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3 DCs with different eating habits and don't know where to start

(9 Posts)
ducdo Tue 02-Jun-09 13:58:56

I have 3 children DSs age 8 and 2 and DD age 6. Eldest is happy to try new foods and eats well. They all eat fruit, however my DD and DS age 2 are fussy and won't eat someting if they don't like the look of it.

I'm fed up giving them the same old stuff and they hardly ever eat vegetables (partly because I don't often cook them as they go in the bin anyway angry).

I've just seen a great weekly meal planner from another family website but I know if I present my 3 with the new dinners they just won't eat it. I remember when I was younger, I was made to sit at the table until I finished all my food .. even my greens!

Do I just give them the food and if they don't eat it, they go hungry? How can I encourage them to try new foods?

Or .. shall I just carry on as I am and try to get healthier food down them when they are a little older like my eldest? Is it an age thing?

Sorry for the waffling thread, just don't know where to start and wonder what to do for the best..

AnarchyAunt Tue 02-Jun-09 14:09:14

Personally I'd just cook a healthy meal every mealtime, make sure there is at least one part of it that everyone will eat, and encourage them to try all of it. Don't make a fuss if they leave it. Just take it away.

I try to make sure vegetables are in the food, not just next to it. I dont go as far as pureeing them into sauces or anything, just vegetable stew, pasta sauces, soups (kids love minestrone with pasta shapes), that sort of thing - rather than protein/carbohydrate/veg all separately on a plate. IYSWIM.

I always make sure there is something DD (6) likes on the table, even if it is just an accompanying bread roll. Seems to be less daunting for her then. I do take account of a few specific dislikes (ie she hates celery) but general fussiness and picking-out-of-bits I ignore completely.

But fussy kids are all different and by now 3 other posts will be saying something else, I bet!

claricebean Tue 02-Jun-09 14:16:27

I try and make sure there is something on the table that my 4 do like. So if I am doing chicken in a new sauce, for example, I will give them veg they like and put the rice on the table separately, so that they can try the chicken, but it does not contaminate the rice and veg IYSWIM. I also try and intersperse new meals with favourites, so that if they don't like lunch one day, they will the next.

I have given up making a fuss if they don't like something, but I praise heavily if they try something new.

I went through a stage of saying only fruit between meals if they didn't eat everything. In practice, though, mine don't tend to have snacks at home because we are in Spain and so our lunch is late (3pm, after school finishes) but their supper is early (6.30pm because, unlike Spanish mums, I can't wait to get my kids in bed). They have a mid morning snack at school. But if you do have snack time, that might work for you. I try not to make it a punishment, just a fact that if they don't eat the foods their bodies need at lunchtime (or evening meal or whatever) then they need to eat these at other times.

Over the years mine have been EXTREMELY fussy at times (especially the eldest). They are 2, 4, 7 and 8 now, and we seem to be coming out the other side. The youngest two have always been better eaters. Perseverance rather than battling seems to have been the best strategy (though I have tried both!).

Overmydeadbody Tue 02-Jun-09 14:41:41

Remember that children need at least 15 exposures to a new taste or new food before it becomes normal tasting to them, so unless they actually like the taste of something the first time they have it, they will need repeated exposure to it before it becomes a normal taste, even if they still don't particulalry care for that taste.

With regards to meal planning, don't just use someone else's meal plan, make you own, with plenty of meals your family know and enjoy, as well as new ones mixed in, a little a t atime.

With vegetables, I recommend you give them the vegetables as a starter, rather than with the resat of the food, as children will often eat them as they are hungry but if it's on the plate with everything they will leave it out.

Stick with things they like or are familiar with, with a few new things each week. If they like peas, nothing wrong with having peas as a veg four or ficve times a week, if they hate green beans, don't bother making them have them.

Overmydeadbody Tue 02-Jun-09 14:43:53

Don't make mealtimes into a battleground, life's not worth it. Make one meal, if they don't like it they go hungry, but if there is something they really genuinely don't like, don't make it or have an alternative (DS hates potatoes, so I make sure there are othe carbs for him if I want to cook potatoes).

ducdo Tue 02-Jun-09 16:07:31

Fab advice all .. yes will put food I know they like on their plates and introduce the 'new foods' separately on the table so they can add themselves and will give lots of praise for trying new foods.

Will also create our own meal planner together with the kids so they can contribute their favourite meals.

I know it shouldn't be a battleground but I certainly find it the most dreaded time of the day!

Plus I was in a restaurant the other day and saw a family with their two young children similar age to mine tucking into a bowl of salad and nearly fell off my chair .. what is that mum doing to get them to eat salad that I am so not doing envy

TheProvincialLady Tue 02-Jun-09 16:13:56

You might also want to make sure that there is only limited availability to snack food. I know loads of parents whose DC are 'fussy eaters' - but as they fill up all day on crisps and yoghurts it is not hard to see why they are not keen on meals.

ducdo Wed 03-Jun-09 21:44:41

TPL no they hardly ever snack and if they do it's fruit or cheese and biscuits, nothing that would fill them up too much and I make sure its never close to meal times!

Will get the meal planner going this weekend grin

morningpaper Wed 03-Jun-09 21:46:47

sympathies, I DESPAIR sometimes. Mine is quite happy to have a plate of nothing but bread or potatoes but will then be AWAKE EVERY HOUR OF THE NIGHT. And they are six and three!!!!

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