Four year old - eating (or not) - HELP!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-24-2006, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I could really use some inspiration and advice before I go crackers!

DS#2 is 4.5 and will not touch fruit or veg except for bananas, apple puree or potato.
By "not touch" - I mean he will not even entertain the idea of anything green in his food - whether it is diced to within an inch of its existence, grated or even pureed. He has ALWAYS been like this!

The rest of the story is this:
DS#1 eats everything that is put in front of him, he will try anything. DD#1 (only 2) is on the same track as DS#1, so WHERE have I gone wrong?

Our diet is good, we are 95% organic, vegetables offered with everything, no sugar, no additives, no processed food. To the point that I make everything from scratch apart from the very occasional sauce, and it is soul destroying to sit watching him pick and not eat it. He has one snack a day at 10.30 which is a banana or some dried fruit (yes he will eat that!) and a drink and he doesn't eat candy or other junk in the day at all.

I don't force him to finish his plate, in fact, only ever offer him the smallest amount so he can feel proud when does sometimes finish it. However we do have a policy where I at least PUT a vegetable on his plate so that he MIGHT be tempted and if he doesn't eat ANYTHING, he doesn't have to stay at the table, but he won't be allowed a pudding.

He participates in meal preparation and will quite happily slice a carrot or wash sprouts or pour peas into the pan but will not eat them. He will go strawberry picking, blueberry picking but not one, fresh and delicious, will touch his lips!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He is the healthiest of my children probably, less colds!! (I know, what AM I worrying about!) but I am SO concious that he is getting squat (nothing!! - Englishism!) from veg or fruit.

I would really appreciate some inventive new thoughts on this before I seek out a nutritionist or someone professional to help me come up with some creations.

Oh and also to add:
Smoothies - tried it (will take a couple of sips)
Soups - tried it (ditto!)
He eats apple puree (but only if DADDY makes it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!): but only apple too!

Oh and to add more: I also have one child with lactose intolerance and my dh is mildly intolerant to wheat products, so I think I am looking for the "perfect meal!" so I don't have to cook three separate ones!

Thank you as I am having a culinary meltdown right now:
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#2 of 7 Old 11-25-2006, 06:06 AM
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I have the very unpopular opinion that eventually they will get hungry enough to eat it.

Sometimes I will cook something new and dd doesn't want to eat it. I simply say, "This is what's for dinner. You don't have to eat it, but I'm not cooking anything else." I won't let her replace it with sugary yogurts (her favorite snack) or PBJ (her favorite sandwich), and I tell her when she gets hungry enough I'll reheat her plate for her.

I had this same discussion in another thread and like I said, it's an unpopular idea, but it works for us. Dd will eat just about anything. There are times where she absolutely will not eat something I make, but she has to try a few bites. If she tries it and really hates it, she's allowed to fill her tummy with fruit or leftovers (usually spaghetti). Most of the time she finds she does like it.

I understand what you mean about cooking everything from scratch and then seeing them not eat it. I cook everything from scratch, too. It's hard to put so much effort and love into what you make then have them turn their noses up at it.

So, not much advice from me other than when he gets hungry enough he'll eat it.
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#3 of 7 Old 11-25-2006, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I have the very unpopular opinion that eventually they will get hungry enough to eat it.
I know what you mean about that opinion being unpopular...but that's our approach too and we have good eaters. Never had any food strikes.

milk donation : mother to Ryan (6), AJ (5), Nate (2), Maia (1) all born at home, I have a kid-friendly food & bento blog, : :
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#4 of 7 Old 11-26-2006, 10:28 PM
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Wow, I just posted about this on another thread about toddlers not eating vegetables (I keep forgetting that my 3-almost-4 yr old is a 'preschooler', not a toddler!)

We have the same problem- same diet as you describe, and I spend tons of time planning, shopping, cooking organic meals from scratch, and I even order meat just for him (rest of us are veg) from a farm and go pick it up. He eats none of it : Well sometimes he will eat a chicken leg. He has always helped me with food prep, and loves it, but that doesn't translate into him eating any of it.

I have tried ALL the tricks, and some of them used to work, but not any longer. Hiding things in smoothies, muffings, sauces, soups, etc- all useless. And he won't take any vitamins either. Sometimes I can get him to take flax oil or vitamin c powder in his milk, or can mix brewer's yeast into the nut butter I put on his toast.

I totally agree with the 'if they're hungry enough, they'll eat it' tactic, but it depends on the kid's personality. It absolutely won't work here. Even when he was a newborn baby, he would refuse to nurse all day- and they say a baby won't starve himself, but he actually would. If he doesn't want to eat, he simply will not, no matter what we do. In addition, he is only 25# at almost 4, and has always been well below 0 on the charts. His 1 yr old brother is rapidly catching up to him in size!

So- if you've tried all the tricks I don't think there is anything else to do but honor their preferences, and whatever they insist upon eating, have some standards of decency, and make it as healthy as you can. For ex., all my ds wants is toast, bagels, sometimes waffles. I insist that he put a nut butter on there, they are all whole grain, (and try to sneak in brewer's yeast or vit. powder when I can) and not let him have it plain.

Just keep offering the food, and including him in the preparation, and eating it yourself so he sees this is the 'normal' way of eating, and talking about the importance of being healthy. And we will both pray that some day they will get over this and be more open to the variety of foods that are out there! I barely ate any vegatables or 'real' food for my entire childhood, and now I love it!

I also came accross this article in Brain, Child and Utne recently and it made me laugh so hard, it hit so close to home!
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#5 of 7 Old 11-27-2006, 02:50 PM
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Sounds like my ds. He will eat dried fruit, fruit leather, occasionally banana and baked sweet potato (with butter), ketchup, sauce on pizza (but not too much sauce).

He would never eat a food because he got "hungry enough". He has minor sensory sensitivities that he is growing out of. There was a short while around age 3 when he would drink smoothies (with a straw). Right now, he will eat spinach mixed into mac and cheese (I run frozen spinach through a food processor so it is super fine). He wouldn't have eaten that a year ago, but he is becoming more reasonable now that he is a bit older (I remind him that there are no chunks, just color, he can't really taste it because of all the cheese, and it is important to eat different colored foods to be healthy).

He won't eat much in the way of baked goods (muffins) but he will sometimes eat waffles. I add grated carrots or zuchini as well as ground almonds and ground flaxseed to those. I freeze the extra and pop them in the toaster oven when he wants one.

I don't pressure ds to eat things he doesn't want. I think sometimes kids need food that is higher in calories then are provided by veggies, so they tend to go for those instead. I feed him as healthfully as he will eat and figure he will grow out of this as did all my siblings.

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#6 of 7 Old 11-27-2006, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I have the very unpopular opinion that eventually they will get hungry enough to eat it.

Well the idea is popular with me. I think it takes awhile for some kids' palates to like vegetables. If you think about it they're fairly sophisticated tastes. I think the key is to keep offering, not make a battle or powerplay out of it and let it go.

I've also learned to let go of fixing the perfect place for dd with a good sample of everything and then being hurt when she rejects it. But then I also have days where she eats everything that's not nailed down. I did get her to like blueberries inadvertantly by reading Blueberries for Sal to her before we went blueberry picking.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-27-2006, 04:32 PM
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Our 12 year old is adopted from Ethiopia. She arrived six months ago. We had the same problem. She pretty much refused to eat anything. Things are better now. She still pretty much refuses all vegetables.

I let her choose whether to eat or not. If she chooses not to eat the meal I have prepared for the family, that's it until the next meal.

If, however, she chooses to eat what I have prepared, she knows that it is the real deal. She eats a small serving of whatever vegetable I have prepared whether she likes it or not. I talked about this issue extensively with her doctor (she has a chronic disease) and an adoption therapist. This was the best we could come up with to ensure that she has some control over eating AND she gets the nutrition she so vitally needs. She knows that she has to eat the vegetable, so although there is a lot of face-making and sighing, she eats it. She stays at the table until she does (and I am not talking about making her clean her plate. She doesn't have to do that. She merely has to eat a toddler-sized portion of vegetables).

I believe that in order to be getting proper nutrition, a child must be consuming a diet with adequate fruits and vegetables. With a 4.5 year old, I would simply sit down and say, "This is what your body requires to grow strong and healthy. You can help me figure out a way that it will be tasty to you." Serve whatever you would serve normally, and let your child choose to eat it or not, with whatever condiments he chooses to make it palatable. If not, that's it until the next meal. My middle child is a picky eater. There are some things I know that she simply does not and never has liked. There are other things that she just wants to be picky about. I don't entertain her fickleness. With all my kids, it's basically, "Here's the food, eat it or don't." Honestly, eventually they get hungry enough to eat it.

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