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Very picky eater--do I keep offering, even though he never eats it??

854 Views 22 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Diane~Alena
Hi--my son is 31 months, and he hasn't eaten any fruit or vegetables in 3 months. Actually, no fruit for 3 months, no veg for 6!!

I continue to put fruit and veg on his plate at least 3 times a day, and he never touches it. It seems wasteful! I know that you are supposed to have to offer something many times until they will eat it, but at this point would it be better to stop and try again in a few months?

Just wondering if anybody has any btdt advice!

Carrie & Boden (8-19-03)
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I say keep offering. You can also keep trying different ways and types and forms etc.! My dd1 rarely eats anything but every now and then she will take some bites of a banana or an apple or something! Like I have heard people here say: It is our job to make good food available and they will eat it when they are ready. This is hard for me sometime when I feel like I am throwing away so much food but I just try and make really small servings!
I could have written your post!! DS turned 2 yesterday. In the past 3 weeks, he has eaten (sucked on) 2-3 strawberries, a couple of grapes and one bite of squash. I have yet to find a happy medium between letting him totally self-feed (which results in eating meat, cheese, and bread) and force feeding (which I totally oppose). He is always constipated.

I try to offer 2-3 fruit/veggie choices at each meal. Most of it gets pushed around or fed to the dog. I am hopeful that someday he will eat. I would like to believe that he won't nurse like a newborn forever!!

I'm not worried about weight/nutrition. He weighs 41 lbs and is 38 in tall. I guess my point is that if your DC is healthy, don't worry about what he eats, keep offering until he finally decides to eat. Good luck and if you figure out a solution, let me know!!!
That's part of my problem...he's 35 inches and 28 lbs!! His ped says he's perfectly healthy, that it's not bad to be thin. It makes the food thing even more of an issue as I am constantly worried that he's not getting enough.

If he weighed more, I probably wouldn't care so much, but I'm worried that he's missing out on something he needs.

I'm having a similar issue with ds, 19 months. He's become highly suspicious of fruits and veggies. Although he has his favorites that he'll always eat like bananas or applesauce, he's been sticking his nose up at all sorts of fruits and veggies that he used to gobble up just a few months ago! I usually end up getting him to eat veggies by mixing them in with the rest of his meal if there is a sauce to flavor them with. I'd keep offering them but not forcing them, just as you are already doing. Ok, I'm not much help. Just wanted to let you know I sympathize!
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I do 2 things to help DD (3 years old) get enough fruits and veggies:

1) I mince kale and mix it in everything. And I mean everything! I mix it into casseroles, bread, cakes, scrambled eggs, pasta sauce, etc.

2) DD will eat absolutely anything as long as it is pureed. So I still give her "baby food" almost every day.
My DS, Pierce is beyond fussy. He is very leary of fruits and veggies. Although, I find if I am careful with his snacks, meaning I try to not offer anything within 2 hours of mealtime and when I am on top of my game it's a banana or carrrots, he is more likely to try new foods. I am ashamed to admit that we've tried force feeding and it always ends with the three of us, me, DH and DS reduced to tears. I don't want him to have a complex regarding food and I feel if i do force feed it's a guarantee that he will. The ped says one good meal every three days beleive it or not. And I notice he eats good every other day which is fine as long as it is indeed every other day cuz this mom gets too stressed

I also supplement him with a whole foods vitamin and so far so good , he's not sick any more than most three year olds, in fact he's a pretty hearty lil guy.
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My son just turned two and he eats everything in sight, non stop, all day long. He poops up to six times a day. He's a piggy. But he doesn't even weigh 28lbs. He's super skinny. My point is that just because a kid eats, doesn't mean they put on weight. I'd say keep offering foods. Hunter suddenly starts eating different foods every week. It's an adventure. This week he tried sprouts and cherry tomatoes. Good luck.
I'd try hiding it in his foods.
I've been having this problem with my 16 month old DD. She will eat any fruits or veggies, for the most part. Thing is, they must be in baby food form. She used to eat lots of finger foods- peas, cut up green beans, cut up cooked carrots- then just suddenly stopped. Now the only self-fed foods she will eat are cereals, breads, cheese, Veggie Booty and cut-up grapes.

We're just waiting it out.
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When my DS was that age, he did the same thing. I hid veggies in other foods. I made homemade mac and cheese and put broccoli in there. I got dehydrated vegetables from Wild Oats, ground them up, and put them in peanut butter. I made carrot muffins. (I found that any muffin recipe turns out okay with one cup of added shredded veggies. DS's favorite was banana muffins w/ carrot.) We made sweet potato fries. (Baked, not fried.)
I have chunky milk drinker but food is another story. I'm so used to him not eating that I sometimes forget to even offer.

I feed passively and it works. Ds just doesn't think about eating if he is involved. Yesterday we went on an outing involving trains and horses, He barely wet a diaper! I often think about starting the baby food passively as well. Now that spring is here there are strawberries in season with other things not far off that he ate out of control last summer.

I give bananna disks with peanut butter, strawberries, toast with cinnamon and sugar or nutella (yeah, I know, but he eats it). Yogurt goes over well. I tried smoothies this morning in a sippie - straw cup. It may be promising.

I'd be worried about the constipations and try to get carrots or peas or pears into dc. Oatmeal helps too.

Good luck!
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Keep offering. I felt like that at one time with ds, then he just suddenly started eating fruits and vegs. It just felt natural to me to always offer what I was eating or what happened to be in the fridge. Like, "this is what we humans eat, you can choose to eat it now or not, but since you can't help yourself to food in the house I'll do it for you."

I'd just do tiny amounts and eat myself what he didn't eat, to avoid wastage.

I would try to hide a little in his food for now to get those extra minerals and to avoid constipation.
One thing I tried with my toddler recently was to cut steamed broccoli and fresh fruit into small pieces and stick toothpicks in them. She loved spearing them with the toothpick and eating them that way (when she had been refusing them outright before). Maybe introduce a novel presentation now and then and see if that does the trick. Also, maybe a dip? Mine never tries the dips.
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Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! I've tried fruit kebabs, without success, but I will try the toothpicks too.

My attempts at hiding have not been succesful either, but I'm going to try pureeing beyond recognition to see if that works!

I'm giving him supplements at this point because I'm worried about him getting enough vitamins.

Thanks again!
I'd say keep offering too. As long as he doesn't have some disability preventing him from trying new foods, I'd actually offer fruit and veggies in much greater quantities than the other foods. Also keep trying to disguise the healthy foods; you can make a smoothie then puree it with yogurt, maybe make a smooth soup, hide veggies in pizza sauce, pancakes, homemade breads, etc. It's good to offer a vitamin/mineral supplement, as you are.

- Krista
Definantly keep offering.

But my question is, what *does* he eat? I've noticed with my toddler and her friends that toddlers will *live* on wheat products if they can. Crackers, bread, pasta, cereal. And I honestly don't think they're that good for them-- they are super-processed, high allergen foods. If this is the case with your little one, I would omit processed wheat products and see if they suddenly start eating your roasted potato "fries", fried brown rice, hash browns and other carbohydrate rich whole foods. If you can get dc to eat these foods, then you may have a better shot at sneaking in some minced broccoli or spinach.

I would make it available but not offer in an obvious way. Sometimes toddlers will say no automatically, but if you set it out in a place where they can get to it. It takes several exposures to a new food before most toddlers will accept it.
As you probably know, most toddlers go through picky phases. Some seem to stay in them forever. My DS was always a good eater, but he did go through some phases where it seemed that all he ate was cheese and cheerios. We just kept offering what we were eating, if appropriate, and offering healthy foods. We found that offering very small amounts worked best. A dab of mashed potato. A small slice of apple. A spoonful of casserole. He would sometimes eat it, and sometimes ask for more when it was all gone. But load up his plate, and forget it, he wasn't having any!

And if you offer small bits, not much gets thrown away. If I ate an apple, I'd offer him slices. I definitely ate more fruit and veggies trying to get him to eat them!

As they get older (at 31 mos. you should be able to have a bit of fun with dips, food cut into shapes, etc.) you can get more creative with dips and things, and having them help you shop and prepare food. Once we got into dips, DS was nuts for them and whatever he could scoop it out with. I also found he would eagerly eat a sandwich if I cut it out with a cookie cutter (the heart was his favorite

Another thing that works is to NOT offer something once in awhile. Like put broccoli on your plate, but not his. We did this once and DS was begging for bites. But obviously you can't overuse this tactic.

My DS got over his phase (he's 38 mos.) and now eats everything that's not nailed down, including broccoli and all manner of fruits and veggies. I think the most important thing is not to stress over it in front of them, because they quickly sense a power struggle and this is one they will always win.
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I agree with Starbarrett...toddlers will eat the crackers, bread, cereal and whatnot if it's available, and then they really won't have an appetite for vegetables. If only very healthy food is available at home, then only very healthy food can be eaten! Not necessarily an easy change to makes, since the processed food is often the convenient thing.

At our house, we like to keep fruits and veggies out on the table - in sight means we're all more likely to eat it! Grapes, cherry tomatoes, sliced peppers, carrots, celery, dried fruit, etc. So if I leave out some sliced bell peppers, dd is more likely to see them in the course of the day and eat some. No pressure, she'll just go for it.

If you aren't having any health issues, you can maybe just chalk it up to toddler pickiness and not worry about it. Like someone else said, don't make food a power struggle! I think I lived on popcorn and cereal when I was a kid, and I eat my veggies just fine now!
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