Help me get through this picky-eater-stage. I know my 4.5yo isn't the pickiest eater in the world, it just feels like it. I have actually told her at one point (after saying "Yuck!" to a previously loved food) that she was not allowed to not like it because I was running out of things for her to eat that she liked. She has smell issues as well--losing her appetite if we have things on the table she doesn't like the smell of (this extends to other smell-related situations or I'd be convinced it was a ruse to not eat.)
*Sigh!* I guess I just need to vent. And hear from anybody else who has a picky eater in their family.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
I am right there with you. My daughter, also 4.5, is rejecting more and more of our family meals. She lives on meat, bread, milk, and fruit.
Don't have any advice for you, just reassurance. Children are resilient and they're surprisingly hard to kill. If picky eating caused species decline, surely we'd all be dead by now. This too shall pass...
I think two things go on around age four. One is they stop growing as fast and don't need as many calories. The other is that they are able to think more abstractly and can envision food in ways they have never seen prepared. Gone are the days of their seeing what's in front of them and not thinking much about what isn't. It used to be I could put something in front of ds and if he liked it, he'd eat it, as long as he hadn't already thought of a specific food he wanted. At four, he'd look at food and wonder if I could make it in a different way (that he had never seen). The picky eater advice was kind of funny, stuff like always give them sauce on pasta and they won't know they can have it without sauce.
I did encourage ds to politely decline food. It wasn't really true that he didn't like something or it was gross. He just didn't feel like it at the moment or he was tired of it. It helped to not offer the same foods too frequently, but to rotate some of the former favorites. I think it also can help if you can serve food to multiple non-picky kids in group situations. I could never manage that with an only child but if he wasn't too busy playing to eat, he'd be more adventurous with trying foods at playdates (as long as the foods fit the parameters of his sensory issues).
another picky 4.5 yo here! It is driving me batty. especially since what she will eat has to be separated out (no mixing rice and peas, or chicken and potatoes, ect.) However, I do have to set some boundaries such as:
1, once she does pick something to eat she must finish it before getting anything else. Otherwise she would be constantly changing her mind!
2. I am not a short order cook! I won't fix her something I know she doesn't like but I can't (nor can I afford!) to cater to every whim. She can choose her breakfast and lunch but dinner is dinner. She can eat it or not eat it but that is it.
My DD can be a very particular eater and she started refusing items that she had willingly eaten and enjoyed many times. It was very frustrating so one day we made a list of all the foods she likes (not including candy and other junk). We agreed that if I made a meal with items on her list, she had to eat it, she could not suddenly decide she didn't food on her list although we could add to her list. I keep the list posted inside of a kitchen cabinet. Although she is still picky, she will eat items because they are "on her list".
Until you come across a really great deal and stock the freezer with chicken and buy 50# of potatoes. Then suddenly she will hate chicken and potatoes.
Stocking up on favorite foods is a sure fire way to have their food preferences change!
Why is this????!!!! (Actually my husband does this, too!)
Some of our trouble is the competing allergies in our house that force us to take on routines I don't like. One is the fact that I am *always* a short order cook. This happens less often now that my 6.5yo is expanding her diet, but for 2 years we've pretty much put on the whatever anyone wanted. (To an extent, there is only so much you can prepare for one meal.) My picky 4.5yo (no food allergies) will eat noodles, but my oldest is allergic to wheat (and rice and corn) and dairy and there are some things that will make her cry in despair if we eat but she doesn't get to. The same goes for salmon which she loves and can't have. Now that dd1 is a bit more understanding we would add the noodles, but of course dd2 is beyond them now. Sometimes I think if we had lentil soup, beets, quinoa, spaghetti and meat balls and broccoli etc etc *every night* she would still be eating them. Drop them for a week and they are off her radar. I was thrilled when she added almonds and hazelnuts back because she stopped liking eggs and yogurt, but of course she doesn't like any of that now. Not chicken now, either, not hamburger.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Well, I'm just thrilled that my ds finally was willing to try finely minced spinach mixed into his salmon salad sandwich and conceded he couldn't even taste it. I use frozen chopped spinach, run it through a food processor (I actually use my coffee grinder) so it is almost like a spinach powder. He stopped eating broccoli (cut small with powdered cheese sprinkled on top) before Easter and hasn't had anything green since then! Of course he used to eat the salmon salad on Ezekiel sprouted bread but now will only eat it on hot dog buns so I'm not sure if it's much better. Different, at least. And progress to ingest something green colored.