Stay at Home Moms

picky eaters

If your kid doesn't eat what you serve for dinner, what do you do?

Offer something else?  Like what?  Don't offer anything else, with the feeling of "if he's hungry enough, he'll eat"?

Andrew has been super picky when it comes to dinner.  We are much better at breakfast and lunch, but that's generally because those consist of foods he likes.  He is a bear at dinner.  Hes in the 50% for weight, so I know hes getting what he needs ( I think at least!)

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Re: picky eaters

  • It really depends. If I'm making something spicy they couldn't eat, I'll make something else. I usually have meatloaf frozen which is their fav food and then offer whatever starch/veggie we served with our meal. I won't make a second dinner if its something they just don't eat. 
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  • I don't do anything usually. I might offer a bit of fruit, but that's it. 

    It's normal for dinner to be the meal they don't eat much of. If they are hungry they'd eat.

    If I know it's something they truly don't like, I don't give it to them (mushrooms for DD1 are the only thing so far). I guess if I knew they truly didn't like a main dish, I might have to reconsider, but likely, I just wouldn't make the dish.

    I don't make DD2 try anything, but we have made DD1 try things since she was 2.5 or so.

    If there is a treat or sweet we were going to have, they can't have it unless they've eaten an acceptable amount of food.  


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    E 9.08, V 8.11, J 4.14
  • Up until this week I would make her something else that I knew she'd eat. She's only in the fifth percentile for weight so I fret a little more over her food intake. I have decided to stop this. She's two, she knows how to eat and will eat when she is hungry. I'm done being a short order cook.

    If she doesn't eat she can have all the fruit and veggies we have in the house but no crackers, cereal or other snack foods she loves.
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  • DochasDochas
    Tenth Anniversary 250 Answers 2500 Comments 100 Love Its
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    My son eats very few things and no meat at all.  Usually I make something for him.  I know many people say eat what's there and I'm sure that works for some kids, so it could be worth a try.  Is it a new thing for him?  Are you bothered by giving him something else?  I don't expect other people to accommodate him and I don't do backflips if we're eating out, but it doesn't bother me at home to have something separate for him.  None of the methods we tried (eat nothing, you must try one bite, etc) felt right to us.  But I think he has a texture thing going on.  He gets better by degrees.

    Just to add - he will eat any kind of fresh fruit so I know he isn't holding out for potato chips. lol

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  • I make sure there is one thing at dinner DD will eat, even if it's just the vegetable.  She is very picky, but I do make her try what we are having if I think she'll like it. 
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  • image LalaMama81:

    I don't do anything usually. I might offer a bit of fruit, but that's it. 

    It's normal for dinner to be the meal they don't eat much of. If they are hungry they'd eat.

    If I know it's something they truly don't like, I don't give it to them (mushrooms for DD1 are the only thing so far). I guess if I knew they truly didn't like a main dish, I might have to reconsider, but likely, I just wouldn't make the dish.

    I don't make DD2 try anything, but we have made DD1 try things since she was 2.5 or so.

    If there is a treat or sweet we were going to have, they can't have it unless they've eaten an acceptable amount of food.  

    I could have written this myself. I'll add that if I'm making something they've never had before and they don't care for it, I'll make a little sandwich after they've tried it.

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  • My ped told me that dinners were usually rough for toddlers, and that they start off the day strong with breakfast and generally just decrease as the day goes on. So I wouldn't worry too much about that. That being said, DS eats what I'm serving or doesn't eat. I'm pretty lucky that he doesn't have any other health issues, so I'm comfortable doing that. He also still gets a sippy of milk at bedtime, so that helps.
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  • I think it's ok to have something on the table you known your kid will eat. That way you can not make it a battle or confrontation about what they won't eat.

    DS1 can be picky, but we also try to make versions of food he will eat. As in, keeping some things separate for him, or putting sauce on the side, etc. It doesn't add extra work for us, and then we avoid battles over eating, too.

    Ellyn Satter has great advice about feeding kids. She has a few books about it.
    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • DD gets nothing else, except a sippy of milk before bed. 

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  • If its something spicey or that he has a lagitimate reason for not liking I'll put something on hi plate he can eat of course.

    But just pickness I just approach it like hell eat if hes hungry, no biggie. If he won't even try it then he must not be hungry. 

    If he tried it and seemed to not like it and its a dish with no other things to eat (like a casserole with no sides) I may give him a snack later since he just dd not like it. But usallyif he tries it and gives it a fair chance he likes it. 
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  • Unless it's something spicy or no way no how is that going in type food, I just leave it at what we're having, take it or leave it!  I'm not a short order cook.  Which can be a challenge when you've got two kids with different tastes and pickiness..

    That said, it's a royal PITA to have a picky eater!  At some point there's the realization that constantly adjusting to their needs takes away the life lesson of adapting to the situation and learning to cope since food is one of the first ways kids learn to control their environment.. 

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  • Both of my kids ate almost anything when they were that age - DS is know to eat spicy salsa with gusto which was a shock, considering DD still won't touch foods that are remotely spicy or have pepper in them.  I usually make each kid try a bite of everything on their plate.  If I knew the main dish wasn't going to be a hit, I would pad the meal with a few crackers and a cheese stick.  I would often alter recipes for the kids, too, like take out most of the spice, or just serve noodles when DD was in her "I hate tomatoes phase."  Usually I keep it to only one new or unliked dish per meal.  If they are hungry but won't eat the main dish, they will eat all their sides, and it is the end of the meal.  Starting about age 3 ... maybe 3.5, if DD decided she didn't like a meal, she was on her own.  She can make PBJ sandwiches, cheesy rollups, frozen pancakes or waffles (I always make extra large batches, and freeze some for the kids).
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  • image nosoup4u:
    I think it's ok to have something on the table you known your kid will eat. That way you can not make it a battle or confrontation about what they won't eat. DS1 can be picky, but we also try to make versions of food he will eat. As in, keeping some things separate for him, or putting sauce on the side, etc. It doesn't add extra work for us, and then we avoid battles over eating, too. Ellyn Satter has great advice about feeding kids. She has a few books about it.

    This.

    I give him some of everything (sometimes slightly modified) even if I know he won't eat it and I always make sure his plate contains at least one thing (usually more) that's a sure thing.

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  • I make one meal, she eats the parts she likes and tries everything she doesn't. There are no other meals or snacks.
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  • hocushocus
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    You don't have a picky eater. You have a kid who is not very hungry at dinner time. Offer food and them him decide how much to eat. 

     

    I have a picky eater. She eats 20 things. She is even picky about thinks like cookies and cake. For now we cater to her because we tried the you eat what we eat for 2 weeks and she stopped eating and lost weight. Dinner became a nightmare. We seen both doctors and nutritionists and both say that we should continue to offer the things she'll eat and model good eating. In 2-3 year it should improve. 

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  • We don't make alternative meals for our kids.  I try to have something they will like such as the veggie or the fruit.  If nothing else, they can fill up on milk.  I try to encourage my toddler to try the main dish by not allowing her more of what she wants until she has eaten one bite of whatever she is avoiding.  This will usually get her to try the main dish and usually she likes it.  Sometimes it takes most of the meal before she will try the main dish but we don't make it a battle.  We simply say that to get more strawberries you have to try one bite of the enchilada and if she says no.  I say ok then no more strawberries.  It seems to work most days.
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  • Generally, if he doesn't it what I serve, he doesn't eat. Then I'll offer a hearty snack before bed.

    However, if it's something we've never had before and he gives it a try first or if he's not feeling well, I'll cut him a little slack and give him yogurt or PB toast.

    ETA: He gets an after dinner snack whether or not he eats dinner.

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  • image KateMW:
    I make one meal, she eats the parts she likes and tries everything she doesn't. There are no other meals or snacks.
    Yep and sometimes that means my kids go to bed hungry. They haven't starved to death yet so I guess they will live.
    Mom to Emma 9/4/06 and Jackson 11/24/08 M/C Dec 11 and M/C twins feb 2012. BFP Thanksgiving! EDD Aug 4, 2013 M/C at 5 weeks.
  • I really don't care to be a hard azz just to make a point with a two year old.

    Sometimes he just does not want we are having. Ok maybe it's new, maybe he doesn't feel like it, maybe he just legit doesn't like it.

    If he is ok filling up on veggies, that's fine. Sometimes he asks for some cheese ok. He'll always take fruit.

    He's a great eater if once in a while he shuns our dinner for a banana and a cheese stick, that's fine by me.
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  • image amy052006:
    I really don't care to be a hard azz just to make a point with a two year old. Sometimes he just does not want we are having. Ok maybe it's new, maybe he doesn't feel like it, maybe he just legit doesn't like it. If he is ok filling up on veggies, that's fine. Sometimes he asks for some cheese ok. He'll always take fruit. He's a great eater if once in a while he shuns our dinner for a banana and a cheese stick, that's fine by me.

    Now when DD was that age, a cheese stick or some crackers in place of something was probably not a huge deal. But I don't get making a whole separate meal of "kid food" to combat the problem. But, I can admit that I've always been lucky because DD will eat all proteins. 

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  • image amy052006:
    I really don't care to be a hard azz just to make a point with a two year old. Sometimes he just does not want we are having. Ok maybe it's new, maybe he doesn't feel like it, maybe he just legit doesn't like it. If he is ok filling up on veggies, that's fine. Sometimes he asks for some cheese ok. He'll always take fruit. He's a great eater if once in a while he shuns our dinner for a banana and a cheese stick, that's fine by me.
    I think there is a huge difference between a two year old and my four and six year old.
    Mom to Emma 9/4/06 and Jackson 11/24/08 M/C Dec 11 and M/C twins feb 2012. BFP Thanksgiving! EDD Aug 4, 2013 M/C at 5 weeks.
  • image Andrewsgal:
    image amy052006:
    I really don't care to be a hard azz just to make a point with a two year old. Sometimes he just does not want we are having. Ok maybe it's new, maybe he doesn't feel like it, maybe he just legit doesn't like it. If he is ok filling up on veggies, that's fine. Sometimes he asks for some cheese ok. He'll always take fruit. He's a great eater if once in a while he shuns our dinner for a banana and a cheese stick, that's fine by me.
    I think there is a huge difference between a two year old and my four and six year old.

    There is. But, a 2 year old is also bright enough to catch on that if they don't want to eat XYZ then they get cheese or whatever.

    We also don't have epic battles at dinner. No one cries or screams b/c they are still hungry and don't like the food. They just move on. We'll see how DD2 does in the coming months, but I don't see changing my methods.  


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    E 9.08, V 8.11, J 4.14
  • I always make meals with 1 or 2 items that the boys like. The other items they are encouraged to try it.

    However both boys refuse to try pizza. So when dh and I get pizza I get them pasta. I really don't care if they skip it. Would it make my life easier if they ate it? Yes but whatever


    In a few weeks we are going to a Japanese steakhouse where they cook at the hibachi in front of you. I am praying they will try new foods that day. It is very expensive and my hope is that the environment And experience will be enough to make them adventurous. I know they will have the veggies and rice. My hope is that they try the soup and the chicken. They are not big meat eaters sadly.
    CJ :-)
  • This board freakishly attracts the parents of the best behaved kids ever. Because everyone I know in real life has had some sort of weird food phase with a toddler. It passes of course. But it still happens.

    Without a doubt, DS1 asks for a cheese stick when we have pork. We KNOW he won't eat it. It's entirely possible he does not like it lots of adults don't!

    I don't know they are human beings. They get to have preferences once in a while. Especially since while I always run dinner by DH, I certainly don't consult DS.
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  • Ds is pretty picky.  I never 'make' him anything special, but if I want to make a food I know he won't eat, he gets it on his plate with sides I know he will eat, and as long as he eats all the sides and tries a bite, if he's still hungry, he has the option of eating a yogurt, a string cheese, or a pb sandwich.
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  • image amy052006:
    This board freakishly attracts the parents of the best behaved kids ever. Because everyone I know in real life has had some sort of weird food phase with a toddler. It passes of course. But it still happens. Without a doubt, DS1 asks for a cheese stick when we have pork. We KNOW he won't eat it. It's entirely possible he does not like it lots of adults don't! I don't know they are human beings. They get to have preferences once in a while. Especially since while I always run dinner by DH, I certainly don't consult DS.
    I hope I a, not coming across that my toddlers both did not go through phases. They both did big time. My kids are not toddlers anymore so they eat what we eat. My kids are so far from freakishly well behaved:)
    Mom to Emma 9/4/06 and Jackson 11/24/08 M/C Dec 11 and M/C twins feb 2012. BFP Thanksgiving! EDD Aug 4, 2013 M/C at 5 weeks.
  • image amy052006:
    This board freakishly attracts the parents of the best behaved kids ever. Because everyone I know in real life has had some sort of weird food phase with a toddler. It passes of course. But it still happens. Without a doubt, DS1 asks for a cheese stick when we have pork. We KNOW he won't eat it. It's entirely possible he does not like it lots of adults don't! I don't know they are human beings. They get to have preferences once in a while. Especially since while I always run dinner by DH, I certainly don't consult DS.

    It's called rose colored glasses.  No one on here will ever admit that their kid eats only 4 foods...lol

    seriously though, I feel like my boys are pretty picky but they are definitely not the worst I have ever seen.    My main struggles are meat and for some reason potatos. lol

    CJ :-)
  • ta78ta78
    250 Answers 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 25 Love Its
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    DS is really picky.. If it were up to him he'd have a pb&j sandwich for every meal.

    He picks at his meals and goes to bed hungry plenty. Sometimes I will present his food differently than ours. He won't eat a salad, but if I seperate the beans, certain veggies and a hard boiled egg he will eat them individually. Or whatever it may be. The only time he gets something else is if I make something too spicy, although we've been getting better at taming it down and adding to our own plates. 

    I figure eventually, he will start to eat more. Maybe.

     






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  • I usually offer something else that's simple to make (like PB&J) without cooking a separate meal.  For her, not eating really isn't an option.
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  • image amy052006:
    This board freakishly attracts the parents of the best behaved kids ever. Because everyone I know in real life has had some sort of weird food phase with a toddler. It passes of course. But it still happens.

    Without a doubt, DS1 asks for a cheese stick when we have pork. We KNOW he won't eat it. It's entirely possible he does not like it lots of adults don't!

    I don't know they are human beings. They get to have preferences once in a while. Especially since while I always run dinner by DH, I certainly don't consult DS.

    Of course there are phases and my kids are no where near perfect. And they get to choose their breakfast, at least one snack and often their lunch. So it seems only fair that I choose dinner. I don't force them to eat. I've given the mushroom example many times, when we find something they legit don't like, I don't give it to them. For dd1, it's mushrooms. For your Ds, maybe it's pork. I am being honest when I say they don't ask for a different food at dinner. And like I said, dd2 isn't even 2 yet, so who knows what will happen. If I come off as perfect or make my kids sound that way, it couldn't be further from the truth.

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    E 9.08, V 8.11, J 4.14
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