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Any tips for a fussy eater, 6 year old?

(17 Posts)
Jemster Mon 05-May-14 09:03:34

My ds used to eat everything when a baby/toddler. Now he is gradually becoming more and more fussy and I'm worried that he's not eating a balanced diet. His favourite meal is pasta & sauce and would happily eat it every day. One day I steamed some broccoli and stirred it in well hoping he wouldn't notice. It was basically mashed up, no obvious pieces. As soon as he saw the green bits he refused to eat the whole thing!
I also have dd who is 2 and I'm worried her meals are being restricted as there's so much he won't eat. If I were to cater for everyone induvidually I'd have to make two different meals for them and then also me & dh.

I'm trying to work on meal planning with healthier meals as I need to do this for myself but it's proving such hard work as he is so fussy and won't eat most of the meals on my planner!

I don't know what to do, can anyone help please?

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 05-May-14 11:24:46

I have a fussy 6 year old too. Now I just meal plan and cook what the rest of us want to eat and serve it up. Sometimes she whines but she whines over all food. We ignore her and eat ours. If she's hungry she does eat.

Try not to worry too much and if he refuses to eat anything, just ignore the whining, leave it in front of him until everyone else has finished and then clear away.

Don't offer alternatives either [smle]

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 05-May-14 11:39:58

And serve small portions. He can always ask for more if he's hungry [smike

My dd surprised me the other night. She says she doesn't like salmon (used to love it and eats it at school). She also hates new potatoes.

Served both with some peas. She complained, loudly and repeatedly. Then proceeded to polish it off. If I'd listened to her she would have never have touched it.

Swisskissingisbetterthenfrench Mon 05-May-14 23:14:24

What happens at a typical meal? What happens if you serve him something he doesn't like? Do you give him an alternative meal?

We cook one meal only (not kiddie food) and if people don't want it (which is fine, their choice, I save the meal for later incase they are hungry. If we go out the meal goes in a tupperware container with us. No alternatives here, I don't have enough stamina or money to cook multiple meals.

ABeautifulLie Tue 06-May-14 06:38:40

I have the same problem with my DD-7. She used to say "I hate this dinner" the second I served it. Now she sighs. We all ignore her whining and eat our food whilst chatting about our day. Sometimes she eats it all, sometimes she doesn't. I never make separate meals. I don't limit our menu options based on one person's dislikes either.

Jemster Tue 06-May-14 07:11:00

Thank you for your replies. I have given him something else when he doesn't it eat it as I worry he is eating so little. If he doesn't like alot of things won't he be missing certain nutrients that will affect his development?
He does have school dinners but I have no idea how much he eats and I know he won't eat most of the veg they serve.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 06-May-14 09:31:27

I have given him something else when he doesn't it eat it as I worry he is eating so little and therein lies the problem smile

He knows he can just kick off and get something more favourable. He's 6 and can understand that if he doesn't eat the food provided, the other option is hunger.

We've done this with our dd and she has only gone to bed without eating twice and the next day she more than made up for it.

Try to keep a food diary and look at what he eats over a week rather than each individual meal. On Sunday my dd hardly touched her tea but had more blueberry pancakes than her dad for breakfast and a fair sized roast lunch. She definitely wasn't missing out on calories or nutrients over the day smile

If you are unsure of how much he is eating at lunch, could you ask one of the dinner ladies?

Would giving him a multi vitamin each day ease your worry?

What does he have when he gets home from school and what time does he eat his evening meal? Do you all eat together too? I find that helps? You could always have a night off and give him chips, beans and fish fingers and have something special when he's in bed once a week smile

Jemster Sun 11-May-14 10:58:38

Thank you for the advice and sorry for the delayed reply. He does have a multivutamin every day so I guess no need to worry too much. I don't want him to grow up on such a limited diet though but he just seems to not like much at all these days.
He's had a bad experience with salmon making him sick and so now refuses any fish even fishfingers! The rest of us love fish but if I served it up to him he wouldn't eat it. We all have things we don't like so I worry is it fair to give him something I know he doesn't like and then let him go hungry when he won't eat it. Am I a bit soft? I don't want him to be hungry.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 11-May-14 11:09:27

Could you put a small bit of fish on his plate but plenty of other stuff you know he does like? That way there's no pressure in him to eat it smile

Jemster Sun 11-May-14 11:17:41

Jilted yes I think I will do that. I can't just let him ignore all these foods he doesn't think he likes otherwise he will grow up with a very limited diet! Also dd loves white fish but I haven't been giving it to her as I've been cooking same thing for both of them and so I'm restricting her diet too aren't I!
How should I play it with him then? Should I insist he tries some of the fish, which I know he will refuse, or shall I just say nothing and then let him leave it if he eats everything else?

mawbroon Sun 11-May-14 11:29:16

DS1 was similar at that age. He too ate well as a toddler then started dropping favourite foods one by one until there was hardly anything left that he would eat.

Coupled with egg allergy and dairy intolerance, I really worried that he wasn't getting enough nutrition.

Then at around 6yo, I discovered that he was tongue tied. It was not obvious, his tongue had always looked normal to me, but it was the back of his tongue which was restricted. This made chewing and swallowing really difficult for him and he rejected pretty much anything that wasn't soft and easy to chew.

His eating improved greatly after we had his tie released.

I am not suggesting that every fussy child has tongue tie, but underlying causes should be ruled out IME.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 11-May-14 12:27:05

Totally agree with mawbroon (now wondering if my 6yo has tt too).

We serve the food and ignore any protests. We don't as k her to try it but if she asks for the offending item to be removed from her plate we say something along the lines of "you know you don't have to eat it but it does stay on your plate". That way there is no pressure on him to even try it but there is a small chance he just may smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 11-May-14 12:33:21

Bugger, I think she may have. Can't believe I spend so much time on MN telling people to get tt checked after our experiences with DS and it's taken 6.5 years and mawbroon pointing out the link with fussy eating and tt for me to realise blush

mawbroon where do we go from here?

mawbroon Sun 11-May-14 14:30:43

JJJ, hmm, well, I guess you need to build up a picture of things going on that might suggest having a tie/ties. And then go to an expert for an assessment.

BTW, I put pics of ds1 on my profile a while back. Have a look at them for reference. The x ray shows the underdeveloped middle face which is now being amended with orthodontics. You can see it is very flat across the cheeks and the angle of the lower jaw is very steep. It was taken over 1.5years ago, and I can see by just looking at his face that the orthodontics are helping tremendously. He wears headgear at night to bring out the cheekbones and braces to expand his palate.

Sorry for hijack OP!

Jeregrette Mon 12-May-14 21:18:50

I have a fussy eater (6). She has declared herself veggie which is a shame because she used to love meat. I'm veggie but at least I eat a lot of other proteins.

I just cook her what she will eat. There are about 4/5 dishes she likes so I just end up doing those during the week e.g Macaroni Cheese, Jacket Potatoes, Veggie bolognese, Pizza. It does get a bit repetitive. I tend to try to eat at work in the day (staff canteen) so can just have a light meal (after DC are in bed) and don't have to cook twice.

If your DS likes fruit/raw veg just make sure he has plenty of that as snacks to supplement the things he will eat.

TQParent Mon 12-May-14 21:33:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Loulou000 Tue 13-May-14 14:40:39

What lots of other people said. I won't offer alternatives. And I make a variety of dinners regardless of whether my fussy 7yo dislikes it. If I only made the things she likes the repertoire would be tiny. I try to make sure there's a variety of things on the table so she won't actually go hungry.

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