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<p>My kids are 8, 5 and 3.  Eating is a huge issue in our house.  My 8 yo is my best eater but is still very picky.  </p>
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<p>I have read you should serve the food and not say anything or make any issue about what they eat or do not eat.  Sigh that just doesn't happen here! My kids seem to eat nothing.  They do not get junk food or soda or unhealthily snacks. They live on fruit and yogurt and sandwiches.  The only veggies they eat are French cut green beans and broccoli. They won't even drink smoothies.  </p>
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<p>It's a nightmare nightly.  I spend so much time cooking and they sit there and tell me it's disgusting and refuse to eat. They will gladly go to bed hungry.  They refuse to try new things.  I'm a short order cook most of the time.  If I ask "what does everyone want for lunch" I get 3 different answers.  I don't know what to do? I tried emeals and cooked what was on the menu nightly.  Eat it or go hungry.  I did it for over a month and gave up bc I threw all the food in the garbage.  Do I spend an hour cooking a healthy meal for them then just make them oatmeal when they refuse it? Do I let them never eat dinner? How do I get them to try new things? </p>
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<p>How? Why do I have these issues!? I started all of them super healthy on homemade baby food that they gobbled up.  I NEVER was like this as a kid.  I was happy I had food to eat.  I LOVED to try new things. </p>
 

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<p>To answer your question, no, I never force my kids to put anything in their bodies that they don't want or like.</p>
<p>I don't bribe, negociate, hide food, make it "fun" or play any tricks to get them to eat.</p>
<p>Food just is. They eat when they are hungry, and they stop when they are full.</p>
<p>We don't have forbidden food in our house. We eat desserts once every day and eat out maybe once a month. We sometimes go to fast food places, although none of us, adults or kids, like it. The food is disgusting and we come home more hungry than we left. But the kids love the MacDonald's playground, so once in a while won't harm them.</p>
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<p>I <em>have read you should serve the food and not say anything or make any issue about what they eat or do not eat.</em></p>
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<p>I would go with this. I would set up some structure first, and then let them choose whatever they want to eat.</p>
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<p>Our structure is that I offer three meals and two snacks a day; the kids can eat as much or as little as they want of anything. I don't interfere <span style="text-decoration:underline;">at all</span> in their choices. If they prefer not to eat, no worries, they will eat more at the next meal. But the only way of not being a short order cook is to stop doing it.<br>
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<p>Are you sitting down with them when they have dinner? I found that this is vital in keeping them at the table. If they see you enjoying the food you prepared, they will want to join you. Now this may take days or weeks if you said you had food battles in the past, the dinner table would not be a place where they would want to be.</p>
<p>Also, it's important that they don't eat a couple of hours before dinner so they are a little hungry when you call them for supper.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Oh, and I don't ask my kids to take X bites of anything they don't like; but they are not allowed to say that the food is disgusting. Even my 3 y/o learned to say: "No, thank you", instead of "Yucky" (although she needs a reminder sometimes).</p>
<p>HTH</p>
 

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I served smaller portions so there was less to throw away and reserved the food if my DD was hungry later when we couldn't afford much food. I would send her from the table if she whined and wrap up her meal for later and that made my mealtime more pleasant. Once I was full I could truly remove myself from caring whether my child ate or was full enough to go without. She did get better at eating and became an amazing eater. Eight is very old and she may hold out for a long time, causing her siblings to follow suit so I would try it a while longer. Unless the doctor is worried about weight I would assume they are getting what they need.<br><br>
It also helped that I would also randomly buy a dessert item and say "I ate my healthy food so now I am having ice cream/fruit and whipped cream/a cookie. When my DD wanted one I would say "of course you can have one when you eat your healthy food up." No further words or comments were necessary. You don't have to have a dessert that often for it to.make a difference in eating.
 

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<p>I was thinking about your post while eating dinner tonight.  DS had turkey, cheese, oranges, a slice of bread, frozen peas, lettuce, and some carrots.  I had potato-leek-white-bean-asparagus soup with bread and oranges.  I don't expect a 3-yr-old to like my soup, but I'm not going to limit what I eat because he won't try it.  His dinner took about 60 seconds to prep, since none of it involved cooking.  I enjoy cooking for me and DH.  Maybe you could cook for yourself, offer them some, and then have leftovers if they don't take it.  They can make their own sandwiches, right?</p>
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<p>FWIW your kids' diet sounds balanced enough.  If they want to live on sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, and broccoli, that takes a lot of stress out of meal planning.  </p>
 

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<p>We tried that one time. Dd had to eat what was prepared or she could go to bed hungry. And she did -  for I don't know how long; probably not more than two or three meals and she became v. constipated so we had to go back to making special meals for her. :(</p>
 

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<p>My sage advice is that if you fight about food, you'll fight about food!  The reality is, though, I do get very frustrated about meal times with my kids, too, and I think that's true to some extent for many.  Keeping your sanity and the kids healthy should be the goal.</p>
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<p>Serve the kids very small portions. Include tiny bits of what you're serving.  Make the rule that you can't call food gross or disgusting-- it's manners for life, not just to be polite to you, although you deserve to have good manners shown for your efforts, too.</p>
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<p>I do make them eat a bit of vegetables. It's just how it it-- you've got to eat veggies. </p>
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<p>I do not make them clean plates, or eat all of what they don't like. </p>
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<p>They do have a snack time that they are in charge of, where they can get yogurt, fruit, sometimes cereal if it's in the house. Point is, it's completely their choice. Breakfast is usually their job, too.</p>
<p>I think having some determination about what and when they eat is helpful.</p>
 

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I agree with teaching, "No, thank you," instead of "That's disgusting."<br>
I do encourage them to try a bite of everything, even if they previously haven't liked it, but I don't force them. We talk a lot about how our bodies learn to like new grow foods with practice. However, I think if you force a kid to try something they've already decided they will hate, they will hate it and the experience will reinforce the negative feelings they have with the food.<br>
I try to make sure there is always a side I know the kids will eat. Right now, I'm really lucky that both kids have decided they like salad with ranch dressing, so I always serve a green salad and keep ranch dressing for them. In the past, it's been biscuits, sweet potato fries, fruit salad... Occasionally, one of them will decide that they don't like that food anymore, but most nights there's something they are willing to eat. Each kid gets to choose dinner once per week (barring anything too complicated).<br>
Unless what I make is really bad, we don't throw it away. At least one night a week is leftovers night, because I don't have it in me to cook every night. Also, they often get incorporated into lunches.<br>
I also recently ordered a book on food chaining, which I've heard is a program that helps you gently expand your child's palate. I'm hoping it will help us find more protien and vegetable choices for my eldest (who is my fussy eater).
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Neera</strong> <a href="/community/t/1383425/do-you-force-your-kids-to-eat#post_17358902"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>We tried that one time. Dd had to eat what was prepared or she could go to bed hungry. And she did -  for I don't know how long; probably not more than two or three meals and she became v. constipated so we had to go back to making special meals for her. :(</p>
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<p><br>
But the idea is not to starve them until they have no other choice but to eat what we want them to eat. We can still cook one meal and be considerate at the same time.</p>
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<p>With all meals, you can put bread and milk on the table. If everything else fails, they still won't go to bed hungry.</p>
<p>It happens sometimes that I cook something one of my kids doesn't like (they have different food preferences, as we all do); you can't please everyone, everytime. But at the next meal or snack something different will be offered, I don't keep feeding them food they don't like.</p>
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<p>When it comes to food, I try to do like my grandmother used to do. She would not dream of cooking separate meals for each person at the table; she would not force or bribe us to eat, but somehow we all enjoyed her meals tremendously.</p>
<p>It seems as we lost our capacity of having meals these past two generations. We are either so laissez-faire that we eat wherever, however, whatever we want, or we are so obsessed with "healthy" eating that we deprive our meals of taste and enjoyment.</p>
 
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<p>As a foster parent, I had up to 6 kids in my home, each with different food histories, preferences, habits. It could have been a nightmare! The rule in my house was eat the dinner I cook, or have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Kids old enough could make their own PBJ (and clean up after themselves!), or I would make it. But no short order cook. PBJ quickly got boring, so some kids got more adventurous. Not all. Dinner was usually pretty kid friendly, but rarely the over-processed foods these kids were used to and would have preferred. Mac & cheese, with real cheese, rather than from a box. Home made pizza. I confess I did occasionally sneak mashed yams into spaghetti sauce and things like that. Please don't tell! My goal was that the company and atmosphere at the table would be good enough that kids wanted to be there. The food was secondary.</p>
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<p>I always had a full fruit bowl and a basket of granola bars available. Don't ask, just help yourself any time. At first, most kids pigged out, but they self-regulated in time. Oh, I also gave everyone gummi vitamins, a practice I swore I would never do! But I saw it as an insurance policy, because some of these kids really never did eat a vegetable. Ever. Some how they all survived. Even my autistic bio-son, who I believe ate only 4 items ages 3-10 (popcorn, milk, french fries, and grapes), grew up tall, strong, and healthy. I have no clue how that happened - defies all nutrition principles I was ever taught. And today, at 17, he eats everything, loves trying new foods, and sushi is his favorite treat. Well, probably second to popcorn. :)</p>
 

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<p>You might want to check out the blog It's Not About Nutrition (<a href="http://itsnotaboutnutrition.squarespace.com/" style="line-height:1.231;" target="_blank">http://itsnotaboutnutrition.squarespace.com/</a>)<span style="line-height:1.231;">. I haven't applied all of the ideas because my kid is still too young for some of them, but it seems very sensical to me. Sample ideas: one treat a day at a time of the child's decision (drains the energy out of the argument around treats), focus on discussing how they feel about different tastes and textures and reinforcing the idea that we eat a variety of foods, if they don't want to eat it's okay and they can have the backup food, which is something that requires no prep and that they like okay but don't love, and is always the same. Lots of good stuff there. </span></p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.231;">Lately I have been having success with, if I put several foods in front of her and she scarfs one, eats a bite of another, seems to like it, but then wants more of the one she scarfed, I tell her "finish your beets and you can have more bread" (or whatever) and she'll usually do it--just a gentle reminder to eat a variety of foods. She is not quite 2. </span></p>
 

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Discussion Starter #11
<p>Thanks for all the replies.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>To answer some questions and give more info: </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Breakfast is never an issue.  The kids eat cereal or waffles and a few times a week I cook eggs, which everyone <em>now</em> eats and sausages (one special kind).  </p>
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<p>Lunch is never much of an issue either.  We have some form of a sandwich.  Grilled cheese, PB&J, Lunch meat, hamburger (my oldest 2 will eat a burger).  Along with fruit and yogurt.  I sit and eat lunch with them but normally not breakfast.  I'm sure my 8yo could make herself a PB&J and maybe my 5yo too, but I have always been the one to do it.  I don't mind short- order cooking at lunch since they are simple items so I often do it plus I often make myself something since a mom can only eat PB&J so often.</p>
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<p>I give a snack between lunch and dinner.  My kids rarely tell me they are hungry and they were just not raised to go in the cabinets and get what ever they want out.  If they do get hungry they will ask.  Our snack is usually crackers or cookies (fig newtons, organic animal cookies).  Or fruit, avocado, cheese, bean chips, etc.  My oldest loves to eat a can of sardines. </p>
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<p>One of my strongest mommy instincts is to never let my kids go hungry.  Don't know why, but it is.  Maybe that is why I am so apt to short order cook?  My second issue is I'm overly educated on nutrition.  We eat extremely clean.  My kids have never had fast  food or soda or any other junk out there.  When I was pregnant last time we were out late and my 2 girls were asleep in the back of the car.  I was STARVING so I went to McDonald's and ordered a fish sandwich and fries (an old favorite from childhood).  By the time I got home I was deathly ill.  I had horrible stomach pains all night and diarrhea for 3 days.  I still can't believe that a fish sandwich could of made me that ill and can't imagine what they possibly put in that food?! We can't eat out anywhere anymore.  We get sick.  If we have treats at a home school function we all come home with sick tummies and/or vomiting.  If it's not fresh food with <em>real </em>ingredients we can't have it.  I did Paleo for a short while and am even dabbling with the idea that we shouldn't be eating any grains <em>at all.</em> Since we are so use to eating so healthy I feel boxed in.  </p>
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<p>On to dinner, <em>SIGH.  </em>I use to cook for myself- long ago.  I no longer have the energy or time.  I'm so over dinner! I hate to cook it! After a long day and I'm exhausted the last thing I want to do is spend an hour or two cooking, to get the "it's disgusting" "I'd rather go to bed hungry" "i <strong>don't </strong> want to eat that!".  Then to spend an hour cleaning up the kitchen! Yet I feel I must.  I feel so guilty on nights I'm sick and give the kids waffles or cereal for dinner.  I think <em>they didn't eat a single vegetable today, what kind of mother am I?</em></p>
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<p>I hear you all I need to not let my kids call my food disgusting.  It's mostly my second born.  I think most moms can agree it's #2 that causes lots of issues.  She has a way about her- she will look me in the face and in her super mature voice say "Mommy I don't like this! Would you want to be forced to eat something <em><strong>you</strong></em> don't like?"</p>
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<p>They won't try a new food. especially if they have tried it before.  Trying a food to them is to touch it on their tongues or place it in their mouths and spit it out without chewing. They also won't eat any food mixed together or touching each other.  My DD will say her broccoli is ruined because rice fell into it. </p>
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<p>Last night we had linguine with clams and mussels.  My oldest 2 ate the shellfish but not the pasta (they didn't like the sauce).  My 3yo ate plain butter noodles.</p>
<p>The night before we had baked Mahi with Italian and cheese bread crumbs on top, <em>real</em> saffron Jasmin rice, and of course broccoli. My 3 yo didn't eat.  He refused to try anything. My middle ate a little fish and a tiny amount of broccoli, my oldest surprisingly didn't like the fish or the rice and only ate broccoli.  I left the room and cried while typing my original post.  </p>
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<p>So...I should let them have an alternative? They can eat oatmeal or cereal if they don't like my dinner? What if they choose to eat oatmeal <em>every night?</em> Should I stop cooking dinner? </p>
<p> </p>
<p>And yes we do have treats.  Real ice cream- I have bribed- well it's know, if you don't eat your dinner you don't get ice cream.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not. </p>
 

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<p>I'm going to sound like my therapist here, but here goes.</p>
<p>You're guilting yourself with all the "should" statements.  (It's called a cognitive distortion -- google for more info.)  </p>
<p>Try re-phrasing as "Could I . . .?"  "Could I stop cooking dinner?"  "Could I let them have an alternative?"  "Do I want to stop cooking?"  Step away from the mama-guilt.  </p>
<p>This works in other areas of life, too, of course.  "Could I have a glass of wine now?"  "Could we go to the library today or could we wash the kitchen floor?"  So much more freeing than "should."</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/community/t/1383425/do-you-force-your-kids-to-eat/0_100#post_17359119" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>erigeron</strong> <a href="/community/t/1383425/do-you-force-your-kids-to-eat/0_100#post_17359119"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br>
You might want to check out the blog It's Not About Nutrition (<a href="http://itsnotaboutnutrition.squarespace.com/" style="line-height:1.231;" target="_blank">http://itsnotaboutnutrition.squarespace.com/</a><br>
)<span style="line-height:1.231;">. I haven't applied all of the ideas because my kid is still too young for some of them, but it seems very sensical to me. Sample ideas: one treat a day at a time of the child's decision (drains the energy out of the argument around treats), focus on discussing how they feel about different tastes and textures and reinforcing the idea that we eat a variety of foods, if they don't want to eat it's okay and they can have the backup food, which is something that requires no prep and that they like okay but don't love, and is always the same. Lots of good stuff there. </span><br><br><br><span style="line-height:1.231;">Lately I have been having success with, if I put several foods in front of her and she scarfs one, eats a bite of another, seems to like it, but then wants more of the one she scarfed, I tell her "finish your beets and you can have more bread" (or whatever) and she'll usually do it--just a gentle reminder to eat a variety of foods. She is not quite 2. </span><br></div>
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I like that blog too. We use her "cottage cheese" idea only we offer plain yoghurt instead.<br><br>
OP, I wouldn't stop cooking dinner myself. You need to eat as well! And I am a big believer in the idea that *most* children will come to be less picky with regular exposure to healthy foods and seeing others enjoy them.<br><br>
My 3yo currently eats no vegetables except sweet corn (sometimes) and oven chips. To avoid waste I put one small piece of each veggie on her plate. For example, the other night we had mashed potato/pumpkin, carrots and zucchini. I put a dessert spoon of potato/pumpkin, one carrot ring and one zucchini ring on her plate. I don't make her try it but, if we're discussing the food I might say "try the carrots, they're delicious" she says no, I say ok and that's it. We discuss what things are and how they're cooked. We also sometimes talk about how things grow and where they came from. Our goal is to help her develop and interest in good food. I *always* put some of each component of the meal on her plate though.<br><br>
She will eat most meats and grains so there is usually plenty for her to eat at dinner but, if she's hungry afterwards she can have plain yoghurt.<br><br>
Dessert is not tied to other foods ie not a reward and not an encouragement to eat more than you want to get a treat. We have found that random desserts work best for us. One of us will say "I feel like some yoghurt/ice cream etc does anyone else want some?" Or DD will request a treat and, if she hasn't had anything else that day and we have what she's asked for then we say yes.<br><br>
She is only 3 so no long-term results yet but we're happy with where we're at for now.
 

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<p>Don't make it a fight.  As long as they're getting some from each of the four food groups (and it sounds like they are), then I'd let them eat what they want.  (And I have no idea why you'd cry over it, honestly.  It's just food.)  </p>
 
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<div class="quote-container">Quote:
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<div><span style="font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;line-height:19.5px;background-color:rgb(249,249,249);">So...I should let them have an alternative? They can eat oatmeal or cereal if they don't like my dinner? What if they choose to eat oatmeal </span><em style="font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;line-height:19.5px;background-color:rgb(249,249,249);">every night?</em><span style="font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;line-height:19.5px;background-color:rgb(249,249,249);"> Should I stop cooking dinner? </span></div>
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<p>The alternative here is an apple. </p>
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<p>I wouldn't stop cooking dinner. I would continue cooking it, eating it yourself, sitting them down in front of it and requiring that they 1) Taste what's served and 2) Be polite about it.</p>
 

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<p>I have an extremely picky eater and another with allergies in opposition to mine, so dinner difficulties are not just about not liking the food.  I've gotten over the resistance to being a short-order cook.  However, it's not about cooking whatever they want.  "We're having homemade chicken soup tonight" (dd1 loves chicken soup made with potatoes) so... "do you want noodles in broth?"  I have the broth from stewing the chicken, I can make up some noodles that, if not eaten, dh can toss into his soup.  Or she has something simple.  I go back and forth between making corn muffins for dd1 and wheat biscuits for me and dd2.  Nights for stir-fried rice, I make leftovers for myself.  I usually offer to make dd2 a hardboiled egg, but sometimes I run out of space for extra requests on the stove.  </p>
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<p>I guess I balance it by making meals fairly simple, and I don't make things generally that are difficult for kids to love-- I would have spicier food, for example, but I can throw hot sauce on if I want (and grate cheese on top on my plate).  Lasagna is off limits to dd1 and dd2 won't eat it, but if there is enough leftovers they like, then I make it and dh and I enjoy it.  Generally I don't make time-intensive dishes that are off-limits due to allergies.  </p>
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<p>I don't invest huge amounts of time cooking dinner anymore, anyway.  And I definitely discourage outright insults and have on occasion grumpily excused them from the table because of the whines (rare, really).  In the end, my fight is not over short-order cooking per se, but on the time invested.  If the time is easy, if pulling noodles out before putting on the sauce is easy, adjusting the steps so that something more plain can be made from something all mixed up, then I do it.  It doesn't mean the answer is always "yes", but if I can fit it in, I do.  It's really not that big of a deal for our family, but I have something of an extreme situation whereas many parents are dealing with simple age-appropriate squeamishness that often can be solved by standing ground for a while.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>But first I'd focus on manners in regards to accepting food.  That is going to help you feel so much better!  "Eat what you want, don't eat what you don't want, and don't make a fuss."  I do prompt them sometimes with questions like "how do you like the carrots cut up in your soup?  Small cubes or round?"  This lets them know I do care.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>erigeron</strong> <a href="/community/t/1383425/do-you-force-your-kids-to-eat#post_17359119"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br>
Lately I have been having success with, if I put several foods in front of her and she scarfs one, eats a bite of another, seems to like it, but then wants more of the one she scarfed, I tell her "finish your beets and you can have more bread" (or whatever) and she'll usually do it--just a gentle reminder to eat a variety of foods. She is not quite 2.</div>
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I do this too, with my 3.5 year old.<br>
It mostly developed simply from my refusal to cater to his every whim, but it's also a good way to get to eat or at least try healthier foods.
 

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No, I don't force my girls to eat.<br>
The first thing I would stop doing is asking them what they want. And then I would brace myself for major resistance.(Because who would want to go from having a personal chef to "here's what is for lunch"!)<br>
My first daughter is super easy and will eat anything. The second is more picky but it helps a lot if she helps cook what we eat.<br>
I always have a quick easy veggie they like--almost always broccoli or kale and usually a fruit they like.<br>
I was giving into my youngest and getting up to make her something special. Then I stopped. She was unhappy at first and not she's fine.<br>
Oh, I do try and give her as much control as I can. I let her put the food on her plate, I have a little pitcher of water that even the toddler can use to serve herself, and she likes that part.<br>
Other than that, I just refuse to argue. It worked for us.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mama2mygirl</strong> <a href="/community/t/1383425/do-you-force-your-kids-to-eat#post_17367247"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
No, I don't force my girls to eat.<br>
The first thing I would stop doing is asking them what they want. And then I would brace myself for major resistance.(Because who would want to go from having a personal chef to "here's what is for lunch"!)<br>
My first daughter is super easy and will eat anything. The second is more picky but it helps a lot if she helps cook what we eat.<br>
I always have a quick easy veggie they like--almost always broccoli or kale and usually a fruit they like.<br>
I was giving into my youngest and getting up to make her something special. Then I stopped. She was unhappy at first and not she's fine.<br>
Oh, I do try and give her as much control as I can. I let her put the food on her plate, I have a little pitcher of water that even the toddler can use to serve herself, and she likes that part.<br>
Other than that, I just refuse to argue. It worked for us.</div>
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<p> <img alt="yeahthat.gif" id="user_yui_3_7_3_1_1369589459934_2673" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="line-height:1.231;"></p>
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<p>I have a rule though about portions: Take all you want, but eat what you take. And if my son doesn't eat it, he gets it for the next meal (if I remember). If I serve the portion, then he gets a pass if he doesn't eat it all, and it goes to the dogs. As for the types of foods, I make him what I make him. If I'm feeling generous, I will make him what I know he likes (or tolerates), like broccoli.  As for new foods, we have a rule that he has to at least <em>try</em> a new food - one little bite, but he doesn't need to eat it if he doesn't like it. We also wait til we know he's super hungry before we put a new food in front of him; he's more likely to like it if he's hungry <img alt="winky.gif" id="user_yui_3_7_3_1_1369589459934_1383" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="line-height:1.231;">.  I also have no problem saying NO to certain foods if I know he's been eating too much bread that day or too many sandwiches or whatever. And all this typically applies to dinner when we're all sitting at the table. I'm more lenient with breakfast and lunch. If he wants to eat apples all day, so be it. At least I know I will make him a decent dinner. He seems to have spans when he's hungrier and spans when he doesn't eat much (growth spurts?).  So, I try to keep that in mind and know he's not gonna starve if he skips a meal or two, or snacks on grapes all day. </p>
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<p>Another previous post suggested giving the kids some control over how the carrots are cut, etc. We do this too. "Do you want the salad dressing on the side or on the tofu?" for example. I notice that my son eats more when he's involved in the preparation. My husband has been letting him mash and cut recently, and his chore is to set the table. That has helped make dinner a more enjoyable experience, rather than listening to myself say, "Just eat" over and over for 45 minutes.</p>
 

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<p>I know I'm late into this thread, but a quick comment about introducing new food.  I learned this during a wine tasting class - different parts of the tongue "like" different flavors - sweet, sour, salty, savory, etc.</p>
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<p>Tell kids to chew new food with their back teeth.</p>
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<p>Children have evolved to try things with the tip of their tongue - speculation, that the tip of the tongue like sweet things and is adverse to bitter (poison) - kids as little animals would try things with the tip of their tongues to see if it was "safe to eat" - and poisonous things are usually bitter and the tip of the tongue would detect it before the child ate it.</p>
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<p>Fast forward to 2013 - kids still try things with the tip of their tongues and most "non-sweet" foods are less appealing when tasted with the tip of the tongue (forget about spicy stuff with tip of the tongue).</p>
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<p>My daughter is cautious (ok, I admit it, terrible) about trying new foods, but I insist that she chew any new food with her molars.</p>
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<p>She's heard it enough times:</p>
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<ul><li>You're 5 so you must try 5 bites (assumption - anything new)</li>
<li>One bite for every year you are old (yes, bad grammar, but she get's the point)</li>
<li>Chew it with your back teeth</li>
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<p>I have an easy and compassionate response - Oh, you only want to try one bite, ok - that's fine.  One year olds try one bite and if you're one, then you have an early bed time or cannot watch X TV show or cannot visit the friend across the street.  It's not punishment, but "matter-of-fact" - babies don't get very many choices.  5 year olds get lots of choices.</p>
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<p>5 year olds try 5 bites and 5 year olds get pretty lenient privileges in my house.</p>
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<p>Her choice.</p>
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<p>I sound like a broken record, but, I've been able to get her to sample things according to her increasing age.</p>
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<p>I choose what is offered at the meal, she chooses how much she eats - if it's a familiar food, it's her choice - I never require her to clean her plate.  If it's a new food - 5 bites, back teeth.</p>
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<p>Try it and let me know how it works!  :)</p>
 
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