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Refusing all veggies and fresh fruit - what do you do?(30 Posts)
My son, who is 2 years and 3 months is such a picky eater and has become even pickier as time goes on. When he was 18 months he was happy to try anything. All veggies, fish, beans, meats etc. Then he started refusing everything, but would at least eat broccoli and eggs, salmon. Now he refuses those, so we are down to:
Beef meat balls
Chicken nuggets (sometimes - he is starting to refuse those!)
Fish potato sticks (most of the time)
Beans w tomato sauce (sometimes)
butter and bread
fruit puree (will not eat any fresh fruits! EVER!)
cheese (but now starting not to like as much)
Pizza w hidden puree carrots and green beans in sauce (50% chance he will eat)
banana bread w hidden shredded carrots and squash
Basically, I am having to think of ways, any ways to hide nutrients in his foods. So frustrating!
Are there any of you who just give up a little bit on offering veggies and fruits? Do they just start to like it? My daughter who is almost 4 eats EVERYTHING! Loves fruits, veggies, fresh home made foods etc.
My 20month old goes through phases are fussiness. I keep offering a variety of foods. Some I know he will eat, some he won't. If he doesn't eat it or even try it then no fuss made but no alternatives. I give him a multivitamin every day so I know he gets what he needs and maybe a larger bottle of milk in the evening if he hasn't eaten much. On the whole he's a good eater but like I say will go through phases like all toddlers. He's very healthy, rarely ill, grows like a weed and has never woken from hunger
just every other reason
Does he like smoothies? If he does you can hide all sorts in there. My eldest child went through a terribly fussy phase between 1.5 and 3.5 and he slowly came out of it. By 5 he was eating anything. Dd is slightly fussier than him and I can see it starting a bit with the 2yr old but I just keep offering everything and don't make a big deal if he doesn't eat it.
We used those squirmy veggie and fruit thugs when dd1 went through a similar phase. Expensive but she always was willing to take those and they were at least one way of getting stuff into her !
Is it a texture thing?
I buy frozen mash and frozen spinach for my veg hating GD. A tiny bit of spinach under a mash potato pyramid. We call them tents. I don't know if it is the novelty of eating the little pyramids or because of the smooth texture but she will eat it
I found allowing them to dip anything at all in ketchup helped quite a bit.
Sounds like my DS. He's 4 now and not much better.
Although I wish looking back I had persevered with just fresh fruit and veg, we have fallen into the trap of hiding fruit and veg in his food too - I'm hopeful eventually he'll just eat them as they are. Anyway my tricks are
-grated cauliflower, courgette, mushroom mixed in rice - looks like plain rice
- cauliflower, broccoli and spinach blended with cheese sauce with pasta - he loves this
- chips made out of any root veg - sweet potato are his favourite but he'll tolerate swede, parsnip, carrot
- berry smoothies with a handful of spinach in
- he will eat slices of banana or Apple if we make a counting game of it - we sing "ten pieces of banana" instead of green bottles
- muffins with grated carrot and courgette in
Ceeveebee, great tips! Only problem is he now refuses pasta and rice. Grr! But the chips could work, do you make them yourself or just buy them? He just ate three slices of pizza I made, w hidden carrots and green beans in the sauce. I think it could be texture thing...but he eats a lot of hard stuff like bread, nuts etc. So hard to know exactly what it is! Maybe just the colors? I tried giving mash and he does not like I hope he starts like pasta again soon bc that was a good way to get stuff in! But at least he eats pizza w hidden veggies still.
I make banana bread w grated carrots or courgettes too and he loves them.
He was eating smoothies w hidden veggies and then all a sudden he stopped and now refuses! Even if I do not hide veggies. I do not know why he stopped. I still make and always offer to him bc my daughter loves...but he usually just plays w it and doesnt drink it.
Ketchup works sometimes for nuggets or meatballs. But he will just use the carrots as a spoon.
I am really hoping he outgrows this or nursery will help. He starts next week and maybe seeing more kids eat foods, he will start to try them?
When he is older, I might be able to start making games out of it to try and get him to eat more things. He has NEVER even properly tried pieces of fruit. Every time offered, he would take a lick and then throw. He used to eat broccoli. The only veggie he actually ate whole....but stopped all of a sudden.
I am going to take the juicer out and see if I can get him to have fresh apple juice and carrot juice. And then try to hide spinach in there.
Any other tips...please let me know! I am hoping there are ones I have not tried that might work. I guess, I could try the not offering other foods when he does not eat what I make...its just so hard bc he will shout and get upset if I dont give him something else.
I make the chips but you can buy Frozen sweet potato chips, maybe just buy them first time so you don't waste your time making them (which always feels more stressful somehow!)
Reading with interest.
DS isn't keen on veg to say the least, will occasionally eat a few bites of cucumber but that's about it. Has completely gone off all meat/pasta /veg based meals, so I can't smuggle anything in! Of course at nursery he eats anything, apparently. He will eat fresh banana, apple, peaches, that's about it. He'll eat any fruit that's been cooked to puree : apples, pears, plums etc.
I was thinking of making smoothies or apple sauce ( which he loves) and blending spinach into it? Or maybe adding tiny bits of veg to his scrambled egg.
Will definitely try him with banana bread too, and carrot cake
I won't eat any of it, of course
He drinks water and milk usually. Sometimes I make fresh squeezed oj. And sometimes he will have innocent smoothie as a treat. He will no longer eat my home made smoothies I will try to make fresh juice w carrot and apple this weekend. At the moment he is going through a brown bread and butter phase...it seems to be mainly what he wants to eat!
Will he have a multivitamin sweet? Not as good as food I know but I fin I worry less if toddler is being fussy if he at least has one of those.
Would he eat muffins with carrot/courgett in?
Oh just remembered my DS loves carrot crisps which are apparently 1 of your 5 a day
Get him involved in prepping food. I know it's standard advice trotted out on MN, but it really works for us. My DD will eat some veg but is quite picky about it. If she 'helps' me chop stuff (her hand round the knife handle with my hand over the top) she picks at things she wouldn't touch on her plate. She still might not touch them when they are on her plate but she'll often pick so much she's eaten a portion of veg before she even sits down! Perhaps not ideal but I think it's a good starting point; eventually she'll eat them off her plate too!
Otherwise, I take a fairly firm view about pickiness generally and don't pander to it - you don't suddenly 'stop liking' rice or pasta or whatever. DD gets what we're having and it's her choice whether she eats it. I'm sure she'd prefer beans on toast seven nights a week it it's not her call! If I only offered her stuff i absolutely know she'll eat, it would be really limited - so I don't and sometimes she picks and sometimes she surprises me with what she really goes for. I've also stopped offering snacks most of the time - I found she just didn't really need them and made her more picky at mealtimes. You hear it often on MN but it's true - otherwise healthy kids don't starve themselves.
Yes to helping prep.
Also put veg in the middle of the table in a bowl and let him help himself. Praise him for trying.
Eat meals with him.
My dd is like this - she's now 4 but getting better. We've established rules about trying (ie you have to try) but if she doesn't then fine.
Her older brother was similar but since starting school he's happy to at least try.
I also keep offering meals they've gone off intermittently with at least one thing on their plate which I know will be eaten. We all go off meals from time to time and have phases so I expect the children do too.
Sorry - just read your later post. I would definitely not offer alternatives. Honestly - he might get cross but what incentive is there for him to try anything except his very favourite stuff if he knows that he'll get it eventually anyway?
DS was like this, but ate everything except soup at nursery. At 7, he'll eat most stuff, but still not soup.
Does he go to nursery at all? Or do you eat together as a family? My dd was like this but improved massively at nursery because everyone else was eating it too. She still isn't the biggest veg eater but we do put something new on her plate as often as we can and she has to at least try (she's 3.5). Seeing others eat whatever it is encourages her to try.
Agree with definitely don't offer alternatives. It is such a PITA and takes a lot of patience though. My DSIS was like this at that age. If she refused to eat something it was fine but my DM didn't offer her any other stuff, particularly her favourites, as an alternative. Otherwise, as PP have said, there is no incentive to try new things or eat what you're given.
Agree with pp who said you should eat together as a family, I think that really helps to see other people eating things without fuss.
What about crudités?
My DC love dipping carrot batons, cucumber slices, peppers, sugar snap peas in dips such as ketchup/humous as a snack.
Also, you could hide veg in the meat balls like carrot, courgette, spinach. You could also cook and then purée veg and stir it into baked beans.
Many thanks for the tips! Esp the carrot crisps....will try those. I will also see if I can get him to help w food prep. And we do eat family meals sometimes...but not always practical bc sometimes I like to eat later w my husband. My son always eats dinner w my daughter though and on weekends we have lunch and/or dinner together as family. He starting nursery next week, so cross fingers that helps! I guess I need to nip it in the bud, offering him alternatives. Its just so hard I have created more work for myself though by constantly offering him different things. I will try it this weekend when I have my husband as support! Will update you guys after a week of trying not to offer other foods.
Also, crudites do not work at the moment bc he just throws them on the floor or uses them as a spoon for ketchup. and as for humus...there is a 20% chance he will eat it if offered. I offered it today for lunch and he poured his water on it and I made him potato fish sticks, which he usually eats...but he did not eat.
This weekend will be VERY strict.
make sure he sees you eating and enjoying loads of fruit and vegetables yourself. Make it the main thing you eat for a while. He will come round eventually
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