My kids wont eat ANYTHING!!!!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My kids will not eat anything!!!! I HAVE HAD IT!!!!!!! I know all the advise about just fix healthy meals and let them eat what they like but they don't like anything. Even normal food that most kids like they don't. They don't like any type of pasta, nothing that is mixed together, they never eat sidedishes like rice, beans or potatoes they will only eat a few vegi's, they will pick at a salad, they don't like sandwiches, pancakes...the list goes on and on and on. The only thing they will eat is meat, mostly chicken and some steak and pork if cooked the right way. I can't afford to cook meat for every meal and I'm sick of eating the same 3 meals all the time. I try making good meals that they should like but They will not eat it and I end up dumping loads of food in the trash. Has anyone come up with a way of getting their kids to eat.
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#2 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 01:10 AM
 
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wow your kids sound like my younger ds. he only really eats meat, sometimes pizza and rarely spagetti. meat meat and more meat and fries. i am sick of it too!

Me and my wonderful husband serve God. Blessed with twin girls 2/11/11. <3

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#3 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 02:08 AM
 
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Here's where I don't meet the GD standards on MDC.....

If I make something and my 6 yo doesn't like it, he can wait until the next meal. I don't make special food. I don't deliberately serve things he hates but I also don't offer alternatives or break my back to make every meal one he loves. We had salmon patties, rice and peas the other night and he nearly flipped out. Took him 45 minutes, but he realized that if he didn't eat, he'd be really hungry until breakfast the next day. I don't force him to eat, but I don't go overboard to only serve his favorites either.
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#4 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 05:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bdavis337 View Post
Here's where I don't meet the GD standards on MDC.....

If I make something and my 6 yo doesn't like it, he can wait until the next meal. I don't make special food. I don't deliberately serve things he hates but I also don't offer alternatives or break my back to make every meal one he loves. We had salmon patties, rice and peas the other night and he nearly flipped out. Took him 45 minutes, but he realized that if he didn't eat, he'd be really hungry until breakfast the next day. I don't force him to eat, but I don't go overboard to only serve his favorites either.
Yep, that's my approach, too, with my almost-3 year old. What is not GD about that?

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#5 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's where I don't meet the GD standards on MDC.....

If I make something and my 6 yo doesn't like it, he can wait until the next meal. I don't make special food. I don't deliberately serve things he hates but I also don't offer alternatives or break my back to make every meal one he loves. We had salmon patties, rice and peas the other night and he nearly flipped out. Took him 45 minutes, but he realized that if he didn't eat, he'd be really hungry until breakfast the next day. I don't force him to eat, but I don't go overboard to only serve his favorites either.
This is pretty much what I do, but the part that really bothers me is that they wont eat it, they don't care if they'll be hungry until morning and I end up throwing away soooooooo much food. It's such a waste I feel like not even feeding them. Sometimes as I dish up dinner I think whats the point I'll just be dumping it in the trash in about 10 minutes.
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#6 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 02:34 PM
 
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This is pretty much what I do, but the part that really bothers me is that they wont eat it, they don't care if they'll be hungry until morning and I end up throwing away soooooooo much food. It's such a waste I feel like not even feeding them. Sometimes as I dish up dinner I think whats the point I'll just be dumping it in the trash in about 10 minutes.
Why would you dump it in the trash.

To reduce waste I would I only offer small amounts at a time. Like, a bite or two. Offer more as they eat it. What they don't eat can go in the fridge for your lunch tomorrow, or get frozen and used up later as part of another meal or as a quick dinner one night.

Try to plan "carry over meals", so that if you end up with a bunch of left overs you can re-create a new meal that is almost entirely different the next night. For example, tonight we're having grilled chicken and roasted veggies. I KNOW we're going to have left overs, so tomorrow I'm going to throw it all in the crock pot with some stewed tomatoes and pasta, and we'll have a sort of stew/soup/pasta dish tomorrow night. Throw in some garlic bread and dinner is practically done.

I would also get them involved in the shopping and cooking. Ask them what they would like, get them to right out a shopping list, let them help you pick out the veggies. SHOW them how to pick out veggies, teach them about food. "You can tell it's a good potato when...". Find jobs for them that include them in kitchen. I'm not sure how old they are, but using a safely peeler they could peel carrots or something.

Try themed meals - like a "mini" night. Mini carrots, mini meatloaves, etc. And you'd be amazed at how well you can hide a ton of veggies in a meatloaf. My daughter is on a meat kick right now, and I made turkey meatloaf the other night and it had carrots, spinach, zucchini, and red bell peppers in it. She scarfed it down.

Have a "restaraunt" night where everyone can take turns wearing an apron and serving the table. Be silly.. "would you like some pepper, mossier?" (Like the McCormick commercial ).

My sister was THE pickiest kid I've ever known, and this is what we did. Now though, she'll eat anything. ANYTHING! :

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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#7 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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As a pp said, why in the world do you throw things out?

We serve family style. You have to ask for something to be put on your plate. If they don't eat much put a miniscule portion on the plate and then when they have finished that they can take more.

Anything not eaten can then simply be put in the fridge and put out another night.

So here's a typical meal:

Salmon
Rice
Salad
Bread
Fruit.

The next night for dinner you could make

Pasta
Cheese
Sause
Leftover salmon
Any left over bread and fruit

Believe me, all children will eat if they get hungry ennough. There is never a need for waste.
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#8 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 03:04 PM
 
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I do the "fridge until next meal" take on it. I don't cater, but I'm not going to be cruel, either. If it's not eaten by next meal, then it's dumped. I also have a one bite rule. It's not as demanding as it sounds. We talk about foods we used to dislike and how many times it takes to try a new food to decide if you like it or not. I think I'm on the 77,999 time of trying peas, myself. Nope, still don't like it.

Kids cookbooks are great, too. They have a few Star Wars ones and Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes (and Even More Revolting Recipes) and DK makes some great theme cookbooks. Once a month at least we try to do a special meal and have now started to try to plan a movie with it so we have a whole family fun night going on.
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#9 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 03:09 PM
 
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I save whatever they don't eat, and serve it again to myself or my husband.

Involving my oldest in the cooking process hasn't improved his picky eating habits one bit. He loves to mix, measure and pour, but he'll still turn up his nose at whatever looks, smells or feels different. So I find our best option to intro new foods or even just serve stuff he doesn't like is to keep it small. When I serve rice (which he HATES) I try to pair it with things he DOES like. So we might have chicken parmesan (his absolute favorite dish of all time), rice and carrots. He gets raw carrots, the rest of us eat the steamed carrots and we all get rice and chicken. A little bit of "give" makes my job easier in the kitchen, but we all end up eating the same meal so I'm not playing short order cook.
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#10 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cmlp View Post
Yep, that's my approach, too, with my almost-3 year old. What is not GD about that?
In discussions waaaaay back when I've had in various parenting forums on mdc, a lot of mamas really took offense that I don't allow my children complete freedom of choice for family meals, or meals that I prepare when they either refuse to make a choice or aren't around during the preparation. I've been told it's not GD to "impose my feeding will" on my kids. :
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#11 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 03:22 PM
 
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My daughter eats a lot of different kinds of foods, so I can't be of much help because I've never dealt with this problem. We have had her refuse to eat something we've prepared, and even food we know she likes. I put it in the fridge and tell her we can re-heat it if she gets hungry. If she doesn't eat it my husband generally will. There are a few healthy foods within her reach she can get when she wants, but not much variety - mainly just fruit. And if she gets hungry, I can get the food back out of the fridge and re-heat it. I don't make her taste things she doesn't like, though she will usually try something the first time she sees it - she even tried asparagus. But I don't think I'd force it. I really just try to not make food an issue at all. Also, my daughter eats a ton of food every day for a few days, and then almost nothing for a few days after that sometimes. Sometimes when she doesn't eat it's just a day where she isn't eating much, and she seems to have her system and it's working really well health and weight-wise, so I just work with it.

I think in your case what I would personally do is have a small number of healthy foods available within reach, and then cook what you want, and let them eat what is cooked or choose from the few available healthy foods they can get and (if necessary) prepare and clean up after themselves, but I wouldn't put any effort into making something else myself. I cook one thing and if it isn't eaten, people can get something else themselves. Eventually they'll get bored of the few available healthy foods and eat something else. But they won't starve if there's food available so I wouldn't sweat it too much. And I certainly wouldn't limit everyone else to "chicken cooked just the way they like it" all the time because that's all they'll eat. My mom did this with me - I was a terribly picky eater - and I lived on peanut butter sandwiches and apples for a couple of years. I am no longer a picky eater and no one forced me to eat things I didn't like. My parents were overly punitive and not great in some ways but this is one place where I think they did great - they said that kids have stronger taste buds but I might want to keep trying things every so often because as I get older there will be things that didn't taste good that start to taste good. And without being forced or pushed, I every so often tried things again, and I eat a very wide variety of foods now. But my mom never made two meals. I knew where the bread and peanut butter were and if I didn't like what she made, I could make a sandwich, so long as I cleaned up after myself.

I'm definitely on the "more relaxed" end of things, but you've got a good spectrum of responses in this thread, so hopefully you'll find some ideas that work for you. Good luck!
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#12 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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I know all the advise about just fix healthy meals and let them eat what they like but they don't like anything.
But you're forgetting the other half of that theory: it's not your responsibility to make them eat.

By making only the foods they like (and thus getting sick of them yourself), you are making it your responsibility.

So, cook meals the family, in general, likes. Don't be cruel, of course, but don't go out of your way to try to please them. Put a tiny bit of each food on their plate. Don't comment about what they eat, what they don't eat, or anything. In other words, don't say a word. You can do a "one bite" rule if you wish. Otherwise, if they don't eat, then so what? They won't wither away to nothing by skipping one meal. And unless they have a certain few medical conditions, they will eat. Normal kids will eat.

I think by doing this, and following the other advice about taking them shopping and having them help in the preparation and service of the food, you're teaching them a healthy respect towards you, for all the hardwork you do, and for where their food comes from.

And by all means, definitely do not throw that food out! But I guarantee that if you serve only tiny bits, like literally one bite of each dish, there won't be much to waste if kids mangle it.

Mama to Boy (2) and Girl (5)
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#13 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I've been told it's not GD to "impose my feeding will" on my kids. :
So then we end up teaching our children that mom's time is invaluable, and that her purpose in life is to be a servant and short order cook, preparing 3 separate dishes at each meal. It's not ecinomical or practical to shop for and cook 3 sepperate dishes at every meal. That's ridiculous.

Add me to the "prepare one meal and let them eat when they're hungry" camp.

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I think by doing this, and following the other advice about taking them shopping and having them help in the preparation and service of the food, you're teaching them a healthy respect towards you, for all the hardwork you do, and for where their food comes from.
Exactly.

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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#14 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the ideas. The reason I throw out the food is because even if they don't like the food they destroy the meal and no one wants to eat what's left. They pick it apart, chew it up an spit it out onto the plate, mix it together, spill things on it. Dinner is a nightmare.

This is my new game plan. I will fix the food DH and I enjoy (nothing to weird). I will give the dc choices for what they would like to put on their plate and then only give them a very small amount to try. If they don't eat it fine they can eat again at the next meal or snack time.

Ok next question....Here is an example. They like chicken drumsticks, so say I'm serving drumsticks, mashed potatoes and salad. The only thing they want to eat is the drumsticks and they could eat 4 or 5 of them each. I can't afford to buy enough chicken for them each to eat that many. So is it reasonable to say I have planned 2 drumsticks each and if you are still hungry then I guess you need to eat some salad or potatoes.
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#15 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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Ok next question....Here is an example. They like chicken drumsticks, so say I'm serving drumsticks, mashed potatoes and salad. The only thing they want to eat is the drumsticks and they could eat 4 or 5 of them each. I can't afford to buy enough chicken for them each to eat that many. So is it reasonable to say I have planned 2 drumsticks each and if you are still hungry then I guess you need to eat some salad or potatoes.
Yes yes yes! Very reasonable.
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#16 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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So is it reasonable to say I have planned 2 drumsticks each and if you are still hungry then I guess you need to eat some salad or potatoes.
Yep. I can't afford to buy my kid rib eyes every night, even though I KNOW she'd eat those. I usually offer her the least favorable items first, then give her the stuff she loves last. I find she eats the vegetables out of HUNGER, and then eats the meat because it tastes good. I find what she eats is much more balanced this way, otherwise she'd fill up on steak and then pick at the veggies.

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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#17 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 07:37 PM
 
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QUITE reasonable. My son would eat nothing but noodles and cheese if that's all I put on his plate, but he gets a finite serving of the just about evertything, (cooking for 4 leaves little leftover most of the time) with small amounts waiting for "seconds" if he's made it through most of everything ELSE (and I always start with small servings, smaller even than I anticipate him to eat),
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#18 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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I would start preparing much, much less food, just in general, and getting them involved in shopping and prep. They are old enough, esp your older ones. They can wash lettuce, slice veggies etc. I would put a small amount of food on each of their plates. For instance, 3 tears of lettuce, a cherry tomato or two cut in half, a cucumber slice cut in quarters, two strawberries, 4 grapes, a half of a potato, or even a quarter of a potato, 3 or 5 or 8 bites of chicken or whatever meat you have, depending on their age. There is *no way* I would be planning two drumsticks per kid when they don't eat. One is fine, and there is other food to sample. They can eat as much of the sides as they want.

It's not just your job anymore-- they need to participate in all aspects. Maybe they could even grow things in pots if you don't have a yard.

Stop making so much food, It only frustrates them and upsets you. Not to mention, you're wasting money. I know you didn't plan for it to be like this, but now it's got to reigned in.
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#19 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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It's not just your job anymore-- they need to participate in all aspects. Maybe they could even grow things in pots if you don't have a yard.
Oh that's a good idea! Lettuce is painfully easy to grow (even I can do it!). As are cherry tomatos. You can get started plants instead of starting from seeds. They may like the idea of growing their own food, and then taking pride in eating what they've grown.

And I second the idea that even two drumsticks is way much. For small children that doesn't leave a lot of room for other things, even they did want them.

What about doing a craft project about food pyramids (make what ever pyramid represents your family's diet). They may understand the idea that they should eat meat AND vegetables AND grains, etc more if they can actually see it. Then at meal time revert back to the craft project (that is hanging on the fridge?) while you doll out ALL the food groups.. not just drumsticks.

I'm not much into the bribing thing, and since we were poor we were FORCED to sit at the table until we ate the hard earned food (and as a result I'm obese because I can't walk away from food on my plate), but in the case I think it might work to encourage eating a variety of foods before allowing them to choose what they want. For example, offer small portions of everything, and give them the opportunity to have a second helping of whatever they want IF they finish the first helping.

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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#20 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 08:16 PM
 
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best advice I once got.

You can't make a kid eat, sleep or poop.

PPs have excellent advice. And I think doling out small bits of food that can be eaten as leftovers is a great idea to save money. Big lesson to them is that you don't waste food. If they don't like it, fine, but food is not wasted. Someone else can eat it if they don't.

Good luck!

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#21 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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So then we end up teaching our children that mom's time is invaluable, and that her purpose in life is to be a servant and short order cook, preparing 3 separate dishes at each meal. It's not ecinomical or practical to shop for and cook 3 sepperate dishes at every meal. That's ridiculous.

Add me to the "prepare one meal and let them eat when they're hungry" camp.

Absolutely. After all I "impose my feeding will" on my husband He's not always thrilled with what I make (same for me when he cooks), but he doesn't turn up his nose at it and fix a sandwich instead. That wouldn't be polite and devalues the work of the person doing the food prep and cooking.

I only have a baby so no food issues yet, but growing up I was never forced to eat anything. However, a special "kid's meal" was out of the question. I had many a dinner of plain rice or bread because I didn't like anything else being served. Gradually I tried more stuff, and now as an adult I'm a pretty adventurous eater. I don't think that would be the case if my mom had made meals with only my favorites.
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#22 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 11:45 PM
 
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Please consider that your children may have sensory processing issues (http://www.sensory-processing-disord...checklist.html) For some kids, the smell, texture, or taste of certain (most?) foods is more than they can bear. My son has a short list of foods he can eat without gagging, but somehow he stays alive and pretty darn healthy. I am so relieved to have stopped fighting the mealtime war.

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#23 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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Please consider that your children may have sensory processing issues (http://www.sensory-processing-disord...checklist.html) For some kids, the smell, texture, or taste of certain (most?) foods is more than they can bear. My son has a short list of foods he can eat without gagging, but somehow he stays alive and pretty darn healthy. I am so relieved to have stopped fighting the mealtime war.
If a child has this problem, will they eat the food, spit it out, mash it up, throw it around, play with it, squish it, etc? Or is it just an avoidence?

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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#24 of 35 Old 07-09-2007, 12:03 AM
 
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You've gotten some great advice.

What has worked for us is:
  • Family-style meals with at least one thing that I know they will eat (fruit or even something like applesauce is easy)
  • A one-bite rule once they are old enough to deal with it, but only for one item. If we are having several things that they don't like or don't know, then they can just choose one thing to taste
  • Having them help to prepare - this is a biggie! My kids are much more likely to eat something if they've seen what is in it. The big exception to this is for meals where I am sneaking food into them (green smoothies, veggies snuck into homemade chicken nuggets, etc)
  • Introducing new meals and then re-using them often enough that they have a chance to get used to the taste. My son hated all pasta, but after enough nights of wanting breadsticks and needing to taste a bite of spaghetti, he changed his mind and now eats the spaghetti and enjoys it. This has happened to a LOT of our meals. He just needed some time to adjust.

Tomorrow night will not be a night that my ds will be pleased with... we are having bean enchiladas, and he is not a fan of beans. He will probably have tortillas and fruit, and maybe pick at a bite or two of beans. That's OK though. We've had plenty of meals like this that developed into meals that he ate. It just takes a little while This one is new to our rotation.

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#25 of 35 Old 07-09-2007, 01:14 AM
 
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Ok next question....Here is an example. They like chicken drumsticks, so say I'm serving drumsticks, mashed potatoes and salad. The only thing they want to eat is the drumsticks and they could eat 4 or 5 of them each. I can't afford to buy enough chicken for them each to eat that many. So is it reasonable to say I have planned 2 drumsticks each and if you are still hungry then I guess you need to eat some salad or potatoes.

Yes! Two things help tremendously around here:

1. tv dinner style trays. Meat/breads go in the small sections, veggies in the big one. They don't have to eat everything, just one bite, but if they would like seconds they do need to eat everything on their plate.

2. education, education, education! I found one of those silly Food Movers by Richard Simmons at our thrift store years ago. I laughed at it, and then thought - what if this could be made bigger? We always talk about the food pyramid, but it's not very visual and easily forgotten, especially for kids. I made my own poster kid-friendly version of the food mover and put it on the fridge. Everytime the kids ate something from that food group, they got to cover the picture. This helped keep things in perspective. After we got into better eating habits we ditched the poster but came up with other ways to keep us on track. Cereal was/is a popular food in the house, but one bowl can vary from 8oz to 16oz, plus 2 cups of milk. Half wasted, of course. Ziploc makes 8oz bowls, so I premeasure a box at a time, letting the kids be able to grab a bowl, pop off the lid, and add milk. No more wasted food (and a little bit more sleep time for mommy ).
Same with snacks - premeasured, thrown in the bottom bin in the fridge. If they are still hungry at any time they're encouraged to pick a different food group to eat so they're not downing 2-3 bowls of cereal or 6 packs of cheese. It's more balanced and teaches them everything in moderation.
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#26 of 35 Old 07-09-2007, 01:43 AM
 
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Something else I wanted to add here - I recently sat down with my 6 year old and we wrote up a "table manners" list. We brainstormed all the things that we value when we sit down to the table, things important to both he and the adults, and we wrote them in a short list, I think 8 or 9 items. They include simple things like washing hands before eating, sitting quietly in the chair, trying 1 bite of everything before deciding if you like it, and being respectful about the food (not complaining if you don't like it). We review it whenever it seems that the family table/meal isn't goind smoothly, and it's posted up in the kitchen where we can all easily see and read it from the table while we're eating.

Recently, I was unhappy with the way a meal had turned out, and grumbled about it all through dinner. I was quite roundly chastised by my son - "MUMMY! Stop complaining about your dinner and eat a bite, or you'll have to wait for breakfast!"
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#27 of 35 Old 07-09-2007, 12:42 PM
 
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I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, but you might want to read up on Sensory Processing Disorder.

My son has it and would seriously starve himself before he would eat most foods. People always say, "If they get hungry enough, they will eat" ... not true with SPD.

Anyway, a local occupational therapist recommended a book called Just Take A Bite, written by an OT specifically about resistant eaters. It's wonderful, and even has plans for involving your child and getting them to go through the sensory steps to accept and eventually taste a new food. It's done playfully, with no force or coersion.

I'm very excited, we are going to start the program just as soon as I can get the supplies I need and my gameplan in place. Currently my son lives off PediaSure and snacks and I hate it.

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#28 of 35 Old 07-09-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, but you might want to read up on Sensory Processing Disorder.

My son has it and would seriously starve himself before he would eat most foods. People always say, "If they get hungry enough, they will eat" ... not true with SPD.

Anyway, a local occupational therapist recommended a book called Just Take A Bite, written by an OT specifically about resistant eaters. It's wonderful, and even has plans for involving your child and getting them to go through the sensory steps to accept and eventually taste a new food. It's done playfully, with no force or coersion.

I'm very excited, we are going to start the program just as soon as I can get the supplies I need and my gameplan in place. Currently my son lives off PediaSure and snacks and I hate it.
Who is the author of that book? That sounds like it might work for my older ds (PDD) very picky eater.

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#29 of 35 Old 07-09-2007, 02:40 PM
 
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Here is the link to the book on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Just-Take-Bite...3998773&sr=8-1

I honestly can't say enough good things about it.

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#30 of 35 Old 07-10-2007, 08:51 AM
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One thing I have always done, serve bread at dinner. No it's not the single most nutritional thing, but most kids will eat a slice of bread and butter. If they have their two drum sticks and are still hungry but don't like what is left, let them have a slice of bread.

Also, let them choose what and how much to put on their own plates. They can serve themselves what they want and leave out what they don't. If there are only 8 drumsticks for four people, explain how many they each can have and let them pick the ones they want and place it on their own plate. If they don't want potatoes, they don't have to put any on their plate.

Food and feeding is all about control. Let them have as much control as they reasonable can. This is what is for dinner, you can control whether or not you eat and what you eat at the table.
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