Waging war on fussy eating toddlers- is it worth it?!(23 Posts)
Dc1 is 3.5yrs and dc2 is 18m. Both are fussy eaters. At home they mainly eat plain cheese pizza, chips, sausages, few peas ( I mean a tee spoon) plain crackers, pb on toast but onlyeat the middle or lick the pb off. They eat spaghetti with a small amount of pesto. No other sauce. At a push dc1 will eat a bit of plain chicken. She will at least eat some fruit. Dc2 actually gags and throws up if he tastes fruit or anything sweet ( does not touch chocolate sweets or biscuits at all)
Dc1 would live off ice cream and sweets etc if I let her.
It has all come to a head as we have just come back from a week abroad. Tonnes of kid friendly places to eat but I reckon mine had a few handfuls of chips a day and that was that. The food was wrong colour, had bits on it. Bread was funny. Butter all wrong. Cheese not right. You get the picture
Dc2 has just started 2 full days of nursery a week and he will not eat anything at all there. They do home cooked meals and snacks. He refuses everything.
Dc1 will eat a bit at nursery with a bit of coaxing.
Me and dp aren't fussy. We eat all things and I am now ending up cooking different things.
I am considering just going all out and offering one meal and they can eat or not. Is this the right way to go about it? Or is this too harsh?
That's what I did with DS1 who was extremely fussy at some point (only chicken and chips and toast with butter and nothing else ) and now he eats pretty much everything other than veggies
You have to be tough but in a nice way iykwim <sorry darling that's all I have today, you don't have to eat it but pls let mummy eat now>
Hope this makes sense
Give them what you have and let them go hungry if they won't eat it.
Cooking desperate things is always a mistake.
I can only give you my experience as mum of two who both went though their fussy phase as toddlers but will eat absolutely anything now at 6 and 10. I don't agree with pandering to fussy people.
Would you put a little of something they would eat on the plate? Like a slice of bread or not?
Give them what you are having and add plain bread & butter. Offer dessert followed by crackers and cheese (not loads, they're only young, they don't need more than 3-5 mouthfuls of dessert at that age).
Mine are still fussy at 6&4yrs but loads better than they were with this method. They help choose a menu for the week too.
Not if it meant they would only eat the bread, no I wouldn't.
We all have things we don't like and that's normal but, SN, aside, fussy eaters are just people who have been pandered too as kids, or people who have had parents who have forced them to eat when they don't want to eat.
IfIf ours say they don't like it we just say "OK darling, sit tight then and wait for everyone else to finish".
Our don't care attitude makes them often eat it up, or at least a few mouthfuls if thry aren't actually hungry.
I expect that it is easier to sound like you don't care if you are not her up by months of this and your children generally eat OK.
I genuinely believe dc2 has a major aversion to sweet things as he will not eat anything sweet. Fruit, sweets, chocolate, ice cream or cake etc. he physically gags.
He gets half a cup of milk before bed and only drinks water in the day. He won't touch anything else drinks wise which is fine.
I was thinking of putting the food in the middle of the table and letting everyone help themselves. Or not lol!!
As long as they eat enough of appropriate things to nourish and sustain them, I wouldn't worry, nor try to force things on them that they don't like.
Google Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibilty. Serve up the same meal to all with at least 2 things on the table that each child will eat - somehow worked into a single meal. That could be just bread and milk, but served up with the rest of the meal it means that every mealtime the kids are being exposed to new foods. You choose what is served, when and how. They choose what to eat by serving themselves and how much will be consumed. Remove all pressure "don't worry you don't have to eat it" etc. They can have as much or as little of the first course as they like but only serve one portion of dessert. Sometimes serve the dessert at the same time as the main course - amazingly this takes the pressure off and they eat custard with peas etc which is fine if you think about it! Remember that calories are king. Variety will come eventually - although it may take years (and years.....) Good luck. The sooner you get zen, the better for you all. Our family life improved massively after we found this advice
We have a pretty fussy eater with ds, nearly 4, but had a recent breakthrough when we started letting him serve himself. I think with him it was more a control issue than fussiness, but it's working. It does mean a lot more bowls are used though as we have to cool a portion down separate to ours first (generally eat with the kids). Sadly, dd 16mo looks like going down the same path...
I wouldn't cook separate meals. They eat what is there and if not they get down from the table and don't get offered an alternative.
You can' till them up with junk in lieu of decent dinner ultimately it is not fair in them. They don't know any different it is our job to teach them.
I don't force the kids to clear a plate as I want them to understand when they are full but I do want them to eat balanced and nutritious meals. I ha e been really strict with any fussy phases and it seems to have paid off as now they seem to be eating pretty well and we are enjoying mealtimes as a family.
There isn't a magic answer, stick at it, be prepared for a day when they eat hardly a morsel and keep going.
I have same issue with DD (22 months). I definitely don't want to pander to her but my concern is if she eats nothing for dinner will she still go through the night???
My 16month old is very fussy. Eats barely anything, minimal variety. Demands breastmilk all night. (Usually only gets a bedtime feed and one overnight). I'm all for just offering and removing uneaten food but she's dropped down 2 centiles since weaning started so I'm actually getting worried now and get very stressed when she doesn't eat. Those of you who don't give an alternative, have any of you dealt with this?
I don't give an alternative - to my four year old. But my 16mo I do offer something filling like yoghurt, cheese, fruit etc, but have to make it look like its pudding or else her brother gets annoyed. Then I fill her up with milk at bedtime
1st night of war not a dot was eaten. However since then we are having some success. The other night we had home made vegetable pizza and grated carrot etc. dc1 ate a reasonable amount and dc2 picked.
Tonight we had fish pie and veg. First time ever. Lots of refusal at first from dc1 but eventually got down to it. Dc1 ate good amount. Dc2 almost cleared plate ( with loads of clapping and singing to encourage!)
What I have been doing is a finger of bread on there plate along with main meal as I know they will eat it and it gets the eating motion started
if the have complained of hunger later I just breezily add dinner/lunch/bfast should have been eaten!!
Oh and both still sleeping all night without any issues so can't be that hungry!
I found playing hardball with mine never worked. Mine would happily starve if I offered anything they hated. My tactic is to make what everyone will eat and gradually add stuff that is alien to them and get them to try it and praise them for that. My daughter is 11 now and will try anything but hates a full plate and would still freak if I served up something she hated and made her clear her plate. My son is 6 and is still fussy but I can see him gradually trying new stuff and he's going in the right direction.
I always tell my daughter that she needs to try something first, she can't automatically tell me that she doesn't like something without giving it a try. However, if she does try and doesn't like it, then that is OK too as everyone is allowed to have likes and dislikes. But she doesn't get anything else to replace the disliked food.
As others have said, my meals will always include something that I know she likes eating then it might have something new or unfamiliar or something that is hated.
Kids can only be fussy if there's a choice so serving whatever they like will make the problem worse!
I agree with doing one meal and allowing them to decide whether to eat it without pressure. You can add a bit of bread and butter but personally I wouldn't even do that!
My son is 27 months old, he eats most fruit very well although he can blow hot and cold on various fruits from time to time.
There is no veg is mad for, so I do tomato sauce and add very finely chopped carrot and celery which he eats no problem
He is going through a stage of detail with what he eats, something as small as a bit of pepper on his food will have him pointing and asking me to remove it, he also has a aversion to anything green as well!
I suppose in terms of 5 a day he gets his share from fruit but I wish he would eat more veg, had some progress on carrots this week but unless its small and hidden in tomato sauce its hard to get him to eat it.
I really really sympathise. My DS (3) are anything up til 18 months and I thought weaning was a real pleasure. Then his preferred foods just gradually narrowed and have never improved.
At just over 2 I went to the health visitor who recommended what many people are saying - serve up whatever and just let them take or leave it.
I can report this hasn't worked at all with him. He has never so much as licked a new food and sometimes refuses to touch anything on his plate until I remove the offending item. I started this almost a year ago now.
Tbh am at my wits end. I now do a combination approach - 'new' meals about 3 times a week on which days he goes hungry. The other days I serve what I know he will eat.
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