What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10Find out more
Toddler wants to go straight to pudding(19 Posts)
My 18mo has started turning down meals which she normally eats but eating all of her pudding. Nursery said they deal with this by not giving pudding. So today she didn't eat lunch and went without pudding. Come dinner time I was expecting her to be hungry (home cooked pizza that she normally loves) but she said no straight away and was pointing at the fridge for a yoghurt. We took her out of her high chair and she cried a lot and I felt so mean. I got out a banana and pretended it was for me but gave her a few pieces. Was I being weak? My husband thinks so. She seldom eats fruit so I don't want to stop her and I am anxious because we have had loads of problems getting her to eat in the past.
All of mine went through a stage like this. I let them eat the pudding as I felt it was better than nothing. They grew out of it. I didn't ever waant mealtimes to become a battle ground.
One small yoghurt is not going to fill her up anyway. I used to alternative spoons of main and pudding on occasion just to get DS to eat. He's 5 now - and despite being really slow - he eats most things, and doesn't need bribing with pudding.
My 19 month old is a bit like this. I won't give him a 'proper pudding' like ice-cream or cake etc if he hadn't eaten his mains, but I will offer fruit/bread/plain yoghurt instead. I figure he won't starve himself but still want him to go tobedwith something in his tummy IYKWIM?
Both mine went through this stage too.
My parents say I also went through this stage. They dealt with it by just giving me whatever it was I wanted to eat, which is a habit that has stayed with me since.
When my dc's started refusing meals, they didn't get anything else. Simple. They won't starve. I never made a huge deal out of it, I just took the plate away and got them down from the table.
They still occasionally refuse to eat dinner (they are 2.6yrs and 4yrs), which is fine, they just leave the table and do whatever else they want, I ignore them whilst I am eating, but they won't have anything else until breakfast the next day.
I tend to let DS have a moderate portion of pudding, then serve dinner 15 minutes later, so he's hungry again by the time it's served. If you're serving healthy puddings then it's just a part of the meal anyway - I think it's asking to store up bad food habits to be saying Okay, get through X food (implication: nasty, horrible, undesirable) and you can have Y food (implication: reward, treat, desirable) - if you want your DCs to enjoy all food then I'd stop using sweet things as a reward, even if she does naturally prefer them - there's no sense in reinforcing it.
Apart from the fact that DD doesn't go to nursery and is 19 months, I could have thought I'd written that post! SO no helpful advice but wanted to sympathise. We have carried on giving 'pudding' (sometimes if she has not eaten anythign and seems to be deliberatly awkward will not give it straight away, but offer her something an hour later once she has forgotten all about it, but usually give it straight away). My reasons for allowing her to have it are:
1: We only give her yoghurt or fruit as dessert anyway, so don't see it as a treat, just part of her blanced diet (she loves them though, so probably does think it is a treat!). Seems bizarre to withold something like fruit that some parents have to battle to give their kid - and her veg intake isn't great so I think it is important she has fruit.
2: I guess I just want her to have eaten something!
Am thinking we may ahve to change tack if it continues though, as do worry about what silvery moon says - bad habits. Especially as my eating habits aren't the best!
My daughter is now three and still does this, on occasion. Usually I let her have her yoghurt or piece of fruit and often it will get her appetite going and she'll have some of her main course afterwards.
Doesn't really bother me as we don't make pudding contingent on eating the main course anyway. And if she just eats fruit or yoghurt then so be it. But she won't be given anything else afterwards, and I make that very clear to her.
I am of the unless you eat some of your meal you don't get a pudding mentality, missing a meal won't do any harm! I also don't always give puddings so it's not something he expects after a meal.
The nursery didn't give your 18 month old any food at all at lunchtime? I am very shocked by that.
We had a similiar problem and the HV said to still give pudding but nothing else, as pudding shouldn't be enough to fill them up, and they'll still be hungry and come to realise that they need to eat their main as well as pudding if they want to stop being hungry.
I did this when ds's were as young as yours but now they're older (5.5 and 3.9) its no main no pud.
we made life easier for ourselves by not having pudding at all- so if child stops eating, you can simply say "Oh, you want to get down, then?"
fruit and youghurts were served at snack times instead, so never connected with what you did with your main course
Thanks for all of your replies. It is reassuring to hear that this is just a stage that passes. My preferred option would of course be to give her fruit and yoghurt (those are the only puddings we offer anyway). I am just so worried about her getting the proper nutrition and she is such a fussy eater that it can easily turn into a whole day of only sultanas and yoghurt. However, I also want her to have a positive association with food and be quite relaxed about it so its a difficult balance.
Belgo - I know it sounds quite drammatic but she rarely eats breakfast and on this day she did so it would not be unusual for her to skip her whole lunch anyway. She has a tiny appetite which is odd as my family is renowned for having huge ones.
cory - I do the same. If my children don't like the food they are given, they can have bread instead.
I think it's awful for the nursery to withhold food in an attempt to make an 18 month old eat the right food.
Will she eat the main after the pudding? I have always served the whole meal up (we did blw so it just seemed normal to continue) so often the fruit or yogurt gets eaten first, then the savoury main. It doesn't really bother me what order it gets eaten in, and having the fruit first doesn't seem to make any difference to how much gets scoffed overall. Like others have said, getting down from the table means no more food until the next meal.
Your DD is still very little tho and I'm also a little bit shocked at nursery withholding food!
fruit and yoghurt is very healthy
How about a yoghurt 'starter' then a small main course and fruit for after?
The well-respected US paediatric nutritionist Ellyn Satter says that having sweet as 'afters' is an artificial construct anyway, so it is best in fact while they are that young to serve both savoury and sweet at once and let them eat pudding first if they want to, as they will still be hungry afterwards and see that they have other food to eat so will eat that. That makes pud not 'a treat' and just part of a meal and no big deal. I have had success with this idea and my DS is
a fussy bugger like you wouldn't believe.
It is simple to ask nursery to still give her dessert regardless of what else she eats. It's fairer that she is given everything other children are given.
How large a dinner do you give her? Knowing that she doesn't want a lot, why not give a very small dinner and a larger healthy pudding? My DDs are both very put off by large plates of food. DD2 who is 23 months sometimes starts her pudding before finishing her dinner as her sister finishes and gets pudding and she wants the same. Often she will finish her dinner after her pudding if she is still hungry.
This is funny as I read the suggestions about having savoury later and thought no, I have tried that it doesn't work. Then yesterday she had yoghurt for breakfast and lunch (after scrambled egg on toast) then at tea said no to her Ham and cheese quesadilla, grapes and apricots but was pointing at the fridge. What worked was to take her into the living room, sit her on my lap, put on cbeebies and put the plate next to me on the sofa. After about 15 minutes she started eating the apricots, then the grapes, then finally ALL of the quesadillas and DH made more and she ate all of those too. I guess she just maybe doesn't like to feel under pressure.
Anyway, am going to tell nursery to still give her pudding if she doesn't eat her main because I can't bear to think of her watching other toddlers eating their pudding when she is hungry. I think I will approach the problem at home (where she is 5 days a week) and I can give her more individual attention.
Thanks so much for all of the advice. If anyone has any meal suggestions for quick healthy things to try for fussy eaters I would really appreciate it. Currently we are on a constant rotation of pasta with bolognase, hummous or cream cheese on toast, ham and cheese sandwiches, homemade pizza, scrambled egg, fish fingers, quorn nuggets and cottage pie with sweet potato topping. I am almost 9 months pregnant so would like some easy things to do (and of course lots of types of fruit) whilst juggling baby feeding etc. Very aware of the need to get more veggies into her diet.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.