Food strategies — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Food strategies

We have always wanted Davey to eat what we eat at mealtimes, which works fine for breakfast. We don't eat lunch at the same time so it's less relevant, and for dinner I have not done well. Of course long ago he couldn't eat what we ate so I gave him certain things... and just never transitioned away from that. So a few weeks ago we decided there was no time like the present and started feeding him whatever we're having for dinner.

But... he hardly eats anything unless we happen to be having one of his favorites. Then he'll eat that and nothing else. I'm not worried about him nutritionally since he still nurses and gets plenty of variety in his other meals, but I do worry I've enabled a picky eater. Any suggestions for how to encourage him to try new things? I would be fine with him even just taking a bite to see if he likes it, but mostly he just says no and won't try. I don't want food to become a battleground so I just say okay and hope he'll try some next time, but so far he has not. 

Any ideas??

Re: Food strategies

  • I'm kind of in the same boat..but I did discover that if I offer my son the vegetable or thing he doesn't want to try as his only choice he is much more likely to eat some. Sometimes I try to make a game of it and if I can get just a little on his lip he will like the flavor. It doesn't always work, so I do cave often and give him cheese or chicken which are his favorites.
  • I'm not sure if this applies, but I've discovered that presentation is huge with us. Sometimes she'll let us fee her. Sometimes she'll want to pick stuff up. Sometime she wants to use the fork/spoon. Sometimes she HAS to use the fork to pick it up. It's very strange , and I was definitely not prepared for these battles. We're getting better though. 
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  • Like @TRA0816 we've had better luck when we present W with one food at a time, and save her favorite for last. On nights when I put everything on her plate at once, I put less of her favorite thing on the plate and tell her she can have more of that if she tries a little bit of the rest of it (nothing like bribing a toddler!).  And if she doesn't eat, she doesn't eat.  My pediatrician said she'll eat if she's hungry, and she eats really well for breakfast and lunch, so we're trying to keep this up to encourage her to eat all kinds of stuff!
  • Ugh we have major food problems. Just had our 18 mo check in and she dropped to the 2nd percentile in weight, and the Dr is very worried. We have to figure out some way to get in high fat foods so she gains something, or else Dr said we would have to give her a food appetite increaser med. The only thing LO consistently eats is yogurt. If I try to bribe her (eat this first, then you can have yogurt) she just goes "fine" and doesn't eat anything, even her yogurt. I've got a very stubborn, picky eater. She doesn't even like junk food! Dr also recommended trying pediasure to get more weight and vitamins in her, but she wants nothing to do with it. The best method I've found that works is to take the pressure off of everyone, eat in front of her, and she might then want to try what we are having. Most of the time, she'd rather play though. She would definitely starve herself if we let her. 
  • @mamadcb I don't have any great advice, but if it helps you feel any better we started LO off very early eating what we eat and he did great with veggies and new things at first but has since become much pickier and does not often eat new things- you may have been in the same boat no matter, so don't beat yourself up about that! :smile:

    I try to make sure there is at least one thing I know he likes on his plate and then offer small amounts of whatever else we are having. If he wants to try it he can but we don't force the issue. We offer a pouch at the end of the meal so if he didn't get enough that should take care of it- if he is being particularly stubborn and refuses everything then so be it, I figure he will eat more at the next meal! Good luck
  • @fishee333 Have you tried Carnation Instant Breakfast? My stepson got dangerously thin after being on some medication, and just wouldn't eat. We tried Pediasure first, and he wasn't a fan. The doctor then recommended half a pouch of Carnation in a full serving of whole milk. Since he was drinking it, he was totally up for it. Thought it was chocolate milk! (I think the reason they recommend half is the sugar content, but I'm not sure. We just tried it.) The other nice thing is that there are half a dozen flavors, so if baby doesn't like one, you can try another. Good luck. It's a scary feeling to watch them grow thinner. :(
  • @stephanienjer Interesting, no we haven't tried that. Thanks for the suggestion!! I'll buy some next time i go to the store. 
  • @stephanienjer Well I bought Carnation instant breakfast and personally, I think it's delicious. It really does taste just like chocolate milk. Freya won't even try it though! I think she maybe doesnt trust me anymore after trying all the different flavors of pediasure lol. And I thought they tasted gross too, so I don't blame her. Anyway, I'm still hopeful that LO will like Carnation if she actually tries it... I'll probably wait a week and try again. 
  • @SDaniels19 It's good to know I may have wound up in this situation anyway! And your approach has basically been ours too, only nursing in place of a pouch. I don't want to make it into a big ordeal every night, especially since I can neither persuade nor force him! The only thing that I've discovered in the last few days (by accident) that works occasionally is to not even give him any but to eat it myself-- then he wants to try, of course. So it shows me he's not picky so much as stubborn. So that's fun :)
  • DS will frequently only try something new if he sees us eating it first.  It's like he wants us to prove its OK to eat it.  He also likes to feed his food to us, which gives us the opportunity to say "Now it's your turn".  
  • Birdie can have literally the same exact thing on her plate as I do mine, and she will demand to have food off of my plate. If I traded plates with her, she'd want hers back. (I have found she's really interested in table knives right now. I give her a plastic kids' butter knife and she goes to town. Apparently it's fun to eat two-handed.)
  • With foods Keat likes we just give them to him, with foods we know he's not a huge fan of we set him next to use and we feed him as we eat and he's normally a lot better at eating. We've been feeding Keaton the same food as us for probably 6 months and he's still picky about eating sometimes. He loves snacks though so I try to make them as nutritious as I can. He would snack all day if I let him.
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