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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

5 year old is phobic about fruit

(20 Posts)
SarahS12345 Sun 24-Jul-16 19:05:01

My 5 year old DD has never eaten any fruit and is practically phobic about it. I am tearing my hair out and feel this cannot go on. I am worried she has developed a psychological problem about it and I want to address it before it becomes completely entrenched.

I have tried every conceivable strategy but all have failed. She eats fine otherwise and will eat veg without too much fuss, but she is clearly repulsed by all forms of fruit.

Bribery, lollies, smoothies, kebabs, threats, tears...all have failed.

I tried backing off for about 6 months in the hope she would come round but no. I hoped that starting school, where by her own admission everyone else loves strawberries, cherries, etc would persuade her to try, but no. She won't eat it even when starving and there's nothing else.

This morning, a splash of juice from the grapefruit my two year old DS was eating (who loves all forms of fruit) landed on her arm and she dry heaved.

This afternoon, we made strawberry ice lollies. She was prepared to press the button on the blender but otherwise wouldn't come into contact with the actual fruit. She wouldn't eat the end result (sweet and delicious).

Its very upsetting and not great nutritionally. It's also very hard to find suitable healthy snacks.

I know the worst thing I can do is pressure her and turn it into a battle of wills, but sometimes I just can't help myself and she becomes hysterically upset. Has anyone else had this and what did you do. I feel this is a stage beyond fussy eating and is a deeper issue and that worries me.

Thanks so much in advance.

KanyesVest Sun 24-Jul-16 19:10:58

If she's happy with veg, does she need fruit too?

apple1992 Sun 24-Jul-16 19:15:51

Has she ever eaten some? Could she have a possibly allergy/sensitivity?

LapinR0se Sun 24-Jul-16 19:17:21

Veg is better for you than fruit. Don't push it. Just let her eat veg!

MumUndone Sun 24-Jul-16 19:22:48

I honestly wouldn't push it. Instead of fruit could you give her carrot, tomato, cucumber and pepper for snacks? If she does have some kind of aversion then pressuring her will make it worse. As a pp has said she might even have an allergy, hence the refusal.

olderthanyouthink Sun 24-Jul-16 19:23:02

Wait... if it's just ALL fruit... maybe she just thinks she she doesn't like fruit. Assuming you/school have told her "this is an apple, it's a fruit". You say she eats veg but plenty of veg are technically fruit, Courgettes, Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Runner Beans etc.

Perhaps if you give her something she's unfamiliar with, or prepared differently she'll eat it. My mum once caught me out with baked/roast apple that looked like the potato wedges hmm, was nice but unexpected .

Maybe she's a bit like me, I refuse to eat seafood of any kind (but i will eat cheap prawn crackers, or small prawns in chinese rice grin)

hazeyjane Sun 24-Jul-16 19:25:49

Why can't the healthy snacks be veg?

If she is having veg she is getting the fibre and vitamins she needs.

LynetteScavo Sun 24-Jul-16 19:26:52

Just give her a wed variety of veg....she won't need fruit then.

FluffyPanda Sun 24-Jul-16 19:33:14

Don't push her.

She eats veg.

My daughter is other way around (as am I) she won't touch veg but likes most fruit.

Don't panic so much about it, and talk to her, tell her that it's ok, we all have something we don't like. And if that's fruit then so be it.

When she was even younger did she eat fruit? Did she ever choke on a piece of fruit or someone (I'm not saying you) try and force fruit on her?

I'm the exact way with carrots and I'm 25yo. Even the smell makes me nauseous.

Buggers Sun 24-Jul-16 19:35:52

I've always hated all types of fruit, never eaten any but I love veg and eat a lot of it. Don't push her, if she doesn't like fruit she doesn't like it.

Kennington Sun 24-Jul-16 19:36:11

Does she eat tomatoes? Everyone seems to forget they are fruit.
Remind her that they are good for her (and also her breath)!
Is it a school thing? I remember our class going off bread for some mad reason. I must have been 8 or 9. No idea why now.

eyebrowsonfleek Sun 24-Jul-16 19:38:43

Agree with the others- veg is better and if you want her to eat fruit then serve something unfamiliar and tell her it's veg.

GreenSand Sun 24-Jul-16 20:16:50

Does she eat tomatoes, peppers, cucumber etc? Because these are actually fruits.
If so, start putting fruits in main courses?? Melon and ham, nectarines in salads, apple and cheese. Would she tolerate that?
If not, ignore it. Fruit isn't essential, although if you can lessen the phobia to occasional splashes etc, that is probably worth trying somehow!!

Arfarfanarf Sun 24-Jul-16 20:25:18

Dont worry about it. She eats veg thats even better than fruit.
See what vitamins that are in fruit and find what veg they're in.
Fruit has lots of sugar so it's not as good as people think.
Once you fully accept that she doesnt have to have it and stop teying to sneak it in she might be less tense about it.
And if it carries on she can get help for her fear.

gamerchick Sun 24-Jul-16 20:28:09

My 9 yr old won't either. He's always been a pain to feed. I just feed him vitamin drops and not stress about it.

She eats veg, it's ok.

minipie Mon 25-Jul-16 11:50:50

My DD (3.8) is similar though not quite as extreme.

She eats veg (including the ones which are technically fruit, except tomatoes) and will also eat apple, banana and occasionally grapes.

However any of the more juicy or scented fruits like any berries, peaches, melon she will not touch. She actually gagged when we got her to try a strawberry. She also hates the smell - she doesn't like loos that have been cleaned with fruity scented cleaning products. My sister is the same so I think it's just how some people are.

I don't think it's an issue if she eats veg. Healthy snacks are fairly easy - carrots, red pepper, cucumber, avocado. Nuts are a great healthy snack too.

Will she eat dried fruit? DD will even if she doesn't like the non dried version. She often has dried fruit and cheese as a snack.

SarahS12345 Mon 25-Jul-16 20:57:37

Thanks everyone, I know you're right and I shouldn't push it. I'll back off and hope she comes round.

She doesn't have an allergy as she is actually allergic to egg so we've had all manner of tests and this is different to her egg reactions.

She doesn't eat any veg which are actually fruit and won't touch peppers, tomatoes or cucumber. She will eat carrot sticks, for which I'm very grateful!

Whenever I've managed to talk to her about it (she generally says "I don't want you to talk about it") she says she doesn't like "juicy things" so I accept there is a genuine dislike. She is also able to identify fruit as an ingredient when I can't. I made some flapjacks with some cut up dried apricot that I couldn't detect when they were cooked. She took one bite and said "this has got fruit in".

The only fruit she will eat are raisins when she is desperate and there's nothing else and dried mango, which lets face it is basically like haribo.

But to be honest I'm not that worried about it from a nutritional point of view, but more because it seems so psychological and feels almost a bit eating disorderish. I'm not saying for a moment that she has an eating disorder but I guess part of me worries that she has this propensity to develop a "thing" about food and what could that look like in 10 years. But I'm know thats melodramatic and me giving her a hard time is probably the best way to make that happen.

Thanks all for you comments

omri Sun 14-Aug-16 23:55:38

Hi Sarah,

Just want to say my ds (5) has been the EXACT same up until very recently. The only form of fruit he had ever eaten were raisins and dried mango ...--see my other thread on his rotten molar-- ... Apart from as a baby when he munched on bananas and oranges etc... he would dry heave if he had to touch any fruit for the past few years though. His little sister lives on fruit and would choose a few blueberries or a mandarin over an ice cream! If she dropped a blueberry on the floor and I asked him to pick it up he would have a panic attack confused

Like your dd though he also ate veg most days without any dramas. So I wasn't toooo upset. I would put a big bowl of fruit on the table for us all to share so that it was normalised but no... He wasn't having any of it.

It's only in the past 6 months he has started very slowly to try fruits. I credit it with his Montessori teacher who really persevered with him. "Trying Tuesday" - everyone had to have just one bite of something new every Tuesday. And he got a gold star for trying any fruit. He really got on board with that. He now happily eats bananas, oranges, pineapple, nectarines, pears etc. He still hasn't touched any type of berry (more for me and dd) or an apple but seems to have lost the inexplicable fear of fruit...

Hopefully your dd will grow out of it too. Don't force her. But do keep offering her once or twice a week. If she screams like ds did when offered, I just calmly said, oh that's ok if you don't want any just so no thank you! That's fine! In your best light and breezy voice! Ds also didn't like to touch anything wet- so we began with he just had to smell ... Maybe lick if he was feeling brave.... All just with a tiny piece on a little dessert fork.

Focus on the veg for now - hopefully the fruit will follow little by little ...

JinkxMonsoon Mon 15-Aug-16 00:11:40

Totally normal behaviour for a "fussy" child. And if not eating fruit is the only bad thing about her diet, you're lucky. My DD (nearly five) eats a horrific diet and refuses to try new things - even new junk foods. It's totally psychological but it's a battle you cannot win.

I tried a reward chart for new things with some success. But then she refused to try the food for a second time hmm

So don't worry about eating disorders. None of what you describe is unusual and most kids grow out of it in the end. Here's hoping anyway, because having to negotiate with DD how little she has to eat of a meal, before said meal has even happened, really gets on my tits smile

omri Mon 15-Aug-16 00:26:40

having to negotiate with DD how little she has to eat of a meal, before said meal has even happened, really gets on my tits
I really understand this!! Painful. Although I was a notoriously fussy eater as a child and I grew up to be a very healthy eater who loves all foods. Except fennel I hate fennel. Hope for all of us!

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