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#1 Nov 06 2012 at 12:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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Parenting post here for you others out there with tiny minions.

Does anyone else have a picky eater in the household? Any hints or tips for getting them to eat things?

Our eldest is about 20 hours into a general hunger strike refusing to eat her dinner from last night. We're not really "go to bed without dinner" kinds of parents, but she's proven more than willing to do so on her own accord (i.e. she has had no problems going to bed without eating rather than eating dinner). This is the first time we're really pushing it though, giving her the same thing for breakfast the next day, making her stay at the table, etc.

Unfortunately my daughter has inherited a good deal of stubbornness for both myself and my wife. Smiley: rolleyes

She won't eat any meat (save McDonald's chicken nuggets) or any vegetables (V8-fusion has been our last resort...); we've tried several of both without luck. Preferring fruit, dairy, and the occasional starch (rice, bread, pasta mostly). She's in relatively good health at the moment, but we're trying to add some of that variety she should have into her diet. It's not that we want her to eat a certain food she hates or something, but there's whole food groups she avoids, and we just want her to eat something from that category. That's the part that worries us mostly.

Or do we just let it go already?

Bleh, life is sucky at the moment. Smiley: frown

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#2 Nov 06 2012 at 12:53 PM Rating: Decent
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Feed her Hot Pockets, preferably the ones that contains the food groups you want her to have. That or make pizzas with those toppings on them, most kids will go for pizza despite whats on it.
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#3 Nov 06 2012 at 1:05 PM Rating: Good
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Can't offer any help here, I don't think my parents ever had to go beyond "try it before you say you don't like it" to get me or my sisters or brother to eat stuff. Hang in there though, there's few things I appreciate more from the way I was raised than preferring a reasonably healthy and varied diet, makes it much easier not to get fat.
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#4 Nov 06 2012 at 1:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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Shaowstrike the Shady wrote:
That or make pizzas with those toppings on them, most kids will go for pizza despite whats on it.


I really like this idea, it didn't work for us though. We went as far as letting her choose the toppings and make it herself (two things she's likes doing), and it was a no go. Won't touch cheese pizza either, pasta without sauce only... Smiley: frown

His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Can't offer any help here, I don't think my parents ever had to go beyond "try it before you say you don't like it" to get me or my sisters or brother to eat stuff. Hang in there though, there's few things I appreciate more from the way I was raised than preferring a reasonably healthy and varied diet, makes it much easier not to get fat.


Smiley: smile
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#5 Nov 06 2012 at 1:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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Duct tape, blender, funnel.

My work here is done.
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#6 Nov 06 2012 at 1:43 PM Rating: Good
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Give up on her and focus your energies on the other one.
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#7 Nov 06 2012 at 2:47 PM Rating: Excellent
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Avoiding whole food groups seems odd. Did you ask her if eating meat, or veggies, or whatever gives her a tummy ache? Or is it just that she thinks she doesn't like it?
#8 Nov 06 2012 at 2:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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Belkira wrote:
Avoiding whole food groups seems odd. Did you ask her if eating meat, or veggies, or whatever gives her a tummy ache? Or is it just that she thinks she doesn't like it?

Also ask if there's something about textures that's causing her a problem. Depending on the fruits she'll eat it could also be as simple as her preferring soft textures because of some kind of dental problem she hasn't articulated. Perhaps even a loose tooth that feels funny when chewing harder foods.

If this doesn't reveal other problems, there are a couple ways to sneak some veggies into other foods that are mostly undetectable. Try cauliflower mashed into mashed potatoes or parsnips made into chips(there's a Good Eats episode about it). Since she's eating starches, perhaps try blending some quinoa into some rice. There's another Good Eats episode about making peas into a burger-like patty. Perhaps molding the same recipe into nuggets might inspire the child to eat it?
#9 Nov 06 2012 at 3:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'll have to give the more specific questions a go, don't recall having asked them.

We have asked several times more general questions such as "why don't you want to eat your hot dog?" The response being something along the lines of "I don't want to" or "it's icky." Most of the foods she simply hasn't even tried though, or has simply brought them to her mouth, touched them to her tongue and made a face and said something like "ewwww!" before putting it down.

Getting her to even try something is half the battle.
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#10 Nov 06 2012 at 3:10 PM Rating: Good
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We just get them to try some of what we're eating and on occasion, they actually will. Then, when we find something they like, we add it to their "meal plan" as well.

My son now tries just about everything we eat and then we need to scramble to get him a plate of it or we're losing our meal to him. My daughter we haven't had nearly as much success with, but on occasion, she will try something new.
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#11 Nov 06 2012 at 3:13 PM Rating: Decent
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Americans force feeding their kids are at least part of the childhood obesity problem in America. If she eats fruit and dairy, she's getting her fiber and protein in. Strangely enough, vegetables are an acquired taste for some people, and you should re-introduce them once she's hit puberty and can appreciate a good roast brussel sprout.

In the meantime, she'll eat when she's hungry.

Just make sure she's taking a gummy multivitamin every day.
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#12 Nov 06 2012 at 3:18 PM Rating: Excellent
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catwho wrote:
Strangely enough, vegetables are an acquired taste for some people, and you should re-introduce them once she's hit puberty and can appreciate a good roast brussel sprout.
I disagree on the timing. Try every few months. My kids suddenly like veggies they always hated out of no where. They both eat broccoli cooked or raw which is not typical of a 6 and 5 yr old. 3 months ago, my son only would've eaten cooked and my daughter not at all.
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#13 Nov 06 2012 at 3:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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Shaowstrike the Shady wrote:
Duct tape, blender, funnel.


This.

On a more serious note though, I think that parents stress overly much about making sure their kids eat x, y, and z, how much they eat, etc. Kids go through strange periods. Frankly, I can't figure out how they don't starve anyway, given that they're bundles of energy, yet eat like three tiny bites of food at any given meal (mashing the rest around on the plate but not eating it). And those are the ones that don't have weird food issues. Somehow, magically, they don't starve, and they do grow up just fine.

I'll just second the idea of letting her eat what she wants (within reason) coupled with vitamins. Periodically attempt to introduce other foods along the way. What many of my friends do is put several different things in small portions on the plate and let them choose. They'll attempt to get them to eat some of everything, but as long as they eat "enough", it's ok. Over time, the kids tastes will change, or they'll feel like trying something different. You wont know when it's going to happen, but it will.
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#14 Nov 06 2012 at 7:32 PM Rating: Good
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My kids won't eat anything they don't want to eat. Don't compare. Just do... I barter fruits and veggies because that works.

Do what works for you!
#15 Nov 07 2012 at 12:10 AM Rating: Excellent
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Here is how I fed my kids:


Kid: "I don't like it!"
Me: "Leave the table."
Kid: "OK"


They didn't die.
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#16 Nov 07 2012 at 7:06 AM Rating: Decent
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My kids generally offed little resistance when we came across something they didn't like. I like to think the fact that we have no pop in the house and never, ever go to fast food places has helped to keep them open to new foods.
Ultimately hunger will break stubbornness.
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#17 Nov 07 2012 at 8:36 AM Rating: Good
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Currently my 11 month old son will attempt to eat anything he can pick up. He has to taste all the things.

My 7 year old stepdaughter isn't really picky either. She actually asks for greens and veggies as a snack, and I'm pretty sure her favorite food are fresh roma tomatoes. She is not above eating junk food, either.
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#18 Nov 07 2012 at 10:04 AM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
I'll have to give the more specific questions a go, don't recall having asked them.

We have asked several times more general questions such as "why don't you want to eat your hot dog?" The response being something along the lines of "I don't want to" or "it's icky." Most of the foods she simply hasn't even tried though, or has simply brought them to her mouth, touched them to her tongue and made a face and said something like "ewwww!" before putting it down.

Getting her to even try something is half the battle.


Next time ask her if it's the way it tastes or the way it feels. My son gets really hung up on textures of food. I assume you've tried both raw and cooked vegetables?

I can appreciate the texture issue. I think raw tomatoes are terrible, but love all tomato sauces, tomato soup, sundried tomatoes :P
#19 Nov 07 2012 at 5:27 PM Rating: Good
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I wouldn't worry about it too much. Give her the stuff from that group that she'll eat to make sure she maintains a balanced diet and just wait for her tastes to change.

Taste gradually changes as you get older so it shouldn't take long for her to grow into liking some of the things she hates now. Keep serving it to her and encouraging her to try it, but make sure she eats something. I'm not sure how old your little girl is, but the most important thing is that she gets calories in her to fuel that supercharged engine I'm sure she has.
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#20 Nov 07 2012 at 6:52 PM Rating: Decent
I'm not a parent. So my example and thought are of mine...
I put some of the blame of me being obese on my parents. The reason? When I was a kid and said I didn't want to eat "it", I didn't get to leave the table until "it" was gone. Even if I liked other parts of the meal, and gladly would have rather have had more it (and maybe was gave more), all food on my plate had to be gone. "They" say not chewing your food for a decent amount of time leads to being fat. I 100% believe this. So as child I would power through all the crap I hated to eat more of the stuff I liked, in the end I over ate and by the age of 8 my parents were getting stuck with a child who was twice as big as everyone else at every age. I blame another part due to living out of town all my life. I was only physically active at school, once that was over it was a 40min bus ride home to due homework and write out "spelling words" hundreds of time for the rest of the night. If I was given a break I watched TV or played video games. As I got older and into high school I did try and play football, but sadly I injured my knee and gave up one it due to the pain I was always in. So I would go home and play video games.
Did they learn their lesson? I have to say yes, because both my younger brothers got away with not eating every thing and could say yes/no to foods. They grew up "normal" size and healthy.

Enough about me . . . more on help, maybe. My parents actually took in some foster family (they were my fail cousin's kids) for some time about a year ago, and they were omfgpicky when it came to food. If she is old enough to say "no", ask why she doesn't like it. "Because I don't" should not be allowed.

Lets use the hotdog. Is it JUST a hotdog and nothing else? Maybe try slitting it and adding a sliver of cheese to it? ketchup? mustard? Bread? (protein, dairy, fats, and grain if you need to see it that way). One kid would not eat meat w/o ketchup. Actually you could put ketchup ON anything and he would then eat it. It was kind of gross (green beans and ketchup... Pizza and ketchup...toast and ketchup). However he was only give so much, maybe 2 servings worth and that was it.

She likes chicken nuggets from McD's? Will see eat chicken nuggets that are home made? Like Tyson's? If no, is it because they are not from McD's? Have you presented store bought ones to her IN a McD's box/bag? This was also a trick my parents used, and I know others out there have.

I say 1st you need to figure out what she likes. Is she at the age where solid foods are the "new" thing? Maybe her food needs to be pureed? There is all the vitamin drinks out there if you re worried about that, maybe she likes one?

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Frankly, I can't figure out how they don't starve anyway, given that they're bundles of energy, yet eat like three tiny bites of food at any given meal (mashing the rest around on the plate but not eating it). And those are the ones that don't have weird food issues. Somehow, magically, they don't starve, and they do grow up just fine.


It is that primal part of us. When it was time to run for safety, the young could go go go.

Edited, Nov 7th 2012 6:53pm by Sandinmygum
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#21 Nov 07 2012 at 7:20 PM Rating: Good
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Another non-expert chiming in here, but a former picky eater.

For me, at least, I want to quickly destroy two common ideas parents have about their children and picky eating. You could not bully me to eat anything I did not want to. I'd starve or sit at the table until the next morning. It also wasn't a choice for me. If I ate mashed potatoes at the age of 8, I'd literally gag, choke, and then vomit. It was a mental reaction, but it wasn't a choice. I wasn't pretending.

What ended up helping me was experimenting enough until I found a stable diet. It's probably going to be easier to find a new vegetable she ends up liking than changing her mind about a vegetable she presently does not. Also realize that the same food prepared differently may make a huge difference. With meat, you might try not only a variety of meats, but try doing them with a sweet sauce, source, spicy, salty, try boiling, try frying, etc.
#22 Nov 08 2012 at 10:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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So anyway, the wife decided yesterday afternoon to bargain with her some more. We got her to eat a peanut butter sandwich, which is progress. (She's almost 4 btw, since it's come up).

We've at some point tried about every different type of food we can think of in the veggie and meat category. The "not from McDonalds" nuggets don't go down as well, she'll take a bit or two out of each one and that's it. Still it's something though. The only other thing we've had luck with in the meat dept. is some fish she caught herself. We've fried, baked, broiled, breaded, sauced, etc. various things, but no go on any of it.

As for veggies, we've about run the list there too. Peas, beans, lettuce, squash, many various Asian veggies I can't remember the names of, corn, carrots, spinach, onions, and probably a lot more. We've tried cooking, steaming, raw, with some kinds of sauce (for the ones it usually makes sense with), no go.

At this point we're continuing to just keep putting different things in front of her and encouraging her to try it. Being disappointed when she doesn't eat it, and excited when she does. Thing is I'm positive she's caught onto our game by now. I don't think either of us really wants to go down the "you have to eat it and you're not getting anything else until you do" route again, since it seems she can hold out way longer than we feel comfortable letting her go without food.

Kids...

Now where did this gray hair come from? Smiley: rolleyes
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#23 Nov 08 2012 at 12:32 PM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
Parenting post here for you others out there with tiny minions.

Does anyone else have a picky eater in the household? Any hints or tips for getting them to eat things?

Our eldest is about 20 hours into a general hunger strike refusing to eat her dinner from last night. We're not really "go to bed without dinner" kinds of parents, but she's proven more than willing to do so on her own accord (i.e. she has had no problems going to bed without eating rather than eating dinner). This is the first time we're really pushing it though, giving her the same thing for breakfast the next day, making her stay at the table, etc.

Unfortunately my daughter has inherited a good deal of stubbornness for both myself and my wife. Smiley: rolleyes

She won't eat any meat (save McDonald's chicken nuggets) or any vegetables (V8-fusion has been our last resort...); we've tried several of both without luck. Preferring fruit, dairy, and the occasional starch (rice, bread, pasta mostly). She's in relatively good health at the moment, but we're trying to add some of that variety she should have into her diet. It's not that we want her to eat a certain food she hates or something, but there's whole food groups she avoids, and we just want her to eat something from that category. That's the part that worries us mostly.

Or do we just let it go already?

Bleh, life is sucky at the moment. Smiley: frown

If you keep giving her yucky mcnuggies, that's all she's going to want.

Tricks, deals and even downright lies are ok to get kids to eat good stuff: I added 'mama magic' (brown sugar) to cooked carrots. The kids had to eat the 'wish bubbles' in pizza or bread crust before their wish was valid. Shapes make a difference. Oranges were cut into 'smiles'. Add peas to mac and cheese. Raisins and pb on celery makes bumps on a log.

You can try bargains - eat 4 carrot sticks to get one mcnugget....that kind of stuff.

Much of the problem that kids have with meat is that it's tough, their teeth are still pretty soft. Soften meat by marinating with salt.

Good luck.

Edit - try soups for getting at those veggies - fun shaped crackers might help.




Edited, Nov 8th 2012 7:34pm by Elinda
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#24 Nov 08 2012 at 1:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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Here is how I fed my kids:


Kid: "I don't like it!"
Me: "Leave the table."
Kid: "OK"


They didn't die.


This. Now that my kids are in the last years of their childhood, we've let them set their own time table for eating as well. Now it's more a battle of getting them to clean up after themselves when they've made a meal.
#25 Nov 08 2012 at 3:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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We had success for the first time with cooked broccoli and cauliflower by doing it in a cheese sauce. Tried that?
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#26 Nov 08 2012 at 3:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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Bribing can SOMETIMES work with the kids, "Eat this and tomorrow you can get mcdonalds" would work with my daughter. Tricking them to eat something works too. My stepson used to not want anything but chicken, I got him to eat duck, turkey, and pork by saying it was chicken. He is still a picky eater but is better than he used to be. My daughter CAN be picky but I have got her to eat things like catfish, calamari and even poor little thumper in a stew. My stepson picks up his eating habits from my wife, she is a kinda picky eater, my daughter seems to be picking it up from me and I will eat **** near anything at least once. But I wouldn't worry too much, at 4 they will be stubborn about food one day and then a week later want to eat it.
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