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changing a 3yo and 2yo eating habits - finding it impossible!

(13 Posts)
melissasummerfield Mon 06-Mar-17 20:22:46

I hope this is in the right section, this is my first post!

I am absolutely desperate to change my DC eating habits, they are 3 and 2 years old and eat a very limited and poor diet. My elder son did eat really well as a toddler but as i fell pregnant quite quickly with my second and went back to work full time before my second maternity leave started, his diet became what i call 'freezer crap' i.e. fish fingers, chicken, waffles etc.. My second son was then born and was ill with various gastric issues until he was around 1yo and i also suffered with horrible PND so he then also started to follow the same diet.

I am in no way trying to justify that the way they eat is okay, i feel terrible about it, especially as hubby and I eat a really varied healthy diet with 90% of meals cooked from scratch.

I have tried all sorts to get them to eat more foods to no avail and as i am know expecting baby no 3 in September i really want to get this sorted out !

My eldest will eat all fruits but refuses all veg including potato, and my youngest wont even eat fruit.

any help would be massively appreciated, thank you!

MichaelJacksonsGlove Mon 06-Mar-17 20:46:21

You may have tried but we did a whole family competition whereby each portion of fruit/veg got a sticker next to their name. There were prizes and rewards for the winner e.g. A special pudding at the weekend. You got two stickers if you tried something new. Also I just gave whatever they liked as often as possible e.g. Cucumber for breakfast, broccoli with a sandwich, etc.

Try to hide vegetables in food e.g. Grated carrot in bolognese? And hide fruit in puddings?

Crumbs1 Mon 06-Mar-17 20:50:05

Do you cook separately for the children and adults? Can they not simply have same food as you? Served up on a 'this is what there is' basis. If you want children to have high tea and adults to,have separate supper, you could do children's meals a day later by saving portions in the fridge but better if all eat together usually.

Robin7 Mon 06-Mar-17 20:51:13

This looks like it might be worth a try? www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0913/300913-tiny-tastes

Robin7 Mon 06-Mar-17 20:52:38

(I have a book written by the psychologist involved in the research which has quite a bit about feeding issues, but haven't reached that stage yet as baby only 5 months so no personal experience!!)

melissasummerfield Mon 06-Mar-17 21:11:45

Thank you for the replies!

I have tried to hide the veg in pasta sauce etc but they instantly know that it isn't the usual plain tomato sauce, on Sunday i made blueberry muffins and the little one just sat there picking them out!

the chart and stickers might work as my 3yo loves getting a sticker from nursery, i will try that.

The problem we have with eating as a family is i work in the afternoon/evening so my husband and I don't eat with the children at all during the week, and on the weekends i follow the same eating routine so the children eat at 12pm and 4pm so too early for us to be eating with them, although if it worked i would do it anyway, so i will give it a try!

I'm not sure if they are too young for the 'eat this or get nothing approach' ? there are so many different professional opinions on how to do this and they all conflict, its so confusing!

Fuzzipeg Mon 06-Mar-17 21:30:21

Don't feel guilty - small children are notorious for being picky eaters, and as mums we can't keep the plates spinning all the time! Two pronged approach maybe. If you are cooking from scratch, I am assuming time isn't too much of an issue, so if you don't already, all eat the same meal. Hide veg where possible eg. blitz carrot, celery, onion etc. in the blender before adding to a spag bol, blend veg soup so it has no obvious chunks of veg in it. Secondly I just put out lots of variety of finger food carrot sticks, sweet corn, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grapes, pepper, chopped up apple and cheese cubes often as part of a meal with wraps /pitta/ plain pasta / noodles and let everyone help themselves to the foods they wanted, giving the dcs control over what they chose. Lots of chat about who's picking which colour. Praise for trying new things, Don't let it be a battle. Letting them prep the food with you might help as I find kids that have cooked the meal are often more likely to eat it. Hopefully once they get more used to eating some different flavours and textures you can try some more adventurous stuff. Good luck 🙂

JenniferYellowHat1980 Mon 06-Mar-17 21:34:42

Watching. My 7yo started out brilliantly but is a dreadful eater now and has been for years. Whoever said that presenting a child with a food 17 times is full of shit. That said, DD is growing well and is thriving academically and in terms of physical activity. When I have taken her to the GP they have been meh about it for this reason.

Solasum Mon 06-Mar-17 21:40:09

I don't think they are too young for the 'this is what there is' approach. My DS is 3, and generally a pretty good eater (Shame about the sleeping though). I cook one meal for everyone eating. If he really won't eat something he can have weetabix instead. Admittedly I do modify meals a bit, so I won't serve a meal where I know he doesn't like everything, and I will leave some things on the side so he doesn't have to have it. He surprised me by eating blue cheese this week.

He occasionally will look at dinner and say 'ugh, yuck' but generally he will then eat some of it anyway.

Fish fingers can be fairly healthy, so no need to worry about them!

I think persevering is key, and trying to make things interesting. I wouldn't want to eat plain bland boiled carrots myself, but would eat them roasted etc.

melissasummerfield Mon 06-Mar-17 21:47:37

Thank you fuzzipeg, i will try a picnic style lunch over the weekend and see how it goes!

The ridiculous thing is my elder boy will peel the breadcrumbs off things like fish fingers and chicken pieces but wont eat a piece of fish or chicken in its natural state!

daisydalrymple Mon 06-Mar-17 22:00:25

Can you make your own chicken in breadcrumbs / fishfingers from scratch? Get them involved in helping with stirring the breadcrumbs / egg / flour bits maybe. That might help start the transition to just cooking one meal for all.

Do you blitz up your homemade pasta sauce with extra veg? My dcs are 10,7&2 and I make pasta sauce with frying onion, grated carrot, peppers and grated courgette. Add a little garlic (and oregano but guessing that might need to be introduced gradually grin ) then tinned tomatoes and simmer over a low heat. I blitz it all up with a hand blender and the dcs love it. (Although apparently it's not quite as good as ds1's favourite pasta sauce in a pub we go to for lunch occasionally! So I'm working on perfecting it- I'm guessing the pub one doesn't have all the extras haha). They won't eat courgette or pepper but know they're in the sauce. Maybe you could start with frying onion and one other veg and add to your normal pasta sauce and blitz it, then add a tin of tomatoes the following time and blitz and just add a little bit extra each time.

TwinsPlusAnotherTwo Tue 07-Mar-17 09:44:25

Sympathies - it's so frustrating when kids won't eat decent food! Selfishly I want mine to eat varied and 'nice' food so I can enjoy it with them.

I sort of do 'this is what there is' approach, but I do tend to alternate meals that are more adventurous with safer bets. I have 4dc so I count a 'safe bet' meal as one that 3/4 of them will eat!

melissasummerfield Tue 07-Mar-17 09:54:21

I just worry about them starving! I will try alternating new foods with the old ones and see how it goes, thank you for the advice everyone 😀

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