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Desperate for a Change in our Dinnertime/Eating! - Page 3

post #41 of 51
Originally Posted by Nightwish View Post

I agree with you, but if a child has medical issues, he/she and the parents need professional help. In the rare cases when the child has an illness - that you mentioned in your post, advice given on a parenting forum will not help.

100% Agree. I thought that the OP had mentioned bringing this up with the pediatrician, but after looking back I seem to have been misremembering. I was mostly disagreeing with the idea that children always eat at meals when hungry and that snacking must be the problem.

post #42 of 51
I think you have gotten a lot of good advice. I really sympathize as I have a couple of picky eaters. I wanted to address the social aspect of how you feel when you are sharing meals with others. We really focus on politeness as a separate issue from eating. We do a lot of practicing before eating with other people. In the car on the way to thanksgiving for example, I will offer them lots of awful sounding foods and they politely decline. "Would you like some green monkey brains?" "No thank you, maybe a bit later." Or I pretend to be the kid and they correct me. "I hate apples! Yuck!" "No mama, just say no thank you." They think it is funny and it really helps.

We just had a week with relatives and there were several meals where they wouldn't really eat anything. I just made sure there was bread and cheese on the table and let them eat that--not the healthiest, but I want to make social times Pleasant and save the battles for another day.

One other thing that works for us is when we have company at our house I will meal plan so it's something the kids will really like, with some variations that are fun for the adults--like a taco bar with lots of different spicy salsas, a complex salad, etc, but the kids can have a more simple selection. Just makes those company dinners more fun for all.
post #43 of 51

I'm still reading through the replies to this thread, but I just wanted to lend some support to the OP.  It's like you wrote out my exact concerns about my 3.5yo son.  I LONG for the days of purees when I could shove just about anything in him.... (although now that I think about it, he was pretty picky even back then...)


I'm getting some great tips in the replies of how to try new things with my son (like the napkin to spit in, and a yummy drink to chase the single bite) so I'm SO GLAD you took the time to write up your thoughts and look for help from other Mamas!


*hugs* to you, LuckyMamaofTwo.  The fact that you're trying, and seeking help to do more speaks volumes about what a good Mama you are.  :)

post #44 of 51

I've recently made a shift in our eating habits as I feel like we've been stuck in an eating rut -- eating much of the same things, not very healthy, my kids were requesting too much mac n cheese and sweets. The changes we've made are small but make a huge difference!!


First, we quit buying or serving almost anything out of a box or package. Second, we really upped the amount and variety of fruit and vegetables. My kids are now LOVING pomegranate, grapefruit, snap peas, etc. I let them graze -- anytime they want a fruit or veg they can have it.


Third, we totally limit sweets. I think that too much sugar really messes with children's appetites and tastes and cravings. My youngest child (5) used to request dessert or treats all the time, now she rarely does. Or, if she does, I offer fruit.


Fourth, we keep dinner simple. Rice, roast chicken, stew, couscous, etc. plus raw veggies, olives, cheese and crackers, good bread, etc. and almost all organic, free range. 


I do encourage tasting everything but I don't force it. I don't force eating, either, BUT, I save their dinner and if they are hungry later they can eat it.


I'm so pleased with it! Much more variety, much healthier!! Good luck!!

post #45 of 51

Cutting back snacks is a big help for us. The kids are much hungrier at meal times. It is a challenge to wean them off it if it is a habit. When they do snack, I try to limit it to raw fruits and veggies. "French Kids Eat Everything" has some interesting insight into our food culture and how different it is from how the French approach food.

post #46 of 51
We have very similar problems with my toddler. It's chaos. Finally we decided that she has to sit at the table while we are eating. If she won't eat, then we try to just go on with our meal and not give it too much attention. We have started serving salad with our meals which helps bc she loves lettuce with "dip" (dressing.). We let her dip her other veggies in there and too and even meat if she'll do it. It has helped a bit. I'm making turkey tertrazzini tonight and I'm not even going to fight with that. I'll just keep out some turkey and peas for her.
post #47 of 51

We've recently entered the realm of picky eaters when our 3rd child turned 2 a few months ago. I have to say up until that point, I had little understanding (or even respect) for other parents' going through this situation until it hit us. And I've kinda been freaking out about it for a while! I so appreciate all the responses and advice, especially from the really seasoned parents (one with multiple kids/fosters kids/etc). Wow -- such great info!


My best advice is ---- SMOOTHIES! If my 2 y/o won't eat anything at a meal (or even in a day) she will at least drink smoothies whenever I offer them. And you can sneak so much nutrition in those things! My fave go-to recipe is:


1/2 c organic raw, whole milk

1/4 c organic, full-fat, plain or vanilla yogurt

1/8 c coconut oil

1/2 banana (sometimes some frozen blueberries or pineapple)

1-3 Tbsp Great Lakes Gelatin, Collagen Hydrosylate (for extra protein)

1 raw, organic, non-GMO/soy, pasture-raised egg yolk


I also add greens from time-to-time but my main concern for my daughter is more the fats and proteins, not so much the greens as we give many nutritional supplements also. 


Keep on keeping on parents ... you're all doing your best and that's all we can do!! 


{Love & hugs}

post #48 of 51
I know this may not exactly win points for politeness, but I have been reading aloud to my kids at the table at almost every meal since my daughter was 2. (she is almost 5 now). It really helped to keep her in her seat and eating. Otherwise she would get up after a couple of bites because she was bored, not because she was full. I know some may say this encourages mindless eating, which is true, but my kids are very skinny, so we aren't too worried about that. The reading has made mealtimes a lot more fun and I guess focused on something besides food fights.
post #49 of 51

This has been one of the most challenging parts of parenting for my husband and I!

Here is what works for us in case it may be helpful:


1. We noticed that our son is really hungry in the morning, and therefore eats a huge breakfast, a medium lunch, and barely any dinner (with some snacks in between).  Therefore he's more likely to eat a variety of things in the morning (and try new foods).  So we stopped having a family dinner and began having family breakfast time.  We cook eggs with lots of veggies, homemade pancakes, veggie or almond muffins, etc.  He gets to help out with the cooking and he will usually try anything we make.  I realize this won't work for everyone, but it works for us (we both work, but my husband works from home and I only have a 5 minute commute)  He is also fairly hungry at lunch so will try most things I leave for him (usually left overs from the previous nights dinner).  We no longer eat dinner together as a family because it was turning into a huge battle and my son was out of control at the table (during breakfast and lunch he tends to be pleasant and pretty well behaved).  So he eats a light meal for dinner around 4:30/5 and my husband and I eat after he goes to bed. 


2. If he doesn't want to try something I will usually ask him to try a bite and he can spit it out if he doesn't like it.  This works about 1/2 the time, the other half he doesn't want to and I don't push it. 


3. Overall I try to make eating enjoyable - we talk a lot about food and where it comes from, we practice cooking in his play kitchen, I am not worried about manners too much (although if he starts throwing food then we just take it away without a fuss).


These are the strategies that have worked for our family!

post #50 of 51

I think there is a lot of great advice here. I plan to try some of it out.

What has worked for us so far-- but note that my child is just about to turn two and so I don't think she has entered the picky phase yet... She is in the 20% for her age so i have a bit more leeway and I admit that if she were at the edge it would make keeping to these rules a bit harder. 


one note I have a cousin who only ate peas, apples, salmon, yogurt and rice and toast for some 12 years of his life-- truly, these are the only things he would eat.  He grew strong and healthy and now eats most things. I bet the OP's children eat at least 6 things too.  While not ideal, If she is really worried about them starving she could always find the 5 healthiest items they'll eat and just run with it -- telling herself that this too will pass.


Behavior: my suggestions would be

1. try to not look upset when she says gross. this will just fuel the fire.  tell her gently that her words might hurt people's feelings each time and let it go.  That is what my family did with us. (I'm told I was very dramatic and liked to grab my throat as I said it as if the offending food was killing me) 


2.  When we eat out I never put my child in the high chair/booster until we are eating unless she really, really wants to sit there. Take them to walk around the restaurant it its big enough, even outside if the weather/ location cooperates  (look at rocks in the parking lot, people on the sidewalk etc) for the older ones who may not have the wiggles bring a quiet toy or two for them to play with before the food arrives (once food is on the table I insist on no toys)--remember how boring eating out was as a child if you spend lots of energy and time entertaining them before you eat.  I pretty much ignore everyone else and really focus on the children we are with until food arrives-- that way once the food arrives they have gotten lots of attention and you can enjoy an adult conversation-- and they don't have to be patient/bored for such a long time--hopefully the food will entertain them for little while. 




1. absolutely nothing I don't consider nutritious in the house.  It just doesn't exist in our word so she can't ask for it. Anything she asks for can be given to her at least in moderation without me feeling bad.


2.We have desert almost every night but it never has added sugar.  Like many here we treat dessert like other people treat salad there is no amount of food that we need to eat in order to enjoy it.  Instead:
we make homemade frozen yogurt with lots of fruit blended in 
for flavor and sweetness.  

I make a variations of mommypotamus's gummies with either no added sweetener just fruit juice or 1/3 of the honey suggested if its lemon juice.

raisins or dried fruit and nuts

cheese and fruit.


3. If D doesn't eat -she doesn't eat.  I confess there have been weeks I have gotten stressed about the lack of food going into her body but she always seems to come around. 


4. We have two set snack times (I have considered the fruit bowl but as of now we only eat snacks at appointed times. I really struggle with the right decision on this but in my home country two snacks are traditional-- and am not crazy about kids or adults for that matter grazing all the time --it seems like a bad habit to encourage--at the same time I really like how respectful allowing free access to food is and how it could potentially teach children to listen to their bodies.--at this time we are still going with cultural tradition but it's the one thing I might change) Morning snack is a veggie and bit of protein and fat: broccoli, bell peppers, olives, cheese (note this is nothing like my country where the snack would be very sweet yogurt or a bread of some kind.)the afternoon snack is fruit or or some kind of starchy food.-- harder now that we are limiting wheat (it gives her eczema). 


5. meals are whatever I want to cook-- even spicy food--although I have toned down the spicy a bit. -- she sometimes likes it and sometiems doesn't. Sometime she eats a lot sometimes she spits everything out.  (love the spitting bowl-- i will be doing this from now on) The only caveat is that we frquently eat leftovers for lunch BUT if she hated it the night before I try to modify it for lunch or make something else.. Notice that I said I try -- sometimes there is just isn't time and it appears again for lunch-- she almost always refuses it again but once or twice she has surprised me by happily eating what she couldn't stomach the night before.


6. Supplements: the mommypotamus gummies, cod liver oil are supplied regularly but not daily. 

post #51 of 51

I haven't read through all the replies but I have a really picky 4yo and a 2yo who will try just about anything. To the OP, the important thing is to get healthy foods into the kids, right? The more fruit and vegetables and whole grains the better, but I doubt many of us ate all of our veggies when we were kids. I sure didn't! Give foods that you know they will eat, some foods you want them to eat and rewards or deserts if you want. Meal time shouldn't be a battle.


We try little tricks all the time, sometimes they work - sometimes they eat pasta or eggs! We introduce them to everything, they help cook, and we grow most of our own veggies and still, my 4 yo is pretty picky. BUT! It's getting better, for instance, he likes corn either on the cob (preferably uncooked) or frozen (who knows?), he likes to eat cucumbers without the skin and preferably with the tiniest amount of reduced sodium soy sauce. He just started "eating" broccoli and has requested in, even though he only nibbles at the tops. I'll take it, even if the first time he eat brocolli was for an ice cream reward - a rarity! We make "Cat in the Hat" eggs with spinach. And my picky eater loves them and even though he won't eat spinach by itself, he tells me that I didn't put enough in! In our house the one bite rule ends in tears or uneaten food, we'll wait another year or two and them maybe we'll try to enforce it. But sure, I would love it if they ate kale and squash or asparagus!! Maybe next year. :wink

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