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to have no idea how to get 10 year old dd to stop being a fussy eater

(47 Posts)
believebelievebelieve Mon 09-Oct-17 15:00:57

Dd has always been incredibly stubborn in general (has to do things her way). This includes what she will and won't eat. I try to cook healthy meals and she is old enough now to understand what she should be eating, but still she continues to be fussy. With vegetables, she will only eat them her way (eg. only the top of broccoli) and a lot of the time she insists on covering food in tomato ketchup. This is my fault as I let her have it to try to get her meals. I don't really get cross with her as there is no point. When she doesn't want something she either flatly refuses or has one mouthful which she proceeds to chew for literally hours until I clear the food away. She loves to cook and always helps me prepare the food, but still doesn't eat it! I was hoping she'd have grown out of it by now but it's got to the point where I often cook what I know she will eat which isn't fair on us or her older DS who isn't fussy. I have started to worry about her health but just don't really know where to start.

BarbarianMum Mon 09-Oct-17 15:07:07

Let her eat her way - if she wants ketchup with everything, or only eats the tip of the broccoli its not the end of the world.
Ask her to choose 3 things she really doesn't like and don't feed her those things. Other than that provide healthy balanced meals and leave her to it. No nagging, just let her eat the bits she likes.

selly24 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:15:05

Encourage the good habits she has and praise her when she makes a sensible choice. Ignore the less desirable aspects of her eating. Re the ketchup could you discuss with her, saying you are fine with her to have ketchup but in moderation. Provide ketchup in sachets (bought in pack from Amazon or similar?) Say 20 per week to encourage her to ration herself and or to use ketchup on meals she really loves to have with ketchupand reduce her overall intake. Mention your concerned 're high salt /sugar rather than an 'it doesn't go with X meal' argument.

Try a few new things / recipies and encourage her to make suggestions of things she might like. How about blended vegetables soups with the tiny pasta, a cut of meat, a fish or beans/ pulses That you as a family rarely eat?

Keep things calm and positive.

Graphista Mon 09-Oct-17 15:17:42

I was a fussy eater and dd has a small appetite.

What DOES she eat? You might be surprised when you come to list that she eats a bigger variety than you think.

Ketchup yea full of salt and sugar but also puréed tomatoes and a good source of lycopene.

Sirzy Mon 09-Oct-17 15:18:08

You can’t force someone to like foods they don’t like!

BarbarianMum Mon 09-Oct-17 15:23:18

You can't force them no, sirtzy but they can "retrain" their palate to like foods they wouldn't previously like through repeated exposure. Tastes can and do change.

Katedotness1963 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:25:24

My youngest was exactly the same at that age! We used to joke he only ate food as a way to get ketchup into his body. He's 16 now and much better, eats lots of different things. Still no peas or mushrooms though...

Sirzy Mon 09-Oct-17 15:25:41

But if the op is encouraging her to cook and providing the chances to try new things then the chances are there for her.

Short of force feeding what else do you suggest?

Some people like foods more than others. Trying to repeatedly force someone to try new things or eat more really isn’t healthy!

Provide the food and the chances and then let the individual take control of what they eat

Minxmumma Mon 09-Oct-17 15:27:49

Dh was a super fussy eater as a child - no food touching / odd textures etc due to learning difficulties and being stubborn as an ass. These days he eats everything except fish. His parents said they just kept offering different foods. Then he went on cub camp and they didn't cater for fuss so it was eat or starve do his hunger got the better of his stubbornness.

Don't stress and just keep offering variety.

Gatehouse77 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:38:22

I had one like this who now eats most things - but not broccoli!

Our strategy was to not make mealtimes a battleground (as per my own experience). So, I only insisted that he eat a good portion of his chosen vegetable. Other than that I cooked for us as a family and he could pick out anything he didn't like. E.g. Mushrooms I would keep big enough for him to do this.

We menu plan together as a family so everyone gets an input. if they don't like what's on offer they can make themselves something but I'm only cooking one evening meal.

He also massively increased his variety when he started cooking. Something we insisted on in Y13 - cooking once a week for the family.

KimmySchmidt1 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:43:43

Leave her alone you are micromanaging! She is 10, she should be choosing and cooking her own food if that is what she prefers to do.

Problem eating is about weighing 6 stone and refusing to eat anything at all; or being pale and ill and ignorantly refusing to eat anything but chips (sign of being an idiot).

buy her an interesting cook book and let her discover food for herself instead of criticising and nagging because she likes fvcking ketchup! Your child is growing up and becoming more independent - focus on your own life a bit more and give her some bloody space.

You need to literally ignore her around food and ignore what she is and isnt eating.

Cutesbabasmummy Mon 09-Oct-17 15:58:18

KimmySchmidt1 that's harsh. The OP is obviously concerned for her child. My DS who is nearly 3 is a fussy eater and its really tough.

FenellaMaxwellsPony Mon 09-Oct-17 16:06:07

What DOES she eat?

We operate on a list of 3 foods we don't eat and the rest we have to edge around or give it a go. Mine is mushrooms, separate eggs (ie. boiled poached or fried, where the yolk and white are separate), peanut butter. DH's is peas, mushrooms and oranges. The only thing DS doesn't like thus far is bananas but he's only 8mo so there's plenty of time! 😆

Can you try the mix and match approach? So always serve something you know she will eat with something she hasn't tried yet?

Headinthedrawer Mon 09-Oct-17 16:07:40

Really?At 10 they should be cooking and choosing their own food if they want to Kimmy??Mine would be living on cereal.Op you can only keep offering healthy foods...let her have ketchup with it but I'd second the sachets.You can't force her to eat it but you dont have to make the rest of the family eat her limited menu/palette.She's offered it-her choice to eat it or not .In our home no dessert if you don't eat your veg.

Headinthedrawer Mon 09-Oct-17 16:08:44

offered it

lookingbeyond40 Mon 09-Oct-17 16:12:11

Wow Kimmy. You seem to know a lot about this. Are you a dietician? People who just eat chips are idiots?

Focus on her own life? Her child is ten. Would you prefer her to disregard and not care about her eating habits at all? NOW THATS the sign of an idiot.

North79 Mon 09-Oct-17 16:17:46

I have just read a fascinating book about appetite and taste which has really good advice - it’s called first bite how we learn to eat and dispels the myth you can’t change what you like to eat - within reason and that eating a very limited diet is disordered eating and is a problem. Focus on very small tastes and new things - even trying outside of meal times - and don’t make it stressful - even a lick to start with is good. Don’t give up though - ten isn’t old enough to say its up to
you. Good luck smile

Bitsy1968 Mon 09-Oct-17 16:22:37

Does she know what it is about the foods that she dislikes? With me, it's less taste, and more texture that is the problem.

I'm afraid I was one of those fussy kids, and I am repeatedly told that I'm still fussy, but because I cook for us, I don't really notice! I love food and cooking and learned from my Mum, who was a trained, qualified chef.

But....I still mave a massive list of "untouchable" foods that will never, ever, touch my plate, never mind my lips. My ten year old diet was rubbish - no meat, no dairy, no nuts, no fish. I'd eat chicken, breads, rice and pasta, every fruit, all veg except mushrooms and, of course, sweets (but not chocolate, it still gives me the dry heaves). I learned to cook so I could cook the foods I liked, and by doing that, I added beef, some pork, most cheese and milk to my diet without really being aware of it.

I'm rambling but what I think I'm trying to say is that she WILL get there, in her own time, and that even if she stays fussy, she'll cope with it, as I do, and have a healthy, balanced diet that works for her.

Floellabumbags Mon 09-Oct-17 16:25:30

My ten year old is also a nightmare to feed. Everything has to be bland and dry (plain pasta being an all time favourite); the only acceptable forms of potato are crisps and chips; strawberries are ok but not in a packup; carrots, peas and broccoli are tolerated on a good day; pizza must be margherita; sandwiches are evil. Drives me insane. I'm hoping that ignoring it will make it magically disappear.

brownfang Mon 09-Oct-17 17:00:51

tbh, when MNers complain about their fussy eaters it usually turns out their kid eats a huge range of things & aren't that fussy at all, so I need more specific info before I know what else to say. With my fussy eater, I just work around him & try to get fruit & veg in, the rest is inconvenient but we make it work.

At huge family gathering recently I got reminded of all the kids in family how fussy eating they used to be but now they eat most things. They got much better in the end. Meanwhile, a lot of my cousins list sushi as their favourite dish!!

believebelievebelieve Mon 09-Oct-17 17:07:57

I feel a lot better after reading all your replies thank you. I thought I'd get told off for letting her have tomato ketchup. She will eat chicken in most forms(korma, kebabs, breaded, roast), spag bol and chilli (usually), sausages, burgers, pizza. I struggle with lunch box as she hates sandwiches and wraps. Breakfast is difficult as she doesn't like cereal or toast!

Graphista Mon 09-Oct-17 22:55:26

That doesn't sound too bad are you able to sneak puréed veg into sauces? Lunch - rolls? Pitta bread? Boiled eggs? Frittata? Breakfast - again egg based, bacon? Sausages? Hell even noodles or rice? Look at breakfasts from around the world, it doesn't have to be cereal/toast

Dixiestampsagain Tue 10-Oct-17 00:25:48

My DS, also 10, has very similar eating habits, but won't have burgers, sausages or pizza either! At least he'll have toast and cereal, though. Am trying not to worry too much as he IS growing, but I feel a bit like I've pandered to him too much; not sure how I can 'make' him eat a wider range of food (esp fruit and veg).

MrsCrabbyTree Tue 10-Oct-17 00:29:37

When I was a child I was the fussy eater. Many a time my parents lamented why don't you eat better like your cousins?

Boot is on the other foot now. I eat everything (mostly) and some of my cousins are picky picky picky.

My advice is not to make a food a stressful thing. The fussiness will pass and your child will remember your reasonableness, just as I remember my parents being so. Other relatives not so much, rude bloody bastards. grin

DiscoDeviant Tue 10-Oct-17 00:40:01

My eldest son was a terrible eater. In fact he seemed to exist on a couple of raisins some days. Until he was 3 he hardly ate anything. It was very very worrying. The doctor said he had hypersensitivity syndrome which was more than just food. Light, noise, texture etc. They said he would hopefully grow out of it and thankfully he has. Until he was 10 his diet was very limited, he didn't like anything in a sauce with bits of veg (spag Bol, curry etc), wasn't even keen on pasta and rice, or even roast potatoes. In the last 2 years he's suddenly started eating and trying new things. I think it's a combination of peers, school dinners and not being so frightened to try new things. He eats really well now. The never imagined he'd eat this well. I used to make a tomato sauce with loads of veg in and purée it down. Snacks were carrot sticks or fruit.

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