Help me with picky eater/refusing to eat — The Bump
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Help me with picky eater/refusing to eat

So, Cason is two. If I make him something to eat and he refuses it, do I let him go hungry or do I fix him something else that I know he will eat or just let him eat whatever he wants (which would probably just be fruit)? I feel bad leaving him without food in his tummy, but then again, I don't want him to think he can eat snack type foods for dinner or whatever he wants and then try to break him of that habit later on. Any tips?
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Re: Help me with picky eater/refusing to eat

  • I have a 2 yr old that refuses to eat. Somedays, she will eat just cereal for breakfast, but I will not give in and make her something special. And if she doesn't eat her meal, she does not get a treat of any kind.

    Somedays, she will eat and somedays--nada.

    If my kids are hungry after dinner (and they didn't eat), they are given the choice of eating a healthy vegetable.  Because of this, my kids now eat raw green beans regularly.

    Hang tough and don't give in.  If he is hungry, he will eat.

    Also, my kids will eat hummus with anything--it's now my go-to food.


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  • Don't give in.  If you do it once, you'll have to do it forever.  Gavin eats what I fix or he goes hungry.  And yes, he has gone hungry many times.  That is his choice but there is no way I will ever make meals a battle nor will I ever make separate meals for everyone. 






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  • I asked my pedi that very question at our last appointment. She said absolutely NOT to make another meal.  What we are eating for dinner is what she is to eat.  She said that we cannot make them eat, but that our "job" as parents is to provide a good, healthy meal for our children.  She said that we would be starting a HUGE food battle if we start giving in now.  I typically only fix meals that I know she has liked in the past, or something that she hasn't tried but with a few veggies/sides that I know she likes.  She always finds SOMETHING to eat on the plate.
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  • I concur do NOT make anything else. DH and I had WWIII over this b/c HE felt bad. We did it my way and sure enough after a few days he ate what he was given at meals. He will still eat a ton for one meal and not a lot at the next but he will eat what I put in front of him. We also started 'family' dinner about a month ago where he eats what we eat and if he doesn't eat then there is no desert. This has been working like a charm and getting him to branch out b/c he sees us eating it. Hang tough, he will learn. 
    Colin Patrick-7/14/08 Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers imageimageLilypie First Birthday tickers
  • ditto everyone else.  If you start giving in, then he'll just always expect it.  He is old enough that missing a meal or 2 won't hurt him, and he'll learn that he has to eat what's in front of him.  One thing that I do to help her eat is to always make sure there is something on her plate that she likes.  Usually like fruit or peas or cheese or something.  That way, she sort of feels in control since there are foods on her plate that I know she'll eat.

    Also, instead of starting out with "you have to eat your veggies," make it exciting like "oh look, you get zucchini tonight!  yum!" so he'll be more excited to try it vs already knowing it's a "chore" to eat it.

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  • I'm a little less hard core than other people, but we have a pretty good eater.  I use those 5 section divider plates for DD.  In at least two of them I put some of what we're eating, usually chicken or pasta or barley, and whatever veggie we're having. 

    In the other sections I put things I know she will eat, like a raw carrot and fruit.  I always try to put a "stretch" food - something I think she will probably balk at, but may actually like.  I ask her to try at least one bite of everything new on her plate, and she is usually pretty good about it.   I let her spit it out if she does not like it.   I do NOT want to battle over food.  I don't want to make an entirely separate meal, either.  If we're having something I consider kid unfriendly for dinner, I will add some nuts or a yogurt drink to her meal. 

    In general, I allow her to eat as many fruits and veggies as she wants throughout the day (even if she doesn't eat what's on her dinner plate). 

    If you're really worried/annoyed about his eating, maybe start involving him in the food prep.  He's not too young to begin "helping" you in the kitchen.  Let him play with raw veggies during meal prep, give him a plastic knife to "cut", or a small measuring cup with water to pour into a bowl.  Let him see a food in its raw form and then when it's cooked and talk about the color/smell/etc.  DD loves to do a before and after taste and comparison of veggies (especially zucchini). 

  • My appproach is like to-be-lam.  We give DD what we eat, but I usually add a "safety" food to her plate, something healthy like carrots or broccoli that I can usually count on her to eat.  And if she doesn't eat what we are eating, that's ok.  If she does try something new, she gets lots of praise.  We encourage her to try new foods, but we don't make mealtime a battle either. 

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  • imageslwprincess:
    Don't give in.  If you do it once, you'll have to do it forever.  Gavin eats what I fix or he goes hungry.  And yes, he has gone hungry many times.  That is his choice but there is no way I will ever make meals a battle nor will I ever make separate meals for everyone. 

    We do this approach. We do not ever, nor will we ever, make separate meals. Since DH is such a picky eater I'm probably going even a little hard core than most to make sure he eats everything and isn't picky. The only time he doesn't eat what we eat is if it's something spicy or more adult friendly. Then I'll make him a simpler version usually. He also usually has at least one thing on his plate that I know for sure that he will eat and then he'll try new foods in addition to that.

    Derek 6.30.09 & Parker 4.1.11
  • OK, so I'm just throwing my advice out there because its very different than everyone elses and you may want to give it a shot.  It's not that I don't agree with everyone in theory, but I must say with a new baby I'm willing to try the easier route lately.  My mother insisted that she gets Adam to eat whatever she is feeding him by letting him have a "treat" at the same time as his meal.  I thought this was crazy grandmama logic for rationalizing cookies for dinner, but it actually works.  Adam gets 1 oreo or a few m&ms on his plate with his meal.  He always eats them first, but then amazingly enough he will eat the rest of the things on his plate.  He's still not a great veggie eater, but overall he has been eating much better since I tried this.
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