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To just feed her pizza?

154 replies

DomesticBlisters · 11/09/2022 11:05

Does anyone else have a child who eats very very little?

Our daughter has just gone into year 1 and she doesn't eat. She's very thin and the list of foods she will tolerate just seems to be getting smaller and smaller.

It's not picky eating and she won't eat eventually if we give her food and say it's that or nothing. Believe me, we've tried. She has had meltdowns lasting hours about meals. Last night she went to bed after eating just a corn on the cob 😩

She has school dinners but she doesn't eat much of them. We've kept her on them in the hopes she will be encouraged by being around her friends while they eat. She usually just has some bread and carrot though. Except on roast dinner day when apparently she will eat although I can't get her to eat roast at home. I think she must like the cheap meat they do at school and as much as I've tried to recreate it at home I can't 😂

AIBU to give her a small pizza (one of her safe foods) every none school day for her main meal, along with a tiny bit of what everyone else is having so she's still being exposed to new foods and flavours and might try them.

I'd give her a corn on the cob and some raw carrot too because she will eat those.

Is a pizza that bad? I've had some people say it's unhealthy but if I was giving her a cheese and tomato sandwich that would be ok 🤷

On a school day she has a cold tea which is usually a peanut butter sandwich or a sausage roll, some carrot, grapes, some plain Greek yogurt and some ready salted crisps. The same every day.

I'm so exhausted from battling with food. 😭

To save the drip feed, she is on the waiting list to be assessed for Autism and ADHD

OP posts:

ArrowNorth · 11/09/2022 18:31

And PS, she eats carrots and cheese (on the pizza) = that's pretty amazing!!


TheHateIsNotGood · 11/09/2022 18:32

Really can't think what that triggering word it might be clumping - just like many PPs it was about food selectivity, autism and empathy.


ClumpingBambooIsALie · 11/09/2022 18:34

Hm. Something else, maybe TheHate — perhaps too many post replies in too short a time would trigger it? Could be anything…


BlackeyedSusan · 11/09/2022 18:34

Yeah pizza is fine. Like you say cheese and tomato sandwich. She eats quite a lot compared to some autistic children. She is doing well.


BlackeyedSusan · 11/09/2022 18:37

We went from one acceptable breakfast to 4different cereals


Suzi888 · 11/09/2022 18:38

If she’s eating so little, I’d give her what she wants.
I probably would make a GP appointment and definitely give her a vitamin supplement.

I was a very skinny child and only ate little portions (safe to say I grew out of it!). I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it in front of her.

DD was picky, I would make small portions of healthy nibbles in bowls and say they were for adults and very special…. and nibble them. She would occasionally take a bowl herself. She is now 6 and has grown out of picky eating.


DomesticBlisters · 11/09/2022 18:43

MumsHairnet · 11/09/2022 18:25

My youngest son was similar he would only eat sausages, macaroni cheese and toast sometimes he would eat peas and sweetcorn sometimes not, never any fruit he would take those gummy vitamins though. He had cheeses sandwiches in his packed lunch every day! Saw GP was told not to worry he would see me eating fruit and vegetables at home ( I’m a vegetarian) he dad wasn’t hence the sausages and he would copy me Nope! When he went to nursery he would see the other kids eating and copy them Nope! When he went to school Nope! The GP referred us to a dietitian she said not to worry she saw other kids with similar issues and the worst thing was to turn food and mealtimes into a battleground. My son really couldn’t see the point in food and if you didn’t give him the food he would eat he really would just not eat at all. He was very tall and slim and lost weight so easily we couldn’t push the issue. My son had no other signs at the time but later developed behaviour issues and was diagnosed with ADHD, the medication he was first given for his ADHD reduced his appetite even more so we had to change it. He grown up now still tall and thin but eats like a horse and does most of the cooking in his house.

My autistic son has a cheese sandwich every day in his packed lunch too 😂

He has the exact same lunch daily. Cheese sandwich, sliced cucumber, sliced red pepper and a pot of halved grapes. On a Friday he also gets a little Friday treat like a packet of mini Jamie dodgers or cookies.
Sometimes he might ask for a white tortilla wrap and cubes of cheese (like once a month) but it's mostly a cheese sandwich.

He also had a bag of mini cheddars every day as his break time snack until they changed the packaging slightly. Now he won't touch them. Obviously that happened right after I stocked up on them when on offer 🤣😩

OP posts:

TheHateIsNotGood · 11/09/2022 18:44

Thanks clumping whatever it is, I don't want to derail OPs thread - originally I posted much the same as others have done - multivit gummies for nutrients, let them eat enough calories through their safe foods, make a packed lunch, ignore outside social pressures and be prepared for the long haul, don't make it an issue and just take the small improvements as part of the big steps over time.


zurala · 11/09/2022 18:48

My DD is autistic and lives on pizza, chicken goujons, pasta and pesto, and tuna mayo sandwiches. She will eat fruit but the only veg she will eat is yellow peppers and carrots.
It's really common with autistic children and most do widen their tastes as they get older. I wouldn't push it, just do what you can to ensure she's healthy such as a vitamin tablet daily.


porkmarkets · 11/09/2022 18:49

This is so common even amongst NT children. How many parents do you hear saying their kids won't eat anything but chicken nuggets and chips? Just keep giving her what she likes and offering a taste of new things. One day she'll say yes and try something new and you'll fall off your chair and feed it to her for every meal out of sheer joy that she's eating a new food and she'll end up getting sick of it then Grin also revisit things she used to eat and like- when you've dropped previously safe foods off the list they can spontaneously come into favour again given the opportunity.


Hellodarknessmyoldpal · 11/09/2022 18:50

OP i would imagine it has already been suggested but look up ARFID. Offering safe foods plus something new is good and you're right now to tamper with any of her safe foods. I would give her the pizza and feel good about the fact she's eating carrots too.


Soubriquet · 11/09/2022 18:51

Dieticians are rubbish. I was referred to one. They assessed I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic and that was that. I was discharged.


Ineedsleepandcoffee · 11/09/2022 18:54

I would let her have the pizza but do keep trying other foods alongside, letting her try things if she wants but no pressure. I'd particularly persevere with the today dinner idea as even if she doesn't eat home made yet, persevering to have it as an option will hopefully break through eventually as it already has some familiarity.
My daughter was similar and now her she mainly eats turkey with mashed potato and gravy and carrots for dinners.


AliceinSlumberland · 11/09/2022 18:57

I’m an Educational Psychologist, and honestly with a brother with autism, this level of restrictive eating and poor sleep, an autism assessment would be very beneficial.

Also agree this sounds like ARFID and all the fantastic advice around not changing safe foods and building trust. It’s an anxiety response to food - life or death in their eyes. It’s possibly linked to those innate instincts we have not to eat things that smell off or look a funny colour for example, but in a child with sensory needs it can become over responsive and so difficult for you both.


AliceinSlumberland · 11/09/2022 19:00

Also to add you are totally not unreasonable to feed her that every day - with the carrot and corn it’s really not that bad. A lot of the idea that we should eat a varied diet comes from a neurotypical stand point - if she wants the same thing every day that’s totally fine. Yes the pizza isn’t the healthiest but she’ll grow on it and it’ll take away some of the stress and anxiety of eating. As someone who’s worked with children on PEG feeds because of this, forcing children with ARFID to eat will inevitably limit their diets more and they become fearful.


EilonwyWithRedGoldHair · 11/09/2022 19:08

When DS was younger I used to just put food out on the table for anyone who wanted it. Sometimes he'd try a bit, sometimes not.

He's 9 now, wise to that trick and he's on the waiting list to be assessed for autism.

He eats cheese, ham, chicken, bread (only white), pasta, carrot, cucumber. He's generally against any kind of sauce, pizza being a rare exception. And he'll eat many fruits and sweets/cakes, I'm trying to cut down on these, but hunger is a big trigger for meltdowns, so sometimes we have to just give him whatever he's willing to eat.


UnbeatenMum · 11/09/2022 19:10

I've got an 11yo DD with Autism and a restricted diet and in your situation I'd just feed pizza and also start sending a packed lunch except for roast dinner days. We had to do this, my DD actually loves her food and gets upset if she can't eat a meal so she wasn't OK in school with something she couldn't eat.
She has slightly increased her repertoire over the years and recently even tried guacamole!


Sirzy · 11/09/2022 19:11

Soubriquet · 11/09/2022 18:51

Dieticians are rubbish. I was referred to one. They assessed I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic and that was that. I was discharged.

Sadly that has been our overriding experience (although we have a new one who seems bang on at the moment)

ds is 90% tube fed but apparently if I make him eat mash with extra cream in (he refuses but potato in any form and any milk/cream/yoghurt and has done for 10 years) all will be solved 🤦‍♀️


PostladyPatty · 11/09/2022 19:25

I'd be asking for a ASD referral to be honest

Not eating can be a sign of sensory issues


ClumpingBambooIsALie · 11/09/2022 19:26

Hankunamatata · 11/09/2022 17:56

This is one of my fav imagines why asd kids go for same foods

Going from my memories of being a still-slightly-food-restrictive (though out of the younger "Rice Krispies only" phase), then-undiagnosed, autistic kid:

Unfamiliar foods didn't even register in my head as actual food — it was like being told to eat a block of clay or a caterpillar. Impossible to even bring the fork fully to my mouth.

Foods with certain textures and flavours (lumpy, slimy, bitter — including most vegetables, anything remotely burnt, brown bread, and other things — and fermented) were so disgusting the feeling was similar to being offered a bowl of someone else's vomit or a dog-turd, and "just try a little bit, you might like it" was about as persuasive an argument as you'd expect.

Foods which I thought I knew and was familiar with, like a favourite pizza, if they were slightly wrong in some way (say, if someone hid vegetables in them), it was like the shock of taking a swig of coffee and realising the milk is off — and of course, that experience can really put you off having that thing again in the future, or at least make you check very carefully next time that it's not been tampered with or gone funny. And you're not going to trust that person again when they say it's fine.

The insistence on sameness and predictability is in order to avoid eating something that feels as horrendous as getting a mouthful of someone else's vomit.


TroublesomeTomato · 11/09/2022 19:34

I have a kid who was very fussy and now eats well due to the usual methods of introducing new foods over years/eating together/consistent mealtime expectations. But the point is I know my kid and know that she was being stubborn and trying to hold out for something she 'liked', rather than anything else. So that's why I handled it as I did.

You know your daughter better than anyone so I think you should trust your instincts, give her pizza and give her a second plate too like others suggest- or even leave crudites etc on the side which she can try when no one is around if she feels like it.

I'd just be making sure to give her a good large amount of the foods and full fat milk/yogurt until you get professional advice.

I hope you yet your referral soon, it must be really hard, restricted diets can be so so worrying to a parent.


iamjustwinginglife · 11/09/2022 19:40

I'd feed her whatever she'll eat and, as a PP suggested, on some days try a small portion of something new. The main thing at this point is to get calories in-will she eat the chewy haribo style vitamin tablets?


ClumpingBambooIsALie · 11/09/2022 19:49

I wrote the above because a few people, mostly early on in the thread, were making suggestions that, if the DD's experience is anything like mine, could be very counterproductive. If it's autism-related it's not necessarily "just" pickiness or stubbornness, but something the kid genuinely can't help, and they can be very hard to trick — they know better than anyone else on the planet exactly what that specific pizza is meant to taste like, will detect the slightest change, and their brain will respond with disgust in exactly the way your brain would respond with instinctive disgust if a packet of cooked chicken smelt a bit funny.

So yep, I concur with the others who say keep offering the safe foods and keep offering the option to try other things. A lot of the foods get easier to tolerate and even enjoyable with time — the sensitivity to bitterness tends to wane with age, and experiences broaden gradually.

I still can't hack aged/matured cheese at all, and don't particularly like brassicas, but the rest is just a memory.


DomesticBlisters · 11/09/2022 19:54

AliceinSlumberland · 11/09/2022 18:57

I’m an Educational Psychologist, and honestly with a brother with autism, this level of restrictive eating and poor sleep, an autism assessment would be very beneficial.

Also agree this sounds like ARFID and all the fantastic advice around not changing safe foods and building trust. It’s an anxiety response to food - life or death in their eyes. It’s possibly linked to those innate instincts we have not to eat things that smell off or look a funny colour for example, but in a child with sensory needs it can become over responsive and so difficult for you both.

She is on the writing list for a assessment but as you probably know it's a loooong wait. The school are good though and I think I'm going to ask if they can keep me a weeks diary of what food she's actually eating at lunch time because what she says always changes and I can't tell if she's telling me what was served or what she physically ate. Then I might switch her to packed lunches except roast dinner day. I feel like hunger will start affecting her ability to learn soon. She already struggles with sitting still she doesn't need more struggles

It's annoying because she currently gets free school dinners so the cost is a pain but we ended up having to do this with our son too because school dinners were causing him so much stress.

OP posts:

Mamansparkles · 11/09/2022 19:58

For a potentially autistic child, or ARFID, this doesn't sound too bad, you're doing great OP. Feed her what she'll eat, keep up that multivitamin and focus on calories. Don't try to 'fill her up on veg' so she eats less pizza as someone suggested upthread, she needs the pizza!
You have:
Milk for breakfast, sometimes rice krispies. Could you talk to her about milkshake or paediasure and try that, but be very clear if she doesn't like it, it's ok and you will swap it for milk? Don't just put it in without telling her.
Then peanut butter sandwiches, grapes, Greek yoghurt (brilliant), a couple of different types of veg and two hot meals (pizza and this school roast)? It might be samey but that's actually quite a balanced diet.

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