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Fussy eater. How do I give the other children a balanced diet.

(16 Posts)
wishiwasrunning Mon 03-Nov-14 19:59:01

Hi, I really need some help/ideas!

DD1 is 5yo and has always been a fussy eater from the age of 1. We've tried many different things to get her to eat but she has a very small amount of dinner type foods that she will eat and if she doesn't like what's for dinner she won't eat, but will also play up so that the meal is ruined. She distracts her brother by asking him to join in songs, complains loudly about the food, winds up brother with poking etc V.stressful.

DS is 3 and a pretty good eater, tends to just get on with it and if he says he doesn't like something I just ignore him and in about 2mins he'll be eating it anyway. Fabulous.

DD2 is 6months, eats everything in sight already, want to make sure that she is getting to try a wide range of foods and get a balanced diet.

I can only cook one meal as time is always tight, do I carry on with nice balanced home cooked dinner that DD1 will complain about, not eat and discourage the others from eating... Or do I give in to the fussiness for an easy life??? But the younger two will suffer.... Anyone dealt with this before?

SpottyTeacakes Mon 03-Nov-14 20:05:12

Dd is 4 and, although seemingly not as bad as your dd, is going through a fussy phase. I cook a mixture throughout the week of things we all like and ensure there's a few she likes too.

Wrt to messing around she either eats her dinner or she leaves the table (I'm not angry with her, it's fine, but if she's playing up to ds I won't have it) and she goes into the sitting room to look at books or something.

She eats breakfast and lunch and if she genuinely doesn't like something she can have bread and butter later.

willowisp Mon 03-Nov-14 20:15:47

Curing a fussy eater is possible & it's not by offering alternative foods.

So, you cook one meal. You might need to serve a small portion & of it isn't eaten, don't offer anything else. If its tea time. Nothing until breakfast.

If child said they don't like what's served, ask what's wrong with it. e.g. don't like rice with sauce on it - serve rice one side, with sauce (ie chilli con carne, mild curries, meat balls etc) next to it. Same with pasta.

Write a list of acceptable foods - now I would say brocoli, carrots, peas, sweet corn, potatoes are ok. Add things like sliced raw pepper, cucumber, sliced courgette & serve these separately on a plate so they can be tried.

Kids apparently need to try a food 17 times to decide if they don't actually like it & a lot of the time it's to do with different texture rather than a taste. Ever see a child turn their nose up at a chocolate pudding ?

Don't let anyone fuss - so if child creates a scene, make them leave the table. Praise the kids that are eating nicely. Don't offer pudding - now there will be calls of demonising foot, no bad food but the simple fact is small growing kids need nutritious (carb, protein, fat) calories, which is not bread & butter, a petit filous yogurt or a piece of fruit. These foods, whilst they have their place, will not retrain your child's palate.

I don't have fussy eaters because I don't allow it.

babyboomersrock Tue 04-Nov-14 00:41:06

Ever see a child turn their nose up at a chocolate pudding ?

Yes, me. I hated anything which was slimy (eg custard, table jelly) as well as food with tiny bits in (stewed apples, fish). It wasn't so much that I was refusing to try - I retched at the texture when it was in my mouth.

My mother was a stickler for discipline - and this was the 50s, when food was never wasted - but to her credit, she made allowances. Otherwise, mealtimes would have been hellish for me, and probably for all of us.

One of my own four children had a similar issue (finely-tuned gag reflex!) and I had to go very gently with him. It was an inconvenience, but it was important to me that we enjoyed eating together - and as he got older, he got better at managing different foods.

Trollsworth Tue 04-Nov-14 00:44:14

I started making ds2 wait alone in the living room until we had all finished. He rapidly stopped misbehaving at mealtimes.

AesSedai Tue 04-Nov-14 12:16:10

Carry on as you are. Give the 5 year old 10 minutes to eat.........then take her away from the table and sit her in another room/away from the meal.
As Trollsworth said above !

And be firm, don't give in no matter how much fuss she makes. She knows how to play you wink

Littlef00t Tue 04-Nov-14 14:13:58

Does sound like a very sensible pragmatic solution to remove her from the table if she's not eating.

wishiwasrunning Tue 04-Nov-14 19:41:55

Thanks for all the helpful replies, I'm aware that I could easily make this worse/miserable for her and I don't want to do that. I LOVE food and I'm terrified of putting her off anymore than she might already be.

I will sit with her and draw up a list of acceptable foods and put them on her plate separately. I also totally agree with time limits and not taking any nonsense. Fingers crossed the approach of letting her control her food slightly more will make her more likely to try new foods, but you still serve up the rest of the meal at the same time don't you? I'm also a little nervous of the others seeing her get special treatment for being awkward!

SpottyTeacakes Tue 04-Nov-14 19:46:17

Have you tried letting her dish up her own food? Works really well for us sometimes smile

wishiwasrunning Tue 04-Nov-14 21:12:07

Yes we've tried that, but for some reason she dishes up loads onto her plate and then finds it even harder to eat it all!

I dish up really small portions so she's not overwhelmed.

SpottyTeacakes Tue 04-Nov-14 21:13:02

Oh dear grin yes I think smaller looks less intimidating to them.

Goldmandra Tue 04-Nov-14 23:09:01

It does make sense to limit her portion size but you can still allow her to choose whether you put something on her plate in the first place.

Provide a balanced meal in serving dishes, ensuring that there is a reasonable balance of foods that you know she doesn't strongly dislike. Allow her to choose which foods go on her plate then make no further comment on her food or eating.

Make sitting at the table a privilege that is earned by acceptable behaviour. If she starts to be disruptive tell her that she will need to leave the table if it continues. You may have to carry this through a few times before she realises that you mean it. Don't allow her to come back to the table until the next mealtime. This removes the opportunities for negative attention and her power to disrupt the mealtime for her siblings.

If you usually give her snacks between meals, start writing down what she has had. You may well find she has eaten more than you realised and this explains why she is not eating at mealtimes. I have watched a friend feeding her two year old a packet of crisps, a granola bar, some chocolate and a banana during one morning and then tear her hair out because he wouldn't eat his lunch at midday.

Shedding Tue 04-Nov-14 23:22:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wishiwasrunning Fri 07-Nov-14 14:54:33

Thanks for all the tips, it's nice to hear how other people do it and I've got more ideas to try now, like being at the table is a privilege.

Roll on this weekends meals as DH is away and I can do it MY way grin (he gets more worked up about it than I do)

Goldmandra Fri 07-Nov-14 15:47:53

Praising children for eating nicely sounds a little bit odd to me, I have always thought you were meant to act like you didn't care at all whether they ate or not?

I wouldn't praise children for eating, ever. I would offer praise for the social niceties, like good table manners, being pleasant to others, waiting patiently, etc but not for eating. The idea is that they learn to listen to their appetites, not other people, when deciding how much to eat.

UniS Fri 07-Nov-14 23:38:37

Ever see a child turn their nose up at choclate pudding....

Yep, DS , who is not a fuss eater. He does however have some dislikes ( and plenty of likes) , he is an 8 yr old who dislikes banana, baked beans, choc cake, choc pudding, jelly, citrus fruits and mince. He is utterly consistent and not faddy.

so- I don't serve him things he dislikes at home. DH dislikes custard and gravy, I don;t serve him those. I dislike Cheese cake, I don't cook that. We seem to manage a balanced diet, even if DS does eat more cucumber and apple than I do.

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