To just feed them what they like(19 Posts)
Both DCs 3 and 14 months are fussy eaters and it's driving me crazy. I try very hard to offer healthy food at meal times but both of them would rather just eat ' snacks' (cheese, eggs, toast, raisins, fruit, fruit bread etc) or 'picnic' (sandwiches, cheese and fruit) the only hot food which they will both regularly eat is pasta with cheese sauce/fish , pizza or fish fingers/chicken nuggets and chips. I always try to add veg on the side.
Both were great eaters when they were very small but DS seems to have picked it up from his big sister very early. I keep cooking different things ( things I know they used to like - spag Bol, tangine, kegeree etc only for it to be ignored or (in DS case) thrown on the floor.
I keep being told that they will eat when they are hungry. But DS doesn't. Yesterday he refused almost everything he was offered and then woke 4 times in the night screaming with hunger before I gave in and gave him weetabix at 1.30am.
I worry that they eat too much cheese and bread/pasta but AIBU to just keep serving up pasta and cheese and with vegetable snacks on the side and hope they grow out of it?
I think they do grow out of it but I would just try and get calories in for now with a non eater by giving what they will eat, with an occasional something else on the side.
Mine was awful until about age 8. I insisted on school dinners and she eventually liked pretty much everything, through trying it because she was starving by lunchtime. But I felt comfortable doing that knowing she'd eaten a good breakfast and would eat a reasonable amount for tea.
Certainly in the early days she could go whole days eating only a couple of mouthfuls - more important to get calories in imv.
My 2 year old is limited in what he will eat. He always wants "lunch", by which he means bread and cheese. I tend to do him a plate of what we are having and a plate of "lunch" and put both in front of him. He will usually start with the cold food but often eats at least something from the other plate. My philosophy is that he needs to eat and he needs to develop a positive relationship with food, so I'm not going to put pressure on him or make mealtimes stressful.
It's hard I know but give them what they'll eat. Trying to get him to eat Broccoli etc is just frustrating.
A lot of time DS (3) just isn't hungry for supper, we try and make sure he has a few bites but he always has yogurt or fruit for pudding.
Veg is a sore point : he likes carrot, red pepper, sweet potato and not much else. I do the whole bolignese with loads of veg though, which he wolfs down.
Made a chicken, ham and cheese pasta with onion and red pepper last night which he ate quite a bit of.
I really don't understand why you would want to restrict cheese and bread. Veg is great and all but it's not very calorific and kids need fat in much higher quantities than we do.
I really do think you have to do a bit of both. Feed them what they like but keep up with the variety as well.
My DS2 is terribly fussy (the other two are OK but have some personal tastes) so I always serve him what ever we are having (a tiny portion) and then add in bits I know he will eat. I also try to alternate days so on some days we have something he likes for tea and then on other days we have something I know he doesn't. As he is older (8yrs) I expect him to have a couple of bites of whatever we are having but when they are little you can end up getting into battles with food which you definitely don't want.
What you really don't want to happen is to only feed them what the currently like and then find them starting to refuse that and then being left with a very minimal amount of things they will eat.
I always try to get mine to have a good breakfast (Weetabix is currently the favourite), I let them have one glass of juice as a one of their five a day, one portion of dried fruit as another five a day, they drink milk which is full of goodness at other times of the day and I give them a multivitamin. I then hope that by offering a variety they will get the rest of the nutrients they need. Peanut butter is often popular and you can get healthier versions which are high in protein.
Just keep trying different foods and offer them presented in different ways and at different times of the day. I would avoid offering different things though after they have refused the first thing - give them a choice at the beginning and stick to just one thing.
I feel a bit better reading through this. My DD2 is exactly the same. Would eat pasta every night. But I'm finding breakfast very difficult. She does not like cereal at all, even porridge with jam or anything like it. She doesn't like toast. By 9 she is starving. She sometimes has a croissant though. Usually end up with strawberries and yoghurt. Dinner she doesn't like meat (texture) so it has to be really mushed and tiny. I think I need help!
They don't necessarily grow out of it , my dd is 17 , ate well as a baby and by 2 was very picky , I even consulted a dr about her , she still eats no vegetables and very limited amounts of meat . My older DC eats all vegetables and most meats .
I empathise, OP. My HV said fussy eating is normal for toddlers, and suggested giving them a plate of what they're supposed to have for their main, give them extra 15 minutes to eat it, then dessert/fruit/something they'll eat. DS1 is fussy, DS2 isn't but DH is and cooking does get depressing sometimes when half the people being cooked for may well turn their nose up before taking a bite.
Thanks everyone, I think this means I need to just relax a bit about the 'balance' of what they are eating and just try and make sure that it's enough. I'll keep offering other stuff and hope it improves.
Batteries - my worry about cheese is the salt and that if DS only gets carbs from bread/pasta then that's a lot of wheat.
Still - maybe they'll actually try their Christmas dinner!!!
One thing I've noticed with small children is they often don't like things mixed up, like in stews or even Bolognese as you mentioned cooking.
Why not try the foods you would like them to try individually, very simply prepared with just a light seasoning and maybe some butter on or with a dip on the side, in small child friendly portions. Kids often like veggies served raw too so you could try that. Another thing to try is making little rissoles and breading things like homemade nuggets. That is quite easy to do and homemade is much healthier. Even though they might be mixed up and contain a hidden veggie or two they seem like one thing. Make sure the taste and texture of these rissoles and things is what they like at first though or you might put them off. Don't try a breaded mushroom!
Of course they won't like everything but don't let it get you down and just keep trying things.
I get my ds (4) to eat vegetables by having a crudités starter. He likes fruit anyway. And re too much wheat, you could try gluten free? The pasta is really quite nice, bread is ok but better toasted imo.
Are you giving them wholemeal pasta and bread? If not, try swopping them over GRADUALLY by mixing the quantities. TBH, their diet doesn't sound that bad.... But there are some good cookbooks out there specifically designed for picky kids.... 'The Sneaky Chef' series springs to mind but there are others.
A lot of kids go through this. Mine aren't the best, especially DD who, if she could, would live off carbs. But I have found that an element of nonchalance helps heaps.... plus distraction- lots of chatting and questions at meal times.
Ohhhh no, I don't have any of this shit. They eat what they're given and if they wake up hungry they get their dinner that they refused earlier microwaved. I've always hated cooking and always said before I had kids that there was no way I would be standing out there cooking 2 different meals. I don't make stuff I know they hate but I do expect them to try things. DS hates cauliflower and DD hates fish. Fair enough. They don't get given those. I always introduce new stuff alongside things I know they already like so they aren't hungry if they don't like it. But things like going off stuff and only wanting to eat snacky type things got nipped in the bug pretty quickly. You don't eat dinner, you get no snack food in this house and if you whinge later that you're hungry, your plate is in the fridge. As a result I have an 18 month old that eats everything put in front of her and a 3 year old who will at least try everything on his plate. I couldn't cope with two fussy eaters, it'd drive me mad. I'm a cold hearted bitch but at least I'm sane.
I was told that at this age, as long as their diet is balanced, then it's not vital that it is varied. We would prefer to eat different foods and nice cooked hot dinners but they have a different attitude!
Mine are a little older now and eat quite well plus trying new things but at the age of yours they were similarly annoying.
Putting lots of different veg and fruits, cubes of cheese etc in ice cube trays is fun for trying new things.
Tiny portions of cooked meals while you are eating the same works better than large plates.
And not mixed up foods! Might were awful at any sauces.
Don't despair! It's a phase. Try to keep meal times fun and light. Don't panic about the not eating. You can offer a slice of bread and milk at bedtime if they've not had the dinner.
Keep offering veg, keep trying x
I would give them what they like, but also put a few extra veg on the side and offer them some of your dinner if they're still up when you and DH eat. Don't make it a big deal, but if you eat together as a family at the weekend then give them what everyone else is having so they do get used to the fact that they can have exactly what they want all the time. If you're worried about hunger, maybe when you're doing stories take up a piece of toast and an extra cup of milk to let them have, but don't make any mention that they're getting it because they didn't eat dinner. Keep it unassociated with refusing food.
Perhaps get the 3 year old to come up with some suggestions when you are next at the supermarket. Could the older one help with the preparation of the meal and or setting up the table. Perhaps have a star chart with a reward given every time they try something new or eat up a regular meal. Good luck.
I've always been in the "eat what you're given or eat nothing" camp. They might pick at the odd meal but they're never going to starve. Plus what is the HV thinking offering dessert when the kids don't eat what's on offer?!?!
The end result is I have four kids that eat everything despite having a SDS who would only eat pasta when I met him aged 3.
Unless there are sensory issues there's no real reason for allowing them to dictate what they eat.
I agree with pp that you're being far too soft with them. They should eat what they're given or go hungry, if they're hungry later they can eat the dinner then.
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