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Picky eater

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am a bit frustrated with my 2 year old. Most nights at dinner she won't eat any of the meat I have made but will eat her veggies. Lunches are hit or miss. Today I made pasta with carrots and peas with some cheese mixed in (all things she like). She decided it was not good enough for her. If she had it her way she would live off of goldfish. What am I missing? Suggestions to try? Do you say ok you didn't eat then nothing for you?
post #2 of 9

Kids who will only eat carbs (toast, pasta, crackers, sweets, fruit) and dairy and refuse all savory foods like meat are likely dealing with an imbalance in their gut flora.  Starchy foods feed pathogenic bacteria like candida, and the more overgrowth of the pathogenic bacteria they have, the more they crave the foods that feed it.  That's a pretty simplistic picture of what's going on, but you get the idea.  You can research GAPS and SCD diets (the diets are meant for people dealing with extreme gut issues, so don't be scared off by the extremes of the diets - the information will still be relevant and you could get away with doing more minor changes), and consider supplementing with a really good probiotic (grocery store gummy probiotics won't cut it) and incorporating fermented foods, like sauerkraut (store varieties are not actually fermented, just vinegar pickled - Bubbies is a brand that is actually lactofermented), kefir, etc.


Good luck!   

post #3 of 9
My daughter is 2.5 and eats more carbs and chicken nuggets than I'd care for, but she's never been on antibiotics (not even when i was having her!) and has always enjoyed yogurt.

It could be a flora imbalance, but I think it's mostly her asserting personal favorites. She loves chili (which can be prepared health-consciously! And on the crockpot!) piccadillo, and pad Thai.

Lovemylab, try chopping veggies and protein very fine to go in soups and casseroles. Does your child like beans and rice? Carrots and sweet peppers can be added to many recipes and cooked until soft.

Also limit afternoon snacking so that your toddler is hungry when supper is set on the table. I'm not above offering a sticker or special activity to get my daughter to taste new things either.
post #4 of 9

My 15mo will eat anything - and I mean anything!  But she's developing a sense of "I like this better than that" and will eat the favorite and toss the rest aside.  An example being she loves potatoes.  She also loves greens, especially spinach, but if potatoes are on the menu she will quickly shun the spinach.  Solution?  She gets a bit of spinach on her plate first.  Once she eats that, potatoes are like a dessert.  I'll even do the same so she doesn't feel it's only her that has to eat the greens first and it's fun to make it like we are having this "multicourse" meal :-)


And for the flora imbalance, you don't necessarily need to have been on antibiotics to haven an imbalence.  Not feeding the healthy flora can be enough to allow the bad stuff bully the good guys out.  We do daily probiotics and take coconut oil - it feeds the good stuff while killing off excess bad stuff. 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Not sure how we ended up talking about flora imbalance. That I doubt is a problem. She eats a ton of veggies, yogurt, and drinks milk.

I find she just wants what's on HER mind. So do you say ok no dinner or do you make a seperate meal.

A good example of how she is, at lunch she refused to eat the meal I made her at dinner I offered the same thing she had seconds.
post #6 of 9

If you give her a choice about what to eat, will she eat the food she chose?  My DD is closer to 3 now, but she REALLY likes being allowed to serve herself rather than me making her plate.  I will also generally have her choose many elements of her lunch.  (i.e.  Broccoli or peas?  Should our fruit be apple, or applesauce?)  When she was younger, I would almost always include a food she will always eat along with our regular supper.  Then if she didn't eat supper, at least I knew she'd eat something and not wake up starving.  I still think my DD has a very hard time grasping the fact that if she doesn't eat her supper, she'll wake up hungry.  So, ate this age, I really try to make sure there's something she'll eat for supper.  Otherwise, what you're describing sounds very, very normal, and I really wouldn't worry about it or make too much effort to change what you're doing.  It sounds like she's eating pretty well, all things considered :)

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok I will try to get her more involved in making meals. That could help.
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by lovemylab View Post

Not sure how we ended up talking about flora imbalance. That I doubt is a problem. She eats a ton of veggies, yogurt, and drinks milk.

I find she just wants what's on HER mind. So do you say ok no dinner or do you make a seperate meal.

A good example of how she is, at lunch she refused to eat the meal I made her at dinner I offered the same thing she had seconds.

The way I see it, by offering only the food you know she will eat you are taking away the opportunity for her to learn to like new foods.

Kids learn to like the foods their parents enjoy, if you give them the opportunity.


Some things to try:


- pair familiar with unfamiliar foods. That way, she can eat what she likes and slowly learn to become more adventurous with foods she doesn't like. Just be aware that it might take months or even years for her to try or like new foods, but if you don't pressure, remind, reward etc. for eating, she will eventually eat them.


- let her eat as much or as little as she wants of anything you put on the table. Don't limit or push her to eat anything (like: no seconds until you eat your ___ ... whatever she doesn't eat). Look at what she's eating in the course of one week, not one meal. You might be surprised at how balanced her diet is.


- your dd's diet actually sounds very healthy. Don't make (or pressure) her to eat what her body doesn't require.


My ds doesn't eat meat either. Like your dd, he loves fruit and vegetables. But he eats eggs, cheese, peanut butter and a tonne of sour cream, so I know his body gets what he needs. He's never sick, very active and very slim.


My dd on the other hand loves meat and starchy foods and doesn't eat raw vegetables or salads at all. But again she drinks a lot of water, loves soups (with cooked, chunky vegetables in them) and fruit. She's also very healthy and an active, chunky toddler.


What I strive to teach my children is to enjoy food first of all, to be adventurous with new food, to have good table manners, rather than to eat something because they have to, or it's "healthy" (that is, currently recommended by health higher-ups - which changes every couple of years), or non-fattening. I want them to listen to their bodies. I am amazed how balanced their meals are once I offer good food and not pressure them IN ANY WAY.





post #9 of 9
It could be that she's listening to her body -- which is a good thing! If she doesn't need the nutrients in the meat at lunch, and so does eat the meat, there's no problem. By dinner, she's used up reserves and needs to replenish, hence having seconds.

I don't see the child having a problem. If she's not eating consistently, then there's a problem. Otherwise, you need to change your expectations.

Look at it this way, if you use your car to go to a neighborhood store, you wouldn't need to refill the gas tank on the way home. But if you went to a nearby town to a specialty store, you would need to top off the tank so you will be able to go on the next trip. The human body works similarly. Thin people eat according to internal needs, not by the clock or other external needs. Trust her a little more, that's my advise.
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