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What do you do if your children only like fish fingers?

(32 Posts)
Beautifulmonster Mon 21-Jul-14 07:53:43

My children have gradually become fussy about eating, especially when it comes to hot cooked food. They would happily live on sandwiches and yogurt (or McDonald's of course.)

The only hot food they don't turn their noses up at is fish fingers. Any ideas for how to vary their diet? Would home made fish fingers be more nutritious? The only veg they will eat without a fuss is peas and sweet corn.

There is no way my dc get their 5-a-day. How do parents of fussy eaters make sure their children eat a balanced diet?

ChasedByBees Mon 21-Jul-14 07:59:25

How old are they? When DD became fussy at about 18 months, I put everything we were eating in a sandwich. Then I gradually reduced the bread. grin

Currently she doesn't get her 5 a day but I am able to increase the veg count in sauces for pasta etc. I make a kind of ratatouille, blend it and freeze it for individual sauce portions.

Could you give vegetable fingers? Still junk food but looks like fish fingers. Fish fingers aren't actually that bad though...

HillyHolbrook Mon 21-Jul-14 08:05:57

Fish fingers aren't THAT bad. I heard a parenting podcast with a nutritionist on it once and she said to avoid the overpriced ones like the Jamie Oliver ones and that the most nutritionally balanced ones are the sainsburys own!

If you did make your own, they'd have no more nutritional benefit because they're still just white fish in bread crumbs and there's a risk your DC might turn their nose up at yours if they don't look exactly rectangular or something equally as picky.

Do they eat anything you can hide veg in? Like carrot mash instead of potato?

It's probably just a phase. Keep offering new food and don't make a sandwich after tea an option if they'd prefer that. I'm guessing it's just fussiness and not sensory issues etc. I went through a phase of eating only chicken nuggets. I'd make myself sick if I was forced to eat veg, and now I eat almost anything. If they really won't eat, fish fingers, peas and sweet corn isn't really so terrible! grin

BravePotato Mon 21-Jul-14 08:22:34

Just branch out gradually.

Worked here! Requires a bit of patience.

lemonfolly Mon 21-Jul-14 08:24:58

Marking place, out kids sound related smile

I had this for about a year when ds1 was 2. Only chicken nuggets or fishfingers were acceptable (along with weetabix, yoghurt, lots of fruit and peas). Its not a disaster, just dull and sometimes inconvenient. I just rolled with it, kept trying to introduce new things but no fuss. He now (at 8) eats pretty much everything except cheese.

Beautifulmonster Mon 21-Jul-14 08:27:26

Thanks for that. My children are 11 and 8, the younger one being the fussiest.

I won't bother making my own fish fingers then!

I am trying to cut out the snacks so they're starving at tea time and then will give them something different but sometimes I am not up for the fuss and it's easier to give them what they enjoy.

JustAShopGirl Mon 21-Jul-14 08:41:39

I would make my own fishcakes - first make ones that have basic white fish and potato, then branch out - my girls still ask for pink fishcakes (salmon, mash, chopped and cooked red peppers, sweetcorn and peas all together with tomato ketchup and fried.)

BravePotato Mon 21-Jul-14 08:50:11

8 and 11?

As you say, you are choosing the route of least resistance.

But it is worth it getting kids to eat a wider variety of things.

It is a cliche, but involving them in the cooking really helps.

My oldest was a real fusspot, from age 2, only ate toast, bans , scrambled egg, milk and soft fruit. Plain pasta too. That was it.

In the end you just have to occasionally put something new on their plate. And ask them to just try one bite. Apparently you have to try something 6 times before you get used to the taste. So then they may suddenly, absentmindedly, eat the lot. It really worked, but takes a bit of effort and patience.

My kids are allowed (obviously) to not like certain foods, but I want them to try a bit, and also they have to be always polite about any food that anyone prepares for them.

BravePotato Mon 21-Jul-14 08:50:34

forgot to say mine are 8 and 11 too!

BravePotato Mon 21-Jul-14 08:52:40

Chasedbybees, my 11 yr old still only has shep pie in a sandwich, LOL, that worked here too.

RandallFloyd Mon 21-Jul-14 08:56:51

My DS won't eat any hot food at all so you're one up on me grin
I'd do a dance of joy if he ate fish finger, peas & sweetcorn, that's a proper meal!

A year ago I was really worried about it, now I just go with it.
I make him what he likes and don't stress. I always put a bit of what I'm having on his plate too (not that he ever touches it) and let him try anything he asks for.

Fingers crossed the vitamin medicine will stave off the scurvy long enough for him to grow out of it.

It's not like you can force it down them so why get into a battle? Making mealtimes miserable and confrontational won't help anyone and personally I'm not an advocate of starving them into submission so crackers and humous it is!

I had massive food ishoos as a child and I dreaded mealtimes because my mum made such a drama out of it. I'm now a proper foodie. My sister ate whatever she was given and as an adult is quite fussy. Anecdotes don't equal data obviously but they might give you hope smile

RandallFloyd Mon 21-Jul-14 08:59:29

My kids are allowed (obviously) to not like certain foods, but I want them to try a bit, and also they have to be always polite about any food that anyone prepares for them.

I love that, BravePotato. I'm definitely stealing that as DS gets older!

Iownathreeinchferrari Mon 21-Jul-14 09:10:38

Serve one good family meal and let them choose to eat it or not. Don't give alternatives, the average kid won't starve himself/herself. Don't make a fuss or even discuss the meal. Enjoy chatting about the day. Calmly/nicely say that you will keep disregarded meals for them to eat later if hungry. Put meal in fridge and stay strong.

Iownathreeinchferrari Mon 21-Jul-14 09:11:55

Agree children must be polite about the food. Any 'ugh, this is horrible' I send them to their rooms. Rudeness is intolerable.

Iownathreeinchferrari Mon 21-Jul-14 09:14:32

Yes cutting back out snacks is great idea if they are not eating meals. Maybe they aren't hungry enough by meal time.

What does a days menu look like?

RandallFloyd Mon 21-Jul-14 09:16:43

They will starve themselves though. I certainly did.
I was hungry a lot. As I got older I started fainting often and wasn't very healthy at all.

Also the idea of being really hungry and being offered a re-heated plate of food I don't like is just horrible.

If it worked for you and your family then great horses for courses and all that, but personally that 'battle of wills' type stuff made me a very unhappy child.

Iownathreeinchferrari Mon 21-Jul-14 09:19:04

Mine are a similar age. I don't give the younger ones any snacks at all because he won't eat his tea. The older one can snack anytime because he always eats everything regardless. We do boring snacks though - so oatcakes, cheese, fruit, veg, sometimes we pop popcorn for a bit of excitement

Iownathreeinchferrari Mon 21-Jul-14 09:29:44

With the exception of anorexia and other mental health issues, it's quite rare for a child to properly starve themselves though (i say that having traveled in third world countries). Lots of parents think their children will starve but most children are solid little creatures with BMI's above the bottom percentile. I think we worry too much as parents about calories.

My kids don't fuss with food. I can't afford to cook multiple meals each night and tend to batch cook pulse/lentil dishes for economy.

erin99 Mon 21-Jul-14 09:35:46

Have you tried veggie mains - veggie sausages, quiche? Might appeal more than meat based things as they are 'lighter' like the fish.

I never pressed at mealtimes but in life in general I tried to build up their self image as people who are good at trying things. Not food, but going on a scary ride, trying ballet lessons or swimming, climbing to the top of the climbing frame. Then, see how much fun they had because they had been good tryers. Then, occasionally and subtley, applied to eating smile

Also it is tempting to stick to a few basics when catering for fussy eaters but when I threw my toys out of the pram and got a veg box despite having 2 virtual veg refusers, it went surprisingly well. They still don't like peas, but they do like cerleriac, swede, parsnip, samphire. They hated leeks but now adore them in a cheese sauce, served on toast/panini like welsh rarebit. They loathe cooked courgettes but love courgette fritters with sweet chilli sauce. They are not keen on standard salad veg but when we cast the net a bit wider we found they like raw muchroom, raw courgette, grated carrot (though not raw carrot sticks), cold sweetcorn, beetroot cubes.

Do you do sandwiches for lunch and hot meal for tea? If so, switching them round might help, if that's possible. At teatime everyone can be tired and less amenable for trying new things.

Tory79 Mon 21-Jul-14 09:36:32

Sorry to hijack, but chasedbybees I'm so happy to read someone else used the sandwich trick! I literally thought that was just me. We probably had a 3 month period with ds when he was about 15 months when he just refused to touch almost anything and I too resorted to putting it in bread!

He ate some funny stuff that way, lamb tagine sandwich anyone??

MTWTFSS Mon 21-Jul-14 09:37:53

Fish fingers come in Pollock, cod, and salmon. Start changing the fish smile

hiccupgirl Mon 21-Jul-14 09:39:52

I was a child who had parents who worked on the no child with starve themselves principle. I had a very unhappy time at mealtimes - it didn't make me like any of the food I was forced to eat and it gave me long term issues with control around food that have taken me years to recognise and to start to try to address.

For these reasons I don't make my DS (4) who is equally fussy eat things he doesn't want to. He always has the option to try our food and if he asks for something he has to at least try it. But he spent most of 2-4 only eating fish fingers and I didn't really see the problem. They are full of high quality protein though I get the crumb isn't so great, there's much worse things.

You do what you're comfortable with and if that means not getting into food battles at meal times then that's got to be a good thing. And please, please don't reheat the food or make them have it for breakfast the next day...both are just horrible things to do.

Preciousbane Mon 21-Jul-14 09:41:54

Do you think it may almost be some kind of competition between them?

RandallFloyd Mon 21-Jul-14 09:46:06

No offence but if your kids 'don't fuss with food' then you don't actually have experience of fussy eaters then.

I don't live in a third works country thankfully so no, I didn't literally starve but I was hungry a lot and as a result very unhealthy. I personally don't think that was a pleasant aspect of my childhood.

As I said, horses for courses and you are more than entitled to your opinion, if your approach works for your kids then great, but the tired cliche of 'children won't starve themselves' is wrong and dangerous. They do.

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