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To see how long they can go without food?

(71 Posts)
twolittleboysonetiredmum Mon 04-Jan-16 19:20:41

Half joking title... Posting here as I know ill get a decent perspective on my very minor problem.
I have two DS who are 4 and 2.5. They are, like most tedious small chn, picky about what they eat. Fine. Normally I make sure there's one thing in a meal they'll eat eg we had curry and rice - they won't touch the curry but will eat the rice etc then I let them have yogurt/fruit/custard for pudding. Or something more exciting if we have it in.
However - they've started getting to the point that they won't even eat the rice. And I'm also sick of them refusing to eat anything new. Ever. They won't even try a mouthful of unfamiliar food.
So should I refuse to give them anything other than their main course until they try it? And hopefully they'll get so hungry they'll actually eat it? Or are they too little for that?
They're also shit sleepers and early risers so we worry about them going to bed hungry...

Idefix Mon 04-Jan-16 19:44:13

I think although no doubt many will disagree that you need to make main meals where they will eat more than just 1 part of the meal.
Rice is pretty boring on its own and I can sort of understand why they would not want to eat just that. Ditto mash potato plain pasta etc.

My dd took a very long time to develop a taste for spice. If we had curry I would reserve a piece of chicken or two that I would pan fry plain and some vegetables boiled or salad.

Would giving them a selection of foods that they eat be more appealing. It sounds like they have realised that they can just ignore this part of the meal and move onto the sweet stuff.

We would also not give yogurt etc until everyone had finished the first course, so not eating would mean waiting for everyone else to finish. May be more likely to try the food available.

Can't help with the sleep, mine were very early risersgrin

DrunkenUnicorn Mon 04-Jan-16 19:59:23

I wish my parents had been stricter on me as a child. I was the most ridiculous fussy eater. If I was my child I would be mortified.

I didn't eat meat for sentimental reasons from age 4 hmm fine... But as a vegetarian I didn't like vegetables either...

I lived on: butter sandwiches, plain pasta with butter, potatoes, fish fingers, macaroni cheese, carrots, mushrooms, baked beans, chips....Hmm trying to think of what else. I was ok with fruit, yogurt/custard/ice cream.

This went on and on. To the point where I hit to about 13 and I became really embarrassed about my eating habits. I made myself eat things I really didn't want to/didn't like out of social awkwardness and a need to fit in.

I hated the texture of meat until my early twenties confused it honestly made me want to gag.

I look back at myself as a child/teen and I have no idea how I ever hit invited to play dates ever!!!

As an adult I'm pretty good with food now, I don't really like spicy things if I'm honest, but will try and eat it to be polite if required.

But looking back I really do wish my parents had told me to get a bloody grip age about 4! I think it was easier for my mum not to cook a 'proper' meal as my dad wired late and so they would eat together at 9/10pm and so she would make food for me at 6 so it was easy to just give me plain pasta... hmm

twolittleboysonetiredmum Mon 04-Jan-16 20:01:45

Sorry - I wasn't very clear in my post. We do have meals I know they'll eat quite frequently eg pasta, chilli, something with chips. But a few times a week I make something eg veggie curry and I know they won't eat the curry. But will eat the rice with some of the sauce and naan if offered. So they are getting catered for generally. I just want them to try and eat the other but of the meal that contains the vitamins/proteins etc than just the carb bit! And try different things - not necessarily exciting things - but any vegetable or meat (they won't eat either)
I've tried offering meals that are a range of things, and they eat the bits they know and don't even consider touching the others.

Mysteryfla Mon 04-Jan-16 20:05:46

Used to make mine, and my Grandchildren, try a real bite of anything, before they could say they didn't like it. If they really didn't like it they didn't have to eat any more.

redexpat Mon 04-Jan-16 20:07:03

A really good tip for situations like these is to look at what they eat over the course of a week. That way if they have one meal that they dont really take to, you wont panic about it so much.

I'd also pick something that's ok healthy that they are always allowed. eg DS is always allowed raw carrot sticks.

Gatehouse77 Mon 04-Jan-16 20:12:53

We have always insisted they try new foods even if that meant just putting a forkful on their placemat (on the fork!). Once they'd eaten that I'd offer them something more substantial to fill them up and then pudding.

If they chose not to eat the forkful they went without.

However, I would generally offer new foods at lunchtime so they would still have a good meal at the end of the day.

formerbabe Mon 04-Jan-16 20:14:46

I have two rules

1. I won't force my dc to eat anything that they really dislike...but I expect them to try things before they refuse to eat it.

2. No pudding if they don't eat most of their main course.

It was hard at first but they got used to it pretty quickly.

I also put a few things on their plate so say I've cooked spaghetti bolognaise (sp!) I'll also give them a slice of garlic bread and some crudités.

Mistigri Mon 04-Jan-16 20:15:26

My DS is appallingly fussy and I think there is only a limited amount you can do about it, apart from trying not to stress!

I agree with looking at food consumption over a longer period than a day.

Also, don't worry too much about them going hungry - some kids just don't need to eat that much. My DS has never been a big eater, but he is a normal size - slim, but not underweight. When he was at primary school and eating school lunches he would often go from 7.30am to 5pm on one piece of bread and a yoghurt.

I doubt hunger is the reason for poor sleep habits and personally if I were going to clamp down on one thing it would be bedtime and not mealtimes.

MoonDuke Mon 04-Jan-16 20:20:22

I am forever grateful to my mum for not making an issue out of my fussy eating. And for cooking food I liked. Mealtimes were enjoyable for everyone- we just didn't always all eat the same thing.

I now eat a large range of foods and any I don't like are explained by the texture more than the taste.

Mistigri Mon 04-Jan-16 20:21:00

Also, I find forcing DS to try foods is counterproductive. Once he's decided he doesn't like something (due to the smell usually) he won't ever eat it willingly, even if I force him to eat a mouthful. In fact forcing can trigger a vomit reflex which can lead to him developping a phobia about certain foods (he won't eat noodles, after being ill when we encouraged him to try them - now even the smell makes him feel sick).

OTOH it is worth offering new things regularly, as sometimes they decide they like unexpected things - DS loves mussels, and paella, and that Portuguese dried salt cod that looks like an old dishcloth ...

EponasWildDaughter Mon 04-Jan-16 20:25:38

I think two and a half is a bit small for the insisting on trying a mouthful thing. DD4 would just end up upset with too much 'insisting' at the table and start associating meal times with stress.

I would carry on giving the meals they like often enough, and put down 'new' or less popular food in front of them occasionally and let them chose what to do. If they haven't eaten much offer something mundane to top up. Bit of ham and some apple or something.

familygermsareok Mon 04-Jan-16 20:30:32

Two very fussy DC here. Youngest started refusing foods he had eaten before about the age of 2 and used to sit gagging on them if I tried to make him eat them. I have sent him to bed a few times without food as he was refusing to eat things he had eaten the previous week! But it never made his eating any better and he was borderline underweight so I really worried. For years he survived on mainly plain pasta (no sauce) and bread (no fillings/spreads). He did eat a reasonable amount of fruit/veg though a limited variety. The only protein he seemed to accept was milk. I was at my wits end, tried all the recommended strategies, got HV involved, nothing worked. He is now 11 and over the last year has started to expand his repertoire a bit. He is fit, sporty, rarely ill.
I dont have much advice except don't worry too much.

TheCarpenter Mon 04-Jan-16 20:37:13

Stop the pudding.

TheLesserSpottedBee Mon 04-Jan-16 20:38:50

I used to put a teaspoon of chilli into a bowl with a teaspoon of rice. Put that in front of Ds2 (Ds1 eats anything) and told him when he had eaten that he could have a dinner that he would eat. I left his dinner in the kitchen.

That way he got used to eating different flavours and textures but still ate a dinner that I knew he would eat.

I was served food as a child that I detested and I got really worked up before every meal time because I knew that I would be served food that made me heave, not just that I didn't like it but I truly detested.

I was very under weight because my Dad refused to back down. I had to be fed a sort of complan style food to give me nutrients and protein sad hence why I wouldn't give my child an entire meal he couldn't eat.

Jw35 Mon 04-Jan-16 20:39:53

Mm curry at 4 and 2 is an example of something I wouldn't expect little ones to like! Great if they do! I'd say try not to worry, that's so important as stress around the table is counter productive. If there's one thing kids have absolute power in is what they put in their mouths so be careful with battles of will!

However, fussiness is a choice! The more on offer the more they discriminate! Fruit and yoghurt is a healthy desert so I actually think you probably are pretty healthy eaters.

Personally I'd probably hide veg in sauces, what about blending some curry and mixing with rice if they like the sauce? Arranging plates in patterns and faces is fun too! Otherwise I'd just put things on the plate and let them decide what they want. Lots of praise for trying new foods but no big mention of veg or healthy foods. The less fuss the better.

Definitely cook the same for kids as for adults and make sure they stay at the table until meal is over (within reason). Cut out snacks and things like squash and put salad bits in pots on the table so if they don't like the veg that day they can chew on peppers and cucumber. That's my advice. You sound like a lovely caring mum

dontcallmethatyoucunt Mon 04-Jan-16 20:41:16

If rice wasn't acceptable to all, half the bloody world would starve. I refuse to let my kids off eating certain staples.

wafflerinchief Mon 04-Jan-16 20:42:22

the only thing I can say is that my 2 love food but even they both hate curry - so I just don't try and get them to try and eat it. My 5 year old would insist it made her feel sick if I insisted. And also, mine would never get a pudding if they didn't eat a good part of their main - but I don't have fussy eaters so that part is maybe not relevant to you - if my DDs never ate much and were too thin I expect I'd be microwaving chocolate puds for them but as it is they can't go longer than one meal where they don't eat much.

Notimefortossers Mon 04-Jan-16 20:45:17

Used to make mine, and my Grandchildren, try a real bite of anything, before they could say they didn't like it. If they really didn't like it they didn't have to eat any more

This is what I do. My middle child is TERRIBLE at looking at something on a plate that she's never had before and saying 'I don't like it'. She has to have one bite and I measure her reaction. USUALLY she is pleasantly surprised and she DOES like it. If she doesn't she doesn't have to have any more. I've done this from really little, maybe 2? And I now have 3 very good eaters.

PaintedTshirt Mon 04-Jan-16 20:47:59

I think when you start bargaining with children (e.g. Meal all of you dinner, then you can have...) you turn it into a battle and power struggle.

My 2 DC are aged 3 and 1. They have have their main meal followed my fruit/ yogurt, everyday, regardless of if they eat their dinner of not. They choose not to eat their dinner? No problem. It's taken away, they have their fruit and we all move on.

MarmiteAndButter Mon 04-Jan-16 20:49:35

Why do you have pudding every day though? It's never been the norm for me day by day.
Main course or nothing unless it's a special occasion, a meal out or with visitors.
My siblings were appallingly fussy. I was a bit too as a child but then I grew up. I am horrified by parents let and enabled us to be so difficult. They brought us up vegetarian in the bloody 70s, which was social suicide as it was.
Wouldn't allow us meat at all.
But then enabled the fussy, no cooked vegetables, no mushrooms, no onion, no spice, no zucchini nonsense.
Luckily, I grew up and now am proud I eat everything. But I remember vividly after my mother died I had returned to the family home and was looking after everyone. My never worked in her life blamed everyone else for her mistakes sister berated me for daring to cook a meal with some sautéed onion in. FFS, she was bloody over 23 at that stage!!! I had gone to the supermarket; paid for the shopping out of my own money and cooked for her and the rest of my family. Taking time out of my job and driving to the other end of the country with my small child in tow.
Anyway, after that, I promised myself I would have kids who ate stuff and were not ever ever ever classed as "fussy" by others.
That doesn't mean I force them. But I will never enable fussiness.
No, your kids are not too young. And no, they won't starve.

HeadDreamer Mon 04-Jan-16 20:50:03

There's no reason a young child won't like a curry. Surely south asian kids eat curries? Very hot curries I can understand. But how about tomato based ones chicken makhani or korma?

Both my 4 and 1yo loved the mums' chicken from made in india. It's a sweetish tomato based curry. And sweet and sour chicken.

No idea how to cure fussiness though. My 4yo is pretty fussy. She has that gagging thing too. I'm not sure the no pudding works as we don't do pudding normally. Just occassionally in the weekend. That doesnt make her eat.

chumbler Mon 04-Jan-16 20:52:10

I would personally go for the laid back approach, don't make food and eating into an issue. Can they come shopping with you or help you meal plan? I know they're little but they are old enough to have some say into the meals. Can fhey help you prepare it? (Even if it's just stirring?) Can they set the table? Getting them involved should help them be.more willing to try new things. I personally would then let them serve themselves at the table, they can choose what they like, eventually theu might choose to try a new food.

That's what I would try anyway. And I definitely wouldn't have pudding as a reward or punishment if they don't eat "enough'

Also maybe look at portion sizes, are you expecting them to eat too much? Carbs should be size of their fist, veg should fit into their palm, that kind of thing

Good luck

HelsBels3000 Mon 04-Jan-16 20:53:20

Mine love curry - but then we started with the creamiest mildest korma going, and gradually increased the spice. They love fajitas too but I use a bit less spice and allow them to remove some onions as long as they eat chicken peppers etc.
Its always a case of negotiation here - they must eat for example 3 good forkfuls of peas along with their meat/potato before they are allowed pudding. I do follow through with threats of no pudding if they don't eat decent amounts. As an aside - the sleep consultant I paid a lot of money for spoke with said it wasn't relevant how much a child had eaten in the day, it wouldn't affect sleep at all so to put that worry out of your mind.

Dothedance Mon 04-Jan-16 20:59:14

I don't know if this will sound like I'm a big meanie, but... If my almost 3 yo refuses to eat or even try something, I calmly ask him to leave the room and tell him he can come back when he is ready to eat. This generally works, I won't force him to eat and I won't have drama at the table as I have 2 other DC to deal with however, I do at least want him to have a go. Therefore no tears, no anxiety and most of all for me, no shouting.

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