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My 18 month old often refuses to eat what we're having for meals, she'll mostly eat the starchy stuff (bread, tortillas, crackers, noodles kasha, oatmeal) and cheese without complaint, and often fruit, eggs, and tofu. But sometimes she's not interested at all, and I have a really hard time getting her to eat vegetables. When she refuses dinner, I can often tell that she is hungry and holding out for something better. I worry about her diet being imbalanced when she either misses dinner or only eats the starchy/cheesy parts of it. I worry all the time that she is eating hardly any veggies!! I am sure that many other parents of toddlers have this problem...do you fix special meals for your kids if they turn down what you're eating?
 

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Nope, going hungry punishes all of us because she'll be cranky and/or sleepless. We try to offer her healthy foods that she likes, and trust that she'll outgrow her pickiness some day. But we only have the one child, and I can imagine with more than one your patience for making separate meals would grow very thin!
 

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Does she drink milk (or nurse)? If so, between that, starchy stuff, fruits, and the other proteins she'll eat, she's got a fairly balanced diet. Hopefully the vegetables will come with time and exposure.<br><br>
I don't fix special meals, no. I found Ellyn Satter's books to be a good approach to family meals. In short, you put a balanced meal on the table, and the kids choose what and how much to eat.
 

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My daughter is just starting to deny foods and trying to get snacks. I won't make her eat her meals but I always give snacks between meals whether she finished or not (I like snacks.. we have small meals so the snacks make sense <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">) so I just make sure the snacks are things like vegetables or hummus or something healthy that I might have in a normal meal anyway.<br><br>
Otherwise, I serve her a balanced meal and let her do her thing. She'll get a good snack later to make up for what she opted not to eat. If she doesn't want the snack... she'll have another meal.<br><br>
I also still breastfeed though so I know even if she didn't eat solids all day (she is 14 months) she'd still get something good in her tummy.
 

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We do snacks between meals, so if he refuses to eat what I made, he can have a snack later. But I don't offer something else at the table during the meal...<br><br>
As far as veggies are concerned, if she's not eating any at all, why not make the snack a smoothie? When DS wasn't eating much of anything, I'd put a bunch of food on his plate during the meal just in case he decided that would be the meal he'd eat. When I cleared his plate, all fruit and veggie leftovers went into the blender with some yogurt and either a banana or some dates (for sweetness) and more veggies. Then his "snack" would be the smoothie with all the fruits and veggies in it. (Actually, I used to add canned beans too, b/c he wouldn't eat meat and wasn't getting much iron in his diet either... Sounds gross, but a whole banana in there covers up the taste of just about anything!)
 

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Nope, not a chance. I am not going down that road of making two different meals. He can eat what we do, or not, thats his choice, but I'm not catering and I'm not making another meal. Sometimes he'll get a snack after dinner before bed a couple hours later, and often theres a small snack between lunch & dinner (though I've been trying to cut that out so as to keep him hungry so he'll eat dinner more readily), but no, I do not get up and make mac'n cheese or pb & j or get out applesauce or peanut butter & apples or anything of the sort.
 

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I do not make separate meals but I put at least one thing out that I know my kids will eat, even it is just rice. They can have a snack before bed if they are hungry than but not dinner.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>swd12422</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15455242"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We do snacks between meals, so if he refuses to eat what I made, he can have a snack later. But I don't offer something else at the table during the meal...</div>
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This. Everyone in our house snacks whenever they are hungry. Meal times we all eat the same meal, but snacks, we each eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We keep lots of healthy things on hand for snacks, and often use leftovers as a snack... basically we view snacks as 'mini meals', so often they are well-balanced, although other times we just do a piece of fruit or a pita with hummus or something. If DS doesn't want dinner, we try to keep him at the table until we're all done (he's only 15mos so often we finish early!) and then we play etc. until he asks for food. Then we don't "cook" him food, though we might chop cherries or spread PB on bread or warm up leftovers, it's not cooking a whole new meal if that makes sense, the options are more limited. But I see no point in letting him go hungry, and often he eats snacks just before dinner (as a kid I was always told no snacks, dinner will be ready soon, which was horrible for me especially since I'm hypoglycemic. I'd be sick-to-my-stomach starving waiting for dinner.)<br><br>
As far as the veggies, have you tried offering roasted veggies? That's DS's favorite kind. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I think they are sweeter & more flavorful than steamed or stir-fried.
 

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Here's a mama who stood on her head to make sure DD had enough to eat.<br><br>
Yeah, I would totally go back and change that if I could.<br><br>
I think the best way is to make sure each meal has at least ONE thing you know your child can handle, and otherwise it's up to them to eat enough.<br><br>
I hear you on being afraid of the diet not being balanced enough, but believe me, the alternative doesn't balance the diet. Instead, the kid gets so picky and has such a short list of "ok" foods that the diet is not balanced.<br><br>
Instead, if they are not pressured to eat what's on the table, they do tend to get curious about food. They might see a dish 10 times before they'll try it, but that will keep their options open.<br><br>
Anyway, I'm not promising miracles, like your kid loving asparagus (though, of course, it COULD happen), but I can assure you that short-order-cooking for kids will backfire.
 

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I don't make anything else, but I often add something extra to her plate that I know she will eat, like some cut fruit and some cheese. So if we are having chicken, potatoes and carrots, on her plate she will be served chicken, potatoes, carrots, strawberries, grapes and cheese.<br><br>
To me, this serves three purposes:<br><br>
- It makes sure she always eats something.<br><br>
- It continues to expose her to food she is unwilling to try/eat. At nearly 2yo she is still very fussy about meat, but I continue to offer her a small portion (like two bites) every time we have it, and she is getting better.<br><br>
- It doesn't set up the expectation that if she refuses to eat Mum will go into the kitchen and make her something else.<br><br>
I run a home daycare and have a routine of meals and snacks throughout the day. I don't serve food between these times because then I would never leave the kitchen and we wouldn't be able to do anything else fun. But if a kid doesn't want to eat what we are having at a meal I don't stress. They can eat again when the next meal/snack rolls around. It is only ever 2 to 3 hours away, and they won't starve during that time.
 

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Starchy foods that contain gluten, dairy products and soy all release opiates into the brain. They are addictive substances. In a child that is intolerant (which is a very high number) they crave the very substance that does them harm, much like a drug addict. We are a gluten, dairy, soy free family now. My dd1 did not have a pickiness before, but she ate these foods all the time. I just keep good foods in the home (GFCFSF) and allow her to pick what to eat and I always have. If I make a 'dinner' she eats it if she wants, or I have an alternate offer like a PB and J (on GFCFSF bread of course). We frequently eat raw veggies or steamed ones, fresh fruit, smoothies, acorn squash, yam and potatoes, whenever we want, like whenever we are hungry. I anticipate when she will be hungry and have something prepared for it. There are always fall backs like nuts, coconut yogurt and eggs too. If I make something she has not tried before I do ask her to try it and she usually does. Sometimes she even likes it (like a chili I was making that turned into goulash (my word for a jumbled up mix of ingredients), she said it looks gross but it tastes good (garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, pinto beans, hamburger, can of tomatoes, a few green peas and Mrs Leper's GFCFSF pasta). So I let the child choose what to eat within given parameters of health. Most people say that once beginning a new way of eating by going GFCFSF, the children lose those picky habits and love veggies and such....
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>karika</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15455870"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Most people say that once beginning a new way of eating by going GFCFSF, the children lose those picky habits and love veggies and such....</div>
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I'm not suprised. We are completely CF, and 95% GF & SF. DS does have a preference for fruits but he will eat pretty much anything, loves beans, veggies, etc. He hasn't really had many foods that contain gluten or soy, so he doesn't even have the opportunity to eat 'just' those foods. They just aren't a regular part of our diet. Hmm... never thought that might correlate with pickiness 'til you mentioned that!
 

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we all eat what we like. im on a special diet, dh likes to eat vegetarian and the kids are picky. i was forced to eat a lot of food / hated and denied what i liked growing up and it gave me major food issues.i just make sure the kids are getting all the stuff they need during the day.<br><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><i>Posted via Mobile Device</i></span>
 

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We make two meals. DS is picky - he won't even TOUCH what we're eating. He would go hungry and be cranking rather than even touching what we're eating.<br><br>
I still put what we're eating on his tray, but he ignores it and eats the other foods that I know he likes. He is 21 months so I think when he gets a bit older I can reason with him to say...take 1 bite. Right now, it's not worth the fight and I much rather him eat something than nothing. We all eat at the table together and we talk about how much we love our dinner to help peak his interest. I think he'll get there, but he is not ready yet.<br><br>
ETA: My DS won't eat veggies either (sometimes pureed peas), so I found a couple alternatives. I know it's not the best but it's better than nothing. I give him V8 Fusion juice. It's made with veggies and fruits. I also found dehydrated veggie chips (not fried) at Costco. Oh yeah - he'll eat sweet potato fries...that counts as a veggie <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I make sure there's something for everyone at the table. There are things that the kids will pretty much always eat, so we have them a lot--beans, plain lean meat, raw carrots, cooked broccoli. If I'm serving something for a main dish that I think will be of borderline interest to the kids, then I put some alternatives <span style="text-decoration:underline;">on the table</span>. I'll open some beans, put out yogurt or applesauce, etc. That way, we're still all eating dinner together and I'm not actually getting up to prepare a special meal or plate for anyone (so no one expects it). Dd1 is getting good about at least tasting new things. Dd2 is starting to show stronger preferences, but so far hasn't met a pinto or black bean she doesn't like.
 

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I personally don't have the time to make more than one thing, gosh I'm lucky if I can make dinner some nights(DS requires being held in arms a lot). My kids are both not picky, DD has always liked most foods, except spicy and avocado. My meals consist of a balanced variety, if DD doesn't like something there usually is something she'll eat. For me I think picky-ness is many times a battle of wills, one I just don't play. We never force DD to eat anything, but we suggest to her to at least "try it, you may like it." 9 times out of 10 she does, she even tried avocado recently since her baby brother loves it, but she still doesn't.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>marispel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15456080"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He is 21 months so I think when he gets a bit older I can reason with him to say...take 1 bite.</div>
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My DD is 20 months and we do this now! The thing that works with her is to make it fun and silly by saying "put your tongue on it" and let her stick out her tongue and I touch it with the food on a fork. Most of the time she still thinks it's yucky but once or twice that technique has led to her finding out she likes something new (like fettucine alfredo <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">) I think it works because it's silly and so isn't a power struggle. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> was just thinking about this thread last night... we have discovered tabasco sauce!! I have the strangest 15mo ever <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> He wasn't very interested in his dinner but then we put some hot sauce on it & he ate it all up. I'm gonna have to remember that trick!
 

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Our method is to give kids a choice about what to eat at breakfast, lunch, and snacktimes. At dinner, we only have one thing. The kids do have input in menu planning, so every other day we're usually having something they like. But if they don't happen to like whatever's for dinner, we don't try to get them to eat it.<br><br>
They won't starve if they don't eat dinner.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>crunchy_mommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15459717"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> was just thinking about this thread last night... we have discovered tabasco sauce!! I have the strangest 15mo ever <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> He wasn't very interested in his dinner but then we put some hot sauce on it & he ate it all up. I'm gonna have to remember that trick!</div>
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I thought of two things that might help with the non-veggie-eaters, and this was one of them! Actually, anything that the veggies (or other "undesirable" food) can be dipped in. Ketchup is a favorite here, even for tomatoes and some fruits. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Eat"><br><br>
The other thing is, DS started eating veggies when he first tasted frozen peas and corn. He wasn't at all interested in them before that, and I was making a shepherd's pie one night. I gave him little piles of frozen veggies to play with, and he looked up and asked for more. I realized he'd EATEN them all! (And panicked, b/c they were a choking hazard at that age and never thought in a million years he'd actually put food in his mouth of his own accord -- he was a difficult eater at first...)<br><br>
To this day, he still likes his peas frozen (with ketchup).
 
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