to ask for help re toddler meals

(45 Posts)
wheresthel1ght Wed 06-Apr-16 20:17:26

As a baby dd would eat pretty much anything we have her with the exception of peas.

Since she turned 2 however the absolute only things she will eat are sausages of any variety and chicken. She flatly refuse to entertain anything else either saying she doesn't like it or she is full.

I know this is normal and although my hv said yesterday not to worry because she eats the fruits she isn't allergic to bloody eczema triggered by sodding citrus by the bucket load. However she was a bit concerned about dd having low iron levels as she will not entertain red meat. We don't eat a massive amount at home anyway but she would eat it as a baby ether in mush form or as chunks.

How the hell do I expand her food works without it becoming a battle? I don't want to turn dinner times into a fight, I remember my parents refusing to let us leave the table til we had cleared out plates and being physically sick over foods like lasagne and cheesy bake stuff (later diagnosed with dairy allergy and lactose intolerance) and I am adamant I won't do the same to dd. But I am so frustrated.

Any advice gratefully received!

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Wed 06-Apr-16 20:37:22

Have you tried making it fun? Tapas style little dishes to pick at, have her help prepare meals, things like home made pizza she can help decorate or you can do shapes, faces etc on... throw a blanket on the floor and have an impromptu picnic instead? Use sprinkles or similar to make "magic" versions of whatever you're serving?

Not suggesting you do this all the time, but occasionally might help her see new foods as fun?

NeedACleverNN Wed 06-Apr-16 20:38:18

Multi vitamin for the low iron?

Just keep serving up variety of meals. Don't pressure her to eat them or even try them but give plenty of praise if she does.

GingerCuddleMonsterThe2nd Wed 06-Apr-16 20:43:33

I feel your pain, DS has become a food refuser. I cook balanced Bethune meals from the NHS change for life stuff and he barely eats any, and their actually quite nice. I've sort of given up now, plate him up a meal if he eats it great lots of praise, if he refuses and after 40minutes is still unwilling without pressure I just clear it away.

I've given up sad he won't starve himself so I've adopet a apathetic approach to it now!

GeezAJammyPeece Wed 06-Apr-16 20:45:34

This might seem like a bit of a cop out but when you say she eats ANY sausage, does that include anything that LOOKS like one?
When we make burgers/ meatballs etc I use lean steak mince and some seasoning, I don't add any extra fillers like breadcrumb or egg or whatever. Could you roll sausage shapes & pop them in the oven/grill/fry them?

You can't get any redder meat than a chunk of steak, you're just serving it in a way that may be more acceptable to her

GeezAJammyPeece Wed 06-Apr-16 20:49:04

Oh, and how is she about 'little trees'? Broccoli is rich in iron

NickyEds Wed 06-Apr-16 20:54:45

My ds is 2.4 years and started fussiness around 6 months ago. He more or less refused everything except toast with beans or cheese, jacket potato with tuna and pasta with cheese sauce, along with assorted crap such as chocolate and quavers which were well received (thanks to his aunty!). I always just made whatever I would ordinarily and let him leave it. Then last week he just started eating again! On Sunday he had chicken, carrots, parsnips, Yorkshire pud and mash, all of which (except maybe the mash on a good day)would have been roundly rejected only a week ago. So no advice as such but a ray of hope smile. Just keep presenting her with normal food and keep fuss to a minimum. It's a but odd about the iron levels, my ds has never been a big fan of meat, even when he ate well, and Hv never said anything about it.

Salene Wed 06-Apr-16 21:02:11

But beef sausages from butchers

Then she is getting red meat

FreeButtonBee Wed 06-Apr-16 21:02:43

I have twins. One is a dustbin. One is fussy. So don't worry that you've caused it

I do a lot of talking about food and how it's good to try things and maybe another day we might like it. I make a tiny portion of something and put it on a plate on the table. First thing is holding or touching the food, then smelling, then licking, then a tiny bite, then the food gets put in their plate as part of a normal dinner, then a small bite before they get the next bit of dinner (ie more chicken or pasta or fruit). If there are tears or strong resistance, then I back off and reiterate the 'it's good to try things and sometimes we like things and sometimes we don't'. Basically. Play the long game. The important thing is to keep them trying things and to accept stuff around them that are not their favourites. DD will now take a bite of brocolli in order to get fruit and happily eats a little bit of cucumber or raw pepper. We were slightly helped by the fact that she gets constipated and so I did a lot of chat about how vegetables help our tummies and our poo. So now she puts the two together and if she has a sore poo, says 'need more vegetables, mummy'

summerdreams Wed 06-Apr-16 21:08:05

Can I ask how the hv knows your dd has low iron? I ask because my 20 month old has not eaten red meat since his first birthday he has blood tests all the time for a medical condition and he see's a dietician and know one has ever mentioned low iron. Im wondering if the health visitor might be saying this with no actual fact and making you worry unnecessarily.

wheresthel1ght Wed 06-Apr-16 21:15:47

Thanks folks! Even though I know it's a normal phase it is nice to have the reassurance of others having similar issues!

We have tried to disguise things as sausages although hadn't thought to try actual beef ones so will head to our local butcher tomorrow!

We have tried picnics and getting her to help, have spent a fortune on tacky plates with frozen/night garden characters as they are her favourites. Have tried a lunch box as she is obsessed with dscs when they come and none of it works. We have binned the bug highchair and got her a booster so she is sat properly at the table.

I feel like I am doing something wrong because she used to be brilliant! I know for a while she kept telling us that stuff "made her poorly" as we have been trying to teach her not to eat highly citrus fruits, pineapple sends her into anaphylaxis and our lovely neighbour without realising gave her some orange segments while she was playing with their girls. Took about 30 secs for her face to swell and look like she had been dunked in an acid bath confused She sort of got fixated and anything she didn't want to eat became about it making her "poorly". Now it's just "no don't like it" or she is full.

Everything has to have ketchup on it god love dsd so j have even tried making spag Bol with ketchup in it to sweeten but she threw it across the room in temper which she had never done even as a baby!

Frazzled2207 Wed 06-Apr-16 21:15:56

No advice but i feel your pain my 2.8 yo is horrendous, eats beans, cheese, some kinds of sausage, weetabix, yoghurt and very little else.
Driving me bonkers.
I'm just trying not to put too much pressure on, avoiding the revolving buffet but mostly just hoping he snaps out of it.
Bizarrely, he clears his plate at nursery. angry

wheresthel1ght Wed 06-Apr-16 21:18:03

Summer she didn't say she had low iron, she said that because her diet has no red meat or leafy veg that it was the only thing that she might worry about ie if she shows signs of being lethargic even though she is sleeping well then it could be a sign of low iron levels.

wheresthel1ght Wed 06-Apr-16 21:23:40

Frazzled - her childminder says she eats everything there but then when I read her journal it is fairly simple stuff like cheese spread sandwiches which she will eat here if she feels like it. Oddly she likes cheese spread but refuses to eat cheese.

Breakfast cereal is easy, she eats pretty much anything and I try to buy Kellogg's/nestle (I know work of the devil) as they add extra iron etc so hopefully she gets some! She did steal her dad's oat granola at the weekend and now wants that for every meal.

Urgh this toddler phase is really tough!

Spandexpants007 Wed 06-Apr-16 21:34:07

Just keep giving her new things and trying old meals out. Serve a family meal and don't bother with alternatives. Don't fight. Don't nag. Don't make her sit for ages. Accept that she may or may not be interested in eating the food and that's ok. Chill. Chat. Enjoy being together. As a mother you should be able to see the difference in her just being a bit picky and feeling utterly sick with repulsion. Your child isn't falling off the bottom percentile or malnourished. There is no desperation for her to eat.

Spandexpants007 Wed 06-Apr-16 21:36:14

You can get iron from lots of things. Not just meat.

LetMeBakeCake Wed 06-Apr-16 21:53:46

It's just a phase and if you handle it right you'll come out the other side! Echo what others have said, don't make a fuss and whatever you do, don't offer them alternatives that you know they'll eat - I've known parents that fell into that trap and now their child will eat all of about 4 things! :-/

The meat thing is really common - I think it's because it's an 'effort' to chew - stick to chicken or I found slow cooked roast pork helped get DS out of his no meat phase because it's really soft.

Personally I just let him eat what he could but if he didn't eat much there was no pudding and certainly no alternatives - it definitely worked he's an amazing eater on the whole smile

wheresthel1ght Wed 06-Apr-16 21:57:45

we always eat together as a family and she gets a small amount of everything we are eating but she will refuse to eat anything and then it ends up with her screaming the place down. She will make herself physically sick rather than eat if she is in that mind set. I won't let it become a battle of wills and i will always make sure there is at least one component of her meal that she will eat even if that means putting a few grapes on her plate alongside the veg.

Spandex - other than leafy veg and red meat what else would you recommend? I am a big fan of liver and have tried her with it but she doesn't like it, which i know is common and i am just odd for liking it!

JuxtapositionRecords Wed 06-Apr-16 21:58:23

Chicken and sausages still contain quite high levels of iron though. Red meat obviously more but I don't get why your HV is concerned?

You can get liquid iron supplements that are safe for children. Does she eat eggs? They contain a lot of iron. Does she eat pasta and sauce - I used to blend spinach up really finely and add that to a tomato pasta sauce.

Honestly though I wouldn't worry as she eats chicken and sausages. Sounds like a bit of a silly assumption to me.

The fussy phase will pass, just try not to make a big deal of it but I know it's hard

wheresthel1ght Wed 06-Apr-16 22:07:05

ohh i didn't know that Juxtaposition - thank you, that has made me feel a bit less concerned!

It wasn't my usual HV as she took ill on her way to me so rather than reschedule for about the 5th time they sent another lady. She wasn't concerned as such, just more a 'something to be aware could become an issue' sort of thing - or at least i think that is how she meant it. I suffer with an anxiety disorder so i think the more i have thought about it the more i have wound myself up about it and thought 'bugger' iyswim.

She won't eat eggs, never has. I have tried them in all sorts of ways and unless in a cake she is not interested. Mind i loathe scrambled eggs too so that might be a me thing.

Some of it i do think is just her exercising her independence a little, and some of it is very much a boundary pushing thing i think. It just worries me as my cousin literally ate marmite sandwiches and sausage and beans from the age of 3 til he was about 24! He is 42 now and eats anything and everything but i dread that dd will turn out like him!

Our typical meals are things like chicken and pasta, fajitas, spag bol, jacket spuds, salads, risotto, white fish occasionally - my dscs used to be incredibly fussy so am pretty good at disguising foods in order to get them to try new things etc but dd just seems to be able to find the one thing i have hidden and then refuses to eat another morsel

JuxtapositionRecords Wed 06-Apr-16 22:13:28

Honestly don't worry about it. She is fine with chicken and sausages and will definitely be getting enough iron from them, chicken breast in particular is a great source of iron. There are things like salmon and dried fruits which are also good iron sources as well that you could keep offering her but I really wouldn't push it.

wheresthel1ght Wed 06-Apr-16 22:29:29

thank you for setting my mind at ease!

I will continue as is and keep offering new things and see how we get on. Hopefully this will pass soon!

RunnerOnTheRun Wed 06-Apr-16 22:30:34

No need for red meat (or any meat, for that matter) at all.

Your DD will be fine and IS fine, don't worry.

If you fork out for off the shelf vitamins or supplements you will be wasting your money, they are synthetic (false) and the body expels them. If you really feel you want to buy something, get pharmaceutical grade supplements. But you don't need to. Your HV is spouting government shit.

SpiritedLondon Wed 06-Apr-16 23:54:41

My dd is a foodie and eats all sorts of foods that I wouldn't expect so I don't make any assumptions that she will or won't eat something. I hate children's menus in restaurants that are full of the usual stuff ( brown food). I think family meals together can be great, especially if there is a range of food that can be tried. There are plenty of opportunities to smuggle veggies into sauces, stews, soups etc. Mild curries are a winner, I do one with red lentils and spinach and chicken. Getting kids involved in the cooking can be helpful, particularly if you try some raw veggies as you go ( dd eats raw mushroom, cabbage, parsnip, carrot etc) Homemade pizzas are always popular in our house as well as the weetabix with "faces" of dried and fresh fruits.! I wouldn't worry about the red meat but I would ensure as many good fats as I could ( a good breakfast is pancakes made from 1 banana mashed up and mixed with 2 eggs to make a batter which I cook in a smudge of coconut oil) and serve with blueberries and whole Greek yoghurt. Just keep offering lots of options and ensure that you don't fall into a mealtime rut

oldjacksscrote Thu 07-Apr-16 03:31:36

My ds1 was the same but since turning 2 has become very fussy, the only meat he will eat is fish and veggies are starting to become a problem, but pretending to be dinosaurs eating trees worked for broccoli.

I also second pp about tapas style meals or carpet picnics and not pressuring them to try the food. we found if we ignored him eating he'd be a lot more adventurous as there was no power struggle.

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