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To not want to give my toddlers fish fingers every day...

(56 Posts)
MrMakersFartyParty Mon 19-Nov-18 13:02:29

I've always made sure my toddlers eat healthily and never had a problem with it.
Over the last week the youngest ones have been refusing to even try what I put in front of them. They're not ill or teething by the way.
If I put fish fingers and bread and butter in front of them they'll eat it, but I can't do this every day.
I cook everything from scratch and I'm on slimming world, and at the moment I'm throwing away so much food and they're screaming at me that they're hungry... I'm dreading meal times.
My mums told me to just give them nuggets, fish fingers, pizza... Stuff they don't really have but they will definitely eat it. But it makes me so uncomfortable, I want them to go back to eating the same things as the family. Also there's no pattern to it, sometimes they'll eat tuna and sometimes they'll just throw it on the floor, sometimes one will eat fish fingers, the other only the bread.
They are 20 months old twins by the way.
Help sad I'm worried I'm going to make them picky eaters. Do I give them dessert still if they refuse to try their food? What do I do if they're still hungry?

EmUntitled Mon 19-Nov-18 13:04:55

My daughter is the same age. If she refuses her dinner I just give her something boring like toast so I know she has had something to eat but it's not very exciting. She goes through fussy phases and then is ok for a while - how long has it been going on for you?

I usually give her fruit for dessert even if she doesn't finish dinner so she gets 5 a day.

StaySafe Mon 19-Nov-18 13:06:15

I'm sure someone expert will be along in a minute. My DS1 managed to spend a short part of his toddlerhood eating only baked beans and raisins. I can no longer remember how this came about and what ended it but certainly it was not too long before he was accepting most foods again.

BottleOfJameson Mon 19-Nov-18 13:08:32

It's normal for toddlers to go through periods of being fussy. I wouldn't either massively change the diet you feed them or get overly anxious about it. Keep feeding them a healthy diet but do make sure there is something boring they'll eat with every meal.

TitusAndromedom Mon 19-Nov-18 13:08:34

Stay calm. I would put a selection of a few bits on a plate and then they eat what they eat and they don’t eat what they don’t. Mix it up so there are things you know they like and things they are awkward about. So, you might do slices of chicken breast, peas, a piece of bread and butter, some sweet potato and some yoghurt. They’ll eat some bits and leave some and you just remove what they don’t eat without fuss. I think the key is to avoid getting into a battle for control. We don’t tend to do real desserts, but mine love plain Greek yoghurt. I’ll present it as part of a meal because it isn’t a reward for eating and withholding isn’t a punishment for not eating: it’s just part of the meal the same as the other bits are. I have twins, too, so I know how tricky it can be. Just be relaxed, say, ‘You don’t have to eat it’ and keep meals simple for now so you aren’t slaving away in the kitchen for no reason.

Gigglebrain Mon 19-Nov-18 13:09:22

My children ate what they were given or got nothing. Considering some toddlers survive on a bit of dust, a spider found in a corner and a pencil, they’re it going to starve. They need to learn to eat what they’re given

Cornettoninja Mon 19-Nov-18 13:09:32

Yeah... they’re buggers arent they? Dd was a dream to feed at first then discovered she had choices damnit! grin

What works for us is offering what I want her to eat alongside what she wants to eat. 9 times out of 10 she’ll eat both, but tbh I fret if she doesn’t eat anything because she suffers from hangreyness like a banshee so I’m a bit soft really. For the record she eats perfectly at childcare where she eats whatever she’s given.

MrMakersFartyParty Mon 19-Nov-18 13:10:42

@EmUntitled probably 2ish weeks. Glad i'm not alone in this. I think it's a bit weird that they're both doing it together, maybe it's a twin thing. I did think about giving toast but I think one of them would be too happy eating toast all day if i let him!

@StaySafe I'm glad it didn't last too long, I wish they'd eat beans as I know they're a good source of protein!

Osirus Mon 19-Nov-18 13:13:07

When mine does this I just always put something on her plate I know she’ll eat e.g pasta with a roast dinner! That why there’s no saying “have some bread instead” because there is always something I know she will eat already on her plate. The fussiness doesn’t last long and I never worry about it.

On the plus side, she hates fish fingers, nuggets or anything breaded. She hates potatoes too, in all forms apart from chips.

WisdomOfCrowds Mon 19-Nov-18 13:14:01

My son started doing exactly the same thing at around 22 months, totally erratic and unpredictable food preferences, trying to live off nothing but bread, full veg refusal etc. Was very stressful as I worried a lot about his health. We just kind of ignored it TBH, didn't try to cajole or scold, just kept neutral in our attitudes to food. It's all a power struggle and we basically just refused to engage in it. I offered him the same dinner we had, only made things that I knew he'd recently liked, and let him choose to eat it or not. If he didn't then he had to sit patiently until we'd finished eating our food, and then I made him some bread/ cheese/ anything I could easily pull out the fridge. I didn't make him a new proper meal, but I also didn't want him going hungry. Anyway, he's now just over 2 and has more or less stopped doing it. He still doesn't eat everything he used to, but he'll eat a fairly decent selection of food and try new things before rejecting them. When he eats his veg or finishes his meal etc we praise him but not over the top, just like "good boy, you'll feel nice and full tonight" as I'm cleaning up. I want to give positive feedback but not to the point that I attach a lot of emotion to food so that he goes the other way and eats too much/ eats when he doesn't really want to in order to please people, as that's disordered eating in it's own way. I'm pretty sure this is all just a normal phase though, just normal toddlers trying to figure out what they can and can't control in their world.

3WildOnes Mon 19-Nov-18 13:16:04

When mine did this I just carried on serving my normal meals, I didn’t make a fuss about them not eating but praised when they did. I did add an extra meal before bed (so they weren’t hungry) but this was a plate of fruit and veg that I knew they liked and some oat cakes and a glass of milk, so nothing unhealthy. I wouldn’t offer toast as kidney would have just eaten that and nothing else.

Avegemitesandwich Mon 19-Nov-18 13:16:33

Yes, I would just keep offering them the same stuff, and not making a fuss, I second the 'you don't have to eat it' thing, it worked quite well with mine. Do not start going down the fish fingers route. I know it's a bit annoying to waste it, but if you just make a little bit then hopefully not too much waste. Don't let them win this battle though otherwise I think it will be more difficult in the long run. It doesn't sound like this is genuine dislike for particular foods, they are just going through the fussy phase that pretty much every child goes through. They are not going to become malnourished from a bit of a fussy phase.

DailyMailFail101 Mon 19-Nov-18 13:30:54

Make your own fish fingers? Try different types of fish my two love lemon sole with panko breadcrumbs, you could even cut chicken breast into strips to look like fish fingers if you want to variety. In my experience they love somthing for a week or so then go on to the next thing, just push through it, offer something different with somthing they like, fish fingers new potatoes and peas instead of their usual bread?

SooticaTheWitchesCat Mon 19-Nov-18 13:31:44

I think a lot of toddlers go through this stage, my daughter went through a phase of only eating pasta with tomato. I would always offer something off my plate and she grew out of it after a while. Now she will eat everything.

MTBMummy Mon 19-Nov-18 13:33:23

DD went through a long phase of eating pasta and chicken gravy (cold!) it's just a phase and it will pass.

BiscuitDrama Mon 19-Nov-18 13:35:54

I’d really avoid the ‘if you can manage to eat this nasty meal you get a reward of dessert’. Maybe just don’t have pudding.

I’d offer dinner, ideally two bits so if they don’t like the chicken they can eat the potato.

Then later offer a boring snack like oatcakes and cheese/fruit/yoghurt if you really feel they didn’t eat.

Cuzcothellama Mon 19-Nov-18 13:37:14

Mine aren't toddlers any more, but from when they were tiny, if they don't eat their dinner, I will only offer toast or crackers with butter. I still give them pudding, which is only ever fruit or yoghurt anyway.

They are going through a very fussy phase at the moment, but it is a phase and I know it will pass.

minipie Mon 19-Nov-18 13:37:27

This is normal. Mine were the best eaters in the world and I thought I had it sussed... unless they got near to two and developed stronger opinions.

If they have liked meal X in the past then it’s unlikely they really hate it now. It just isn’t their favourite. So I’d keep serving meal X and say I know you like this, you’ve had it plenty of times before. I probably wouldn’t try introducing new stuff at this age though...

Do they like veg eg chopped carrots, cucumber, tomatoes? If so then you could have some of those available and if they really won’t eat the main meal there is always the veg. Oat cakes are a good idea too, not exciting enough to be eaten as a preference but will keep them from being too hungry.

Rachelover40 Mon 19-Nov-18 13:42:08

Nothing wrong with fish fingers and fish finger sandwiches are lovely!
A friend of mine's child would only eat sausages. He grew up fine, ate a varied diet once he got a bit bigger.

Don't worry too much at this stage. If they snack, cheese and biscuits, cherry tomatoes, are good, plus milk.

MorbidlyObese Mon 19-Nov-18 13:48:18

Don't worry. Mine went into food refusenik mode at the same age. 2 months later, he still only eats tomato ketchup and olives most days (washed down with a litre of gold top). My only consolation is that he goes to nursery twice a week and they assure me that he eats EVERYTHING they put in front of him and usually asks for more with a winsome smile. The little git.

It's usually about power at this age. Don't worry. As my HV said, there is not one confirmed case of a toddler starving itself to death.

MirriVan Mon 19-Nov-18 13:51:11

I once read that toddlers being extremely fussy with food is an evolutionary thing - in that it would be quite dangerous if they ate anything in front of them once they've become mobile because they might toddle over to a bush and eat the poisonous berries, etc.
Don't know how true it is but it might help you feel less frustrated if you think your kids are just unwittingly protecting themselves!

whataboutbob Mon 19-Nov-18 13:51:38

My boys ( who now eat most things: every conceivable veg, fish, liver, rare meat, spicy foods etc, they’re 11 and 15) went through similar phases. I did not allow them to box me into a corner of only ever serving the few things they’d decided they’d eat at any particular phase. I would continue to offer other foods, and when feeling strong inidicate it was that or nothing- and be prepared to follow through and remove them from the table even if the’ d hardly eaten. I think it’s paid off in the long run, although it was tough sometimes.
In the 90s I worked in a Romanian orphanage as a cook and dietitian, there were no fussy eaters there, apart maybe from the autistic kids.

Serfisafleur Mon 19-Nov-18 13:52:21

Don't despair. My LO would eat only pasta in tomato sauce every day if he had his way, fish fingers a close second.
He basically only eats anything different if he is very hungry so I have to be diligent about snacks. It's absolutely no snacks after 3pm otherwise he won't eat his evening meal.

OutPinked Mon 19-Nov-18 13:54:47

My DS went through this ‘phase’, he’s now almost nine and still going through it angry grin. He ate absolutely everything except tomatoes, never cracked that one with him (think it was a texture thing) then suddenly when he was about three he refused lots of different things he’d always loved. It’s only in the past year or so I’ve managed to get him to eat more vegetables again aside from the three he didn’t mind... He’d gladly live off fruit, peanut butter and pizza if I let him. I even took him to the doctor at one stage to ask if there was anything I could do, he basically laughed me out of the room saying how normal it is.

I stopped making a big deal out of it a long time ago. He either eats it or just gets toast and definitely no dessert.

MadameButterface Mon 19-Nov-18 13:58:44


I once read that toddlers being extremely fussy with food is an evolutionary thing - in that it would be quite dangerous if they ate anything in front of them once they've become mobile because they might toddle over to a bush and eat the poisonous berries, etc.”

I came here to say this. Try to stay calm, don’t let it become a battleground - which I appreciate is MUCH easier said than done. It will pass. Some good advice on this thread.

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