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Picky eaters -5yo & 3yo

(13 Posts)
WilliamItWasReallyNothing Fri 14-Mar-14 17:54:06

Mealtimes with my two are driving me insane. Neither will eat their meals. If either try a new food or food combination they will immediately declare they don't like it. Every meal is dissected and very few elements of it eaten. The number of meals I can cook and they will actually eat is now down to two -1) fish fingers and waffles & peas (all peas or any other veg are ignored) 2) risotto with chicken & chorizo. I just end up throwing meal after meal in the bin and they then spend all the time between meals asking for snackssad

When they were younger (up to about 2ish). They would eat anything and enjoyed lots of different meals and loads of fruit and veg.

Any advice? Please, someone say they have the solution;)

odyssey2001 Fri 14-Mar-14 18:26:12

Sorry to ask the obvious but do you give them the snacks? They need to know that what you serve is what they eat.

Our LO went on a hunger strike for 25 hours a few months ago when we all dug our heels in but he eventually caved and eats much better now. Doing what right for them in the long term is worth the headaches in the short term. And it isn't child abuse. It is strong-willed parenting.

WilliamItWasReallyNothing Fri 14-Mar-14 18:31:33

Yes, we do give in. It seems so mean not to let them eat if they are hungry. Do you give any snacks now your DS is a better eater?

girliefriend Fri 14-Mar-14 18:35:38

I wouldn't give in to snacks!! Or if you do make sure the snacks are very healthy so fruit or veg sticks and dips etc.

I would put the food down (assuming this is dinner time at 5-6pm ish) and ignore any whining, if they don't eat it explain calmly there will be nothing else that evening. Also reward them if they do make an effort or try a new food, maybe a sticker chart?

I think you probably need to be a bit tougher tbh.

TheGreatHunt Fri 14-Mar-14 19:21:41

Give light snacks.

Also put one new thing on their plates and ignore complaints. Just clear up and be done.

Do you eat or cook with them?

odyssey2001 Fri 14-Mar-14 20:22:21

Since our LO has given in, he has a healthy snack in between meals. We decided that there was a direct line of consequences. Main becomes next main if it off not eaten, pudding becomes snack becomes pudding if not eaten. If he plays ball, he gets everything and more.

Now he is eating a more balanced diet, we can throw in the odd portion of biscuits or brioche. Not every day and always in the afternoon once he had eaten breakfast, snack and lunch.

Come up with a plan, stay strong and be prepared for screaming.

Oh and don't let uneaten food sit in front of them for too long. We used a 10 minute timer. Not for it to be eaten but for him/them to start to eat. Also, start small. One mouthful of each item for each year.

ianleeder Fri 14-Mar-14 20:27:07

I also have 2 (age 5 and 3) picky eaters! I totally understand you, i too end up throwing their meals in the bin or they encourage each other not to eat! I love cooking, everyday I create a new family dish which includes one of their favourite food on the plate. If they chose to eat rice and ignore the meat and veg,then so be it. They can have fruits and then tea is finished. I don't offer snack or offer lots of juice between meals. I try to take them out between meals to build up an appetite for lunch or dinner. They are usually hungry by then. Lunch is usually a bento box or picnic style so they can eat what they like. My son is getting better with his eating, but my daughter is still the fussy one. I keep offering new meals but it's up to her if she wants to eat it.

ianleeder Fri 14-Mar-14 20:35:44

You can create your own fish finger- dip the fish in breadcrumbs and bake, will they eat home made potatoe wedges? Can you make something similar to the waffles? My son loves chicken and chorizo paella (like yours, he also pick the peas out!). my daughter wouldn't even touch it! She has a plain sandwich instead. I'm not a short cook order but I don't like the stress and tension around mealtime when food are uneaten. If they don't like something I offer something boring + fruits. I tried to make meal time fun and relaxing but It is annoying when I put a lot of effort cooking ends up in the bin. I try not to show that side of me infront of them though.

Glasshammer Sat 15-Mar-14 07:06:17

Don't give them snacks. Offer the children the food they left earlier. If they are hungry, they will eat it. If they don't eat it, they are not really hungry.

Glasshammer Sat 15-Mar-14 07:08:19

If you are going out, chuck the kids left overs in a tupperwear container and take it with you. Offer it to them if hungry

Glasshammer Sat 15-Mar-14 07:09:44

Also show no interest if they eat or not. Don't fuss

WilliamItWasReallyNothing Sat 15-Mar-14 08:34:42

Thanks for all the replies, sorry for not coming back to the thread yesterday.

I sounds like I've been a bit of a pushover up to now - DH and I have agreed on a snack ban until meals are eaten. I definitely react too much if they play up at meal times so I am going to have to take a deep breath and ignore it from now on.

We have always cooked with the children regularly and sit down with them at the table even if we are not eating out meal at the same time (DH and I eat our evening meal later). Ianleeder - sadly homemade versions of fish fingers would be treated with contempt so I find it less stressful to just serve up Birdseye!

It is the whining and crying for snacks that will get to me...I can't stand it when they crysad

girliefriend Sun 16-Mar-14 20:12:30

The trouble is kids cry for all sorts of reasons not just because they are sad. If they are crying because you are taking charge its because they are not getting the control over you that they want!!

Also if kids know if all they have to do to get what they want is cry then guess what - they will cry lots, they are not silly!!

So basically what I am saying (in a nice way wink ) is get a grip and don't be manipulated by them!!

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