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not wanting to eat what's for dinner

post #1 of 99
Thread Starter 
lucien is at that stage when he doesnt like lots of the foods he previously did and/or will like what it is, until he does something to it. (like dinner tonight was potato soup and he wanted crackers in it. he added the crackers and then wouldnt eat any bites with crackers on it. and then wanted candy and popcorn and just about every other food item in the house.)

he eats well during the day so im not overly concerned about him eating a big meal but i dont want him going to be hungry.

that said, im not going to play short order cook with him. im usually very good about making stuff i think he will like and if it's something weird, then ill make him a separate meal. and one of my biggest "issues" is wasting food.

is there a better way to handle this?
post #2 of 99
I would limit the candy and "junk food" and keep healthy options available for snacks. Is it really a big deal if he skips dinner and then fills up on cheese and crackers and apple slices later?

I wouldn't play short-order cook either. You've made dinner. He's got three choices: eat all the foods you have prepared, eat only some of the foods you have prepared, or not eat.

For the soup, I would probably try to fish out the cracker pieces so he'd eat the rest of the soup, and/or offer him more dry crackers to go with it. How was he supposed to know he wasn't going to like the taste or texture of soggy crackers in soup until he tried it?
post #3 of 99
I read a book called "how to get your kid to eat...but not too much" by Ellen Sattler ( I think it's her name).

She basically says to let your child serve himself. and to stick to meal time/snack times and not allow any grazing through the day, etc.. I think she has a website too.

Her technique worked well for my picky 4yo AND for my almost over eating 20month old. The book addresses both issues, ad goes through all childhood ages and stages.
The first time we tried it I set out little bowls of veggies and noodles gave DD a bowl of just broth and she made herself a HUGE bowl of veggie soup! I'm talking stuff she wouldn't touch if I made it myself! And she ate it!

I can say I don't 100% agree with some of her viewpoints, but it has helped.

Try amazon for a used copy. Got mine for like $6 plus shipping.
post #4 of 99
We have a hard time with this too... I try to have a bland version of anything spicy I make, and an alternate choice ready, just in case. Like the other night we had spicy chipotle porta bella fajitas, and I put aside a few slices that'd been sauteed in just a bit of garlic, salt, and olive oil. AND I prepped a plain cheese quesadilla (I try to keep the alternate at least looking a little like what's for dinner, kwim?). She got to make her own fajita with her own mushroms, picking what other toppings she wanted on it, had a few bites, and then had some quesadilla, after she seemed to decide she didn't like the mushroom fajita so much.

I gotta say... she grazes. She eats better when she can graze. She'll have oatmeal, yogurt, a garden burger breakfast sausage pattie with organic ketchup, a whole apple, a banana, some cheese, a peanut butter bagle, some grapes, some whole-food-vitamin gummies, a ton of water and milk (she calls it coffee) and a bit of dinner... all in a day, if I let her graze a little at a time, about every two hours. If we are stringent about meal-time and snack-time, and the whole routine, she goes days without eating but a few morsels. This stressed me out too much, so I let go of my need for structured meal-time adherence, and tho we have those meal-times, and we do adhere to them, I know that she has eaten well all day, so it doesn't bother me when she (invariably) turns her nose up to dinner.
post #5 of 99
My theory is that everyone in the house should have something they like/will eat at every meal. Maybe that means serving slices of cheese with the soup.



I don't want food to ever be a battle. We keep healthy food in the house and everyone can eat (or not eat) when they want to.

-Angela
post #6 of 99
I don't see a problem with grazing and have been told it is better for young children than regular meals. I know I have a very picky, reflux toddler who doesn't like MANY foods. I have to really work to get him to eat but I try not to make it too much of a battle. I think that this too shall pass and I try not to let food become a cause for stress. I wouldn't worry too much.
post #7 of 99
It's just the three of us here, so mostly I just make stuff for dh and I let ds have bites of ours - but for his main meal he has "his" food - which is greatly different from what we'll eat! He eats super healthy, I'm just never sure if he'll want what we're having, so I always have easy stuff for ds.

Like tonight, he had a bowl of beets, a yogurt with wheatgerm and some fruit - the n we just gave him bites of our food. I'm not sure when this should change and he should just be expected to eat what we're eating. Sometimes I feel like what we're eating isn't "good enough" for ds!

Ds is 19 months old - when do you think they should be expected to eat the same as the family?

I personally wouldn't allow for the junk food if he didn't eat any dinner though. I agree with offering healthy snacks if dinner was refused....
post #8 of 99
I guess if your child is a grazer, then I wouldn't expect them to eat a whole lot at meal times.
post #9 of 99
If it's something I know she likes and she's having an attitude about it, it gets left on the table through mealtime (while we're eating), then put up. If she says she's hungry later, it gets put back in front of her. If she still won't eat it, guess what's for breakfast?

So far just saying "that's fine - you can have it for breakfast" and leaving it on the table during mealtime has worked - she eats it.

Now, the caveat to this is that if it's not particularly good (hamburger patties that had been in the freezer too long and were a bit too charred from the girll), if she eats her other stuff I'm happy to give her something else.

Her attitude, tone of voice and body language is totally different when it's something she just doesn't want to eat or something she truly does not like, so it's easy to tell the difference.

Also, if I know we're having something she probably won't like, like steak or whatever, I'll have DH grill her a hot dog at the same time.

I refuse to be a short order cook (or have DH be one). I watched my mom do it for years and I believe it teaches bad lessons to the child being catered to.

Jenn
post #10 of 99
We've been struggling with this too. Our kids get offered what is for lunch/supper. If they don't want to eat it, they don't have to. The catch is then they don't get to have a snack. If you don't eat lunch - no afternoon snack. No supper - no evening snack. We've made a big effort to have healthy snacks available too.

By no means are we perfect. We have a birthday party this weekend, so there will be cake around afterwards.

We're just trying to get the girls to try new foods and get E to actually eat some fruits and veggies other than green beans.
post #11 of 99
So interesting! We are dealing with the same thing with dd1. She eats a great breakfast and lunch but dinner is a struggle. I think for dd1 it's the end of the day and she's tired. Dh is the same way. He doesn't want to eat when he is tired. I let her graze and eat as much as she wants during the day knowing that she won't eat much for dinner. I beleived it is healthier to have several small meals through out the day rather than 3 big meals. I've also noticed that dd1 tends to meltdown when she hasn't eaten recently.
post #12 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclisa View Post
We've been struggling with this too. Our kids get offered what is for lunch/supper. If they don't want to eat it, they don't have to. The catch is then they don't get to have a snack. If you don't eat lunch - no afternoon snack. No supper - no evening snack. We've made a big effort to have healthy snacks available too.
I think that's awful. I hate the whole adults lording the fact they're adults over little people and that's just what this is.

"You must eat THIS if you are hungry. Don't like it- too bad. You can't eat anything else"

:

-Angela
post #13 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I think that's awful. I hate the whole adults lording the fact they're adults over little people and that's just what this is.

"You must eat THIS if you are hungry. Don't like it- too bad. You can't eat anything else"

:

-Angela


This is what the book I mentioned earlier talks about.

It says to offer your child a healthy meal. If they chose not to eat it then you can tell them that it's their choice, and they can eat again at the scheduled snack time (not graze in between). We schedule our meals and snacks about every 2-3 hours apart.

It's about empowering your child to be in control of what they eat and when, and creating healthy eating habits, not ones that are decided by an adult whose needs/desires are totally different.
Not creating value in "desserts or treats" by saying that your child cannot have them until they "eat X amount of bites of Y and Z". They learn that dessert is more valuable than the meal itself. That's just one example.
post #14 of 99
Our DS is a fairly good eater but does go through the eating dinner battle. We've come to the conclusion it is more about the power than it is about the food. We now wait about 5 minutes into the meal before we start asking him to have bites of food. He now pretty much is eating by his own decision before the 5 minutes because we're not telling him he has to.

In some cases he won't want to try something so for the last 6 months we've had the try one bite of everything method. He tries one bite of everything on his plate, if he doesn't like something he doesn't have to keep eating it. After about the 3rd or 4th time I've made a dish, DS usually eats it right up no questions asked. I think he sometimes just needs to get used to a food, once he's confident he eats it no questions asked.
post #15 of 99
I do not short order. I'm an excellent cook, and not embarrassed to say so. I cook organic vegan food from minimally processed sources, and what goes on the table is what we eat. I do make minor adjustments out of love though, like my eldest hates onions, so I always split out his portion to make it onion-free. My second son hates flour tortillas, so I put his portions on tostadas instead if we're having something in flours. : But ultimately, eat or DON'T. Also, we don't do junk food. I make deserts, that can be eaten after meals, and fruit is always abvailable to them, but no candy in the house. Well, ok, I do share my dark chocolate with them, and make hot cocoa somewhat often too, but other than that...
post #16 of 99
I felt like such a mom today. I was busy, late getting lunch, needed to milk my goat (we know what the goat feels like)... I sat down a bowl of cereal with fruit in front of dd, something she eats all the time, and she started howling "I don't want cereal." I said, "ok, let me explain the choices. You can eat this cereal, or I will put it away and you can go hungry. Your choice." DD picked up her spoon and gobbled up a bite of cereal saying "mmm, I love cereal!"
post #17 of 99
the Dr. says they'll eat when they're hungry. I tend to believe that. : )
post #18 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by caligirl View Post
This is what the book I mentioned earlier talks about.

It says to offer your child a healthy meal. If they chose not to eat it then you can tell them that it's their choice, and they can eat again at the scheduled snack time (not graze in between). We schedule our meals and snacks about every 2-3 hours apart.

It's about empowering your child to be in control of what they eat and when, and creating healthy eating habits, not ones that are decided by an adult whose needs/desires are totally different.
Not creating value in "desserts or treats" by saying that your child cannot have them until they "eat X amount of bites of Y and Z". They learn that dessert is more valuable than the meal itself. That's just one example.
I don't care if the Queen of Sheba says so, I think it's mean and awful and would never do that. I don't think it's respectful of your child as a person at all.

Would you do that to your husband? If you made a dinner he didn't like would you forbid him to eat anything else until he eats it?

I think that this type of control is why we have so many eating disorders.

Have healthy foods available and encourage ALL members of the family to eat when hungry.

That's how we're designed biologically.

-Angela
post #19 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I think that this type of control is why we have so many eating disorders.


Ultimatley it is your job to feed your kid. That may mean having a lot of options. It may mean tweaking the menu. If they just don't like it - make something else! It's not a "they'll eat when hungary" thing...it's a "they're hungary, feed them something they find palatable" thing!
post #20 of 99
Generally, if ds doesn't want to eat dinner, I offer him a choice of something that does not require cooking. I think the rule in our house will basically be: you can have what I cooked or you can have an almond butter and banana sandwich. It really doesn't pain me to quickly make up a sandwich.

If he doesn't eat at all, I don't push, and save the sandwich for the next day. He is allowed to snack whenever he likes.

I read this somewhere, and liked it: Don't look at what your finicky toddler is eating one day and worry about nutrition. It's better to look at nutrition intake over the coarse of a week or so.
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