Super picky 6 year old: give in or keep forcing the issue? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there, I am (a single) mother of a generally fantastic 6-yr old boy whose one major problem is his attitude to food. He will generally never accept trying new foods, yet a week doesn't seem to go by without him rejecting a food that he was previously quite happy with. On the fruit and veg front, we are down to broccoli, carrots, mangos, apples, grapes and bananas. (All of these are met with some reluctance, though, and total rejection if mixed into another meal rather than given separately.)

 

This has a really bad impact on me (avid cook and eater). We hardly ever get to eat together, unless I conform to the same bland stuff that he likes. And of course it's not nearly as fun cooking for one (x2).

 

The other week, we sat down and wrote out a list of all the meals he does like. It's not a very long list (say 20 meals or so, many with common ingredients). But combined with the (separate) fruit and veg above, you can get a limited but relatively healthy diet out of it.

 

So here's the question: Do I just give in and go with this relatively healthy but very limited diet, or do I keep trying to force more challenging foods on him?

 

Obviously, the former would be much easier in many ways (we are talking serious battles). But at the same time I worry whether that would allow him to be picky forever. And of course, it's still dispiriting for me to have to cater for him separately, or eat his boring food too.

 

I should point out that he has an astounding ability to go hungry. Just today I did the "eat it or go hungry" thing for lunch and dinner (zucchini rice bake), and he just chose to exist on fruit all day, in expectation of oatmeal tomorrow morning (breakfast, of course, is never a problem!). Not without tears and screaming, though.

 

Really appreciate your perspectives on this, thanks so much!

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#2 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:16 PM
 
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I was a picky eater as a child. I now have severe food allergies/intolerances. I eat a wider variety of foods, however I am the one preparing them and can avoid those foods/ingredients that cause me problems. I'm not saying your child has food allergies or intolerances, but there is the possibilty. At six, I would just say I didn't like a food, and no details. I would recommend you put othet foods on the table and avoid the battles. When he is older, he may be better able to communicate what he doesn't like and *why* (texture, intensity, how it makes him feel, whatever).
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#3 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for your answer, pek64. So just to confirm, you think I should stick with my limited but relatively healthy list, right?

 

Tell me, were there no warning signs when you were small of your allergies/intolerances? I just would have thought there would be some kind of indication of that already if it were the case, but there's nothing so far. Though i know you're saying that's not necessarily the reason anyway.

 

All perspectives welcome!

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#4 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, pek64, see you say "avoid the battles" so I'm clear on what you're recommending! Thanks again.

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#5 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:40 PM
 
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My daughter is the same way, and she is 9. I would ask if he had feeding issues as a baby? My daughter has severe food rejection, and we have traced it back to the NICU and her issues with feeding, right from the start. We get feeding therapy from an SLP.

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#6 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:41 PM
 
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I wouldn't force it but I would keep offering new things as well. So for dinner I might cook three veggies including one that he will eat and put a very small serve of the two disliked ones on his plate as well as a larger serve of the one he did like. I wouldn't make him eat the other two but I would encourage him to taste or even just smell them. I'd also allow him to see me enjoying them.

As much as possible I'd honour the desire to not have things mixed together. So, if I were making a curry with vegetables in it then I would leave out a few pieces and steam them. A bit more work but not creating a whole separate meal.

I'd also thoroughly recommend the blog it's not about nutrition if you haven't read it already. There are some great ideas there.

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#7 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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To clarify, my daughter actually has a physical fear reaction to new foods. She tenses up, cries, and will actually run away and hide. She won't even try new treats. She reacts the same way to cheesecake as she would to brussel sprouts. 

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#8 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:47 PM
 
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I have been doing this going on 16 years :-).  I would make the meal he would eat and put approximately 1/4 cup of what you are having and he needs to try at least one bite.  When my 16 yo is eating with us we eat very differently than when the 4 of us are eating without him.  It is a pain surely but he too just won't eat if he "doesn't like it" - with him it is all about texture, smell, volume.  So as a 16 yo highly competetive athlete he is 5'11" and only 135 lbs 

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#9 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:53 PM
 
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When I was six, I had lots of colds, and fell down a lot, probably due to ear infections. I missed a lot of school, and vomited when I ate certain foods. Some we identified easily. Liver, for instance, and mustard. The dairy allergy was hidden at that time. Looking back, it's easy to see that the vomiting occurred when I ate foods prepared by relatives, or at restaurants. It was as I got older that dairy was identified. Soy and corn were identified in adulthood.

I just remember being told to eat the food when we were out, and not wanting to eat it. Maybe it's not the same in your case, but I hate to think of a child feeling ill and not knowing how to be heard about, as happened to me.
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#10 of 45 Old 10-09-2012, 07:56 PM
 
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Don't force it or make a big deal out of food all, it can be tempting to reward them or say "good job!" if they try something new... but then it makes it a big issue and often it is less about the food than a power struggle with a kid who is trying to assert their independence. 

My kiddo isn't that old, but even with food that she doesn't like I always put a serving of what we are eating on her plate. Even if she throws it on the floor every time. I won't say anything if she throws it down again, nor will I say anything if she eats it. Her tastes seem to change every day and occassionally she'll eat things she supposedly doesn't like or at least sample new things. Often they end up on the floor but I don't really care. 

 

For the meals that your son does like, could you make some ahead of time and just freeze individual portions? Then you can just microwave a small bit of his dinner while you make and eat whatever you like. Or, like I said, just offer some of what you're eating each night (maybe in addition to "his" dinner or broccoli or one thing he'll definitely eat) and ignore what he says he doesn't like and don't react either way. 

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#11 of 45 Old 10-10-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post

I wouldn't force it but I would keep offering new things as well. So for dinner I might cook three veggies including one that he will eat and put a very small serve of the two disliked ones on his plate as well as a larger serve of the one he did like. I wouldn't make him eat the other two but I would encourage him to taste or even just smell them. I'd also allow him to see me enjoying them.
As much as possible I'd honour the desire to not have things mixed together. So, if I were making a curry with vegetables in it then I would leave out a few pieces and steam them. A bit more work but not creating a whole separate meal.
I'd also thoroughly recommend the blog it's not about nutrition if you haven't read it already. There are some great ideas there.

 

I agree with all of this, especially the bolded.  My son just turned 7yo.  We don't have a picky issue (he eats pretty much everything) but for the last year or so, he prefered his food seperate.  He would happily eat carrots, mushrooms and lettuce but never, ever together in a salad.  He is just now starting to go back to mixed food.  Last night I asked him for the X time if he would like his red sauce on top of pasta or on the side.  I nearly dropped the plate when he said "on top" because for the past year, it had to be on the side or he would burst into tears.

 

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Don't force it or make a big deal out of food all, it can be tempting to reward them or say "good job!" if they try something new... but then it makes it a big issue and often it is less about the food than a power struggle with a kid who is trying to assert their independence. 

My kiddo isn't that old, but even with food that she doesn't like I always put a serving of what we are eating on her plate. Even if she throws it on the floor every time. I won't say anything if she throws it down again, nor will I say anything if she eats it. Her tastes seem to change every day and occassionally she'll eat things she supposedly doesn't like or at least sample new things. Often they end up on the floor but I don't really care. 

 

 

This is great advice. 

 

Under our roof, we never made a big deal out of praising when he tried something new and we never scolded him for not eating or wanting to try something new.  An appropriate amount (like a bite) of a "disliked" item always went on his plate and it might have taken 50 times but then one day, bam!, he started eating squash. 

 

I say the bold is great advice becuase I was shocked to see how my son acted when around his grandparents (my mother and her husband)  They encouraged him to eat so much, I could almost see his little wheels turning even as a toddler.  His reaction to their encouragement was to use it as his own little control issue.  The more they wanted him to have another bite or try whatever, the more power he seemed to be gathering for himself when he refused.  I read somewhere that food is one of the few things kids can control, which is why food is so often an issue with kids.

 

ETA - coming back to add, I was forced to sit at the table with a mountain of food in front of me and eat until it was gone.  I can remember throwing up after getting up from the table.  I come from a family with MAJOR food issues so I know it can be very hard to let go and not make a big deal out of food power struggles.


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#12 of 45 Old 10-10-2012, 03:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by martin18 View Post

So here's the question: Do I just give in and go with this relatively healthy but very limited diet, or do I keep trying to force more challenging foods on him?

 

Obviously, the former would be much easier in many ways (we are talking serious battles). But at the same time I worry whether that would allow him to be picky forever. And of course, it's still dispiriting for me to have to cater for him separately, or eat his boring food too.

 

I would go with the limited diet most days instead of forcing food on him.

Maybe you could make something more to your tastes once a week and encourage him to try a few bites.

 

My dd does not like to try new things much. That is just the way she is. She is extremely resistant. Some days we have food she likes and some days we don't. We offer new foods. We encourage her to try them but I'm not going to force her to eat something.  On days we have something she doesn't like she can eat a sandwich, cereal or leftovers. Meal times aren't supposed to be about fighting and tears, IMO.


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#13 of 45 Old 10-11-2012, 07:39 PM
 
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ITA with what was said here.

 

I'm a very picky eater, and still don't eat vegetables. I can't really stand the smell, and definitely not the taste or texture. I do sometimes wonder how much of it had to do with stubbornness and needing to be independent, and how much of it is really related to possible allergies or other sensitivities.

 

If nobody cared one way or another, when I got older I might have considered tasting some to see if my tastes or reactions had changed. By now, it's such an issue and so ingrained, that psychological or not, it would make me vomit to eat most vegetables. I would just make it available and not an issue, and let him come to it in his own time.

 

Forcing it MIGHT make him eat it, but it also opens the possibility to closing the door to those foods forever.

 

And FWIW, my kids eat WAY more variety than I do.


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#14 of 45 Old 10-11-2012, 08:15 PM
 
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I'm going to recommend the book French Kids Eat Everything. I've been working on reading it and their cultural view is that if someone doesn't like a food, they haven't tried it enough times.


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#15 of 45 Old 10-12-2012, 06:01 AM
 
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I'm going to recommend the book French Kids Eat Everything. I've been working on reading it and their cultural view is that if someone doesn't like a food, they haven't tried it enough times.

 

I dunno... I've tried liver plenty of times over the years - and I STILL don't like it.

 

What I did with both of mine was to try to combine my tastes and theirs. For example, if I was making Beef Stroganoff, I would cook the meat all together, then set aside a portion of it for the kids to eat plain over pasta, before adding mushrooms and sour cream to my portion. Or if we were having Spaghetti Bolognese, I'd set aside some plain sauce for my daughter before adding meat to it for my son and I. Chicken could be grilled plain, with seasonings one of us liked or BBQ sauce another liked. A taste was always encouraged, but never forced.

 

Both of mine would eat very differently at my home (or at Grandma's) than at their Dad's or at friends' homes. At their Dad's, the rule was that they ate what there was, period. Their Dad's home has/had very different rules than mine; they dealt with them, or they didn't eat. At friends'... I had taught them that it was okay to not like something. It was not okay to say YUCK or similar. They tended to suck it up and eat what was served (and I do attribute that to their Dad's rules, which is a positive outcome). Some things they liked, some they didn't. My son still doesn't favor veggies and won't eat them when he's home. But if he's a guest in someone's home? He will take a small serving and eat it.

 

A funny.... This past summer, a few weeks before my daughter went off to college, we were out and about and stopped at several farm stands. Among other things, I picked up some peaches for myself and my Dad. She saw me eating one, and asked for a taste. Her comment? "I never knew peaches were this good!" Somehow, she had gotten to the age of 18 w/o having ever tried a peach. She told me that, coming up, she always thought of peaches as weird and fuzzy, so never fancied trying one. That was always a No Thank You food. Anyway, one way or another? She learned that tastes and attitudes towards different foods can change.

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#16 of 45 Old 10-12-2012, 11:42 AM
 
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I was a very picky eater until I was a teen. Now i eat everything. Luckily my mom was also very picky growing up so she understood. Please don't "force" your child to eat food he doesn't want/like that does not result in a healthy relationship with food. It's just....for a picky eater eating something you don't like is very unpleasant, it can really cause anxiety for the kid if you make too big a deal out of it. Oh, and also keep in mind that some people (especially kids) can tasty food more strongly than others, he is probably tasting unpleasant flavors in the food that you can't pick up on. I know that was the case for me as a child, and the same thing came back when I was pregnant. If he has issues with the textures of food maybe he has an extra strong gag reflex, too. You can make sure he always has access to healthy food that he likes, and then offer (but don't push) a bite of whatever you are having. He may or may not grow up to be a picky eater, but he can still eat good healthy food either way. Also keep in mind It's normal for kids to like something one day and not like it the next, they just do that. Maybe there is something a little bit different or "off" about the food so he doesn't like it one time, even if he did in the past. I think Mtiger had good advice about how to handle meal times. 

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#17 of 45 Old 10-12-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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I have completely changed my point of view on this issue just recently with my 11 year old.  PLEASE read the GAPS book- Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  I did not force my child either as I hated when my mom did it to me as a child- sitting at the table for hours at length and trying to sneak it to the dog, etc...  So with my picky daughter I would serve dinner as a family but always offered the option for her to make her own substitutions if what the family was eating was not what she wanted to eat.  I knew for sure I was not going to cook multiple meals, but left the option open for her to prepare and eat until she was full.  Nearly ever night she'd end up in the kitchen making quinoa pasta, get a bowl of yogurt with some honey and some fruit.  In my mind, it was 'healthy enough.'  UNTIL I read the GAPS book.  Turns out her gut is totally out of whack!  She also battles eczema and allergy induced asthma.  Taking her off all grains had HORRIBLE withdrawal effects but after a few weeks, just like the book said, her appetite would return and her tastes would change.  Sure enough, she now eats nearly everything we eat for dinner.   This week was seared ahi, apricot glazed turkey, curry goat stew (yes, goat!) and each meal served with cultured veggies & homemade plain yogurt- both of which she does not 'like' but will eat.  Once I realized the pickiness was due to a totally out of balance inner eco system I really wished I would've addressed it at a much younger age.  We are on month 3 of GAPS now and it feels so good to finally see her eating a wide variety of flavors, foods and textures.  but much more importantly, it feels so good to know the cause of the pickiness is finally being addressed!  The pickiness is a symptom not the issue.

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#18 of 45 Old 10-13-2012, 09:14 AM
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This is really interesting:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/science-picky-eaters.html


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#19 of 45 Old 10-13-2012, 02:48 PM
 
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Disclaimer: I have major expectations around food manners. I do not tolerate any adult or child criticizing the food that another person puts in front of them. I find it morally reprehensible - rude to cook for their time and effort, ungrateful to the universe for the amazing, historically almost unprecedented gift of consistently having enough to eat. Food is socially very important. An attitude of respect and appreciation towards food is a basic social skill that I expect every person beyond toddlerhood to have mastered. 

 

That said, I do not force anybody to eat anything, and my children eat a pretty limited diet. They have an unlimited supply of apples, bananas and oranges, and every meal we eat includes something that is universally acceptable (plain pasta, chicken nuggets, etc). If my kids eat their pasta, try their veggie without complaining, and then grab an apple on the way out of the kitchen and a piece of cheese later on in the night, I feel like we had a nutritionally and socially successful evening thumb.gif We are currently working on also trying the adult entree without complaining. 

 

Whatever else you do, OP, don't "eat his boring food too." You are modeling healthy eating and healthy food attitudes when you cook something yummy and sophisticated for yourself. He is watching, and learning. 

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#20 of 45 Old 10-14-2012, 12:04 AM
 
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I would suggest that you work on  the green vegetable front. It sounds like the only green he eats is broc. My son is a bit picky, but w/ some work and persistence on our part he eats romaine lettuce, broc, green-beans, green cabbage, long cabbage, & a few dif types of Chinese leafy greens.

 

We cook greens every night (or have lettuce) and everyone must have some. When the kids were very young (age 3-6) we would serve them a little bit - usually after they had some other dish they liked (we eat w/ the dif dishes in the center of the table and everyone serves himself or herself). If they wanted more of (say) the roast chicken, we'd say "You've already had some, now some veg".   Now that they are in their teens, I've posted a print-out of a chart from S'pore on the wall and refer them to it as  to how much veg and what type.  http://www.nutrition.com.sg/he/heteens.asp

 

Fruit? I wouldn't worry too much. Growing up in the 70s, what you listed was pretty much all that was available (apples, oranges, grapes, & bananas) although in summer there were berries. I had my first pomegranate and my first kiwi when I was about 12. I don't think I had a mango until I was in my early 20s.

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#21 of 45 Old 10-14-2012, 12:28 AM
 
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i have a six year old who was more adventurous when she was younger. she IS an avid fruit and vegetable eater. i guess we did well there. (i give credit to having a vegetable garden in the back yard.)

 

but hard pressed to get her to eat common, every day kid foods. pizza, cheeseburger.

 

i do make steaks and dole them out to the kids when i know they are hungry: chiefly, after school. if i can get them to eat a steak a couple times a week, i know i have the protein covered. i actually thought your "short list" was pretty good. there is NOTHING wrong with the fruits and vegetables he does like. i know many, many kids who won't eat any of that. 

 

have you tried cutting up the "new foods" fancy or somehow presenting them in very attractive (to a kid), small, bite size portions? or maybe put them on fancy china ware that he only gets to use when trying your "gourmet" foods? 

 

if it were me, i would limit your introduction of the "new foods" to one per week. (kinda like they say to do when you are first giving your baby solids.) and stick to the tried and true. maybe keep a chart and let him rank the "new food" on a scale of 1-10. that way, he has to try just one bite and give it a rating. can't all be 1s. over time, you will both see that he IS trying new foods and that he doesn't HATE them all. the ones that are 5s, maybe try them again in a month or two.

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#22 of 45 Old 10-14-2012, 07:58 AM
 
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My kid was just like yours, and I did what you're doing: I let him eat foods separately. I tried to introduce new fruits and vegetables as themselves. I often present food as an experiment: it's science! We're going to test out whether you like this one yet! Or sometimes I say, "You like this vegetable with lemon juice, let's try the same treatment on this vegetable." At some point we started fruit smoothies and that was a win--we have them once a week as a treat.

 

Even at his pickiest, he always eats some veggies, some fruit, some high-protein food (we're vegetarians) some grains. Like you, I do not have to worry about  appropriate nutrition. It is a pain in the butt that he won't eat hot soup or a sandwich (!) in his lunch, but I do see that in any day, he consumes a decent diet. I don't pressure him to eat more, even when we're at a meal with other parents who are pressuring their kids. I don't want a battle. I want nice manners and conversation at the table. 

 

Now that he's 9, he is gradually starting to eat more things mixed together than before. He first began mixing food on his own plate. I'm really relieved about this. I know some people whose parents made them try everything, and for some families that works very well. I also know people who forbade certain foods or allowed all foods. There are a lot of ways to approach this. I'm happy that we went with this one.


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#23 of 45 Old 10-15-2012, 02:15 PM
 
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my 4 yr old can be picky at times. not sure, but it might be a power struggle with us. what has worked for us is:

taking her shopping and asking her to pick out 2 or 3 produce items she would like to eat that week.

have her help in the kitchen. ask her what veggies she would like to eat with dinner. giving her more power over what's for dinner. let her stir and chop with supervision.

let her help herself. let her take the amount she thinks she's going to eat. we suggest she take a little and can have seconds if she wants (seconds rarely happen).

i also saw posted, making the food look fun. making faces with fruit and veggies works for us too.

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#24 of 45 Old 10-16-2012, 01:45 PM
 
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French Kids Eat Everything - thanks for the suggestion! I bought it and read it and I LOVE it. I thought the approach might be authoritarian, but it isn't. It's about how to instill the social and aesthetic norms of a healthy food culture without making food into a power issue. 

 

Of course, it probably helps a lot to LIVE in a healthy food culture, and I don't. But I can still try to copy the parts that work for me. I told the kids they were getting a full meal every day after school instead of snacking until dinner, and they were completely on board with that. In France, they'd be eating a nice lunch at 12:30. Where I am, they are eating a mediocre lunch at 10:10 a.m., so an afterschool snack won't cut it - they need an afterschool meal. But the principle still seems to work. And I didn't find any discarded baggies and apple cores under my furniture this morning ;-)

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#25 of 45 Old 10-16-2012, 02:00 PM
 
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I avoid food battles. I make a meal, and if a child doesn't want it, the child has a very few things to choose from that are also healthy, but they must include some vegetable content, and they must not create more work or mess for me. The options are limited, but if one of my kids gets bored with those options, they are always welcome to have some of the meal I make. I don't make any comments about what they eat, except to ask if they think they'll eat what I'm cooking so I know how much to make. I have a husband here who is good at eating leftovers so I'm not too concerned about leftovers, but otherwise I'd just stick them in the freezer and heat them up and eat them when I was in a hurry.

Anyway, I'm firmly in the "back off" camp. I ate only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a few years in my youth. Really, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I was super picky. The more my mom fought over it, the more I felt I had to fight back and eat only that. When she gave up and backed off, I started to feel like I was willing to eat a bit of other stuff. But if she made a fuss over what I ate, I'd go back to PB&J. Kids love autonomy, and the only areas where they have complete control are food, potty, and sleep. At different ages, they choose different areas among those there to dig their heels in and control themselves, and after the age of 5 or so it seems to me that they make it food. I would not get into a fight there because they will win if they want to and fighting over something you can't win is futile.
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#26 of 45 Old 10-17-2012, 08:36 AM
 
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I, too, have a "picky" eater.  However, he has sensory issues that are the underlying problem, along with food allergies (anaphylactic to dairy, egg, peanuts, and tree nuts) and intolerances.  So, like the 2nd or 3rd poster, we have found help from a SLP who is trained through SOS Feeding Solutions and had tremendous success.  His palate is now broadening rather than shrinking.  A common misconception is that children will not starve themselves, but if they have underlying issues that are not addressed, they actually will starve themselves.  Food is not a priority for the body.  It is an instinct to eat for only the first 6 months of life, then it is a learned behavior and choice.  No longer an instinct.

 

Your son has foods that you can make a diet out of.  That is excellent!  You can continue broadening his food choices and cook things for yourself by creating a "learning plate".  This is an empty plate on the table.  He has to serve himself a little bit of everything, but if he is not ready to eat the food, he can put it on his learning plate.  If his visual system is too overwhelmed with the food and he can't serve himself the food, don't argue about it, just make a statement, "Your body isn't ready for this food.  I'll put some on your learning plate"  You can test the waters looking at his reactions; sometimes my son can help me (his hand on top of mine on the spoon) to serve the offensive food onto the learning plate.   Then, he and you can eat for 10 minutes, and then you can start talking about the food on the learning plate.  Start with basic senses: color, texture, hard, soft, rough, smooth, big smell, medium smell, small smell, shape, size, does it have a skin, is it the same inside as outside when you cut into it?, etc. If he interacts with it enough, you could ask if he wants to "snake taste" the food - stick his tongue out for a very short quick taste.  Let him decide how far he is willing to go on all of this.  You have to be engaged, playing with and learning about the food with him.  Get some fun "tools" for him to learn about food with: a masher, a cutter, a dicer, an ice cream or melon ball scoop, things that are different and fun.

 

You should always serve at least one food he needs to learn about at one meal of the day.  It is difficult to start with, but gets easier as time goes on.  The learning plate is so helpful and routine now that I can actually serve something new at every meal without my son getting freaked out and power struggling with, because he just says, "oh, yeah, that's just going on my learning plate."  Then we learn about it together, with me making connections, oh, this has rice and brocolli and cheese: all foods that I like, but they are cooked together (your rice casserole).  I wonder if I tasted the foods separately if I would like them as much as I normally do?  Separate them and learn about the differences and similarities to the foods as he is used to eating them.

 

If you email me, I can send you some articles we have received that have been helpful.  Anyways, there is a middle ground  - you should not force, but you can encourage learning.  

 

Heather

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#27 of 45 Old 10-17-2012, 08:56 AM
 
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When my daughter was a baby she was underweight. I guess that's when we started to make her eat. It was never severe, just a bite or two to finish her baby food and progressed to a bite or two of chicken breast vs chkn nuggets, ( things like that)

Idk how your Ds is but dd is very stubborn and likes very much to play the "spiteful" game- where she won't do anything u want her to. Yes we have tried reverse psychology but it didn't work most times and I like u were gettin tired of fixing two different meals. So we started making her "try" new foods, not eat a bunch of something she did t want and it has caused some break throughs in her dietary habits! She doesn't really cry that much anymore, she just knows to go ahead and take a bite if she wants down to play. Sometimes I even le her get by with a tiny nibble wink1.gif

It's not for every mom or kids personality but I know I didn't branch out to new foods until dd father made me and just look at all the years I wasted eating boring bland food. I want dd to expand her palat (as much as a 2yo can!) not only for nutrition which is important but also because new tastes and textures expand a persons horizon and if I can engrain the ability to try new foods at an early age the it is more likely to stick when she's an adult.
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#28 of 45 Old 10-17-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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ITA with Smithie about food appreciation 100%. I could have written that first paragraph. And feeling that way has shaped my attitude about feeding my kids from the beginning.

We don't and have never made the kids separate meals after toddlerhood. (maybe if we're having something really spicy) They get some say about breakfast and lunches, and they can choose their own snacks, but not usually dinner. I try to make meals with at least some elements that everyone likes. There are 5 people here and the majority of our food comes from CSAs, so it is just not possible to have a meal everyone is super enthusiastic about, all the time. I don't force the kids to eat, but they don't get to eat something else because they don't like it. Sometimes they are asking me for thirds, sometimes they have 3 spoonfuls and decide they're done. In the end, it all balances out. More often then not, they'll eat the full meal. There are no struggles and they are definitely not picky.

FWIW, we don't have any food sensitivities or sensory issues with food, though.

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

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#29 of 45 Old 10-17-2012, 03:55 PM
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I view food appreciation differently.  For me, it would be completely ungrateful to the universe to send a child of mine to bed hungry when I have a houseful of food available.  As long as I have food, and lots of it, my child will always be able to eat something, even if he/she didn't want what was offered in the first place.  

(Of course, I was a very picky child who was forced to eat what I didn't want to eat, and I'm still a very picky adult, so that colors my answer.  I can't expect my children to be less picky than I am.)  


"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#30 of 45 Old 10-17-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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I m now the grandmother of 5...However, as a new mom at 20 years old I was troubled by the same "picky eater" problems and ask my mom what to do...Her reply was..."offer the child 3 well planned meals a day...when meal time is over for other eaters, remove plate and let them go about their day.  No coaxing, no pleading, no punishment, no showing them how well you can eat it.  no discussion of food or eating at all....NOTHING!  Normal dinner talk, only. Pay no attention to anything they do or say regarding the food, other than to reply ONCE and ONCE ONLY per meal,  to anything say regarding what they do or do not like with, "If you don't want it, don't eat it."  Note use of the word "want" not "like", it makes a difference, everyone has some things they don't like and that is alright, when they are old enough to serve up their own plate they can skip over it.  For now, serve it and continue the above.  Don't even look at their plate.  Absolutely NO drama!   She went on to explain to me that there has never been a child starve to death or end up malnourished when offered food three times a day.  This is attention seeking behavior and by your responses they are getting exactly what they wanted...your full attention.  For what ever reason any attention you give to a spouse, siblings or just life in general, at meal time is considered by the child as a direct threat to their command of you and your time.  My mom was right.  Trust me...This WORKS!  On the 3rd day of his finicky picking at his plate and receiving NO attention as a result of it, he began to EAT.  Perhaps, not exactly the way I envisioned but, he was eating.  In a short time everything evened out and although he continued to leave the broccoli on his plate I did not address it.  It is also very important to Ignore this new found appetite as well (as far as they can discern) or next thing you know your dinnertime attention will be devoted entirely to how good they are eating and you are right back where you started...just the flip side of the coin.  She also said to not address any announcements of "I don't like broccoli" (or whatever) other than to repeat your new mealtime mantra of, "If you don't want it, don't eat it."

NOTE: When you serve dessert, put it in front of your non-eater as you would anyone else at table, do not deny them as they will perceive this as punishment and that is not your intention.  If that's all they eat...so be it!   It may help you to remember that even apple cobbler or a dish of ice cream is after all...nourishment....just make sure it is only a small portion and no seconds (not for anyone, in front of the child).   If, at any time you notice even a slight return of their previous finicky behavior, think back and you will most likely realize that YOU have returned to your previous pattern of allowing them to take your attention away from your plate to address some comment about theirs.

PERSONAL NOTE:  Some form of this same reaction to other types of undesirable behavior is also very effective.  Even if your solution is a simple "time out".   If YOU are consistent with convincing them that you are not fazed and hardly interested at all in their bad behavior, they will eventually figure out that whatever they were doing just does not work, that instead of commandeering more of your attention... they are getting NONE.  It helped me to rely on a simple kitchen timer, sitting close enough that he could see and hear it (but, not close enough for him to twist off a few minutes while I was busy ignoring him.  Also, let them know that if they disobey and break their time out by talking, whining or leaving where you sat them...you will re-set it to the original amount of minutes.  If they choose to cry...let them and continue to ignore.  If they pitch an entire fit, let them.  You MUST be consistent.  If they can't tell time, explain that when it buzzes, they are done, but if they take off before it buzzes they will have to start all over again, and when they make a break for it (and they will), FOLLOW THROUGH!  Even if it is not convenient for you and it usually isn't.  Also, should you ever catch yourself, in the grocery store or any other place, saying something along the lines of , "If you don't stop that, I will take you home and you will go to time out", FOLLOW THROUGH, no matter how inconvenient it is for you (and, this one is NEVER convenient).  It only took once with my son to make a believer out of him.  One last helpful hint from Grandma....NEVER OFFER A REWARD FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR...as in " if you are good, I'll get you a treat".  The ONLY reaction they should ever get for good behavior is a smile, a hug and all the love you have to give.

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