Picky eaters and limited diets. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 36 Old 07-24-2002, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd1 is nearly 8 and has to be the pickiest eater going. She won't eat meat, and calls herself a vegetarian, but won't eat vegetables! I got her to write out a list of foods she likes, in a sincere effort to help. This is what I got:

Peanut butter
Jam
Chocolate Hazelnut spread
The food that Pooh loves [honey]

How the heck am I supposed to work with that?!?!?! She's only tasted Nutella twice, and hated it the first time, I don't know how that made it on the list.

She and dd2 (okay, and I) freebase peanut butter (eat it off a spoon directly from the jar - at least I don't let them use their fingers!) I know it is high in fat, but at 4 feet tall and 46 lbs, I can't worry about it for her - it's the only protein she will reliably consume.

There is other stuff she will eat - carbs, yogurt, bananas, blueberries, strawberries. She will eat candy/junk food/ice cream, but rarely - and has enough sense to stop eating it when she has enough. I insist on a no thank you bite at dinner, but nothing more. Does anyone have any suggestions for getting more nutrition into her. She won't even consider anything "different". I don't want to cause an eating disorder over this, she is in enough danger of that just being around me.
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#2 of 36 Old 07-24-2002, 02:41 AM
 
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Irishmommy I do empathise

my ds1 at that age was a nightmare eater

he has numerous allergies so is limited with choices, but he got crazy about food, and one morning after I had screamed at him in frustration and made him finish a bowl of porridge and he'd then thrown up (did this happen?? yes, I don't know how it got to this point) I knew we needed help!

I insisted that this problem was bigger than both of us and made an appointment with a dietitian at our big children's hospital, he agreed to attend! I knew I might not agree with her ideas but that the impact would do something to move us forward

we had to fill in a food diary for 3 days and she examined it for nutrients etc

she said if he wanted to be a vegetarian he would have to eat a certain amount of pulses and tofu (he's allergic to nuts and tolerates minimal egg and dairy) and he said he found them disgusting and wouldn't do it

so I said if he was to be anywhere near healthy he would have to eat meat - and he agreed, so I found organic supplies and relearned how to cook some meat, fish and chicken dishes

at age 11 we still have some problems with fruit (mainly sticks to apples) and vegetables (mostly carrots and spuds) but he is much better, eats a more balanced diet, even if it has totally made me reevaluate what I consider suitable (as a 20+ yrs vegetarian)

as he gets older he will try different foods, esp at friends houses, but remains very conservative - how did I rear a meat and two veg guy???

in summary:

ds1 hated some stuff, refused to eat it, I couldn't force him, we both got help and made concessions! he had to eat more healthily, I had to prepare stuff that turned my stomach, mealtime aggro disappeared

I do worry about the eating disorder issues too, no words of wisdom there, sorry

good luck!
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#3 of 36 Old 07-29-2002, 04:31 PM
 
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I was a close second to your dd in pickiest eater ever (as a child). Luckily our two dds take after dh and eat anything. But my suggestions (from my own experience) is that she will probably grow out of this - as difficult as it is now.
As a child, I ate cold cereal with milk, PB & J sandwiches, pasta, potatoes, rice, cheese. And junk food. My poor mother made two dinners for years (a normal one for the family and a hamburger patty for me). Eating out at restaurants was torture. I would pick apart my meal until it was unrecognizable then eat the parts I liked. God forbid there was pizza sauce on pizza (wait until the cheese congealed then pick out all the toppings, peel the cheese off, scrape the sauce off, replace cheese and eat crust/cheese - by that time everyone else was long done). If there was anything but ketchup on a burger, that all came apart too. My poor mother.... Now I eat every veg but a few (brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower) and can eat almost anything anywhere without picking it to pieces. Just think of the great fine motor skills she has developed picking things out!
Eating fruits, yogurt/ice cream, and PB sandwiches will probably carry her through until she gets a little more adventurous. Have you tried very tender chicken (maybe done in a crock pot?) without skin, etc. or mild vegies (I always ate corn, green beans, and fresh steamed spinach with butter and salt). What about salmon?
I think you are right with your idea (or was it in the reply post?) to try to stay mellow about it and she will grow in her food choices with time. I give dd a vitamin I buy at the vitamin store (ones from the regular grocery store all have fake sugar in them) - maybe that would help a little in her getting a little nutrition insurance.
Good luck!
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#4 of 36 Old 07-29-2002, 05:34 PM
 
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In some ways, I think the advice to mellow out is a good one, but on the other hand, childhood is the time when little bodies are growing and I can see why you want your girl to have a more diverse diet. Plus, sometimes allergies can develop from eating the same foods over and over. When my dd has gone through picky eating phases, we still always put at least some veggies and dinner on her plate, with the philosophy that at least she can see what a meal is "supposed" to look like, even if she ended up having cereal. Also, even though we don't generally like to threaten, we "compromise" by promising a small dessert or treat for eating "healthy" food. Also, if she likes fruit, you might consider making a fruit shake in the morning with frozen fruit and juice or yogurt or milk. You can sneak all sorts of stuff in there, like protein powder and flax seed oil and coconut and nut butters. Good luck, it is such a common issue for most moms that I know, and who wants more to battle over!!??
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#5 of 36 Old 07-29-2002, 06:19 PM
 
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Hi! It's been a loooong time since I posted here, but I've got to chime in on this thread. Someone else at Mothering helped me with this very same problem, I don't remember who.

I try to not have junk/treats/sweet stuff in the house very often. That's difficult because DH considers cookies a staple. I try to make so that the only food in the house is reasonably healthy so that I don't have to have any arguments with the kids about food. I'm trying really hard to not make food an issue at all. Sometimes I put a basket of yummy bread on the dinner table and if DD (7 y.o.) turns her nose up at what I've prepared for the rest of us, she can just eat bread.

Food was not an issue for me when I was a kid. My parents prepared what they liked to eat, which is a wide variety of foods, including a lot of fruits and veggies from their prolific garden. They prepared what they liked and assumed we'd eat it, too. They didn't prepare separate meals for the kids. I remember I didn't like raw tomatoes, mushrooms or eggplant. Fine, I didn't have to eat that stuff. I like all those things now!

I think the multivitamin idea is great. Really, your daughter is doing okay, IMO. Just keep offering whatever healthy stuff you eat, and don't make an issue out of it when she doesn't eat something. I told DD I didn't like cauliflower when I was a kid and now I do, so maybe she'll feel the same way about fish. Now whenever she tries something she doesn't like she says, "I'll like it when I grow up, Mommy!"


One more suggestion: read "Bread and Jam for Frances" by Russel Hoban.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#6 of 36 Old 07-29-2002, 06:40 PM
 
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I totally agree with Amy that childhood is an important time for their growing bodies! I think offering healthy choices and trying to appear not too emotionally involved in them lets the kid make choices without doing so just to prove their power. I agree with whatever child expert originally said that we can't control kids' eating, sleeping, toilet training. We set it up the best we can, make the "right" choices appear as appealing as possible and hope for the best.
I try to strive for a kind of middle ground. I only buy 100% whole wheat bread, organic milk, etc. If they want a sandwich or a glass of milk, that is what they get. I try to offer fruit, yogurt, string cheese for snacks. We never have Lucky Charms, Apple Jacks, etc. in the house - I mix plain Cheerios with apple cinnamon Cheerios and that is good enough in our house. But they do get cookies, ice cream, etc. on occasion. It is interesting to see the different choices each family makes in the nutrition area. My older daughter didn't try gum til she was about 4 and pop until she was 6. It is rare she gets either. But some friends of mine (whom I respect very much as parents) let their kids have Coke, gum, etc. on a fairly regular basis starting at 2 or 3. But those kids may eat more veggies than mine too!
I like Amy's idea of putting out the picky eater's dinner too just so she can see what a well balanced meal looks like. She may pick at a little and try something new if it is right there.
I have a friend whose first daughter (isn't it funny how often it is the first child that is picky?) was very picky - you couldn't even take her to a restaurant. No grilled cheese, no chicken strips - that kid would not have anything that most kids like. Her dad and my dh took the kids out to eat one time and she would eat NOTHING on the menu. The waitress felt terrible for her and asked her dad what she would eat. He told her she liked strawberries. They had some in the kitchen that were used for garnish. The waitress brought her a big bowl of them!
Have you tried taking her to a really fun restaurant like the Melting Pot? It is a fondue restaurant we have in Seattle but I know they are in other areas too. Much variety and many courses in a fun presentation. Maybe she would forget how picky she is and try a few new things in a situation like that?
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#7 of 36 Old 07-30-2002, 12:48 AM
 
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I know I'll sound like the "bad mommy" here, but DH & I were both raised in "eat what's put before you" homes. I think because of that, the only thing I don't like are green peas. Never have, never will like them. But I darn sure won't let my kids know that--I choke some down if it makes them eat 'em!!!

That being said, what I would do is this:

(1) take all emotionality out of the issue. Don't start a fight & don't "beg" or cajole her to eat. Cook for everyone else in your family, maybe start out by incorporating some of the things she DOES like. Studies show that one needs to be exposed to a particular food 10 times before a taste (one way or the other) is acquired. Even my aunt & uncle ask their kids to try something 3 times, just in case it was the way it was cooked that was so bad! (I thought that was a great idea!)

(2) DO NOT keep any type of junk food in the house. Period. Do this for a short duration of time till you get this settled. It certainly won't hurt anyone else, either. When you have a big problem like this, it affects the whole family, so it's good to enlist the whole family to solve it!

(3) Stick to your guns for one meal a day. Once you've tackled that, try for two. YOu need to set a good example for your children--no more freebasing PB, at least for a little while!!! )

Hope even one of these ideas helps!! Good luck....I know you've got your hands full with this issue!!
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#8 of 36 Old 07-30-2002, 09:28 AM
 
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My daughter is a one year old who won't eat anything but French Fries. And we all know that isn't the healthiest thing to eat. Oh yeah and of course she loves junk food like cookies, and potato chips. I don't know what to do, when she was a little baby she wanted to eat everything and now she won't eat anything. Any suggestions?
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#9 of 36 Old 07-30-2002, 10:51 AM
 
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I have a picky eater, too. We're vegetarians and he won't eat veggies! He lives off of mac and cheese and fruit and bread dipped in oil and vinegar. We had serious concerns about nutrition, shared our concerns with our Dr. and she asked if it would give us peace of mind to test for what we were mainly concerned about--iron. We decided to bite the bullet and do the test...and his levels were just fine. The moral? Trust that your child's body will crave what it needs--and children are still tuned into their bodies so that they listen to the cravings. If you're really worried, I would have the blood work done. The process was not fun, but neither was worried parents!
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#10 of 36 Old 07-30-2002, 01:39 PM
 
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All of the posts sound so familiar to me. My 2 1/2 year old son is most definitely picky. His diet consists of yogurt, milk, french fries, anything fruit (except kiwi-hates the seeds), peanut butter (no jelly), cereal bars (organic with no high fructose corn syrup), pizza, and the occasional junk snack. As far as veggies go, he has nibbled a carrot and eaten an occassional half of a half a cucumber with the seeds picked out and skinned.

That said, our strategy is to put a new item on his plate at all times. I prefer to put the same item there repeatedly so that he gets familiar with its look. I have to say that he will sometimes take a bite, but more often he looks at it, pokes at it, and licks it. I think consistency is the key. Continue to offer things that the family is eating and gently encourage the child to eat, lick or, sniff the item. Hopefully, they will get up the courage to try it. As parents, we need to make sure that we are supportive and don't punish the child for not eating someting we think they should be eating. Food should not be a battleground.
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#11 of 36 Old 07-30-2002, 01:45 PM
 
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I have to agree with mac's mom. We too had those tests and they came out just fine. Our son takes a multivitamin with iron. Another test of whether your child is getting enough to eat is their growth. If they are growing and gaining weight, they are probably doing just fine.

(I forgot to add earlier that our little guy also reliably eats mac and cheese. As much as I dislike processed food, Easy Mac has been fabulous for us!)
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#12 of 36 Old 07-30-2002, 03:46 PM
 
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Yes, I agree. We never fight over food. If he says he's full--end of story. If he doesn't like what the rest of the family is eating, we give him an alternative we don't mind preparing for him, and he can take it or leave it.

As far as mac & cheese goes, we get the Annie's single servings--that way we don't waste so much and it's all natural and partially organic. Am I assuaging my guilt? You bet!
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#13 of 36 Old 07-30-2002, 04:54 PM
 
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Hello,
I am very new to using message boards so please excuse any goof ups that I may do. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever noticed that sometime(s) in your life when you ate a bunch of sweets that you craved more? Or on an opposite thought what about when you eat really healthy, you crave a good salad or raw foods. Sometimes when we crave sweets, we are out of balance. Having a balance of minerals, vitamins and eating good foods helps keep us in this balance.
Since your girl is 8 years old you actually have an option that may be on your side. She may be able to swallow a capsule. There are suppliments that have been around for years that are in a 2 part system. One is loaded with Vegetables and are usually in capsule form, the other is loaded with Fruits.
I am very lucky as my girls, now three years old eat exceptionally well. I believe this is due to several reasons. First I have nursed them for 3 years and there are articles to say that when a child tastes lots of Garlic or whatever foods you are eating in your Beastmilk on a constant basis then they dont finch to tasting different foods. I have also Always varried their foods and given them foods that we are eating and tried not to make them seperate meals. Or have had them eat what we were at resturants as very young toddlers. We would make a smorgasborg from our plates rather then order the norm on childrens menues--fried this or that.
My girls Love taking Vit C and so you may start with chewables so she begins to like and think its fun to take vitamins if she does not already. Then you can go to your health food store and ask them for fruit and vegie capsules. Most health food stores do carry a variety of a few and should know what you are talking about. You may email me as well I do know of a brand you can order that is of good quality and made properly so that it really is full of good nuritents. And this I believe to help as she really needs these nutrients for proper growth but also by intaking these foods in a capsule she surprise you and may crave more of the same on her time.
Just so you know I do not have any degrees (yet) in this area but I do have lots of experience for my own prior health problems and that of others. And love to read o these subjects. Knowledge truly is the key. Hope this helps you and like I mentioned feel free to contact me. If I do not reply right away it is because I will be out of town till Tuesday.
Cheryl
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#14 of 36 Old 07-31-2002, 02:08 AM
 
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Oh no! What's wrong with a spoonful of peanut butter? Except that it isn't exactly polite, it is a pretty healthy, fast snack! When I'm so hungry I'm shaking and I can't even get dinner started, I get myself a heaping soup spoon of peanut butter. In a few minutes I feel 100% better. Gotta wash it down with milk, though : .

And if you get the Laura Scudders or Adams brand it's even better. No shortening.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#15 of 36 Old 07-31-2002, 03:42 PM
 
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I have a 10 yo,7yo, and 2yo and have noticed that picky eating comes in waves. My eldest went through a phase where all she would eat was tuna salad, now she won't even touch it!
With little children, presentation can help-cutting foods into small pieces or shapes. My kids also like to "dip" their food. Making a healthy dip for veggies or fruit makes eating fun.
The rule at mealtime is to try what is made. Concessions are made for little ones, but those old enough to slap a sandwich together have to make their own food if they don't like what is served.
I also talk with my children about the nutrition we need for our bodies and the good energy we get from our food in the hopes they will make good choices. They do understand between good and bad food choices at an early age.
Good luck!
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#16 of 36 Old 07-31-2002, 04:28 PM
 
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Probably wouldn't work with an 8 year old but that last post reminded me of something I have done with our kids since the first one was 2 or 3. When she makes a comment about growing big or being able to do something new (hop on one foot, ride a bike, whatever) I usually reply that she must be eating a lot of healthy food to be able to do that. She actually has a lot of pride in eating healthy food. Don't get me wrong - she loves junk food as much as the next kid but she does pretty well all in all.
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#17 of 36 Old 08-01-2002, 01:06 PM
 
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I'm sure this is a very frustrating situation. My husband is also a picky eater, and I'm hoping he won't negatively influence our daughter. He went through a stage as a child where he only ate honey butter sandwiches and drank orange juice without "flakes." He's not nearly as picky as he used to be, and will even eat broccoli now. I think having your daughter take a multivitamin is a great idea. Also I wouldn't really worry about how much protein she's getting. Chances are she's getting all she needs. Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, corn, and whole wheat flour contain all 8 of the essential amino acids. (I'm getting this info from the book "Proof Positive" by Dr. Neil Nedley Pg. 150-51) During the depression people survived on white potatoes and whole wheat bread. Anyway, too much protein in the diet can lead to osteoporosis. I would definitely limit the amount of junk food your daughter eats. You could also try to have other nut butters in the house, like almond butter, which is a good source of calcium. Cashew butter is another good one, and it offers other health benefits. Most likely your daughter will grow out of this. Give her good examples of healthy eating, and she'll probably follow them. Good luck!!!
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#18 of 36 Old 08-01-2002, 10:49 PM
 
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I am new here but do have some suggestions on foods. Have you tried edemame? My ds just loves to suck open those peapods and eat the bean inside. These are a high source of protein as are the veggie burgers and dogs. I have searched and searched for (what I think are ) good tasting ones and loves Smart Dogs and Gardern Burgers - Grilllers variety. Even my dh, the carnivore admits these taste good! As for peanut butter, I'm sure you know that natural is best and can easily be bought in a regular grocery store. (Teddy's or like brand). Continued good luck.

Kim , mom to Amanda (16):, William (13), and Annie (5)
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#19 of 36 Old 08-04-2002, 11:11 AM
 
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I just want to reiterated journeymom's suggestion of the book, Bread and Jam for Frances, it was one of my childhood favorites.

Jania, I found a very healthy way to make french fries, and you can stick the fish sticks in with them, as they take the same amount of time.
Wash one potato for each person eating, plus one.
Slice in half, then each half in fourths (or fifths), about 1/2 inch thick,
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (non fat), or use olive oil (good fat).
Arrange on the baking sheet. Salt them, or use Old Bay. Spray them.
Bake in a 400*F oven for 20 minutes.
You can turn them 1/2 way if you want the browning on both sides, but you don't have to.

My kids love them. But one other thing, your babe is only a year. Don't expect a varied diet with a child this young. Four or five staples in her diet are enough. Scrambled eggs, yoghurt, applesauce, avacado, rice, peas...these were about all I gave my kids at that age.

I am so impressed with everyone's attitudes toward this issue. We have such problems with eating disorders in our culture, and I was one who succumbed to anorexia. Food is meant to nourish us, we should eat it and honor it, not gobble and covet it.

Irishmommy, it sounds like your ds has enough of a varied diet to me. Put THAT list up on the fridge, and tell her that is what is available. Set mealtimes and snack times every few hours, but stick to them, often my kids will not want anything but a glass of water. I am not so good about remembering snacks on hectic days, but they always remind me if they need something. Oh, and my ds1 is 8yo, about 4ft tall, and weighs 45lbs The other three follow suit...
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#20 of 36 Old 08-04-2002, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I only refound this post today after being offline for a week.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm going to check out Bread and Jam for Frances. My dh and I were talking about this today. We have been insisting on a no thank you bite, but in the last about month that has become a power struggle (do you know it is possible to hold a piece of chicken the size of a pea in your mouth unchewed for over half an hour????). We decided (before dinner) to totally ignore her eating and to give up the no thank you bites. We didn't tell her that, though, and I caught her sneaking a bit of each food onto her foster brother's chair. I guess she figured he would get the blame for the mess.: I think the sneakiness is another issue though, right now. Nothing passed her lips at dinner!

We are still in two minds as to what to do if she asks for food between dinner and bed. Any suggestions? All I am sure of is that if she does get anything it will be healthy. A few evenings lately she has been eating fresh grapefruit at night with my dh, but she puts sugar on it. I'm trying to remind myself that the fruit is getting into her, and ignore the sugar, but it's hard!

Sunmountain, does your 8 year old eat healthy? Thanks for the vote of confidence in her diet! Will it feel better when I stop banging my head on the wall????
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#21 of 36 Old 08-04-2002, 10:14 PM
 
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irishmommy if my kids say they really don't want dinner they may have fresh fruit and/or water before bed, otherwise there is the likelihood of very early waking with seriously rumbling tummy and hassling me for breakfast
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#22 of 36 Old 08-04-2002, 11:12 PM
 
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irishmommy,if you are worried about putting sugar on the grapefruit,try to use raw sugar.It is slightly better than white refined sugar,that is "bleached"with animal bones!!!
Will your DD eat muffins? I make them for my son and you can throw in lots of extra nutrition without them knowing(wheatgerm,flaxmeal/flaxseeds,protein powder)
Would she drink friut juice?I noticed in a health magazine the other day there is now a product called "greens for kids" that you mix in a glass and it turns purple(think frombeet juice) and it gives them the veggie intake that they would of need for that day.I can find out more about it if you like.
there is also a fruit and veggie bar i buy in the grocery store here that is all natural and it gives three adult size fruit and veggie servings for the day.I could send you a couple if you like.
i buy a all natural strawberry soy milk that my son likes and is good for protein,calcium etc and it tastes good too.I use plain soy milk when i am baking and the receipe calls for milk.
I thought it might be a good idea to get the greens product ,mix it and feeze it into popscicles.
I wish you luck,not an easy task to feed a picky child.
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#23 of 36 Old 08-04-2002, 11:36 PM
 
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I love strawberry soymilk!

Yes, Irishmommy, he eats pretty healthy. We are guilty of eating fast food on occasion, but I try to make them eat an apple or something with it.

Also, one thing we always offer is cereal, dry, with milk, with yoghurt...and actually, he loves toast right now. I just bought the $40 four-slice toaster at Target and put it at the kitchen table, he is welcome to make toast anytime. But I usually only buy whole-wheat bread
Vanilla yoghurt is a staple in my fridge, I am rarely without it. Even if all I have is plain, we add jam to it or honey or real maple syrup. I try to stick with natural sugars for the kids. Dh and I take white sugar in our coffee and Red Rose Tea, though
And my mother was of the opinion that if you throw a cream sauce on it, kids will eat anything They like creamed-tuna, -peas, -mixed veggies, -salmon, -chicken on toast. If there's no bread we go to rice. My mother never tolerated any pickiness, she would ignore any and all negative comments about the food she served. Today we had a friend of ds1's over, he had stayed the night. He kept making these comments about how he didn't like this or that about what I was serving. I ignored every comment, and he ate just like everyone else. Ds1 even talked him into putting some avacado on his sandwich! And Worcestershire sauce!

You can also slip gratted carrot into tuna fish salad, one of my kids' faves
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#24 of 36 Old 08-05-2002, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Auld Reekie, that greens product sounds great, purple being her favourite colour, she might actually taste it, especially as popsicles! She does like muffins, but I can only add different stuff to them when she is not around! The bars sound like they would be perfect too, can you let me know some more about them.

Sunmountain, dd does love vanilla yogurt. Actually, I am only "allowed" buy fruit bottom yogurt, and she will not eat it stirred, though she does eat the bottom when she gets there.

She just interrupted me looking for jam (I make my own). I discovered I only have 4 jars left and strawberry season is over (they were too pathetic this year anyway). I mentioned that she will have to eat store bought jam once the homemade is done, and she was NOT impressed, she doesn't like storebought. I'm doing something right!!!
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#25 of 36 Old 08-05-2002, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sunmountain, I forgot to add, Red Rose tea????? If I ever come to your house I will bring my own brand!!!
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#26 of 36 Old 08-05-2002, 01:06 PM
 
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Yeah, Earl Grey is what I prefer, but dh doesn't like it. Or Irish Breakfast.

Hey! At least it's not LIPTON
And you don't have to bring your own, dear, I have a plethora of herbal choices, too. Tea, that is for you , anyway
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#27 of 36 Old 08-05-2002, 01:33 PM
 
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So, what about having your picky eaters help with preparation? If it's fun to make and incorporates a few of the favored foods, maybe your kids would eat it.

This spring my three year old got the biggest kick out of helping me find and wash dandelion greens. She ate a ton--drenched in ranch dressing of course!

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#28 of 36 Old 08-05-2002, 03:51 PM
 
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To get them to eat more fruits, try watermelon (encourge seed spitting outside - makes it more fun!). Frozen ice cube trays of pureed fruits (pineapple, apple, mango, oranges, strawberries - whatever's in season).

Veggies.. that's a little harder. Sweeten up the veggies a bit if you can so that the taste is more appealing (I think when kids grow older their tastes change so you won't be discouraging a like for veggies later in life). I also like the soy-bean recommendation.

But the one sure way I've noticed is to have your child try something different is to put them with other children who eat differently (hopefully, the foods you want your child to try). Works every time

Good luck!!

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#29 of 36 Old 08-05-2002, 05:33 PM
 
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Hiding vegetables is key. Chop greens or carrots in a food processor so they are very small. You can then hide them in anything. We makes tortilla stacks with flour tortillas, refried beans and cheese and I just slip chopped spinach in with the beans. Finely chopped carrots can be hidden in spaghetti sauce or sloppy joes, just fry up with the other ingredients. Also, making muffins with carrots or zucchini or beets. ( not just shredded, but pureed so you can substitute some for the fats called for in the recipe) It's not that much veggie per serving, but if they like them, you can tell them what is in there and then their fear of "yucky vegetables" might diminish.
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#30 of 36 Old 08-06-2002, 04:55 AM
 
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I read about this somewhere, and we've sort of done it, although the daughter we've been doing with was a relatively healthy eater to begin with. We read a children's book about the human body and nutrition (I think the one we read was called "Me and My Body"), and then dd copied the food pyramid and put it on the refrigerator. Now she checks the food pyramid several times a day to see if she's eaten enough from certain groups. She will even forego a treat until she's had enough of something healthier. One of the brands of organic canned beans, I think it's Westbrae, has the vegetarian food pyramid on their can, but I think the regular one is simpler for a child. You could get even fancier and make it into a chart, with magnets or something similar to mark off how many servings she's had in each category. But I would advise getting her involved from the beginning, as in not giving it to her and saying "this is what we're doing."

Something that is also helpful for us is for our children to see food as close to it's natural state as possible. When we lived in the city that meant shopping at the Farmer's Market and joining a CSA. I let my girls select the veggies and fruit, and it's amazing what they eat when they pick it out. They even love kohlrabi and fennel! Now that we're out of the city we can grow our own as well, and that helps even more, although we still do the Farmer's Market and CSA.

And what about cooking herself? Does she have any interest in it? We like the Molly Katzen children's cookbooks, but there are a number of other ones. Maybe she could pick one out that appeals to her.
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