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The incredibly fussy eaters thread

(346 Posts)
boschy Tue 29-Nov-11 11:20:51

Following on from the thread on AIBU, this is the place for those with incredibly fussy/food phobic kids! If you are fed up with the "eat what they're given or let them starve" brigade, this is the place for you.

(If you ARE one of the 'eat or starve' brigade, please look away now - this thread is not for you, unless of course you've just had the Damascene conversion having discovered that your child is not the great eater you always thought he/she would be, down to your incredible parenting skills and totally relaxed attitude to food.)

My fussy eater is DD1, now 15. All was fine til she hit 12 months - easy to wean, I Annabel-Karmel-ed frantically etc etc.

But overnight she just. stopped. eating. And when she started again she knew exactly what she would and wouldn't eat. We had the tears and tantrums (from me) til I realised it was going nowhere. So 14 years later, here we are.

Her current repertoire is, in no particular order: macaroni cheese (no crispy top). garlic bread. breaded chicken products. chips. pizza with tomato sauce, no cheese. cold chicken (from a packet, not off the roast). spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce. Heinz tomato soup. Milano salami. pistachio nuts. crisps. any sort of bread as long as it doesnt have bits in. wraps. bananas. Innocent fruit smoothies (hurrah!). occasional off-piste forays into things like turkey schnitzel - successful; burgers/lasagne/bolognese - not successful.

She's bored with not being able to eat what everyone else does, but cant bring herself to try. I just try to keep going with the idea that she can try whatever she likes whenever she likes, and that she will grow out of it.

OP’s posts: |
LauraShigihara Tue 29-Nov-11 11:33:51

Hello, glad to have found you. My fussy little fusspot is eight and likes mainly dry food but has started eating pasta (only spaghetti) with one sauce (particular brand and flavour) with meatballs. Hooray!

He mainly lives off Marmite though. One morning he will wake up with a black body and a yellow head.

Hates sweets, loves chocolate.

We try to extend his variety of foods all the time but he is utterly repulsed by an enormous list of quite normal average foods. His taste buds are amazing too - he can taste any kind of difference in 'trusted food'.

Triggles Tue 29-Nov-11 11:35:28

Damascene conversion. grin I like that.

DS2 is 5yo with SNs and massive sensory/food problems. He doesn't like certain texture foods or foods that are too cold or too hot. And has a fairly limited diet, but only because we have spent the last 4 years working carefully towards expanding his diet very slowly and patiently (well, sort of patiently grin).

I do get frustrated with the "they'll eat it or go hungry" or "let them go without for awhile, they'll give in" brigade, but have to confess that I was part of that brigade for a few years when my older DC was small - she would eat almost anything put in front of her without argument. I thought I was doing such a good job parenting - turns out I was just lucky. grin

I don't see DS2's food issues resolving any time soon, as they are tied in with his SNs. The only thing we can do is work with what we've got, and try to encourage him to eat as best we can.

We do have some particular rules for meals at the house, which work well for us. I think it's all about finding what works for you and what you can live with every day. It's exasperating sometimes, I will admit, and it can be a battle with family and friends who sometimes just don't get it.

Nice to have this thread to discuss things.

LauraShigihara Tue 29-Nov-11 11:40:45

Yes, yes, I did a lot of patting myself on the back over the amazing variety of foods my oldest would eat. Hot curries, seafood, olives - they would eat with relish and I assumed I was a good mother who had exposed my children to lots of different foods at a young age and I was incredibly impatient with other parents who had less success.

My youngest came along and humbled me grin.

MRSJWRTWR Tue 29-Nov-11 11:42:16

My fussy eater is DS1. Again ate just about anything offered him until he was about 18 months then refused everything apart from bread (white, no crusts), cheese, chips or roast potatoes, eggs and yogurt. Oh and the odd banana and strawberries.

Now age 12 he is much better in that he will eat meat now (as long as it has been cooked for a long time ie. soft) carrots and peas, oranges and apples sometimes. He is still very wary of new foods and can tell instantly if I use something different in the bolognese sauce for instance. He will only still eat cheese sandwiches so has those every day, with the same fruit and yogurt etc.

DS2 (5) is totally different, has his likes and dislikes obviously (hates eggs with passion) but he at least is not afraid to try something new.

Nubbin Tue 29-Nov-11 11:46:23

I was an incredibly fussy child (don't know how mum coped given she did have to cook separately for me). She tried eat it or there is nothing - I ate nothing. It wasn't a battle of wills - certain foods made me feel physically sick.

When I left home at 18 - my list was pretty similar to OP dds - breaded chicken, white bread, roasted chicken (only breast and no sauce), chips, mash, roast beef (had to be v well done), beef soup, spaghetti hoops, waffles, cheese, peas and satsumas. No fish, no pasta, no rice and no other fruit or veg.

Now (some years later) I can do the list the other way of things I don't eat - shellfish, pizza, lamb, pasta, raw tomatoes, pate, bananas and cream. Pretty much have been able to add everything else in over time and can find a menu option anywhere we go to eat.

DD (23 months) eats quite well - (has taken against quiche) but should this change I won't be forcing her to eat any particular food. Too many memories of people trying to make me eat pasta (always resulted in being sick and then being food wary for a while after and reverting to only eating dry bread).

boschy Tue 29-Nov-11 11:51:07

YY to Marmite (packed full of Vit B, thank god for that) and choc vs. sweets.

For me, the hardest thing was learning to back off, that I was NOT going to 'win', despite being told to follow the eat or starve path. I was upset, she was upset, it was all horrible.

By the time she was about 5 or 6 I had pretty much accepted the way she is with food, but it took DH a lot longer, and it led to some pretty nasty conflicts between them, with me being protective in between. Not a good time in our lives tbh.

What are everyone else's kids like as people? DD1 is fantastic now she is a teenager, but was the most godawful small child - very strongwilled, very stroppy, very clingy, always the drama queen. I just came to the conclusion that she never liked being a child, she is quite an old soul, and certainly as she has got older she has become much more relaxed in herself, she has her head screwed on.

DD2 meanwhile (conscious she was not mentioned on other thread) is classic 2nd/subsequent child - got dumped in the corner while I dealt with the 2yo etc. She is what I would call a 'fussy' eater in the classic sense, in that she could probably be persuaded to try anything, just doesnt want to. her repertoire is limited, but much wider than DD1s.

OP’s posts: |
CarolCervix Tue 29-Nov-11 11:53:44

D2 is 13. ate everything until she was 18 months then stopped (i see a pattern forming hmm)

over the years has got more and more picky, shedding things like pasta along the way.

She eats no fruit or vegetables at all.

Her list

Chicken (and breaded chicken as long as not spicy)
Roast potatoes
toasted cheese sandwiches
Pizza (as long as not too much tomato in the sauce)
Some sweets and chocolate but not many.

how she doesn't have scurvey or rickets i don't know.

CarolCervix Tue 29-Nov-11 11:55:37

D1 eats pretty much everything

DD2 has aspergers and is mostly difficult about everything (having had a 2 hour screaming battle this morning to get her to school again is not my favourite person at the mo)

LauraShigihara Tue 29-Nov-11 12:11:25

Mine had strong preferences when he was weaning. No vanilla, nothing cold, nothing too sloppy. He went off milk rapidly too, so it was struggle to feed him.

His list of foods currently stands at

Breaded chicken (he likes homemade best of all but will eat supermarket if we are not at home)
Spaghetti with meatballs and particular sauce
Cheese and tomato pizza
Baked beans
Plain bread (hates butter)
Fromage Frais
Chocolate (no raisins or nuts)
Honey Cheerios
Oat-So-Simple with added chocolate
Tesco's Hi Juice
Grapes and now, amazingly, satsumas
Sainsbury's orange juice.

I think that's it. He will occasionally nibble the edges of ham or a piece of garlic bread but not often enough to call them a regular food.

MsBrian Tue 29-Nov-11 12:19:43

I wonder if I should check DS for Aspergers as his list of foods is probably smaller than yours Carol sad

NightLark Tue 29-Nov-11 12:29:13

DD1 (2.8)

Breaded chicken
gammon or bacon
fish fingers
plain pasta (I sneek in a tiny splash of olive oil to stop it clagging)
spaghetti hoops
chips / roasties
potato cakes
biscuits / chocolate / lollies
peas one at a time and squeezed out of their shells
chocolate weetos
baby milk
apple juice
apple segments (NOT whole apples)
quavers or hula hoops
and enough fromage frais to float a battleship.

DS (5.8)

absolutely anything provided it is not spicy ('fizzy'). Snacks on raw salad veg.


NightLark Tue 29-Nov-11 12:30:22

Marmite, how could I forget marmite... Surely everyone eats marmite.

CarolCervix Tue 29-Nov-11 12:31:10

MsB she is also difficult (minor understattement!) in lots of other ways

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Tue 29-Nov-11 12:35:54

I was on the other thread, DS (7) has AS and sounds like a lot of others here, addicted to Marmite. Can't post for long now, on phone at work but will. e back later.

boschy Tue 29-Nov-11 12:43:00

nubbin I was also an incredibly fussy child, and my mum cooked separately for me. I eat virtually anything now though - possibly excluding tripe and offal, and am v. fussy about salads and veg being nice enough. eg a gourmet restaurant salad is a delight, a pub salad with salad cream stays on the side of the plate, tho I'd probably nibble the cucumber.

I think I thought, with DD1, that it would be somehow 'better' if she ate what she was given - because that's what I was told to do by the HV and the ILs, and that maybe my own mum had been too 'soft' with me.

Give 'em time, give 'em time, they'll all reach a reasonable diet in their own time!

OP’s posts: |
pigsinmud Tue 29-Nov-11 12:47:11

Hi there. Can I join you? I have 4 dc and we are vegetarian. Eldest is 13 & youngest 5 and they eat fine.
Ds2 is 11 and will eat
Pasta either plain or with tomato & mascarpone sauce
macaroni cheese sometimes
qourn sausages & roast
marmite and peanut butter
most fruit - no melon & not over keen on bananas
most junk food - crisps, biscuits, pizza, chips, garlic bread
cereal - actually loves muesli

Will not eat rice, lentils & veg ...very helpful when you're veggie!

Dd1 is 7 and used to be a wonderful eater until about 4. She will eat same as above apart from potatoes. She is actually good at eating broccoli, sweetcorn, carrots & peas. My problem with her is carbohydrates - no rice & no potatoes. It doesn't look too bad for her, but I can't make a meal that everyone will eat and I am starting to go mad with the same bloody pasta meals.

I am so fed up with mil telling me he eats broccoli at my house -well only if you give him the minutest amount and threaten no pudding. I don't like to do that. Ds2 would live on toast if he could.

MRSJWRTWR Tue 29-Nov-11 12:47:23

Oh yes, marmite, he likes that as well (reading the side of a marmite pot ie. B vitamins, always used to make me feel a bit better!)

With DS1 it was also the 'texture' of something as much as the taste. Hence the reason that when he started eating meat, first he would eat only sausages and now will eat most meats as long as they have been braised or casseroled. However, he will only accept a 'bisto gravy' type taste sauce for red meat or a tomato based sauce for chicken.

camdancer Tue 29-Nov-11 12:48:26

DS (4.5) has just never enjoyed food. If he could take a tablet with his daily nutritional needs each day he would. He definitely has sensory issues around food as his list of acceptable foods are basically things that are dry, crunchy, hard and/or frozen. We have progressed to where he'll leave "wrong" foods on his plate as long as they don't touch anything he will eat. Believe me that is progress!

DD1 (2.5) is a fussy eater, but it is hard not to be when she sees DS being able to choose what he eats. At 2.5 she can't understand that DS can't help it whereas she can, so I know that her fussy eating is my fault. She'll grow out of it once she's at school and sees her friends eating other things.

Those people who are in the "eat or starve" camp just don't understand that there really are two types of fussy eaters. DD1 would be fine on eat or starve. She'd start eating whatever was in front of her as soon as her tummy rumbled. DS on the other hand can't do that. He physically/emotionally/psychologically cannot deal with certain types of food. He might if he was actually starving, rather than just being hungry, but even then I'm not so sure.

LauraShigihara Tue 29-Nov-11 12:53:31

I am ridiculously pleased that so many other children like Marmite! Mine would eat it on toast or bread for every meal if he could. He takes a Marmite sandwich to school every single sodding day. I worry a little about the salt content but balance it out with the thoughts of all those B vitamins.

He has an AS dignosis but I think he is very near the borderline for it, ie it doesn't interfere too much with daily life for him.

RumourOfAHurricane Tue 29-Nov-11 12:55:11

Message withdrawn

MsBrian Tue 29-Nov-11 13:08:36

Hello Shiney - didn't think I'd see you here smile

DS sounds an awful lot like your DD!

He will only gladly eat toast with spreadable cheese (like Laughing cow or Philadelphia) and chips. He also likes plain biscuits like Rich Teas. And porridge and Rice Krispy shapes. Oh and one partucular kind of Haribos.
If it was for him , that would be all he would eat! sad

MsBrian Tue 29-Nov-11 13:10:16

Forgot to mention DS is 3yo... and he started being difficult since weaning stage. As soon as we went past the smooth fruit puree stage.

AWimbaWay Tue 29-Nov-11 13:10:28

Followed you over from the other thread, nice not to feel alone!

My Dd1, coming up to 6yrs ate really weel until she developed a tummy bug, don't know if it was just coincidence but when she was able to stomach food again she would much rather starve than eat 99% of the food she had prviously been fine with.

Over the summer we did have a huge breakthrough, we made a chart where if she tried something new everyday for one month she would get a trampoline. The food was never forced upon her, and I'm talking a single grape or bite of chicken, not some entire meal she'd never tried before. We put the item on her plate and she had the choice to try it or not. She wasn't scolded for not trying but got a smiley face on her trampoline chart if she did.

Well, it was amazing, sticker charts haven't worked in the past but we knew she really wanted a trampoline. We also knew that she herself wanted to be less fussy and more like her friends so the timing was right. She has now added meatballs, bolognese, green beans, satsumas, sausages, roast potatoes and wedges, home made burgers, home made pizza, gnocchi, red pepper and bizarrely falafel to her list of acceptable foods.

I started her on school dinners last year but after a week was called in and advised to transfer her to packed lunches as she was sat at lunch for an hour, getting upset and not eating a thing. I find it so hard when she goes to friends houses and won't eat, thankfully everyone has always been very understanding and most know that a jam sandwich back up plan is the way to go.

Becaroooo Tue 29-Nov-11 13:11:54

Well I have 2 fussy ds's so I have really buggered it up!!!! smile

ds1 (sen)
Was a dream to wean, would eat anything other than whole fruit (would have fruit puree)
THEN stopped.
Stopped eating pasta, cottage pie, all the stuff he loved.
I am sure his issues are sensory in origin..
Will now eat;
fruit puree
bread and rolls
pizza (cheese and tomato)
tomato soup
white rice
naan bread
pasta with tomato sauce
a spoonful of baked beans
a spoonful of peas
garlic bread
oven chips
potato waffles
roast potatoes
potato croquettes
plain crisps/pringles/mini cheddars
chicken nuggets
chicken fingers
fish fingers
chicken breast in breadcrumbs
plain biscuits
vanilla ice cream

Drinks only water or warm milk.

Has never eaten chocolate (doesnt like it) or sweets.

ds2 was a lot harder to wean...very fussy from day 1.
Will eat;
petit filous
mashed potatoes
garlic bread
rice crispy bars
potato croquettes
ice cream

Will drink water, apple juice and sqaush.

Sigh. Its hard sometimes but looking over the lists, it could be worse. I am sure they will both try other foods as they get older.

Ds1 tried lasagne the other day!!! Wasnt ever so successful! but at least he tried which makes me hopeful for the future.

Great thread btw!

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