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Extending a limited 5 year olds diet - HELP!

(13 Posts)
EggsOvaryZee Tue 25-Sep-12 11:29:27

How I extend my DS (nearly 5) foods? Hasn't got the excuse of a toddler anymore!

I know this sounds a silly question. He used to eat nursery dinners, a tiny bit of, but he would eat some things, though it was getting progressively less. Now he's just started school and will be taking packed lunches (they don't have the option of school dinners) so now I am freaking out because basically, he's having the same meal twice a day!

Bribery or stickers do not work for 'trying' something new. His main issue seems to be nothing in a sauce, or wet. A texture thing. It odesn't make a bit of difference if freinds come round or if we go soemwhere else or if anyone 'special' is around - he will not budge.

We don't all eat together. i serve them tea/dinner between 5-6pm and DH and I eat about 8.30pm when they're in bed. We often cook together, but makes no odds. His 3.5 yr old sister eats more of a variety, but I am so exhausted making separate things for them both.

He eats what he eats happily (if you know what I mean) but I just cannot introduce anything outside of that, then a couple of things he used to eat he 'has gone off'...he will actually remove 'new' things from his plate and freaks out til I've removed it - tried an olive the other day since sister loves them...

It sound so silly but I really worry. His food is a combination of the below and ONLY the below!

Apples - green only
Tinned peaches
Plain bread (or rolls)
Dry cereal (sometimes)
Vegemite
Plain pasta
Turkey chunks/chicken breast
Peppers (orange and yellow)
Cucumber
Carrots
Custard (occassionally)
Orange jelly
Plain cakes/crisps

quoteunquote Tue 25-Sep-12 17:33:20

What I do is this and it works for us, I have children of my own(who eat anything), and often extras, most of which have limited food choices, which I have to tackle,

I/we cook what ever meals we want to cook, regardless of who will be at the table,

I never put food on anyone's plates, I put the food in individual dishes on the table, everything in separate dishes,and separate serving spoons, with a variety of different veg, more washing up, but less threatening it works,

everyone helps themselves, the only rules are don't take too much until you are sure you will eat it, and no one is allowed to say,"I don't like such and such", if they feel that they have to comment they must say, "I haven't learnt to appreciate this yet', because else they are brain washing themselves,

no one comments on others choices,

I find that when children see other children really enjoying and actively competing for items, they forget they don't "like" a food, and try it, if you keep trying a food then your brain recognises it as a food source, and suddenly you like it, my children enjoy the challenge of training their own brain, so keep going at something to they conquer it, they understand how to trick your brain,

I was luck enough to get given about 40 of these bowls, children love the way food looks in them, so I or they chop lots of different things into them, it makes appealing colourful table I don't use the stands,

at five my children were doing a lot of cooking, even if they didn't like what they were cooking, the process of cooking gives them a connection to the food, and when others showed their appreciation, it starts to sink in that there is value to that particular food,

even making a honey dressing,is a very good way to get a child to want to dip salad, one of mine made lots of dressings then suddenly loved smothering stuff in it, they love adding all the ingredients together in a jug, pouring through a funnel and shaking it up in a bottle,

it may be far more hassle to cook with them, but it really pays off, good reading and maths practice as a bonus,

I have in the past, when a child has avoided a individual something, said as I serve myself, "oh,this isn't for you, it's adult only as it so special, you need to have grown up taste", cue begging for a try.

friends are often shocked that their children will be happily eating things at my house they turn their noses up at home, it's because children don't like to miss out, so when surrounded by other children who are competing for something they get drawn in,

one of our teen started eating asparagus and french beans,when he realised the little ones were fighting over the last few pieces, it took a lot of self control not to comment.

MissRee Tue 25-Sep-12 17:38:13

Will be watching this thread as we have the same problem with DSS!

We've tried everything you've said Quote but none of it worked sad I guess it's harder on just 2 days a week though!

quoteunquote Tue 25-Sep-12 17:51:47

I may be renting out mine as good influence eaters,

keep going and it will come good, and don't stress too much, as long as you keep exposing them to a huge variety of food, they become food literate, and one day they just get it. that they are missing out.

MissRee Tue 25-Sep-12 18:01:11

I'm not hopeful that improvement is on the horizon to be honest - he is so incredibly stubborn. I also think a lot of it has to do with his mother's eating disorder and telling him he won't like [this, that, the other]

Even when he eats with his cousins and sister (4, 3 and 8 months), he will encourage them to try new things but refuse point blank to try them himself hmm

quoteunquote Tue 25-Sep-12 21:12:21

Eating disorders do get passed on, I defiantly know a few people who have got theirs from their mothers,

What a nightmare, are you getting professional advice? how scary for you.

Does she realise she is doing it, and what effect it has on him?

MissRee Tue 25-Sep-12 21:25:58

DP tries to discuss it with her but (without wanting to sound like I'm ex-bashing), she isn't the most intelligent person you're likely to meet. She doesn't get it. He's overweight because all he will eat is pizza, waffles or chicken nuggets for dinner. The school have told her it's a huge concern (and that its tantamount to child abuse) but she won't push DSS to try anything and nothing has changed in the year since she was told this.

We've had some small progresses - he will now eat "proper" chicken, cucumber and lettuce with raw carrots for dinner at ours (not at hers apparently) so we try and give him healthier stuff at weekends. It's a constant battle though and very wearing.

Sorry, I feel I'm hijacking OP's thread!

quoteunquote Tue 25-Sep-12 21:55:40

How hard for you both, it's really going to effect his life, you must feel very frustrated, we often have children who we do a lot of work with, that return home to less than satisfactory arrangements.

does she cook properly for him, or for want of a better word, is it just "lazy" food, stuff that gets shoved in the oven, or microwave?

how old is he? as they get older they lose a lot of confidence if they are over weight, peer groups and self pressure is horrible destructive.

one thing that often works for us is a pre prepared health tasty meal,leave on a very low slow cook, casserole,stew, pie, then you take them out and surf, coastal walk, really do a burn,best in the rain, you arrive home starving hungry to delicious smells, sometimes they eat it before they realise they "don't" like it, we have had some brilliant break throughs with this, health yummy soup in a flask as the only food on a long walk, works well,

get him doing lots of sports, it helps, as crap food doesn't give them the right fuel,

It must be heartbreaking to watch this happen to your child, I hope somehow you can solve it, for all your sakes, keep at it, one day he will want the support you offer,he will come and use your knowledge, just keep encouraging him, it's so sad when one person failings can have such a negative effect on a child's future.

HenriettaPootel Wed 26-Sep-12 22:47:27

OP, I sympathise, my 5 year old DS is the same. I've just started a star chart (don't like them, really, but desperate times call for desperate measures). The deal is that he gets a very (very!) small first helping of the meal, with some of everything on his plate. If he eats all of that helping, he gets a star. He can then have seconds of whatever he wants (I'm making sure there are always some things he likes as part of the meal). If he won't finish the first helping, he can still have seconds, but he doesn't get a star. It worked really well yesterday (first day), but this evening he just said he didn't want a star, so ate nothing but sausage and gravy - no vegetables sad. Trouble is, I know it's better when I don't get stressed about it, but I find it SO difficult to just let it go.

You say you don't all eat together, but I'm not sure that really makes much difference - DS is often actually worse at a family meal, because there's more pressure/focus on him when we're all eating at the same time. And I also find that cooking together makes no difference - DS adores cooking with me, but he'll very often refuse to eat the result (even if it's cake!).

I'm just hoping he'll grow out of it - but when??? Out of interest, is your DS generally quite a sensitive soul? Mine is, so I just wondered.

exoticfruits Wed 26-Sep-12 23:04:02

I would take all the emotion out of it. Serve it in bowls as quoteunquote says. Sit at the table - don't comment about the food in any way- don't enter discussion. Clear away at the end, regardless of what is eaten. Serve pudding in the same way. Do not give snacks. If he is hungry say in rather surprised, but neutral tones, well you would be, you didn't eat your dinner.' Sound like a broken record if he goes on about it. Do the same at the next meal.

EggsOvaryZee Thu 27-Sep-12 09:36:47

HenriettaPootel - good to know I'm not alone. And yes, he is quite a sensitive soul...I do like the idea of them helping themselves form serving bowls (more washing up, hoorah!), so I might do that, especially because he really doesn't seem to regulate his own eating...like, he eats everyhting on his plate but never asks for more. he used to serve his own portions at nursery, so I may do that. And add 'something new' in one bowl...the thing is, they really know their own mind at that age, and even when I've dangled his favourite tings....makes no odds.
A question though, are there any 'conditions' on pudding?! You know, if he refuses to try something new but happily eats all his 'nomral' food - do I then refuse to give him dessert - that sounds so mean and punishing...?!

Exoticfruits - yes, I must remove emotio form it. It's quite recent though, I'm internally frekaing out cos of eating the same thing twice a day, every day! That can't be good for him, can it?! I used to be a lot more easy going baout it when he'd had a mouthful of something at nursery...

exoticfruits Thu 27-Sep-12 11:14:41

The problem is that when it is your own DC you are bothered and however much you pretend not to be they pick up on your anxiety. I would have no problem with him because he would know that when I wasn't bothered I really wasn't!
You do however need to try and stop discussion about it. I wouldn't have conditions on pudding-it gives the message that puddings are nicer.
Helping themselves from bowls gives them some control and they can always go back for seconds. I don't like other people deciding how much I will eat and it can be off putting for a child to have too much on their plate.

HenriettaPootel Thu 27-Sep-12 13:16:18

Re pudding, I always allow it, but then pudding is almost always fruit and/or yoghurt, so I'm quite happy for him to have it. And even if it's sugary/lardy pudding it's always something 'proper' like a homemade crumble. But I don't allow two helpings of pudding if he hasn't eaten his main course, and I don't allow snacks later (if he's eaten well, he can have as many helpings of pudding and snacks later as he likes).

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