Refusing food - tough titties or offer alternative?

(17 Posts)
RagingJellyBean Wed 24-Jun-15 16:40:58

Just that, really.

I have the worlds fussiest toddler, if it isn't chips, chicken, fish fingers or baked potato she won't have it.

If I put her in her high chair, offer her something & she doesn't eat it - should I offer something else or will she soon learn she eats what she gets? To be honest I can't afford to cook 3 different meals every night trying to get her to eat.

I grew up eating dinner or going hungry, there was no alternative option.

What would you do?!

Greymalkin Wed 24-Jun-15 16:46:36

My 2.5 yo DS refuses his evening meal at least twice a week. He doesn't get offered anything else. And it's always something that is similar to things he likes, so not a scary new food.

I used to worry it would affect his sleeping, but it hasn't thank God!

RagingJellyBean Wed 24-Jun-15 16:52:15

That's good then! I usually get stressed and annoyed and start trying to get her to eat which ends up in more stress and now I've decided I cannot be arsed getting stressed about it so she eats or she doesn't. Simples!

DragonWithAGirlTattoo Wed 24-Jun-15 16:54:08

yup - she eats what you give her, or nothing - shes not going to starve

(i mean obviously try and give her stuff she likes now and again, but the more you bend now, the stiffer the rod you're making for your own back)

RagingJellyBean Wed 24-Jun-15 16:55:08

Feeling much better about this!

Thanks guys smile

BeansInBoots Wed 24-Jun-15 16:58:40

My dd is 2.5 and is refusing pretty much everything!
I give her a breakfast that I know she will eat (strawberry porridge) then either

- a lunch I know she won't eat, but is perfectly normal acceptable food ie lasagne or curry or whatever. Then a dinner I know she will eat, toast and raw veg for example

-or il give her a lunch I know she will eat (toast etc) and a dinner she won't (lasagne etc)

I don't want her missing more than 1 meal a day, and if she doesn't want it she has to sit at the table until we finish, then is told that it's this or nothing, she picks nothing then gets down. Only drinks between meals..

I do the one acceptable meal thing too beans - it worked for my 7 year old who has now come out the other side and is no longer fussy... deeply fussy 4 year old now. 7 year old did largely avoid eating anything after 2pm for about 4 years...hmm but he's very tall for his age, very sporty, and the only one of my kids to have always reliably slept well, so I'm assuming that wasn't a problem!

PositiveAttitude Wed 24-Jun-15 17:16:05

I had a DD who was the fussiest child on the planet. She would only eat certain brands of foods, not just certain foods!! shock - You would not believe the stress caused by Morrisons changing the liquid that their tinned sweetcorn was in!!
I would always try to have at least one thing on her plate that I knew she would be OK with for her main meal. If she ate nothing then the only alternative was bread and butter. (because I was a bit of a softy!!)

She did marginally improve as a teenager. Then she moved away to uni - and eats anything now!!!

WellErrr Wed 24-Jun-15 17:18:32

Tough titties.

My 2.8 sometimes refuses food.

In my experience it doesn't affect sleeping and they won't starve themselves.

Try not to make it a big thing though, just make it clear there'll be nothing else, ask if they're sure, then take it away and don't mention it again.

HelenaJustina Wed 24-Jun-15 17:30:17

I have an age cut off arbitrarily decided on for this, which is 24 months. I think that younger than this and they aren't making the decision as they are too little, so if they really reject I will offer wheetabix or similar to aid sleeping.

But DC4 now 2 and 1 month and I have got tougher. I make sure there is one acceptable meal (breakfast is always eaten) and I mix up the week. But there are very few things that all 4 will eat all of, so sides like salad are a big feature, they have to show willing even if not their favourite meal. Only ever yoghurt for pudding unless a Sunday/birthday/guests.

I don't think they will voluntarily starve themselves but haven't had an exceptionally fussy child so don't honestly know how far/for how long I would test this theory!

Craftynonymous1 Wed 24-Jun-15 17:31:40

My DD is like this but I worry that at 2.4 she doesn't understand that it's that or nothing?

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Wed 24-Jun-15 17:46:08

I'm sorry OP but I think I have a strong contender to the title "worlds fussiest eater" at home right now!
Potato (sometimes in it's various forms, sometimes only chips) breaded items (if the wind is in the right direction) cheese, yogurt and apples.
I work on the idea up thread about at least one of lunch/dinner that she will eat and as a rule try to have one thing on her plate that she will eat but I've started introducing one meal a week that's entirely challenging, to encourage her to try new things.
Not that it's working!
But thanks for the thread, it was a good reminder that we're not alone in this, which is hard to remember when all her friends eat all manner of things.

Millionairerow Fri 26-Jun-15 17:32:16

My 5 year old has ever grown out of fussy eating. Sometimes I just go with it but sometimes when out with friends to their homes I think how did it get to be this bad. Trying new foods is a killer. I know she's bored but seems scare of new foods.�� she'll only have cereal, breaded chicken, chips, smoothies, hates any fruit, pancakes, will only eat chocolate spread sandwiches and CRAP! Hope she'll grow out of it.

Zebda Fri 26-Jun-15 18:08:44

Tough titties at ours with one of lunch or dinner definitely something they will eat. Have sent each of them to bed with empty tummies before. Now aged 7 and 4 both really good eaters so doesnt really happen I realise them being good eaters now is partly luck, but also partly due to training

Roseybee10 Sat 27-Jun-15 01:14:02

My dd is a very good eater (I know I'm very lucky). I ask her to try new food at least three times and then if she doesn't like it that's fine and she can take it off her plate etc). She's reacted very well to this and does always try new food a few times. I don't give her anything I know she hates but I also don't offer alternatives if it's something I know she likes.
I don't make a big thing about it if she doesn't eat her dinner but I don't offer her another dinner either. She knows she doesn't have to finish things if she doesn't want it but I don't reward eating all her dinner with a treat and I don't with hold a yoghurt etc if she doesn't eat her main course.
I just leave it totally up to her. If she does leave something then she usually come back to it later if I leave it on her table.

I grew up in a 'have to clear my plate' environment which made me end up with serious weight and food issues and not being able to tell when I was full because I felt I had to clear my plate. I'm really trying to avoid that with my kids but it's so hard to know how to approach it.

Rosey I totally agree with the praise and reward for clearing your plate (even if full) beinga truly stupid idea - the worst is "you can have pudding only if you clear your plate" - rewarding eating past feeling full with more food, and reinforcing the idea sweet foods are rewards and trudging through a full plate of food you don't want is "good" and a duty... shockhmm

My DDis the most aadventurouseater going and relishes the chance to shock people wwith whatshe chooses off a menu when eating out (she's older now but we havea photo of her chomping through mini octopus and squid on holiday at age 3 grin ) but I always try to avoid using "good eater" as a compliment and praising a child for eating or getting into making "deals" or fussing over siblings not eating - my mum used to praise me as a "good eater" and spend meal times beging and bribing and blackmailing my "fussy" sister to eat - this labelling was reinforced every meal we ate together and became part of our identity then when I filled out a little bit in puberty it twisted and the "virtue" of the lablabel swapped (sister was praised for being "llovelyand slim" I was told I had a weight problem, given a side plate to eat off, told I was "solid" and had to "be careful"...

My sister has always controlled her world and those around her using her own food intake and developed an eating disorder in her teens...

It's an area full iofpitfalls and I think the only way that works is just not to get drawn in and make a big deal, and to avoid using labels or commenting much at all in front of the kkids! It'seasy to say but hard to stick to though!

Roseybee10 Sat 27-Jun-15 12:30:50

It's so hard isn't it.
I've got an issue with grandparents bringing 'treats' or rewarding eating with a pudding and they just will not stop it no matter what I do or say. It drives me insane but I'm hoping that we avoid it enough at home that then it won't be a huge issue.

On saying that I know my food issues come from my grandparents as I spent a lot of time there and I always had to clear my plate so I never really understood how to tell that I was full. I grew up thinking leaving food was wasteful when in fact eating until I stopped enjoying it wAs more wasteful tbh.

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