Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

do you let your toddler choose what they want to eat

(20 Posts)
sannie Sat 11-Oct-08 22:00:08

just wondering what everyone else does really.....

ever since ds1 can talk to us (2.6) I have let him choose what he wants to eat....He is a fussy eater and will only eat a couple of things and will absolutely not try anything policy at the moment is just to go with it....

Typical lunch time will be
me: what would you like for lunch? (eg) Fish fingers or omelette ...
ds: Fingers

I then give him fish fingers and then put some carrots or whatever on the side which never ever get eaten....

Do you think this is the right approach or am I making the problem worse?

We also had a bit of a showdown this week when he refused pasta pesto...he wanted only yoghurt and of course I said no as he hadn't eaten his dinner - he went on for ages but I kept saying no to yoghurt....We then went out 2 hours later and he had something from the bakery. Should I have let him have something? I thought that 2 hours was a long time to wait and that he wouldn't associate the bread with not eating lunch?


JacobsPrincessOfDarkness Sat 11-Oct-08 22:02:39

I offer DS1 a choice of the main element of his meal, but I always put the veggies on his plate. I know he'll only eat carrot or cucumber, but want him to get used to having other foods around.
I tell him he doesn't have to eat them, but it would be lovely if he could just try.

FangolinaJolly Sat 11-Oct-08 22:03:29

No I don't give them a choice.If they don't eat it thats it.(Evil mum emoticon).If they try it and genuinely don't like it I will make something else,but no they are not ususally offered a choice else I would probably spend time and money I don't have being forced to make different meals.

sannie Sat 11-Oct-08 22:04:33

i was wondering whether to try stickers as a reward for trying new stuff...don't know if this would be a good idea though....ds1 is a very stubborn soul and I don't want to make things worse then they are...

CharCharBaGOOOOOOORE Sat 11-Oct-08 22:06:59

I think it's good that you're giving the choice and also that you're putting a food he doesn't usually eat on the side. You're taking the battle out of it which can only be a good thing. Plus hopefully if he keeps being exposed to foods he doesn't like he might change his mind. The way I see it is he wants to control what he eats. If you try to stop him, he's just going to try even harder which will make mealtimes more stressful. So I think you're getting it right. smile

As regards the showdown, I would have just given him the yoghurt tbh. Pick you're battles, as a toddler has a stronger will than you and in a battle they will win. Fine to get him something from the bakery though.

Hope what I've said is ok. I only have a 14 month old but have read a fair bit on here about fussy eaters. smile

CharCharBaGOOOOOOORE Sat 11-Oct-08 22:07:52

that should be your (lapsed pedant blush)

WinkyWinkola Sat 11-Oct-08 22:10:57

My DCs don't get a choice usually unless I'm stuck for inspiration. They usually want pasta but I can't give them pasta twice a day. Wish I could!

If they don't eat what's put in front of them, then they don't get dessert and they go without until the next meal.

Obviously I try to find out what foods they actively dislike. I wouldn't serve up food they hate. That's just mean!

I don't think it's mean not to give your children a choice at meal times. It's normal.

Wilkiepedia Sat 11-Oct-08 22:11:14

No I don't give a choice. I tell him what I'm making and then give it to him. I let him eat whatever he wants and if he starts messing I give him one warning and then take it away if he continues.

He is given EVERYTHING that DH and I have, we sit and have meals together.

Personally I'm not into BLW or anything, I believe they need guidance from their parents but that is just my opinion and I think you should go with what works for you.

If he is a fussy eater though, maybe you should give him less choice?

geraldinetheluckygoat Sat 11-Oct-08 22:12:53

sometimes i do, sometimes I don't! I often let him choose lunch, his choice is always cheese on toast. Dinners I tend to just do and plonk in front of him. He usually rejects things he hasn't seen in a while, so I try to not get stuck in a rut of cooking same things all the time! If I let him chose all the time, he would want cheese on toast every meal!
Here's something encouraging, DS1 rejected brocolli for the first 2 years of having it on his plate, but one day just started eating it and now really likes it! So would second jacobsprincessofdarkness's tactic...
Sannie I would not put too much emphasis on trying new foods, just have plenty about, and if he ventures towards any of it THEN I would praise him a lot for it. I think you made the right decision about the bakery, I would have done the same, not given yoghurt and waited quite a while before giving something else, so that the actual meal time is well and trully over. Good luck, it's a nightmare when they go through picky stages, mine both do it frequently!

Notyummy Sat 11-Oct-08 22:22:04

Dont give her a choice, and it works most of the time, although occasionally we get the lip out and 'dont like that';if she does this a number of times for a particular food I will accept it as her preference and not offer it again for a while...if she does it for something she was happily eating days before, then she gets told that its that or bread and water. <witchy mum emoticon>

Not sure I agree with the battle of wills post btw. If a toddler won every battle of wills then I think the world would be a pretty scary place frankly!! My will is stronger than hers....I do pick my battles, but if it is over a big issue than she will not have what she wants and will not learn that bad behaviour gets you rewarded.

AbbeyA Sat 11-Oct-08 22:35:30

I give a choice in that I serve up a meal and they take it or leave it! I don't offer and alternative and I don't give a choice of meal. We all eat the same.

Acinonyx Sat 11-Oct-08 23:48:18

Yes, I give a choice of two things. If she's not very hungry she can have yogurt and fruit. But when she goes to her CM I chose her meals and make them - from a narrow range.

DD is pretty fussy and not eager to try new foods. She doesn't eat what we eat - we eat a lot of spicy, sloppy food.

DH and I were both very fussy eaters. I never liked my parents food - ever - not even as an adult. I don't want to eat dry, bland food to please her (or anyone else thank you) so I go with her preferences, within reasonable healthy limits. It's not difficult to do that with only one child.

TattooedGrrrl Sun 12-Oct-08 05:47:15

Personally i think you have the right approach- you're not hassling him into eating things he really doesn't want to. You're also offering vegetables, which he can choose to eat,or not. You'd make food an issue by 'forcing' food on him. If he is hungry, he will eat something.

I think 2 hrs is a long time to a 2yr old, long enough to make your point certainly.

I always try to think of food groups- if he'll eat fish fingers or omelette, that protein, yogurt is dairy etc. As long as there is something from each one there in a day, it's really not that bad.

TattooedGrrrl Sun 12-Oct-08 05:50:04

and yes i do usually give a choice of 2 things, unless we're all eating together, and he has what we have, but then i might give him a choice of what veg he wants, or what bread, so he feels like he's making choices about what he eats.

Jennster Sun 12-Oct-08 07:01:52

Yes, they can eat what we are having or not at all. Obviously there will be exceptions, but I do not make more than one meal every eating time. Oh and if we are having spaghetti, then ds gets twists as he can't feed himself spaghetti yet. Always offer milk as drink, yoghurt as pudding but only if main eaten, and fruit as snacks.

sannie Sun 12-Oct-08 09:36:31

ok thanks for all the replies...I will carry on doing the same...I will be making veggie cottage pie for lunch so I will serve up some to ds1 on a sep plate and say to him that he used to love it when he was a baby (true) and that he can try some if he likes but he doesn't have too.....I don't want to have big show downs with him about food.....

problem is I have already got into making different meals for everyone Hopefully he will grow out of it....I take inspiration from the story about broccoli !!

BabiesEverywhere Sun 12-Oct-08 09:52:34

DD gets a portion of whatever is on offer that meal time. If it is sandwiches she gets a choice of filling.

If she doesn't like the meal she doesn't have to eat it and she can always have fruit from the bowl or crackers at any time.

She'll eat anything we give her and tons of fruit. If she insists on a yogart only for lunch I don't mind...once she had three !!!

Having control over what you eat, should hopefully build a healthy relationship with food. Not like my "must clear the plate" childhood meals.

BabiesEverywhere Sun 12-Oct-08 09:55:40

She usually eats whatever we give her, but sometimes refuses a meal altogether. To date it has just been an occasional meal, so that is no problem.

kazbeth Sun 12-Oct-08 10:08:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory Sun 12-Oct-08 10:44:53

Middle way. I did not offer a choice (my budget, my cooking energy), but also would not force feed them if they did not want something.

I felt a choice of something I then had to go and cook might be a bit too much for their limited attention span- risking me getting cross because they then changed their minds. Besides, in a 4 person family wouldn't seem right to give all the choice to one person (and I was never into cooking double meals).

I think the important thing is not the exact choices you make- whether they get pudding only or not, whether they get to choose, whether they have their own special meal. I think the one important thing is that you don't get too hung up it. That's where you get eating disorders, everybody getting terribly upset and thinking something dreadful is going to happen and giving the child the idea that eating or not eating is terribly, terribly important. If you're relaxed enough you can get away with the no-main-course-no-pudding-rule, but if you stress over it, it could end in disaster.

I think it also helps to accept that lots of children go through fussy phases and most of them do not end up with eating disorders. No healthy child will starve from rejecting one meal. (eating disorders of course a totally different kettle of fish)

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: