouth.  When she was 1-4 it was developmentally appropriate, but now maybe it's starting to get on the worrisome side. 

post #11 of 14

My son ate a lot of non-food items (crayons, ash, soap, etc) until we figured out he couldn't eat gluten.  He finally started gaining weight and stopped eating non-food.

post #12 of 14

Hope you get an answer soon! All the best to you and your daughter!

post #13 of 14
If she drinks smoothies, you can do a raw egg, plus whatever favorite fruit she likes and throw in hemp seed/oil, flax seed/oil, etc. and maybe freeze some versions into Popsicles, too. I grew up on raw egg & milk smoothies with fruit, and still use them today (and my 7 y/o has had them on and off over the years). Add peanut butter to the smoothie or protein powder. Or try nuts of any kind as snack foods. That should cover you if you do protein 2x a week that way. Or stock raw pasta of the whole grain variety (brown rice or other gluten free pastas?)?
post #14 of 14

I make a smoothie for my son a few days a week. I'll squeeze some fresh OJ, add a few frozen pineapple chunks, 1/2 banana, teaspoon coconut oil, few spinach leaves,nuts-almonds and sunflower seed.   Also some flax seed and hemp seed.  He has gotten tired of them but I only make him a small glass and he has it before he leaves in the morning.  You can also mix in some yogurt or kefir. I do it in the vitamix and its really good.

If I know he has had this for breakfast I don't have to worry so much if he has pasta for lunch.  Good luck!

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