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My dc are so fussy & difficult about food, it's getting me down - can anyone help please?

(55 Posts)
Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 14:15:02

My dc's were both good eaters as babies, ate all fruit & veg and liked them.
As they get older they have become
more and more fussy and now pretty much refuse to eat anything they used to. To make it even harder whatever one likes the other one doesn't! Examples:

Won't eat brown bread despite us always having had it.
Have a meltdown if there are crusts on sandwiches.
Won't eat bananas, previously loved.
Suddenly don't like strawberries
One likes mash potato the other won't touch it
One likes meat, the other is not keen
Both used to like eggs, one now doesn't like the look of 'the yellow bit'
One likes macaroni cheese (as do me & dh), the other won't touch it
DS doesn't like any green veg, dd will eat green beans at a push
DS pulls a face at any vegetable and has to be made to eat some
Neither of them will eat fish
They complain if things aren't cut or presented in a certain way; big meltdown usually follows (me & them)

The sort of (nice) meals that my mum cooked for me at their age they would be horrified at & wouldn't eat. I remember just eating what I was given!

I've tried to meal plan but it is so damn complicated trying to please everyone I'm failing at it.

They both have school dinners but say they are not nice & so I don't think they eat much of them.

I just don't know what to do and it's getting down as I feel like I'm trying to cater for 4 different likes & dislikes & I'm worried they're not getting enough variety.

For info DS is 9 and DD is 5.

Can anyone please give me some advice on how to deal with this? Thanks

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 02-May-17 14:20:54

Cook one thing and they eat it or go without.

At those ages id not he trying to pander to it tbh.

Crusts taste the sake as the rest if the bread.

Tastes the same in a square or triangle too.

U less they have some kind of additional need that means they really can't cope with it then you they sound like they are having you on.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 14:29:05

Thanks Giles, I agree with you. I've told them just to leave the crusts but no they want me to take them away and cut them off. I suppose I should just cut them off first but I don't want to pander and throughout life they are going to find sandwiches with crusts on!!

I wish I could just do one meal and say take it or leave it but I do accept that there are some things we all don't like so why should I force them to eat something they don't like. Trouble is it's bloody everything and I'm just out of ideas. If they had their way they'd have pasta and sauce every night.

LiveLifeWithPassion Tue 02-May-17 14:31:43

Are they having too many snacks?

Menu plan with them. Tell them that some days they'll love what they're having and other days, they may not. Everyone will have a day when they'll enjoy their dinner, and other days, they just need to eat half of it.
They should still eat it because it's got amazing nutrients and vitamins that will help them grow.

Some things like crusts, I'd let go but I wouldn't be cooking 4 meals.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 02-May-17 14:32:24

Oh i agree that everyone has their likes and dislikes but given theybwerebt emmatiated or underweight then presumably they must actually eat at school which means there's at least a degree of them messing you about. The melt down is just ridiculous and call me mean bit I've sent my kids to bed with no dinner for that kinda thing before grin

With other people in the house they have to get used to people taking turns with the stuff they like. There's always fruit or a slice of dry toast if they are hungry later wink

Ruby2202 Tue 02-May-17 14:40:08

My ds who is 4 is going through a stage with good after being brilliant and eating everything. Suddenly he doesn't like fruit, yoghurt, potatoes etc. I think he's just trying it on to see what he can get away with.

I don't force him to eat it but tell him that's what I have made and I won't be making anything else. Rather than presenting him with a heap of things he doesn't like I ask him to eat say 5 spoonfuls of it or to try it atleast. If he doesn't then he goes without and has no tv before bed. He often whines or throws a tantrum and pushes his plate away. I ignore, ignore, ignore.

One big incentive is to say no pudding unless he eats x amount. This works extremely well as he will then eat it. He then has fruit/yoghurt for pudding which he refuses at first but then eats it up pretty quick at the prospect of dc2 having TV before him!

I also tell ds what we are having as we cook it and try and make sure I have 1/2 things I know he will eat amongst things he likes less. So if I want him to have cauliflower or spouts I will put it with mashed potato or baked beans as I know he loves them.
Would this work with yours? I would def ignore and offer nothing else. Then offer an incentive for them to eat it, pudding afterwards, tv, iPad time. First to finish gets to choose tv program first? My dcs are younger so appreciate this might not work on older ones.

knackeredinyorkshire Tue 02-May-17 14:44:22

It sounds like they are competing for their favourites and refusing to eat the things that other enjoy. All kids do this to an extent, I think.

DS was very very fussy and has food allergies which made him hypersensitive. I do a meal planner and stick to it. I use a slow cooker and lot and I batch cook. They moan, but I don't care. I smile and say things like "Well, when you have your own house it'll be so exciting for you to eat whatever you want" and serve it up anyway.

They have no choice of meal but brown bread and fruit always available for a pre bed time snack. They both say they aren't going to eat things but then they do. Or they don't, and they eat a massive breakfast. But they don't scream and shout and make my life a misery.

I have friends who cook 4 different meals (often ready meals) and everyone has their particular prefences met. Her daughter said the food I cooked (roast chicken, new potatoes, salad) was disgusting and made vomiting noises at the table so I asked her (politely!) to leave and let us enjoy our meal. Her mum genuinely seemed to think she'd starve (a big strong healthy 12 year old with no health problems) and was in a panic..... it was crazy!

I grew up in a developing country and find the concept of cooking 2 meals, throwing away good food or being ordered around by my child ridiculous but lots of my friends think I'm harsh.

nocutsnobuttsnococonuts Tue 02-May-17 14:50:36

Mine are the same ages as yours and in our house you eat the meal or go without until next meal. This goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner. I don't make things I know they hate, for e.g. we might have Gammon, mash and veg - Dd2 and dp really dislike mash so they have chips. Or when i do pasta dd1 only likes it plain with cheese so I serve hers up first without sauce. the main meal is the same but small changes.

Again threats of no pudding/fruit works unless u make a good effort at eating.

Tantrums result in being asked to leave the table and go without, only took me putting dinner in bin once and no more food for that lesson to be learnt.

FreeNiki Tue 02-May-17 14:56:03

They complain if things aren't cut or presented in a certain way; big meltdown usually follows (me & them)

From a 9 yo? And a 5 yo?

Just over presentation?

Take the food away and say you're getting nothing now and mean it.

Some of it sounds ok 3 of you eat macaroni cheese one likes eggs.

Make macaroni for 3 of you and whip up an omelette, scrambled eggs for the other.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 15:01:21

Thank you all. I know I need to be firmer but I just want them to eat so have probably pandered too much.

I'm so fed up with it all I've just lost my way with meal planning. I can't even think of what meals to put on the plan now! Where should I start? How do you meal plan? Week at a time? Do you all eat togethet or dc's earlier? Do you do one big weekly shop after you've planned? What day you do this on? I need to get into a better routine around my working hours.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 15:04:16

FreeNiki I know it's ridiculous. Now I do just ignore them & i'm sick of it to be honest.

WellErrr Tue 02-May-17 15:04:36

You need to be firmer. They won't starve.

There are two options in our house:
What's on your plate, or
Going to bed hungry

I never force them to eat, never do 'one more fork full' etc, but it's there and they can take or leave it. Up to them.

LiveLifeWithPassion Tue 02-May-17 16:46:26

Do a weeks plan to start off with. Make a list of meals. Do you have any recipe books that are easy to cook from? Or websites that you use?
Ask the dcs for there input. Ask them about their favourite meals, you put yours and your dps suggestions to them and show them it's a fair way to do it.
See how you go.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 16:56:19

Just done tea. I put 4 peas on ds's plate to try & encourage him to try them to show him they are not like the school ones. I was met with 'why have you given me peas, I hate peas, I'm not eating the peas'....and so on. He then got up & scraped the peas in the bin. I give up.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 16:58:55

Thank you LiveLife that's helpful. I do have some nice recipe books which I never cook from as I know they will say they don't like it. They basically like bland food so I feel me & dh miss out quite a bit on the more interesting tasty stuff.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 02-May-17 16:59:36

Seriously next time scrape the whole thing in the bin.

It's not so much the fact they don't like stuff it's their behaviour. They could just say no thanks or try and eat something or subtly leave it on the plate.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 17:04:48

Exactly Giles, it is the behaviour that is upsetting me the most especially DS who is 9. I ask him to take things out to the kitchen and he huffs & puffs. He doesn't lift a finger to help & just moans at the food I serve up. I feel like a servant.
He's just been on cub camp - somehow I don't think he would have behaved like this towards the cub leaders!! I actually feel like I've failed at being a good mum; they speak to me like s* & they don't like any decent food😥

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 02-May-17 17:06:58

Well it's never too late to turn things around. But you and dh need to be on the same page.

What does he say or do when they are treating you this way?

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 02-May-17 17:08:22

Apologies just realised you haven't mentioned a dh

Sorry flowers

What are the usual consequences for behaviour

knackeredinyorkshire Tue 02-May-17 17:15:43

I think you are scared of them being hungry. Parents are programmed to feed their children and feel guilty if they don't eat. Be rational. These emotions evolved during times when hunger and starvation were very real fears. Look at your children. Are they going to starve if they miss a meal? Don't be scared.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 17:18:14

It's ok I do have a dh😊He has the same struggles in the mornings as he takes them to school while I'm at work. He's just got home and found me upset so has sent ds to his room for early bed. It never changes anything though.
Thanks for saying it's never too late to turn things around but we just don't know how to. Tried family rules stuck up on wall, rewards, consequences, no xbox etc etc but nothing works. When he came back from cub camp he was lovely as he was pleased to see us & we'd missed him. 24 hours later and he's a nightmare again. How do you teach someone respect & manners because we've clearly messed up somewhere?!

gluteustothemaximus Tue 02-May-17 17:21:30

I had 2 very fussy eaters. They are better now, but I guess I do pander. I love to give choices, but generally 2 choices.

So I might say, I'm making sandwiches, do you want cheese or ham? Do you want crusts on or crusts off? Just so they feel like they have choices.

As they got older, they help out with food making.

My kids ate a lot of pasta growing up grin

Dc3 is not fussy at all. ''Tis heaven. He will eat anything we have!

I ate very little as a child. If I didn't like the food, I didn't eat. It didn't make me eat. It made me very thin.

I'd be upset with rudeness though. Can they be involved with cooking in any way? I did a food chart with my eldest which worked well.

Good luck x

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 02-May-17 17:21:52

Well I have a 10 he old and a 6 yr old so I know just how much of a pain in the back side they can be grin

I find dd1 is more pleasant if she's been run ragged. So she does a billion sports so she's too tired to argue

Bordem is the worst they pick a fight in an empty room then.

NoMaybe Tue 02-May-17 17:31:09

My DC are adults now and despite thinking I got a lot right when it came to parenting I failed on the food front. They are all lovely, polite and hardworking kids (adults) and I honestly couldn't ask for better but two out of the four of them are still really fussy sad.
I think it came about as I got lazy when they were little, I had four D.C. within five years and it just got to the point where it was easier to pander to them. I was consistent and didn't offer endless alternatives etc but ultimately they were still fussy. To compensate I made them eat healthily and was more fussy about junk food and 'treats' than I would have otherwise been. They weren't bratty about not eating food they just wouldn't...
I also made sure they never made their fussiness anyone else's problem. If they went to other people's houses they would go hungry rather than ask for something special.
I had no other behavior problems with them - it was just their fussiness.
I always gave them new foods to try but it generally didn't work.
As they got older I decided it was their problem. 🤷🏻‍♀️. Two are a bit fussy but socially acceptable but two of them are still very fussy. They won't even drink alcohol because they don't like the taste. They do eat carefully though so I think it's ok health wise although not great.
I'll eat anything so it's not hereditary.....
teen peer pressure helps as does getting older.

Honey1975 Tue 02-May-17 17:32:17

Gluteus how did you do the food chart please? DD does love to help with food prep but DS won't lift a finger.

Giles as yours are very similar in age to mine would you mind telling me what consequences you have for bad behaviour? Do you the obsession for all things electronic like we have with ds? He does do some out of school activities but when home all he wants to do is xbox & ipad games which I'm sure isn't helping things. Without them he mopes about saying he's bored.

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