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fussy vegetarian child - what to do?

(8 Posts)
bellamom Mon 05-Sep-11 17:59:05

He is only six, and his repetoire is getting smaller and smaller - beans on toast and pizza is all he will eat without fuss! It is driving us all NUTS!

Is it too much to expect a boy to eat a bean stew with jacket pot, a nut roast, annabel karmel hidden veg sauce with spagetty,various veg soups etc without creating WW3?

I don't want to be a monster but it is getting ridiculous. Please any ideas????

foolonthehill Mon 05-Sep-11 19:46:38

Hi, very common for children to food restrict....you don't have to be a monster, you have to be a mother.

Make family meals, eat them together, no alternatives he wont die if he goes to bed hungry, no milk to fill up on. He's not just fussy...he's controlling you via food...the 6 year old's deadly weapon for guilty mums. Shame it's the end of the hols...easier to be strong when there is no school. He's going to get ill so this has to stop now!!

Have you a supportive partner/mother/friend who can hold your hand in case you feel like giving in??????

Have a hug from me. Now tomorrow breakfast explain to him that this is not happening any more and that all the food on offer will be at meal times, no snacks except fruit, nothing within an hour of meals and no changed menus. Make the meals very small...and say he can ask for more if he wants more. Set up a star chart and at the end of a week of healthy balanced meals have a non-food reward..... Now GO FOR IT.

Really really you can do this and you NEED to

Good luck and keep posting,

bellamom Mon 05-Sep-11 20:00:04

thankyou for such a clear post and for not thinking i am a monster to expect him to eat proper food - it has given me strength! i like your ideas.....

Rowena8482 Mon 05-Sep-11 20:05:18

feed him beans on toast and be glad they're available in reduced salt/sugar and wholemeal or homemade varieties. My nephew refused anything except salt n vinegar crisps and chocolate chip cookies from being about 18 months to being 11, then started to eat a tuna sandwich every couple of days. He will only drink coke. He is 14 and weighs under 6 stone, and when he broke his leg, he had a full cast to his thigh, got his regular school trousers on, and the cast couldn't be seen. Your DS is positively ordinary in comparison!

edam Mon 05-Sep-11 20:07:24

I like fool's advice. But I'd temper it with offering him food you know he does like - make sure there's something on his plate he will eat so there's a chance for him to do well (rather than an almighty stand-off with fussy child refusing point blank to try, I dunno, steak and kidney pudding, and both of you getting in a right old tizz). I've seen some advice about offering a child's handful of whatever the new food is on the plate at mealtime together with some food you know they will eat anyway.

Speaking as a former award-winning fussy eater as a child, a Mexican stand-off with parent saying: you WILL eat this and child refusing is never going to end well... (I was saved, many a time, by my cats who were only too happy to help me out with the kidney part of the steak and kidney pudding.grin)

Btw, with a thread title like that, there's a risk you'll get loads of very dogmatic people being all cross about anyone 'allowing' a child to be vegetarian...

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 05-Sep-11 22:00:33

I don't know about 'dogmatic' but there's a serious point that if the child is refusing meat for the same reason that they're refusing all the other foods you've not got a vegetarian on your hands but a food-controller. If the family is vegetarian and the 6yo is refusing to eat vegetarian dishes then it may be an idea to broaden the scope of his diet with animal products.

foolonthehill Tue 06-Sep-11 10:10:32

Yes, agree re vegetarian...fine if you all are, not fine if it's more restrictive behaviour.

Great advice mixing it up with some food you know he likes but sometimes it's quicker to go "cold turkey" depends on how strong you are feeling.

Really try not to make it a battle, put your emotions away in a box and be madame calmness herself...you are not having a battle you are feeding your child..if you get wound up this will be exciting for him and might prolong it all.

Also (for your internal monologue) you are not forcing him to eat food he doesn't like and punishing him with it...you are providing good food for him to try and rewarding the desired behaviour...if he eats one grain of rice, one kernel of sweetcorn that is success and should be met with totally excessive happiness!! Stars/rewards etc. and keep on going!!

No attention for not eating, no sighs, tears, anger....only good vibes for eating anything!!

Maybe have some good eaters around to tea this week so you can praise all of them lots too! ( Takes off the pressure)

BIG HUG!!!!

Ceic Fri 09-Sep-11 10:10:46

Just saw this. My household is a vegetarian/vegan one and my two DCs have had fussy phases.

We have had a 3-point reward system for each dinner. One point each for:
- trying everything
- having good table manners (including no "sick" faces and noises about food)
- finishing everything on the plate

For 1 or 2 points, they got one or two sweets (little ones) and for 3 points, they got a sticker on a chart. Once there were enough stickers, they got a reward.

I guess that seems like a lot of rules but it's what we found helped us to change the battle - the DC were making choices that only affected them

(Oh and I got my hidden veg pizza sauce from the Vegan Lunchbox lady)

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