Mothering Forum banner

I'm really stressing about some food issues with my dd, and should I worry?

642 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Kirsten
I hope I am posting in the proper forum.

I have thought about posting here for months, but then I'll read some threads, get some good advice and move on. But I have to admit that there are some issues here that are really stressing me out, and I need some advice.

I recognize that *I* am the one stressed and these may just be *my* issues that I'm going to have to get over.

My almost 5 yo dd eats very little variety. And her list of acceptable foods just gets shorter and shorter. I try to go with it and make her whatever she wants, pretty much whenever she wants, but this just isn't working well for our family (I also have a 3 yo ds and a 14 mo dd). She *never* has what we have for dinner unless it's pizza or spaghetti (which she will eat only plain). So I make something else for her. Half the time she then doesn't eat what she's asked me to make, but will cry and complain at bedtime that she's hungry. I then give her the option to finish her leftover dinner (which she refuses) or to have a string cheese or banana or something similar. Lately, these options aren't acceptable to her and she ends up throwing a fit.

The other thing is that she won't even *try* any new foods. Her acceptable food list includes: plain pasta with parmesan, honey sandwhiches, annie's mac, cheese pizza, limited fruit and veggies, milk, string cheese, cereal, granola bars, juice and smoothies, and of course some junk food (chips, donuts) which we do have around occasionally. I do feel like her diet is pretty healthy, it's just SO limited. And, I am a little worried about her protein intake, but try to trust that her body knows what it needs.

I am at my wit's end. I don't want her to have food issues at all (I have plenty for all of us) but I am just so frustrated. And with a family of 5, I'm just too busy to cater to her every food whim.

what should I do? How do you get kids to at least try foods? Should I worry about protein intake? If she refuses to eat what she's requested that I make, can I refuse her other choices? I feel like such a failure and I'm so tired of being stressed out at the dinner hour.

I should also mention is that she seems to be very sensitive to food odors, and very sure she won't like something just by the smell. I wonder how this relates to what she'll eat. She is also very particular about what she'll wear as far as clothes having tags, embroidery, buttons and such that might bother her. Maybe she has sensory issues? And maybe this is an entirely separate thread?!

Finally, my other 2 kids will try almost anything so I don't think that I've totally caused my older dd's food issues.

thanks for reading my rambling post and TIA for any advice!
See less See more
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Hugs mama.

I'm in a similar situation with my 3yo dd (I don't have 2 other children to take care of) and I know it isn't easy.

The only suggestion I have as far as protein goes is to mix some protein powder in with her smoothies. I had to do this while I was pregnant & you can't tell it's in there.

Good luck & I'm looking forward to what other mamas have to say.
Wow... I could have written that a few months ago... this have gotten alot better at our place lately but our daughter was the "carbo kid".. plain carbs that was it.. very frustrating as we are quite adventurous with our foods and she was. It seemed to happen overnight. We employed a few strategies.. I have no idea which one helped to be honest but:

- she would help whoever it was making dinner or preparing a meal.. she is only just turning 3 so we gave her a butter knife and a mushroom or two to chop up... or the bread to slice (you have to get happy with odd shapes
) she has her own cutting board and sits up on the bench. She also gets the cans and stuff from the pantry and fridge.
- she sets the table.. by taking the napkins, shakers, cups and bowls and places them on the table.
- we have a lot of foods that are serve yourself... so meals in the middle and everyone gets their own... that includes her (despite the mess)
- she helps with the shopping and we talk about what we are going to make with the foods that we choose. We also talk about what the food does for our body and how that helps us run around and have fun!
- we chose a favourite older friend (her daycare carer) to ask her about what foods she tried for dinner every day she saw her... so at dinner time we would ask her to just try the food and she how she liked it and then talk about how she could tell Coral what the food was like.
- We stopped stressing about it so much - we realised that dinner time was becoming a battle ground and was no fun for anyone.. so we relaxed.. had a variety of foods available for the whole family to eat. We figured that if we ate well and modelled good behaviour then it was a great place to start.. and we really talked up the food we were eating and how it made us big and strong.

It took about 6 months, but we are getting a wider variety happening and even better she is actually trying things... I am happy with that!

Good Luck
See less See more
There's a really good book called Child of Mine that deals with picky eaters. You should check it out.
See less See more
Hiya- I only have one kid so far, but she's the same way.

I'd say definately stop worrying about it. There's no point in adding the stress of being concerned to the stress of feeding a picky child.

There;s nothing wrong with her, there's nothing wrong with you. It is what it is.

I've been reading The Highly Sensitive Child because I too was wondering if my dd has sensory issues- she won't walk on wet grass, won't wear pants.

The book had a very good point- that a sizable minority of people are wired to be hesitiant about new things and very sensitive to small changes in the environment. They cite research that this minority exhists in many many species and is a trait necessary for the continuation of the species.

Basically- 80% of the population don't notice as much danger and will easily adapt to new things, and about 20% are super sensitive to things and don't like to try new things. This means that 80% can reap the benefits being adaptable (to a new diet or new area) if times are hard. The other 20% will survive if adapting turnes out to be a bad idea- say, if the new food is poisonous, or the new area has predators.

That idea has really helped me understand my dd- mainly the fact that the hungrier she is, the less likely she is to try something new. (This goes against the standard "if you starve thm they'll eat anything" advice people give.) Also, it seems like for my dd (and my sensitive brother as well) that the more stress she feels the more she digs in her heels about just about everything.

Anyway- hope I've been helpful.

A few things I've found that dd eats- Zuchini bread (got zuchini and nuts- but I have to chop nuts really fine,) pancakes with banana's blended in, my dd likes seafood- have you tried any? Also, blending almond meal or other nut meal into baked stuff can be good to help get protein.

Good luck!
See less See more
Just offering a
Col. What great suggestions!
See less See more
My daughter is 4 and is the same way. She will eat yogurt, bananas, mac & cheese, bread, strawberries, eggs, beans (not as much anymore
), tortilla w/ cheese, chips. Just started liking fish sticks, and took a bite of a hamburger the other day.

It worries me, too. But then I think about how she is 4 and weighs 40 pounds, so that is good. And that she doesn't like candy and cake (except frosting only
), and ice cream, etc. so that is a good thing, too

Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn't thought about sensory issues. I am a very sensitive person myself and I have noticed that she is like that, too. I think that has something to do with it now that I think about it.
See less See more
Hiya, I just wanted to pipe in and tell you not to worry!!

My baby isn't here yet (any MINUTE now practically!!) but I know with my now healthy 17 year old nephew, we thought for sure he would starve to death... I mean he went through some weird stages...once for 2 weeks he would only eat pre-cooked peperoni slices seriously.... He is totally fine now and healthy so don't worry!

I say for now, work with what she WILL eat and don't force the issue at all.... as far as the smoothies, there are a ton of things you can *sneak* into there that are healthy that she won't notice... like carrot juice, protein powder, different fruits, organic yogurt etc...

A word on the pasta too... you say she will always eat that--- barilla makes a great new pasta (we are carb addicts so we eat a lot :LOL ) It is called *barilla plus* and it is a multi grain pasta with like, really high protein and omega 3's and fiber and stuff...
You can read more here:

(no, I don't work for Barilla :LOL )

..but it would be a healthier alternative anyway to get some more vitamins and protein in her... I don't notice a taste difference at all... but of course it is more expensive, but not a lot...

Anyway, like I said, I wouldn't push the issue for now at all.. I would of course, always make new foods available to her if she chooses but for now I would stick with what she likes to avoid any further issues...

Good luck to you and take care!!
See less See more
She sounds JUST like me when I was a kid! My younger sister and brother would eat just about anything (I clearly remember my sister eating artichokes and oysters when she was young - I wouldn't even allow them on my plate.)

I ate cold cereal with milk, pb & j sandwiches, plain pasta with butter, pizza (I waited for the cheese to cool and congeal and pulled it off to scrape all the pizza sauce off, and took off all the toppings too of course! Everyone else would be done eating by the time I took my first bite.) Think I'd eat grilled cheese sandwiches, bananas, canned pears, and hamburger patties dipped in ketchup. Oh, and Oreos!

Glad to tell you that today I eat almost everything!
I still have a hard time trying stuff I perceive as "weird" but I can eat in any restaurant and find that a good 2/3 of the menu sounds acceptable. I pick very little out of/off of stuff. But as long as I live, I will never again (did it once.... ugly ending to THAT story!) eat a brussel sprout!

Sounds like she eats a very balanced diet, just not super varied. I wouldn't worry for a minute! My mom served me what they were having but if I wouldn't/couldn't eat it (it really did feel like I would throw up if I did) she would give me a pb & j or a hamburger patty and plain pasta with butter. This didn't seem to reduce the variety of things my sister and brother ate. I slowly grew to try new things, mostly because I wasn't forced to - it was my choice. I do remember my mom sighing when she'd fry up a hamburger patty for me (after making a dinner for everyone else) but she didn't hassle me too much about it. I would have just dug in my heels if she had so she probably took the right approach.

Let it go, don't worry, she will eat more things as she gets older I promise! I do know that my mom gave me a Flinstones vitamin religiously though!
See less See more
Hi Mamaroni,
I have a very similar 3 year old. It is very frustrating. And just like your DD, my DS never has what we're having for dinner unless it's pasta (plain or very occasionally with tomato sauce), cheese quesedillas, or homemade or take-out pizza. I worry about his protein, his EVERYTHING. Lately, his new thing is refusing things I KNOW he likes, like bananas, for instance. He eats literally NO vegetables (I'm not really exaggerating here). And a limited number of fruits. I try to give a good multivite every day and just try to encourage new foods and fruits and veggies all the time. I used to worry more, but now I have some faith, like others here have mentioned, that eventually he'll eat more & better.

Somedays it seems that he is surviving on air & carbs.
: Hang in there, it really seems like you are doing all the right things.
You know what they say, you can lead a horse to water...
See less See more
Kristen, that's exactly what I wanted to hear (and what I need to contantly remind myself of).
I guess the really frustrating part is when I do make her just what she wants w/o saying a word about it, and she won't eat it and wants something else.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and advice! I'm definitley going to use some of them.
Glad to be of help!
Forgot to ask, do you have the book Bread and Jam for Frances? I loved that book as a kid. My kids also have a computer game called DW the Picky Eater though I am not really remembering exactly what is on it now... Oh, we also have a cute computer game called You Are What You Eat From Your Head to Your Feet, where you try to find different healthy foods in a fun game format.

Just think, in ten years, you won't be worrying about this anymore - it will be boys and grades and curfews.... :LOL
See less See more
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.