5 yo doesn't know how to eat independently -- help needed - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-25-2012, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Up until now I actually didn't give any thought to it. I don't know. It didn't bother me. But, now we are starting KG in Sep. I am getting all worked up now and not much is working as dd just doesn't know how to feed herself. She will eat pizza and cereal and oatmeal and that sort of stuff independently so I always thought she knows how to. We wasted a couple of meals recently, got hard poop too because I refused to help. We have held her hands and helped her to eat once but aren't progressing.


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Old 05-25-2012, 01:02 PM
 
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So she can eat finger food and spoon food? What can't she eat without help?


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Old 05-26-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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I guess I'm showing my ignorance but what is KG?

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Old 05-26-2012, 04:01 PM
 
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KG = kindergarten

 

Unless she has some sort of larger issue - sensory, neurological, etc. she should be able to feed herself. If she can eat feed herself pizza she can feed herself and sandwich, a roll up, cut up fruit/veggie. If she can eat cereal she can eat soup, applesauce, cottage cheese, yogurt. I think there are alot of things you can pack easily for her to eat at school. What about if you put the things she won't feed herself in a bowl and she eats with a spoon?
 

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Old 05-26-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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I almost never have to send a fork with my 8 year old's lunch, maybe a couple of times a month.  Send pizza!  And some grapes.  If you guys eat meat, meatballs are a great lunchbox food that're easy to eat.  But I bet it won't be long before she's feeding herself all kinds of stuff.


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Old 05-26-2012, 08:25 PM
 
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If you truly believe she can't feed herself then you should get her into a pediatrician and get the appropriate referrals ASAP. Most one year olds can eat finger food on their own and by three spoon and fork use is mastered. If at five she truly can't use utensils then she may have some serious fine motor issues that need to be dealt with.

If it is behavioral then it will most likely end once she is in school and around kids who are independent.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:50 PM
 
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sounds like she is used to having help to me.  She will learn.  :)


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Old 05-29-2012, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So she can eat finger food and spoon food? What can't she eat without help?

 The other day it was fried rice with tiny bits of vegetables, so I gave her a spoon. Her dad then gave her a knife to get the rice into the spoon. For pasta, I give her a fork.


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Old 05-29-2012, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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KG = kindergarten

 

Unless she has some sort of larger issue - sensory, neurological, etc. she should be able to feed herself. If she can eat feed herself pizza she can feed herself and sandwich, a roll up, cut up fruit/veggie. If she can eat cereal she can eat soup, applesauce, cottage cheese, yogurt. I think there are alot of things you can pack easily for her to eat at school. What about if you put the things she won't feed herself in a bowl and she eats with a spoon?
 

Most of the time she doesn't like her meals. She likes ahem junk food like pizza, so I began making it at home with whole wheat. A whole grain bread sandwich also takes her forever to eat. I think I should've mentioned it depends on how 'boring' the food is. She just procrastinates even though she might know how to eat it.


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Old 05-29-2012, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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sounds like she is used to having help to me.  She will learn.  :)

Yes. That is indeed the issue. But I went cold turkey, and she almost didnt' eat anything and got constipated. So, I am not sure what to do. If I hlep her even a little, she keeps whining for more help.


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Old 05-29-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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At school she won't have help. She won't miss 3 meals a day, she will miss one. I'm not sure what food is considered boring, maybe she prefers spicy food or dipping, something like that? I think you can cater a little to get her through eating at school.

 

Does she have any other problems with fine motor skills? Can she hold a pencil, draw, write her name?

 

Have you thought about some sessions for her/family therapy. This could turn into a life issue with food at the center.
 

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Old 05-29-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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It is solely a choice on her part because she would rather have the help rather then an OT issue then I see two options. Start working on it slowly over the summer or she will probably earn it at school. She might be hungry for a while, but peer influence might be good. 


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Old 05-29-2012, 09:36 AM
 
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So it really is more of a won't than a can't. If rice is a problem, make sticky rice or risotto (stick together better and are easier to spoon). Pasta? Soe types are easier than others - choose a different shape. Sandwiches are easy to eat. Make your own chicken fingers. You don't have to be a short order cook, but you also don't have to cook things you know she doesn't like  I used to saute chicken, then set it aside for the kids while I ade a sauce for myself. Same with pasta. They liked it plain w/butter. I liked it with some type of sauce. Easy to accomodate both tastes. And so on and so forth. Stroganoff - sauteed thinly sliced beef, set some aside for them, finished the rest for myself.

 

But stop enabling her. Because that is what you're doing.

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Old 06-01-2012, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't really think this is an issue. If she has fine motor problems, they will pick that up at school real quick. If she doesn't, she is very likely going to feed herself because she's sitting at a table with other kids who are all feeding themselves and that is simply what is expected. You can still feed her at home if you like, or not, but I'll bet its not going to be an issue at school.

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Old 06-01-2012, 05:30 PM
 
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She wont let herself starve. YOUR job is to prepare healthy meals for her. HER job is to eat it. If she passes then she goes hungry for a while but I promise she wont let herself starve. As others said with no real problems that need to be addressed with PT then it's stage. Annoying and frustrating but it will pass.


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Old 06-03-2012, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I am hoping she will eat when with other kids because she does have issues when her blood sugar level drops. She goes pretty crazy if she is hungry and that is my only fear. I am not so worried if she went hungry as much as how she will handle her state.


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Old 06-04-2012, 02:11 PM
 
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I lost my earlier post. It sounds like she doesn't have the organization skills to do it.

 

I was worried about this when DS started preschool but he adapted quickly. Of course, that was far more sheltered than K with a strict food policy and an adult at every table.

 

I'd suggest eating a meal out of the house each day, perhaps lunch at the park. Pack all of the compentents for a healthy lunch plus a snack for each of you and make her responsible for it. You can help with things like opening a water bottle but that is it. If she doesn't eat, she can be hungry. Pack things that are likely to appeal to her and that don't take a super long time to eat. Pack small portions that aren't scary.  If she gets hungry, she can go to her lunch/snack bucket and eat something from it.

 

Neither of my kids really like sandwhiches so those are rarely packed. DS likes what he refers to as a "real lunch" which is packed in a thermos.

 

So, repetition will help. Familiarity with implements will help. Also, eating from the thermos linked is actually easier than a bowl. The high sides help with control.

 

Lunches from the last week that I can recall:

 

Lamb burger lunch- lamb burger with grilled zuccini, tomato, cherry tomatoes, and half of a lamb burger dressed with a little olive oil and not spicy harissa

cut up cucumbers

cherries with the pits and stems removed

water

 

whole wheat pasta with meat and vegetable rich marinara

cheese (not very much protein in the pasta dish)

blueberries

pretzels

water

 

hummus and pita

carrots

applesauce

strawberries

water

 

fried brown rice

cheese

dried cherries

pineapple

water

 

chili mac (whole wheat elbows with a very mild. tomaty-chili with meat and beans)

dried seaweed

apple slices

water

 

cheese tortelleni with tomato sauce

cucumber salad

cherries

water

 

leftover homemade pizza, wrapped in foil

trail mix

raspberries

water

 

small empenada from an Argentine place, wrapped in foil

cherry tomatoes

pineapple

water

 

We use these:

 

Lunch bag, easy to open with a single zipper http://www.amazon.com/Crocodile-Creek-Pocket-Lunchbox-Butterfly/dp/B00262DCVY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1338839911&sr=8-2

 

Sigg Water bottle with a reasonably easy to open top

 

Great size for kids http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Foogo-Leak-Proof-Stainless-10-Ounce/dp/B000O3GCFU/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1338839954&sr=1-1

 

2 4 oz small containers for fruit, crackers, or goodies like dried cherries. Great to use the same size every day because it helps with portion control http://www.amazon.com/GladWare-Mini-Round-8-ct/dp/B0030HTZTM/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1338840053&sr=1-1

 

utensils, plus a napkin that is really a baby washcloth

 

Occasionally use a reusable snack bag for bulky items or sandwiches

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Old 06-04-2012, 05:44 PM
 
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I don't really think this is an issue. If she has fine motor problems, they will pick that up at school real quick. If she doesn't, she is very likely going to feed herself because she's sitting at a table with other kids who are all feeding themselves and that is simply what is expected. You can still feed her at home if you like, or not, but I'll bet its not going to be an issue at school.

This.  She will not need to be helped in school.  Just give her a chance and set her up for success now, and stop helping her.  

 

If there really is an issue with her fine motor skills, more problems will show up.  If she can't cut with scissors by now, or draw, in addition to having a hard time working silverware, I'd worry.  If she's fine with scissors, can open her glue, and draw, I think there's just a learning curve, and she will eat like a champ in school.  (just don't send her with anything messy)

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Old 06-05-2012, 06:25 AM
 
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Thanks. I am hoping she will eat when with other kids because she does have issues when her blood sugar level drops. She goes pretty crazy if she is hungry and that is my only fear. I am not so worried if she went hungry as much as how she will handle her state.


As weird as it sounds, when my DD's blood sugar drops due to being hungry, she refuses to eat (the one thing that would solve the problem immediately) and her mood worsens. Could this be playing a part? Maybe make sure she is getting some type of protein with every meal and snack. That is what finally put a stop to my own low blood sugar episodes.


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Old 06-05-2012, 08:57 AM
 
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Thanks. I am hoping she will eat when with other kids because she does have issues when her blood sugar level drops. She goes pretty crazy if she is hungry and that is my only fear. I am not so worried if she went hungry as much as how she will handle her state.

My ds would go crazy, too, if he needed to eat. And he wasn't good at recognizing he was hungry, either. If he got too hungry, it was better to give him whatever junky thing he was asking for and follow it up with something more nutritious because if he was too hungry, he'd just refuse to eat anything else. If I could get him to eat before he was too hungry, he was more reasonable. The good news is he grew out of this. But it was bad at 4 and 5. School will probably work out fine, though. They usually have snack times and my ds would sit and eat when the other kids were eating. It was mostly just hard getting him to eat breakfast beforehand.


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Old 06-07-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I lost my earlier post. It sounds like she doesn't have the organization skills to do it.

 

I was worried about this when DS started preschool but he adapted quickly. Of course, that was far more sheltered than K with a strict food policy and an adult at every table.

 

I'd suggest eating a meal out of the house each day, perhaps lunch at the park. Pack all of the compentents for a healthy lunch plus a snack for each of you and make her responsible for it. You can help with things like opening a water bottle but that is it. If she doesn't eat, she can be hungry. Pack things that are likely to appeal to her and that don't take a super long time to eat. Pack small portions that aren't scary.  If she gets hungry, she can go to her lunch/snack bucket and eat something from it.

 

Neither of my kids really like sandwhiches so those are rarely packed. DS likes what he refers to as a "real lunch" which is packed in a thermos.

 

So, repetition will help. Familiarity with implements will help. Also, eating from the thermos linked is actually easier than a bowl. The high sides help with control.

 

Lunches from the last week that I can recall:

 

Lamb burger lunch- lamb burger with grilled zuccini, tomato, cherry tomatoes, and half of a lamb burger dressed with a little olive oil and not spicy harissa

cut up cucumbers

cherries with the pits and stems removed

water

 

whole wheat pasta with meat and vegetable rich marinara

cheese (not very much protein in the pasta dish)

blueberries

pretzels

water

 

hummus and pita

carrots

applesauce

strawberries

water

 

fried brown rice

cheese

dried cherries

pineapple

water

 

chili mac (whole wheat elbows with a very mild. tomaty-chili with meat and beans)

dried seaweed

apple slices

water

 

cheese tortelleni with tomato sauce

cucumber salad

cherries

water

 

leftover homemade pizza, wrapped in foil

trail mix

raspberries

water

 

small empenada from an Argentine place, wrapped in foil

cherry tomatoes

pineapple

water

 

We use these:

 

Lunch bag, easy to open with a single zipper http://www.amazon.com/Crocodile-Creek-Pocket-Lunchbox-Butterfly/dp/B00262DCVY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1338839911&sr=8-2

 

Sigg Water bottle with a reasonably easy to open top

 

Great size for kids http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Foogo-Leak-Proof-Stainless-10-Ounce/dp/B000O3GCFU/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1338839954&sr=1-1

 

2 4 oz small containers for fruit, crackers, or goodies like dried cherries. Great to use the same size every day because it helps with portion control http://www.amazon.com/GladWare-Mini-Round-8-ct/dp/B0030HTZTM/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1338840053&sr=1-1

 

utensils, plus a napkin that is really a baby washcloth

 

Occasionally use a reusable snack bag for bulky items or sandwiches

Wow! Thanks for this detailed post. We are vegetarians so that does make it harder and prefer a vegan diet but aren't extra strict. We converted last year and we are v. happy overall with the decision. However, she is allowed the v. unhealthy chicken nuggets, pizzas and cake at birthday parties. So, here is another problem I forgot to mention. Since she was 6 months, almost every meal of hers had egg, chicken, beef or it was a ham sandwich or turkey sandwich. Now, that we have turned our diet around she is finding it hard to adjust. Most of the veggies you mention, she won't eat. If she does, it is because we are threatening to take away a toy or some other consequence. Most fruits are fine but sometimes we have problems with fruits too. Has tried humus v. reluctantly when we were eating it. But, when we offered it to her next time she wouldn't eat it. She likes slices of cheese but we don't want to give that to her because that's all she'll eat sometimes. Cheese sandwich for lunch and quinoa pasta with cheese for dinner. She will eat beans and rice but when it is fed. She doesn't love brown rice or the beans so she will procrastinate. When she had meat she would eat cooked carrots and beet or zucchini on the side. Lately, she's been causing trouble with carrots too. Stopped zucchini at age 2. Seemed like she wanted to throw it up. If we get a veggie sandwich from outside she usually likes it but will take forever to eat it if she has to feed herself. She doesn't like the homemade one because of the whole grain bread. The partly white flour bread is more welcomed.

 

So to sum it up: 1. Doesn't like healthy options. 2. Doesn't like many textures 3. Doesn't like many veggies 4. Complains of getting tired holding a sandwich for a long time in her hand or whatever other food. 5. If left to feed herself will say I am full after a few bites.


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Old 06-07-2012, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds would go crazy, too, if he needed to eat. And he wasn't good at recognizing he was hungry, either. If he got too hungry, it was better to give him whatever junky thing he was asking for and follow it up with something more nutritious because if he was too hungry, he'd just refuse to eat anything else. If I could get him to eat before he was too hungry, he was more reasonable. The good news is he grew out of this. But it was bad at 4 and 5. School will probably work out fine, though. They usually have snack times and my ds would sit and eat when the other kids were eating. It was mostly just hard getting him to eat breakfast beforehand.

Thanks. Yes, we have the exact same issue. So, keeping my fingers crossed.


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Old 06-07-2012, 11:17 PM
 
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we have the same issue with dd - age 4. She can and will self-feed certain items, finger foods and scoop soups, etc. but practically each bite has to be encouraged. We usually read to her to keep her engaged (a "if you're eating then I'm reading") scenario. We're also veggie. There's a great recipe I got from Super Baby Food cookbook when she was a baby for "super porridge" - a mix of whole grains and legumes that are ground and then cooked like oatmeal. She loves it with a sprinkle of cheese on top and will eat it herself. I can always count on this for a meal. You can also puree steamed veggies and mix in - this is fabulous b/c it's a complete meal in one bowl. When she went to school her lunch would come back untouched. It's very frustrating. I want her to eat but who has over an hour for each meal? Another thing that has worked for us (might help with your "boring" factor) is to make a "dinner tray" out of a muffin tin. I put fruit in a few of the spots, veggies in another, a grain/protein in other, a dip or two - she LOVES it.


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Old 06-08-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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we have the same issue with dd - age 4. She can and will self-feed certain items, finger foods and scoop soups, etc. but practically each bite has to be encouraged. We usually read to her to keep her engaged (a "if you're eating then I'm reading") scenario. We're also veggie. There's a great recipe I got from Super Baby Food cookbook when she was a baby for "super porridge" - a mix of whole grains and legumes that are ground and then cooked like oatmeal. She loves it with a sprinkle of cheese on top and will eat it herself. I can always count on this for a meal. You can also puree steamed veggies and mix in - this is fabulous b/c it's a complete meal in one bowl. When she went to school her lunch would come back untouched. It's very frustrating. I want her to eat but who has over an hour for each meal? Another thing that has worked for us (might help with your "boring" factor) is to make a "dinner tray" out of a muffin tin. I put fruit in a few of the spots, veggies in another, a grain/protein in other, a dip or two - she LOVES it.

Is the super porridge sweet or savory?

 

I mean the only way to teach her at this age, since I didn't teach her earlier is to just leave her to it. If she eats, she eats, if she doesn't then she will have to handle her hunger. It's not that she doesn't cause trouble when we are feeding her. She complains at every, single meal and she probably has from the time she has been able to voice her complaints. Because of her fussiness I continued feeding her and here we are.


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Old 06-08-2012, 12:47 PM
 
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Wow! Thanks for this detailed post. We are vegetarians so that does make it harder and prefer a vegan diet but aren't extra strict. We converted last year and we are v. happy overall with the decision. However, she is allowed the v. unhealthy chicken nuggets, pizzas and cake at birthday parties. So, here is another problem I forgot to mention. Since she was 6 months, almost every meal of hers had egg, chicken, beef or it was a ham sandwich or turkey sandwich. Now, that we have turned our diet around she is finding it hard to adjust. Most of the veggies you mention, she won't eat. If she does, it is because we are threatening to take away a toy or some other consequence. Most fruits are fine but sometimes we have problems with fruits too. Has tried humus v. reluctantly when we were eating it. But, when we offered it to her next time she wouldn't eat it. She likes slices of cheese but we don't want to give that to her because that's all she'll eat sometimes. Cheese sandwich for lunch and quinoa pasta with cheese for dinner. She will eat beans and rice but when it is fed. She doesn't love brown rice or the beans so she will procrastinate. When she had meat she would eat cooked carrots and beet or zucchini on the side. Lately, she's been causing trouble with carrots too. Stopped zucchini at age 2. Seemed like she wanted to throw it up. If we get a veggie sandwich from outside she usually likes it but will take forever to eat it if she has to feed herself. She doesn't like the homemade one because of the whole grain bread. The partly white flour bread is more welcomed.

 

So to sum it up: 1. Doesn't like healthy options. 2. Doesn't like many textures 3. Doesn't like many veggies 4. Complains of getting tired holding a sandwich for a long time in her hand or whatever other food. 5. If left to feed herself will say I am full after a few bites.

I made a mistake in the first post, the "lamb burger lunch" is more correctly called quinoa lunch because the other things are just flavoring.

 

Have you considered using some meat analongs to help her transition? I'd probably pick pastured meat over processed soy but I understand why people don't. But there is no way my kid is eating processed chicken nuggets anywhere. Luckily, the parties events we go to are pretty healthy or at least "in public." Have you considered using a more "white" bread, purchased or made, if that helps her eat it.

 

I really think you have to make her eating her responsibility. (And trust me, my five year old would happily be spoon fed and I was fine with giving "bites" far, far longer than most people.) Either do the packed lunch or a bento type tray with small portions of a variety of things and then ...let...it...go. Be flexible about where the eating occurs. I am fine with a "walking around muffin" etc.

 

I don't think non-related consequences (taking away a toy for not eating food) are going to help. Perhaps a treat would, i.e. we will read this favorite story during lunch or there are some stickers to play with after a nice meal.

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Old 06-11-2012, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

I made a mistake in the first post, the "lamb burger lunch" is more correctly called quinoa lunch because the other things are just flavoring.

 

Have you considered using some meat analongs to help her transition? I'd probably pick pastured meat over processed soy but I understand why people don't. But there is no way my kid is eating processed chicken nuggets anywhere. Luckily, the parties events we go to are pretty healthy or at least "in public." Have you considered using a more "white" bread, purchased or made, if that helps her eat it.

 

I really think you have to make her eating her responsibility. (And trust me, my five year old would happily be spoon fed and I was fine with giving "bites" far, far longer than most people.) Either do the packed lunch or a bento type tray with small portions of a variety of things and then ...let...it...go. Be flexible about where the eating occurs. I am fine with a "walking around muffin" etc.

 

I don't think non-related consequences (taking away a toy for not eating food) are going to help. Perhaps a treat would, i.e. we will read this favorite story during lunch or there are some stickers to play with after a nice meal.

We don't do soy either and don't want to go back to meat. She was dropped off at a party where they served chicken nuggets and she had them. Normally, or under our supervision, no she wouldn't. For protein we have been trying beans and lentil. I am not sure I shud give her white bread but I am kind of unsure on the unhealthy/healthy food thing; if i gave her white bread to help her along then I'd be constantly worrying that I am making her get in the habit of it. Thanks, I am going to try the treat idea.


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