Eating a carrot is breaking my heart

(255 Posts)
CarrotTrauma Tue 11-May-21 19:28:41

I’ve NC for this as I don’t want linked to my other posts as could be outing to people who know me.

So tonight we have come down hard on our 7yo DC, they are currently bawling their heart out at the table, have been for over half an hour because we are making them eat a carrot, not even a whole carrot, it’s a quarter of a roasted carrot.

We’ve always been fairly relaxed with food. Never forced our DCs to eat food they don’t like, never made them go to bed hungry. The snack draw is always available, they must ask though. But the diet of one of our DCs has gotten so bad we have had to play hard ball.

Number 1, had always had an issue with fruit and veg, bad gag reflex even as a baby. As they have gotten older that gag reflex is still there but they do try and have got to the point where they can eat things they never could before, not a huge amount but are gradually progressing and overall we get some decent healthy food into them. A lot of this has been down to school encouragement in trying new healthy foods and eating with their friends as well as age.

Number 3 child, no problems at all, they will actually get upset if there isn’t enough fruit and veg. 95% of the time they will choose fruit of any sweets/chocolate.

But with number 2 it’s has gotten so bad. As a baby it wasn’t a problem until they started copying number 1 and refusing to eat fruit and veg. As they were close in age it was hard to stop this. They started to make progress at nursery and school and I wasn’t too worried as both told me they were eating stuff they wouldn’t at home and I thought that like number 1 they would get better especially eating at friends homes or friends coming to us as with number 1. But lockdown happened, so they stopped eating with their peers and stopped trying new things which they would happily do at school.

We’ve also moved during lockdown and they are in a new school, but since returning only dose packed lunches. Previously I could live with picking my battles because there were always meals I could sneak a bit of blended veg into and I knew I had the back up that at school they were at least trying and eating foods they refused at home. This isn’t to say I havnt tried, I’ve blended veg hidden it in many mice dishes, spread it on home made pizzas, tried cooking it in lots of various ways. They will eat a bowl of stew and at the end all the meat and gravy is gone and all the veg left. I’ve made novelty meals, got very creative in designing fun plates, but nothing works.

Just to show how bad it is, this is now my DCs diet,

Breakfast - toast with butter, beans or sausages. They use to eat cereal but after being introduced to krave through a relative this is now the only cereal they eat. The only other breakfast foods are pancakes with Nutella. We only allow the krave or anything Nutella related at weekends now. Which is why we started making hot foods during the week.

Lunch - ham sandwich, no other sandwich, will eat plain bread and butter. Pretzels, popcorn and maybe breadsticks. Absolutely nothing else.

Dinner - pizza (cheese n tomato only), sausages, chicken nuggets and chips, roast chicken, hot dogs and pasta, beans, meatballs and of course McDonalds. Won’t eat potatoes in any other form or rice, cous cous, eggs, obviously no veg at all. Will try other meats but not really fussed.

At home they spend all their time asking for snacks, their idea of a snack is chocolate, crisps, sweets, ice cream.... this is why we are at breaking point. We have no issue with our children eating these in moderation and with a healthy varied diet, but our 7yo dose not anything near this.

So tonight was the night we have got tough and stuck to our guns. I’ve had to go upstairs as I can’t bare the crying. Both DH and I have horrible memories of being forced to sit at the table and eat stewed to death veg and swore we would never do it. But we have run out of patience and need to do something before it’s to late.

OP’s posts: |
Hughbert Tue 11-May-21 19:48:05

flowers
Don't force the carrot issue - dc is not likely to suddenly eat them because they were made to. Give the junk as an occasional 'just because' rather than as a reward for eating well, good behaviour, or a treat or it ends up as having strong emotional connections which can become very deeply ingrained.
They may become a carrot eater, they may not, but you know how awful it was being made to eat it. Food should not become a battleground. Take the carrot away. Offer something new or less preferred every day. Try not to worry too much, I know it is hard not to.

RainedOn Tue 11-May-21 19:54:07

Forcing it isn't the right thing to do.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 11-May-21 20:00:20

I'm not sure id force the carrot.

But, their diet is atrocious. You know that. Start by sitting them down, explaining they can't eat like that. All those foods, every single one, even ham sandwich or toast for breakfast, would be a once a week treat meal for my dc.

I'd sit them down, work out a menu with them which contains decent stuff, non negotiable, and take it from there.

Chicken nuggets, mcds etc won't be on the menu at all.

SummerHouse Tue 11-May-21 20:03:40

Hey mate. I am hand holding in the time of covid. I totally understand. We do all the things. Eat together. Food on the table to help selves. Never force. Never reward. Get nowhere. It sucks.

Tomorrow is another day.

There are lots of children with far worse diets.

pictish Tue 11-May-21 20:03:53

Don’t keep on about the bloody carrot. Accept that you haven’t cracked it this time and that you’ll try again in the future.

Notavegan Tue 11-May-21 20:06:01

I have a fussy one. I don't force a particular thing, unless I know they like it. Tonight she was told to try one of her choice of a vegetable. As a kid I know I had peas with ever meal for quite a while.

Can you discuss and come up with a few things to start with? Neither of my kids would eat cooked carrot.

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bloodywhitecat Tue 11-May-21 20:11:59

I hear you, I really do but don't turn it into a battle of wills. My son had a very restricted diet, he only ever ate Primula Cheese and Ham spread sandwiches for example, toast had to be warmed, stale bread if there was any hint of brown on it he couldn't eat it, no veg except raw carrot and peeled cucumber and I fretted over it for years but the best thing we did was to step back, serve at least one thing he would eat at every meal and to allow everyone to serve themselves from the table with no pressure to try anything. It is so, so hard though.

GintyMcGinty Tue 11-May-21 20:12:50

One of mine is like this.

Honestly don't force it. You won't win. And mealtimes become hell for everyone.

We focused on what he would eat.

He would eat beans and peas so we made sure that all dinners had either beans or peas.
He would eat an apple. So he got one of those each day.
He would drink apple or orange juice. So he got a glass of that each day.
Plus a vitamin tablet.

We have been slowly building up from there.

He will now eat grapes and pineapple too. And veg wise carrots and parsnips have been added to the list.

Good luck - you will get there in the end.

lemonjam Tue 11-May-21 20:16:15

I really wouldn’t force them to eat the carrot.
Not going to make them suddenly start eating better.

My middle is quite fussy with tea (although he loves fruit and ironically loves raw carrot!) - I just give him a small portion of whatever we’re having, and something plain on the side that I know he’ll eat, like bread and butter, plain pasta, a potato. Am just trusting he’ll broaden his likes as he gets older!

My kids are more likely to eat veg if it’s chopped and left out for snacking- sticks of carrot and cucumber etc.

MeadowHay Tue 11-May-21 20:16:15

flowers

My DC is only 3 and her diet is terrible and me and DH are both already gutted and constantly stressed about it so I can only imagine how stressful this is for you both. However, I wouldn't try to force them to eat anything, I don't think it will help. 'My Child Won't Eat' is a good book to read if you haven't already. Could you speak to your GP/health visitor/school nurse about the issues and see if they can suggest anything? This is a loooong time ago now but one of my siblings was a similarly terrible eater and for a while she had input from the school nurse and I think a dietician on a program to try and get her to try things and increase her variety. I don't remember whether it helped long term or not not though but just wondering if there are any services like that you could access?

Personally we don't allow unlimited snacking because if we did that's all our DC would eat, fill up on snacks (a lot of them not nutritionally helpful) and not eat meals - we know this from experience so we've gotten fairly strict with snacks apart from days out and other special occasions. This has meant she has eaten marginally better at meal times. We also don't offer any alternative meals etc there's a meal and that's that. There's no pressure to eat but if you don't eat there's nothing else.

ChristmasJumpers Tue 11-May-21 20:16:36

He probably doesn't, but consider the possibility that DS2 could have ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder). It's a fear response to food but can look more like refusal to eat.

I have this and it stays with you for life. Being forced to stay at the table if he does have ARFID will not make him eat the carrot - nothing will. I battle all the time to increase what I eat (dieting is a nightmare). But if someone tried to make me eat carrots when I felt I couldn't, it would just make me worse.

Nishky Tue 11-May-21 20:16:49

Please don’t do this.

My parents did this to me- for years until they accepted that the texture of meat did actually make me gag.

Day after day sitting alone at the table trying to force food down.

I swore I would never force my children to eat anything or clear their plates. They had to try something before declaring they didn’t like it but they were never forced to eat. As late teens they have healthy, relatively adventurous diets and do not have weight issues because they were never forced to eat when not actually hungry

My relationship with my parents was affected by their actions .

Twentytwentyonetwo Tue 11-May-21 20:18:11

I don't know but following this as my 3 year old's diet seems so restricted. Thankfully she will eat fruit, nuts, plain whole meal bread (no butter) and three types of vegetables at the moment so through these things I can get some nutrients into her but it's so hard to know what to do

On Supernanny they just tell the kids they have to eat the food now in a new authoritative way and it just works. I tried it and I may as well not have bothered!

babycheeseplant Tue 11-May-21 20:20:54

even ham sandwich or toast for breakfast, would be a once a week treat meal for my dc

Christ.

Let the carrot go OP, I think making food an emotional issue is more damaging. You know the diet needs an overhaul generally and you'll get there, but this isn't a hill to die on.

1940s Tue 11-May-21 20:20:59

arethereanyleftatall

I'm not sure id force the carrot.

But, their diet is atrocious. You know that. Start by sitting them down, explaining they can't eat like that. All those foods, every single one, even ham sandwich or toast for breakfast, would be a once a week treat meal for my dc.

I'd sit them down, work out a menu with them which contains decent stuff, non negotiable, and take it from there.

Chicken nuggets, mcds etc won't be on the menu at all.


Ham sandwich for lunch or toast for breakfast is not once a week treat food. You have an unhealthy relationship with food if this is your opinion and you shouldn't be influencing your children's food habits

wildeverose Tue 11-May-21 20:23:14

Both my kids have the identical almost diet of your dc. I've tried, and tried, but one has gotten so much better as she's gotten older, and so I try to remember the other will hopefully follow suit.

The way you're going about this isn't going to help, in fact if anything it'll probably make it worse. They will develop issues with food if forced to eat something they hate, and half an hour screaming is just horrible. Try again with offering different healthier choices, maybe a chart of some kind, a reward chart? Letting them choose their own new foods to try, going shopping with you, cooking with you. All things to try, but please don't try that way again. It's not helping anyone x

Thesearmsofmine Tue 11-May-21 20:23:17

Please don’t force your child to eat food they don’t want. you are going to make this far worse.

I was your dc when young, I had an even more limited diet than you describe, my parents tried everything but I would happily go a days without eating. Fast forward 30 years and I eat a pretty varied diet, for me as a teen I started to try more things and then in my 20’s I suddenly discovered loads of foods I like and some that I didn’t. However I still remember the stress around mealtimes and the way my parents would get angry with me when it wasn’t something I was doing on purpose. Don’t damage your relationship with your dc.

Twentytwentyonetwo Tue 11-May-21 20:23:21

By the way I'm not suggesting that Jo Frost is necessarily the be all and end all of parenting, in fact when it comes to food I'd thought we were doing the right thing in offering what we eat with one plain thing on there that we know she'll eat (even if it's just brown rice or plain chicken with our curry, with some curry not touching it on the side) and not having unhealthy alternatives available, and not forcing eating

But then I watched tv the other night and saw young children just being told to eat it and they did and it's made me doubt myself. I realise now I'm being daft as there are plenty of parents like you OP trying everything possible to no avail

I do remember that my diet as a young child was absolutely terrible, I never ever ate the school lunch as I hated it, and my Mum just provided a jam or marmite sandwich in the evenings so I was pretty much living off jam sandwiches. Now I eat almost anything and genuinely enjoy very healthy meals with lots of veg, so there's lots of hope for the future!

wildeverose Tue 11-May-21 20:25:28

arethereanyleftatall

I'm not sure id force the carrot.

But, their diet is atrocious. You know that. Start by sitting them down, explaining they can't eat like that. All those foods, every single one, even ham sandwich or toast for breakfast, would be a once a week treat meal for my dc.

I'd sit them down, work out a menu with them which contains decent stuff, non negotiable, and take it from there.

Chicken nuggets, mcds etc won't be on the menu at all.


A ham sandwich or toast is a once a week treat? That is genuinely one of the saddest things I've ever read.

Thesearmsofmine Tue 11-May-21 20:26:27

arethereanyleftatall

I'm not sure id force the carrot.

But, their diet is atrocious. You know that. Start by sitting them down, explaining they can't eat like that. All those foods, every single one, even ham sandwich or toast for breakfast, would be a once a week treat meal for my dc.

I'd sit them down, work out a menu with them which contains decent stuff, non negotiable, and take it from there.

Chicken nuggets, mcds etc won't be on the menu at all.

Toast would be a once a week treat? grin

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 11-May-21 20:26:47

GintyMcGinty

One of mine is like this.

Honestly don't force it. You won't win. And mealtimes become hell for everyone.

We focused on what he would eat.

He would eat beans and peas so we made sure that all dinners had either beans or peas.
He would eat an apple. So he got one of those each day.
He would drink apple or orange juice. So he got a glass of that each day.
Plus a vitamin tablet.

We have been slowly building up from there.

He will now eat grapes and pineapple too. And veg wise carrots and parsnips have been added to the list.

Good luck - you will get there in the end.

I did this with dd. I batch cooked and froze her meals from when she was very little. I never forced her to eat foods. I encouraged her but nothing more.

You’ve doing this all wrong op. As you have a family, making lots of buffet style meals will help.

Your child is only 7. You’re actually regressing them by forcing unsafe foods in this way.

chesirecat99 Tue 11-May-21 20:28:33

flowers I feel for you as the parent of a young adult with ASD/ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder).

I think it might be time for a visit to the GP for professional advice as you have one child who gags at certain foods and another who has been fussy since they were a toddler. It's not your fault and it's not their fault. It doesn't sound like it's just a child holding out for treats and being fussy. Forcing things isn't going to help, it's going to make it worse.

Were there any fruits or vegetables that they ate before (excluding as a baby)?

Beans are good, they count as one of your 5 a day. It sounds like they are okay with the taste of cooked tomato. Are they okay with spag bol/lasagne etc? Tomato soup? A glass of fruit juice or a smoothie? Fruit dipped in melted chocolate or pureed and frozen?

Sirzy Tue 11-May-21 20:30:06

The more you try to force the issue the more it will become a battle of wills. You won’t win but you risk doing long term damage to their attitude to food.

Make sure every meal has something they will eat. Keep new foods separate but available with no pressure to eat them. Don’t make a fuss over what they do or don’t eat.

Get them involved in doing some cooking with you. Even if they don’t eat the end product they are still getting used to different foods and having fun with food.

The more you show them your stressed the more they will fight back

DorisLessingsCat Tue 11-May-21 20:30:14

OP I cannot recommend this book enough:

First Bite: How We Learn to Eat https://g.co/kgs/3c6pc8

I appreciate it's frustrating but this is not the way.

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