Picky Eaters

susanNovember 7, 2001

Don't ask me how it happened, but my child has turned into the pickiest eater. I always said I would not fix my kids "speacial" meals- different from what we are eating. Now my three year old goes with out dinner about 70% of the time. She doesn't get anything else to eat until morning, but still won't eat her dinner. She actually makes herself gag. For example, peas... she ate them a month ago, but now gags- same with spigetti.(sp?)

Any advise on how to get this under control? I was curious what those who have a large family do (ie- mommy of 9). Surely you can't fix "speacial" meals for each child- right? Did I foster her picky eating or are some kids just like this?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have 3 kids, and no matter what I make for supper, I can't make everyone happy every day! I have one child especially who is a very picky eater. I do not make a separate meal for anyone, if I am fixing something that I know a child really doesn't care for, then I will make sure that the side dishes are something that he/she will eat, and that they are nutritious and filling. Sometimes I will modify a plate for a child, for example one of my kids hates red sauce, so if we are having spaghetti, for example, I will take out her portion of pasta before I put sauce on it, and she will eat hers with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Since she also doesn't like her food mixed together, no casseroles for her!- I will sometimes take the individual ingrediaents and put some aside for her before I put the final dish together, like she doesn't like chicken pot pie, so if I make that I will put some cooked chicken, and vegetables aside, and serve it to her like that. I only do things like this if I know the child doesn't truly like the food, if it is just not their "favorite" then they still expected to eat it. I just don't have the time to be preparing seperate meals for everyone. I think some kids are just picky eaters, and others become picky because they are allowed to. I know my daughter would be a lot pickier if I let her!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2001 at 4:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I have 3 kids. One is picky the other two are not. The oldest is the pickiest. I never treated them any different so I don't think you made your child that way. As he gets older (he is 7.5) he is getting MUCH better. I think it is because we never made food a battle and as he gets older and sees more people eating different things he is more open to trying things he would never try before. Just this week he asked me if I could buy honeydew, which he would never eat when he was younger. He tried it at school and he liked it. The younger ones are 5,2.5 and they will try anything once without the slightest hesitation. There are some foods they don't like, but they are not like the oldest who wouldn't try anything that just didn't look right to him.

The way I structure meals is that if I am fixing something the kids like then I expect them to eat what I have fixed. There is no "I like XXX but I don't feel like eating it tonight." If I fixed food I know they like then they have to eat what I made. However, if I made something I KNOW one family member doesn't like I will fix a different meal for them. That goes for hubby and I as well. The special meal usually consists of a sandwich, plain pasta, or reheated leftovers, no herculean efforts.

I think it is a matter of respect. My husband doesn't like certain things that the rest of us like. It is unfair to not have the rest of the family enjoy a food they like just because my husband doesn't like it. Well, I wouldn't put a plate in front of him filled with food he doesn't like and then tell him he has to eat it. I put together something quick that he likes and he can eat that while the rest of us eat what we like. Well-if I wouldn't do it to my husband then I wouldn't do it to my kids.

Just remember that no child will starve himself to death when presented with enough food to eat. Their appetite can vary tremendously from day to day. Some days my 5 yo eats 3 eggs for breakfast, some days he just wants a glass of milk. Try not to make food a battleground.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2001 at 4:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just watched a segment on some television show (maybe American Baby) on which a doctor spoke about how very little our babies' bellies really are--about the size of your palm. He strongly suggested not forcing them to eat when they protest or stopping them from eating when they finally do! He gave the suggestion of letting them graze during the day by sitting out icecube tray sized portions (cut up veggies, fruit, whole grains, etc.) and letting them eat when they are hungry.

I am going to give this a try as my 14 1/2 month old DD also doesn't eat much in the pm. She eats a great breakfast, a VERY small lunch and hardly any dinner. The only reservation I have about it is how messy that could be. I guess I would have to teach her to only eat in the kitchen??? Oh great. I guess I would have to set an example and not eat in front of the television any longer! LOL

Hmmmm?? This is very similar to what I've been reading about how I should lose this last 20 pounds of baby fat--eating six mini-meals a day!!!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2001 at 4:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Susan - your post could have been written by me - esp the part about my pledge years ago to never cook separate meals! LOL
My DD is super picky now (she's almost 4). She could eat PBJ every meal of the week. But then she'll turn around the next week and eat anything I put in front of her. I try on the weeks she seems picky, to give her more water and less juice, in case she's fillng up on beverages. I have also found that if I put her plate in front of her and then pretent to be occupied (doing dishes, making grocery list, sorting mail), she will eat almost anything I put in front of her. Something about feeling independent. I also try to make sure during the picky weeks, that I give quality (PBJ out of whole wheat bread, no-salt-no-sugar-added peanut butter and all-fruit spread). (Macaroni and cheese with peas or sliced turkey cooked into it). Stuff like that.

If anyone out there has a sure-fire cure for the picky-phase syndrome, please SPEAK OUT!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2001 at 7:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the replies!! I'm glad to know this is more common than I thought and seems to be just another stage. I was starting to worry she'd never eat anything with color- no green, red etc- unless it's coated with sugar that is!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2001 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The sure fire cure seems to be age. When the get older they seem to get a little better at trying new things. Now-my 7 yo is still the pickiest eater of the group. He was just born that way. But-he tries new things with more confidence now. It comes SLOWLY though.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2001 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am so glad to see that I am not alone. My 3 yr. old son is the pickiest eater. He used to eat vegetables and fruit, he would try all kinds of meat and pasta. Now, the pasta has to be either mac and cheese (not homemade, the boxed stuff), oodles of noodles, or angle hair pasta. He won't eat chicken unless it's in the form of a nuggett or a pot pie, but he picks out all of the vegetables, no beef (not even hamburger), the only sandwich that he will eat is grilled cheese, only eats green beans as a vegetable (he also gags on carrots, peas, etc.), nothing with mayo in it or on it, no hotdogs, the only fruit he will eat is oranges or apple sauce. He will eat pizza, fish sticks/paddies, french fries, tater tots, mashed potatoes, onion rings, cereal, eggs, scrapple, bacon, and bread/toast. He also will eat snacky stuff like chips, pretzels, gold fish. But this is it. It makes it hard to go to anyone's house and eat without stopping and getting something for him. I had heard all of the sarchasm. I can't make him eat better food. He starves himself, then gets cranky and hard to live with. He has tried other foods and literally threw them right up. The only thing that he will eat at thanksgiving will be mashed potatoes, bread and apple sauce, no turkey. It gets so frustrating. I sincerely hope that this is a phase. I have also tried chewable vitamins to supplement his diet. Projectile vomitting. He drinks alot of juice and milk, so, he is getting something. He's not a thin kid. He just eats junky stuff. If anyone has any hope for us, please let us know.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2001 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jainie- That's us!! Today I made meals for the next few weeks to freeze in advance. I was looking at them as I was putting them in the containers thinking she's not going to eat a single one of these! We did find Gummi Bear vitamins that she likes, I've seen them at Walmart and Walgreens.
-All this research on vitamins and I guess we all turn out okay anyway- thank goodness!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2001 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It amazes me how independant they can be. My four year old does not like anything. I cook almost every single night, very healthy meals. I don't know where he gets it from. He hates things that he has never even tried. Sometimes I can bribe him, and say if you eat this you can have what you want after. "Is that bad"? His favorites are, PJB sandwiches, cereal, cereal, and cereal. He could live off of cereal! I even bring cereal to daycare because he will not eat there either. I worry all the time if he gets enough nutrician. I can simpithize with you Janie about the projectile vomiting, my son does it all the time if he does not like something, or he will chew it all up then spit it right back out onto his plate, of course he gets in trouble when he does that, he knows to go to the trash or the bathroom. I encourage him to eat every time but I never make him eat, I think that is wrong. Should I use a suppliment? I have thought about those drinks, I have seen on commercials, like Ensure for kids. But my luck he would hate it then I would have waisted my money. Has anyone ever tried these?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2001 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I thought about those drinks, Ensure I think that they are called. I am going to try to find the gummy vitamins first, the drinks are expensive. I have found that I can't MAKE him eat anything. I can just hope that this is a phase. My daughter, 17 months eats all kinds of things. I never have to make her a special meal. My son grows, so he must be doing something right. I have a friend whose son would drink milk mostly, and only eat peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, that's it. He's a doctor now, very healthy and trim. He still doesn't eat a variety of food. I hope my son doesn't stay this way, but I want him to be healthy. At least peanut butter and bacon was portable, everything that my son eats has to be cooked or prepared. I wish he would eat sandwiches, burgers, or something easy. I am also having a problem potty training him. He was doing it now he refuses. I wonder if this is a control issue? The 2 things that we can't make them do, go on a potty, and eat certain foods.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2001 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't do Pediasure unless you want a worse problem (is that proper grammar?). They taste just like a milkshake - very yummy, and my nephew is addicted to them - fills up on them and won't eat solid food. They are having a time getting him off of them. And like Jainie said they are very expensive. Here in Atlanta they run $10.50 and when I was in FL last week, I saw them for $11.50 (for a carton of 8 cans).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2001 at 12:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Keep this in mind...you wont find many picky eaters in Somalia..If you get hungry enough, you will eat anything organic...Very few starve of their own free will...

    Bookmark   January 4, 2002 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One ay to stop the picky eating thing is to make your child wear a napkin around the neck at mealtimes. In stead of arguing and complaining, they are now more focussed on eating and getting through the meal so that the bib can be taken off. This really works.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 2:02PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
she is too demanding
First, my mom never hits me. My brother and I got into...
Toy vacuum for 4 year old
This is my first time posting in this forum, and I'm...
Big Bed Safety
I just need some safety input. I'm thinking of forgoing...
Speech Delay?
My daughter is almost 3 years old. She talks..alot..but...
3 yr old started stuttering
I am the grandmother of a darling 3 yr old little girl....
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™