To ask for your success stories with fussy eating(22 Posts)
DD is 9. I wish she enjoyed food more, does anyone have any success stories they can share, and what they thought helped develop a palette/enjoyment of food.
Main success was accepting ds just doesn't like the taste of lots of foods. Safe trial was encouraged, but if he didn't like something we accepted it and moved on. Minimal fuss. He's 26 now, fit and healthy but there ar foods he still doesn't like. There are bigger problems in the world than this.
Agree with Purple. I just stopped worrying about it. I always batch cook foods that fussy DS likes and freeze in portions. That way, if we're having something he won't eat, he just gets a portion of something he likes. I'm sure plenty of people will come along and tell me I'm pandering to him but I'm past caring. We tried all the tricks in the book but he would honestly rather go hungry then eat something he doesn't like. I didn't want to turn food into a battlefield so my way means that everyone is fed and everyone is happy. As DS is fond of saying to people who criticize his eating habit, "Is it killing me?" He's a very healthy teenager who hasn't had a day off school in five years so it clearly isn't doing him any harm.
Around that age DS started to branch out a bit
Combination of strict rules and laying off the pressure, if that makes sense!
Strict rules: you are polite about food that someone, anyone has prepared. No faces, no negative comments.
Lay off pressure: prepare some new foods occassionally, but often have a "safe" standby too (my DS can eat rice with anything, so often had a bit of plain cooked rice as an option too).
Other than that, we don't talk about his food issues, the big thing is: it is fine to not like certain foods, it is NOT fine to make faces/comments/pushfoodaround plate with face of doom .
I make sure I don't praise or scold, just let him get on with it.
funnily enough, he started becoming more adventurous by himself.
He eats most things now (13)
Thank you. I don't force food on her but do encourage her to try new things. She will plough through quite a lot of things but never really enjoys it unless it's pizza or bolognaise. (Excluding sweet things).
I think texture is a big big factor
So if they'll eat raw carrots give them raw carrots
If they don't like things mixed up together, serve them separately.
I work in a school and notice that the things kids who are fussy don't like are often a mixture of wet and lumpy
DS1 was very fussy - almost phobic. I just considered it a result when he ate some protein, one vegetable (raw carrots, peas) and one fruit (cut-up apples), at one stage.
You wouldn't know he was ever fussy now (at 16). There are lots of things he doesn't like but he tries nearly everything at least once
Puberty is a big appetite stimulant
It's a difficult situation but not one that has to last forever. In my line of work I come across children like this regularly and it sounds like you are doing the right thing by encouraging her to try new things and keeping calm. Please never force her to eat or get angry, give her the foods she likes most of the time and maybe try a new thing once or twice a week, gradually increase this so she is trying new things regularly. It's really hard to see your child not eating a wide range of food but remember there is help out there and you shouldn't be afraid to ask for it if you feel she isn't making progress.
Good luck X
From the POV of a formerly fussy child: I would say the most important thing is to remove any emotion from the equation. The child eats or doesn't eat, it is up to her, without judgement or commentary. Encouragement to try new things is great, but I definitely wouldn't recommend insisting that she try them. The "just one bite" school of thought is counter-productive IMO. And requiring a child to eat X in order to have Y (usually a dessert of some sort) can really backfire.
I think in dealing with fussy children you really have to play the long game. Keep offering a variety of foods but don't force her or insist that she eat them. In my case, I grew out of the fussiness. As an adult, I will eat just about anything, though of course I have preferences. But I well remember being unable to cope with (what seemed to me then) overwhelming flavours or textures.
I think I made a grave error in trying to over feed her as a baby, so I feel I have created this
I now realise she is someone who small portions and respect it.
I have tried letting her choose a new thing to try each week of the holidays which seems to be quite successful, especially as I said alongside this we could try a new pudding too.
Glad to hear some of the different strategies. I might need to accept that she may never really enjoy food.
One of our DGC was a very fussy eater. We followed the advice above - no fuss, no forcing to try something, everything low-key.
What helped us was drawing up a written list of foods that she would eat (started with about 6 items on it). This was pinned up in the kitchen and, slowly but surely, she proudly started adding one or two things occasionally to the list. I never served her anything that wasn't on the list.
She is now a teenager who eats everything except tomatoes, watches youtube cookery blogs and cooks well.
I would like to join too. DD isn't terrible but eating out is hard. She's not adventurous and will only eat pizza in restaurants.
She's very sensitive to small changes in foods and tastes and can spot a different brand a mile off (beans, cheese).
I had a v fussy nephew, garlic bread and cheese and tomato pizza till he left home and went to uni.
Something clicked with him when he started meeting lots of new people I think and the pressure of home and The label of him as fussy (not intentional but his diet had do restricted where they could eat put etc) lifted. He now cooks, eats really well and his attitude to food has been transformed.
My dscs were a nightmare when they first starting staying with me and dp when we moved in together. Sausages, cheese pizza and chicken nuggets were the only things they would eat. Fast forward to now and they eat pretty much anything put in front of them!
Start with food she eats and adapt. So say she likes chicken nuggets then move to breaded chicken pieces or chicken burgers, then move to naked nuggets (diced chicken breast) and then things like butterfly breasts or a roast chicken.
For sausages, try differing flavoured ones. Tesco etc do ones with apple in them or caramelised onions - I tend not to tell the kids what's in them and just serve them as sausages. Then you can move onto things like pork meatballs as they are just round sausages.
Keep it familiar and relate back to things she likes is your key to winning
Serving adult food first sometimes works as a risk free opportunity to try other foods. "The adults have a starter today." Your pizza is in the oven, you can see it will be on the table in 5 minutes. It means serving part of your meal early, that's all. Works better with a side salad than mashed potato!
WIth my fussy DS, the only thing that worked was the passage of time. I tried bribery, I tried soft and gentle, I tried harsh and cross, I tried everything. Peer pressure had no effect; the experience of being in a restaurant and having no option but to eat only the bread because nothing else was acceptable had no effect. Basically he lived on pasta, yoghurt and fruit for at least a decade. Anyway - he hit 16 or so and started trying new food, and has just kept going. It was nothing I did or said.
You've had some excellent advice and I'll add that changing good vocabulary helped us.
I don't like it
DCs were taught:
I don't like it as much as x
(where x was a trusty food, like pasta)
and we later added:
but I like it more than y
It helped me to teach them that it's not dichotomous. Ditto healthy/unhealthy foods!
I have a picky eater. Relaxing about it has helped: ok, so if its chicken nuggets, buy the good ones (tescos frozen are real chicken, not mechanically recovered rubbish. Check the percentage - aim for 67% or above)
Recognise that they are happy to eat the same things day in day out, in a way adults would not be.
I found that actually listing what he would eat was helpful in that it did cover the main food groups.
Here is my ds list:
Chicken nuggets or very inside white chicken from a roast.
Most bread products
Steak <sigh> $$
Chips (but only if they look like macdonalds ones)
Battered sausage- only from the chipper <sigh again>
Those petit filous that are chocolate or vanilla.
Green apples and strawberries.
That is it. I havent included the usual love of McDonald's, crisps, and chocolate as that's not food. But its an ok cross section, just not a wide or varied one.
Not our DCs but me. I had a very limited palette as a child, right up to sixth form really. I would only eat one specific type of microwave pizza, only eat bolognaise if it was made with a Coleman's packet sauce... the list went on.
Then I had a fairly serious boyfriend in sixth form and we wanted to act grown up and eat out. I went along with it and consequently branched out. It expanded at uni too, not wanting to miss out on pizza nights etc.
I'd say if they will eat things and are able to manage at friends houses. I'd pretend not to be hungry and only eat a tiny amount. Then try it to worry too much. A little dollop of peer pressure did the trick as I got older.
I can only comment on my own experiences. In my family there would only be one meal prepared, if you're old enough to make a choice you could be asked do you want A or B tonight. Once the choice is made that's it and everyone in the family ate the same. Always have a selection of food on the plate - if you don't like something then you can leave it, but it's still always put on the plate. Minimal fuss as others have said.
I remember as a child asking my mum to cut the crusts off my sandwiches - she told me if I didn't want them I could cut them off myself. Needless to say I didn't and I eat crusts just fine haha - same thing with kidney beans in chilli, if I didn't want them I could fish them out but eventually I just ate them and still eat them now.
All food served in serving bowls, but a bit of everything on the child's plate. If the child then wanted any extra servings, everything must have been eaten. Portion size could have been as small as 2 peas, 1 carrot baton, 1 sprout, 1 small potato, 1 small piece of meat/ portion of pie. It worked for my picky ones and their friends.
I really wouldn't push it too much if the child is healthy. Ds was getting very distressed over food and building up his ability to remain calm and not have anxiety affect his life became much more important than what he eats (backed up by a dietician).
Now we go anywhere, he usually eats chips, bread or garlic bread if in a restaurant, knowing there is his default sandwich waiting afterwards if necessary. Social skills and knowing he is an OK human being will probably be more helpful in life, whether he ends up eating a wider range of things or not.
He sucked a carrot stick last month, which was his first vegetable in his mouth in 6 years - touching vegetables has been a step forward this year at school.
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