help with almost 4 year old and eating! advice pls... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know that it's not good to battle over food. I understand that it probably causes more issues to fight over it... but I'm at the end of my rope with my almost 4 year old.

He has been more defiant, angry, sad, than ever lately and it seems directly linked to when he doesn't have enough protein. He only wants 'sweet' stuff. (is this normal?)

My biggest issue is breakfast. He will no longer eat eggs. they gross him out. He is super picky. I've tried all sorts of presentations-- 'shape eggs' , whole eggs, etc. I've had him help me make them, collect them from our chickens, etc.

So...he is gluten free-- I make banana almond flour pancakes (so good!)-- then he decides he doesn't like them after I've made them. I'll make him gluten free oats packed with other nutritious things... he'll pick out the fruit, or some days like it and other days not. I'll make muffins and the same thing happens.

His 16 month old brother eats twice as much as him!

I don't give him any sugar except in fruit-- and I don't want him having fruit right away in the morning because he doesn't do well with it.

I do want to relax about it. I know he'll eat when he's hungry, but I don't want to deal with the crazy meltdowns when he doesn't eat. I try to explain it to him and he is starting to get it... he's started saying "I'm grumpy when I don't have my muscle food'. I point out when he feels so good after eating protein. (The change is remarkable).

It's more like a consequence for me when he refuses to eat and then melts down. He is a super intense, needy (and wonderful!) kid.

Ideas?

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#2 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 10:46 AM
 
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Get one of Ellyn Satter's books. I also had a post on MDC, and someone suggested one of her books.

 

The thing is, you are responsible for feeding your child, while his job is eating. Don't interfere with his job (if you insist on him eating eggs, this is what you are doing). Don't let him interfere in your job (don't be a short order cook). Just have regular meals and snacks and give him whatever you are having.

 

My 2.5 y/o eats almost as much as her 7 y/o brother. All kids are different.
 


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#3 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Translvanian Mom.. Ellyn Satter looks like a great source! I'm not forcing him to eat eggs... I would feel too badly. He's legitimately grossed out. I'm just not sure how to get protein in the boy, without becoming a 'short order cook' like you mentioned. I'm definitely going to check out Satter's books.

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#4 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 01:13 PM
 
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My older one went through a phase where she fought breakfast, and I started making her smoothies. She wouldn't eat breakfast at that time, but she'd drink it. You could try a liquid breakfast. Worked for her, anyway.
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#5 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 05:23 PM
 
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Peanut butter on a spoon? or with apples?

Leftovers from dinner or lunch?  There's no rule that breakfast has to be breakfast food.

 

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#6 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 07:52 PM
 
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I was going to suggest smoothies as well. Or you could try something like cheese and gluten free crackers or something completely savory. Don't forget about nuts (whole or butters).

 

I'd also suggest that you have a 'stand by' breakfast that he can get himself - maybe something like Greek yogurt that you'll add a tablespoon of honey to. That way if he turns up your nose at your breakfast,  you can say "OK, if you don't want what I made, you can have some yogurt." That might take some of the power struggle out of it. (4 year olds are kings/queens of power struggles). Having a few things that are easy to get for him might make you happier. (Your kids are lucky you cook breakfast for them. My kids think that pancakes are a dinner food. bag.gif)

 

Two other thoughts:

Does he get a good snack (with protein and some fat) in him before he goes to bed? My kids need this and it helps mornings.

 

The other thing is -- he might need a bit of sugar to wake up his stomach enough to digest other foods. I have a friend who's hypoglycemic and she must drink a little juice upon waking before she can digest her breakfast. I'm not hypoglycemic, but I'm not a happy morning person (neither is my dd). We both do better with a small glass of juice and then breakfast maybe 20 minutes later.

 

 

 

 


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#7 of 12 Old 04-18-2012, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of these suggestions. smoothies did work for a while for us too. I also like the idea of having something he can learn to get himself-- the back up plan. Just reading Ellyn Satter's website helped a lot too!

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#8 of 12 Old 04-22-2012, 04:40 PM
 
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I have a very picky eater, too. Here's what we did.

 

Use one small bowl. Put the fruit or veggies in it first and give it to him. Tell him, I can't give you anything else until that bowl's empty. Stick to your guns on this.

 

Once he eats the fruit or veggies, give him the "not so nutritionally crucial" parts of the meal: the rice, potatoes, cheese, etc.

 

When he sees that you won't just give him whatever he screams for, he will eat what's given to him in the bowl.

 

One thing to keep in mind: If he's "too full" to finish the fruit and veggie course, he's too full for the other parts (that he probably wants more).

It does not hurt a kid one bit to miss a meal or two. If he screams about having to eat grapes, put them away and don't give him anything else, not even a cracker. Let him work up his appetite for the next meal; then he'll eat his fruit in nothing flat.

 

Hope this helps.


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#9 of 12 Old 04-23-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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#10 of 12 Old 04-26-2012, 05:08 PM
 
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I don't know how helpful this will be, but I've always found that they generally get fussy about food around 4-ish. I meal plan, so I try to make room in the meal plan for the kids being picky and that seems to take some of the stress off, even if it doesn't actually end with them eating everything I put on their plates.


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#11 of 12 Old 05-01-2012, 05:00 PM
 
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What about yogurt or some veggie sausage? Is there protein that he will eat more willingly at lunch or dinner? Nothing wrong with chicken for breakfast if he will eat it.
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#12 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippie Mama in MI View Post

I have a very picky eater, too. Here's what we did.

 

Use one small bowl. Put the fruit or veggies in it first and give it to him. Tell him, I can't give you anything else until that bowl's empty. Stick to your guns on this.

 

Once he eats the fruit or veggies, give him the "not so nutritionally crucial" parts of the meal: the rice, potatoes, cheese, etc.

 

When he sees that you won't just give him whatever he screams for, he will eat what's given to him in the bowl.

 

One thing to keep in mind: If he's "too full" to finish the fruit and veggie course, he's too full for the other parts (that he probably wants more).

It does not hurt a kid one bit to miss a meal or two. If he screams about having to eat grapes, put them away and don't give him anything else, not even a cracker. Let him work up his appetite for the next meal; then he'll eat his fruit in nothing flat.

 

Hope this helps.

I've done this with my 6 year old too. I like Ellen Satter's method, and it works just fine for my 9 and 4 year old, but not the 6 yo. So often I will give him a little bit of the fruit or vegetable i'm serving, and tell him I'll serve the rest of the meal after he eats it. It's always a fruit or vegetable I know he doesn't hate, and never a huge amount. He would never touch a fruit or veggie if it were up to him, and I'm just not ok with that. Now if this turned into a power struggle, I most likely wouldn't do it, however he generally eats the fruit/veggie without a fuss.


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