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View Full Version : How do you feed three kids who turn their noses up to EVERYTHING!!


AMYCC1
09-02-2008, 08:45 AM
OMG..my three kids won't eat anything I make these days. They're 6, 3 and 3. Unless it's macs and cheese, chicken nuggets or pizza. Everytime I introduce something new, I have to hear the chorus of ewwwww or yuck, which drives me absolutely insane!! :confused3

msmayor
09-02-2008, 08:50 AM
I used these words when serving dinner, upon hearing "EW!" or "I don't want that"


Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am".

Seriously, if they get hungry enough they'll eat. They won't starve, and the more you cater to what they want the less they'll even consider trying other stuff. I wouldn't make them eat a lot of what is 'new' to them, but if they finally do try a spoon or two of a new food and still turn their nose up, be proud of them for trying and give them a bowl of cereal. Eventually, they'll tire of cereal as well and learn to like the 'new' stuff.

minnie1928
09-02-2008, 08:53 AM
I used these words when serving dinner, upon hearing "EW!" or "I don't want that"


Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am".

OOOOH! I so have to try this! My kids are 5 and 10 and eat virtually nothing (variety wise).

eh24fan
09-02-2008, 08:55 AM
As a picky eater myself, I totally understand not liking something. HOWEVER, my rule is that the kid MUST try to food at least 2 times before deciding they don't like it. After that, I won't force them to eat something they honestly don't like. At the same time, I don't cook a different meal for them either. I don't expect people to do that for me, I just find something in the meal that I do like and eat that. So a kid can do the same thing. I also never made a point of serving things like mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, etc on a regular basis just for that reason. I make sure to make different foods so that they have no choice but to eat it or go hungry. :)

ElizK
09-02-2008, 08:56 AM
I used these words when serving dinner, upon hearing "EW!" or "I don't want that"


Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am".

Seriously, if they get hungry enough they'll eat. They won't starve, and the more you cater to what they want the less they'll even consider trying other stuff. I wouldn't make them eat a lot of what is 'new' to them, but if they finally do try a spoon or two of a new food and still turn their nose up, be proud of them for trying and give them a bowl of cereal. Eventually, they'll tire of cereal as well and learn to like the 'new' stuff.


This is what we did, too. Don't get upset, don't try to convince them, just let them go hungry. If you cater to a picky eater it becomes a control issue.

delmar411
09-02-2008, 08:57 AM
I used these words when serving dinner, upon hearing "EW!" or "I don't want that"


Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am".

Seriously, if they get hungry enough they'll eat. They won't starve, and the more you cater to what they want the less they'll even consider trying other stuff. I wouldn't make them eat a lot of what is 'new' to them, but if they finally do try a spoon or two of a new food and still turn their nose up, be proud of them for trying and give them a bowl of cereal. Eventually, they'll tire of cereal as well and learn to like the 'new' stuff.

This is what I do as well. We dont' do new things but they'll do this a lot to some of their favorites. I'm not a short order cook and whatever I make is what's for dinner.

There are many days that DD (4) goes to bed w/o dinner. That's her choice. There are other days when I'm not sure she'll eat what I've made but she surprises me and eats a ton. It all evens out in the end.

SGMCO
09-02-2008, 08:58 AM
I agree with PP and stick to it.
Hide anything they can try to sneak and eat.
I worried about my DS because he was so picky when he
was younger and now loves everything that we like to eat.
He's willing to try new foods and his favorite vegetable is Broccoli.
Also, try to be a good example by what you eat and they
will eventually copy that example.
It also helped me to explain the benifits of healthy food choices.

kristilew
09-02-2008, 09:01 AM
Serve meals on paper plates for the next couple of weeks. Makes it so much easier to calmly scoop up the whole thing and trash it at the first Ewww.

My mantra: No discussion! Action!

You are kind enough to cook and serve a meal. They can be polite enough to at least sit there silently and not complain, even if they don't eat it.

When they get hungry enough they will eat. But make sure the kitchen is CLOSED between meals!

At our house, you must thank the Lord for providing, and the cook for cooking, period. After that, it's up to you whether you eat or not, but there will be nothing else until the Lord and the cook provide again.

Bren's Mom
09-02-2008, 09:08 AM
ITA! I cook one meal, trying to keep everyone's preferences in mind and also being mindful of serving a healthy, well-balanced meal. I don't force anyone to eat, but I also don't cook anything separate for anyone else. You're always welcome to make yourself a pb&j sandwich, though, and clean up after it yourself.

beckanoah
09-02-2008, 09:10 AM
Well, I started from when dd was a baby, but I just may be lucky with her. Her first foods were all the veggies. Eventually I served a veggie, and then a fruit. Later when she was on toddler food she had (frozen) cooked peas and that kind of thing for her meals.

I always put some of everything I make on her plate and we always have one "No Thank You" bite that she takes. She tries it, if she doesn't like it she doesn't have to eat more. However, the only thing she TRULY doesn't like is onions. If she sees them she won't eat them, so I make sure she doesn't see them. Her favorite foods are any raw vegetable (except onions). She actually eats better than me, and actually amazes waitresses when she'll order veggies instead of fries at restaurants. Sometimes cooking things a different way is the best way to go. She's on the ASD spectrum, but she is a truly great eater!

d1gitman
09-02-2008, 09:12 AM
my mom used to put my plate with food on it in the fridge if i wouldn't eat. everytime i said i was hungry, she would pull that plate out. eventually i would eat what was on my plate.

i was allowed to fill my own plate but had to eat everything i put on it as not to waste food. i also was expected to try new things 1x. i don't recall being a super fussy eater and my mother would tell you that i wasn't. fact is, she didn't allow me to whine at the dinner table.

MouseTrip07
09-02-2008, 09:14 AM
It is so funny that I read this today. I was making my September meal calendar last night and complaining about the same thing! I am tired of fixing 2 meals, 1 for DH and myself and 1 for my 2 kids (also 6 and 3). I am also tired of spaghetti, pizza, grilled cheese, and chicken tenders all the time.

Hearing that other families have had this challenge and lived through is encouraging. I am going to start repeating to myself "Breakfast is a 7....Breakfast is at 7" right now and fix pork tenderloin and sweet potatoes for dinner-with no other option-tonight!

Jennifer

clownchk
09-02-2008, 09:14 AM
We have a rule in our house: You have to try it. You do NOT have to like it, but you do need to get through a "No thank you" portion of it at least.

If you get through that portion (generally about a tablespoon full) without complaint then you may have a PB & J or a bowl of cereal.

My kids are almost 8, 6 and 3.

dismom24
09-02-2008, 09:20 AM
I guess I'm a softie, but it works at our house:). The rule is I make one dinner, but I always have fresh fruit and veggies available. I have one child that is just about a vegeterian (he will try anything that has grown in the garden, but not a fan of hot food - he will try it, but does not like it). I keep clean cut up veggies available and if they do not want what I cook, they can eat all the veggies they want. When I started them on veggies, I learned a little trick - things look better at someone elses house. They would try veggies at Garndmas and then come home and tell me all about the new things they had tried. I am careful to make sure his diet has plenty of protein choices at breakfast and lunch (eggs, cheese, and milk) since he does not eat much meat at dinner.

StillPinballFamily
09-02-2008, 09:23 AM
You've gotten a lot of the same advice I'd give - the one thing I'd add is that we also offered a choice of an apple, banana, carrot, or small salad a few hours later, if our starving children "made the choice" to complain about the meal and/or refused to try a bite or two before they had to leave the table. After an hour or two alone in their room being hungry, the kids usually gratefully accepted the fruits/veggies, but it didn't alter the circumstances of our expected behavior standards and making good food choices. It didn't happen often.

Our children soon outgrew this picky phase (but beware, it reoccurs several times during a typical child's development!!!) and now are pretty healthy eaters.

Family dinner time is a very precious and important time in our day. Not all families get to do this all together - and we don't get to *every* day, but many we do. You'd be wise not to let your meal time become a battleground every day! The last thing I'd suggest is that your children are old enough to begin helping prepare meals - we noticed a big change when they participated in the process, and their pride in serving, eating, and cleaning up after "their" dinners.

Stick to your guns - this is important!!!

musclemouse
09-02-2008, 09:34 AM
My son, Tristan, will eat just about anything. So I have no problem with him. As for Aidan, it's a challenge. He never ate babyfood - HATED it. I kept him trying new foods but he wasn't having any of it. I very well couldn't let my baby starve (and he looked like he was). Doctor gave me a list of foods he might be able to tolerate. I get that my son's issue is bigger than this, (i.e. textures, etc.) But he is four now and he is slowly allowing new foods into his diet. He eats healthy but I do have to do extra meal preps for him. I'm happy to do so.

sandycarroll
09-02-2008, 09:38 AM
I feel like so much has been thrown at us moms to let our kids "graze" that it actually leads to kids that are never hungry. They eat little amounts all day and then when it comes time for a meal they aren't really hungry enough.

I had to start limiting any snacks about 1 1/2 hours before lunch and dinner and found that I should try to get dinner on the table about 30 minutes after they start complaining about being hungry. It sure makes them more willing to try things.

Also, I try to compromise. We make something like eggplant parm that the kids need to try, but also have spaghetti with sauce that they love. I'll always provide a bowl of carrots, cucs and celery to fill in for veggies and they'll always eat it. An entire "weird" meal is too much to expect, so I combine new foods with favs.

threecrazykids
09-02-2008, 09:40 AM
I agree...I'm not running a buffet. When I serve dinner and they ask "mom...what are we having?" I typically say "tonight we're having yuck-i-don't-like-that". :lmao:

However, if they don't like what I've made I always tell them they are welcome to make a pb&j or a bowl of cereal.

I have a gal I work with who (God bless her 350 lb frame) says "my daughter will only eat McDonald's chicken nuggets for dinner every night". My response was "hmmm...i didn't know McDonald's delivers." If you don't drive them through the drive thru every stinkin night they will eventually eat what IS available to them.

cseca
09-02-2008, 09:43 AM
OK, this is something I heard from tv or radio somewhere.

Get your kids involved in meal discussion. For example, ask them if they'd rather have A or B (make it 2 options and if they balked after you make it then the "Breakfast at 7" respones is warranted) or if they're old enough involve them in the meal prep. mix a little bit of this, measure a little bit of that. Apparently kids are more likely to eat the food they prepared themselves... sense of accomplishment kinda thing... Plus it's a good time to teach kids about nutrition and math... :)

devalsam
09-02-2008, 09:58 AM
I used these words when serving dinner, upon hearing "EW!" or "I don't want that"

Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am".



I only had to do this ONE time! My daughter, 7 at the time, refused to eat what I made for dinner and insisted that she didn't like it. I told her that I was not making her anything different and that there would be no cereal for dinner that night. She, being a stubborn 7 year old, said fine, I won't eat. There were a couple times when she came crying to me that she was hungry and I told her that I had saved her a plate and would heat it up for her and she refused. So she went to bed hungry and when she woke up the next morning, I went to get her breakfast and while she was sitting there eating, talking about how hungry she was, she told me that she never knew I could be so mean! :lol: Funny thing is, the next time I made that meal, she ate every last bite!

The rule in our house has always been that you have to try something before you can say you don't like it. That goes for everything, not just food.

ceecee
09-02-2008, 10:10 AM
I used these words when serving dinner, upon hearing "EW!" or "I don't want that"


Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am".

Seriously, if they get hungry enough they'll eat. They won't starve, and the more you cater to what they want the less they'll even consider trying other stuff. I wouldn't make them eat a lot of what is 'new' to them, but if they finally do try a spoon or two of a new food and still turn their nose up, be proud of them for trying and give them a bowl of cereal. Eventually, they'll tire of cereal as well and learn to like the 'new' stuff.

Basically the same here. This is not Bob Evans, we eat what I made or you get hungery. My daughter is now 12 and will try everything and she will also eat just about anything. I hate it when her friend eats with us because she is SO picky!

Mkaz
09-02-2008, 10:15 AM
Wow! I just went through this this weekend with one of my son's friends. The kid barely ate a thing.

He refused breakfast because we didn't have sugary cereals. He ate a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Then he asked for a snack and ate Cheese Nips. I made homemade corn chowder for dinner, and dd made homemade biscuits. He took about 3 bites and turned his nose up at it. :sad2: Dh offered him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He then requested peanut butter and fluff. We didn't have any Fluff, so he just ate a peanut butter sandwich.

I must admit, I was a little "fluffed" at this time, but didn't let it show. I said in a cheery voice, "So young man, just what do you like to eat for dinner?" He replied with, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and pork. I said, "No vegetables?" He said the only vegetable he likes is cucumbers.

I would be a liar if I said my kids were happy with whatever I made, but I draw the line at catering. For instance, our son does not like sauce. When I make spaghetti, I leave the sauce off to the side.

We are pretty much a meat and potatoes type family. I usually make some type of meat, a vegetable, and a side dish (rice, potatoes, etc.). I usually scoop about a tablespoon of vegetables on to their plates, if it is one they don't care for. Most of the time they mix it in with their potatoes or other side dish.

You could try making casseroles with their favorite foods. It's another way of "hiding" vegetables. Good luck! :thumbsup2

Nie0214
09-02-2008, 10:26 AM
For your child's sake, please force them to eat variety now.

My parents never catered to my brother and I, per se.. but they didn't make us try new things. It was a very meat & potatoes type of family. I am not a big meat eater at all, so I'd usually only eat the non-meat part of the meals.

Now that I'm 22, I wish my parents ate different foods so they'd have made me eat them. It's really hard to try new things now because I ate almost the same thing every day growing up.

Example: My parents both hated fish, and I've never really ate it (other than fishsticks like once) because of that. I won't try it because I'm scared to, the smell is kind of icky, etc. but I'd really like to at least try it. Fish is so healthy for you, maybe one day I can bring myself to eat a plate of it. :scared:

AMYCC1
09-02-2008, 10:28 AM
:woohoo:
OK!!! I'm FEELING IT NOW!!! The courage and strength to say NO to whiny kids who want different meal! From now on, what I make is what I make. I am so tired of having the same darn thing day in and day out. :rotfl:
THanks all!

Inigo
09-02-2008, 10:38 AM
I'm a mean and devious mom. When my kids were little, I'd fix new foods, but tell the kids they couldn't have it because I didn't think they were grown up enough for whatever it was. Some foods are just not for little (emphasis on the little) kids, but maybe when they were older they could try the foods that were for grown-ups. I'd usually do this while cooking dinner. I'd "ummm, yummy" and "oh my this is good". The kids would ask what I was making, and I'd tell them they couldn't have it because they weren't ready for these kinds of food.

Well, let me tell you, my kids practically begged to taste whatever it was that I made. After tasting, they usually wanted that for dinner, since it was for grown-ups, and they weren't little! I only had to do this a few times, before they decided that they liked most new foods. And usually, once my oldest ate whatever it was, his little sister would want it to since she idolized him.

My kids eat just about anything. I'm the pickiest eater in my house. I even cook foods I don't particularly care for, since I know they like those foods. There are times that I don't eat what I cook, since some foods don't agree with my crohn's disease.

jeepgirl30
09-02-2008, 10:43 AM
I'm in the middle. I do often make the kids something different than we are eating but I do have a "3 bites" rule. If they don't like it after that then they can have something else.

I grew up with a mom that could NOT cook. She was horrible yet really tried. I remember having many fights at the table where she would make me sit for HOURS. I was strong willed and so was she. One night my dad came home after working 2nd shift at like 11pm, saw me at the table with a cold bowl of her "soup". He took one look and tossed it telling me to go to bed! My dad very rarely argued with my mom especially with discipline. He NEVER raised his voice. But this night he looked at her and said "please don't force her to eat something at looks and smells like that again".

Mom made 3 main meals. Waffles and ham, soup and shoe leather meat. I always thought I hated meat until I tried filet when now DH took me out to dinner!

I starting cooking in highschool and made most my family meals. You would think I'd be a picky eater but I'm completely the opposite! I'll try just about anything. I love going out to eat, trying a new dish then coming home and make it myself.

My DD8 loves salmon but hates chicken. So on the nights we have chicken I give her a few bites but have something else for her as well. DS5 loves chicken and hates about everything else! Well he says he hates it until the 2nd bite then its his new favorite. So for him i give him small portions of a lot of things.

I absolutely love to cook so for me I do not mind having options. I do work full time outside the house so there are nights options are limited and we all just have to deal with it.

Goofy'slady
09-02-2008, 10:45 AM
I find myself in the same boat with my girls sometimes. My youngest(3) is the least pickier eater with my oldest(10) being the worst of the two. Up until about 2yrs ago I use to make a different meal for my oldest than what the rest of the family was eating. When our youngest got to an age where she was begining to eat more of what we were eating for dinner than that practice became almost done away with-meaning our oldest was eating what I cooked for dinner.

Now most nights I make one meal for everybody and if someone turns up there nose then I say with a smile "I'm sorry you don't like it, I sure hope you like what's on the menu for breakfast in the morning". I would like to see my girls eat more veggies and for the most part they've been doing a much better job. I can get them to eat salad, steamed brocoli, corn-both on and off the cobb. Other veggies I hide in things like homemade soups, chili and I make a mean spinach quiche.

Things have gotten better but not 100% yet. I have found that if you let the kids pick what's going to be made for dinner and help prepare it that they'll be more excited about trying it because they feel like the had an actual hand in making it. My girls were given a Disney Kids Cookbook and so far we've only tried 2 recipes out of the cookbook(we just got it about 2weeks ago) but they loved each one. I've gone thru the book myself and I must say everything in that book is healthy, kid friendly and easy to prepare. We're excited about trying more recipes.

Good luck.
T.

java
09-02-2008, 10:45 AM
Dh and I are actually arguing about this right now. Every night when he sees what's for dinner he asks "what are the kids having?" And I reply "This" and he says"They are not going to eat that":headache: Is that helping!!??! NO!

And it's not like I am making liver and onions- I usually stick to something that I think they should be able to eat- plain and simple.

I have 4 children- the youngest and one of the middles are great eaters- will eat whatever I make- but the other 2 ugh! If it isn't a cheeseburger my oldest doesn't want it. But he eventually will try something if nothing else is available. My other one does the "I'm not eating then" Well great but you have to sit at the table with all of us anyway.

It's hard to get dh to understand that he is undermining my efforts. But I am sick of being a short order cook. I am making one meal and that's it. There will be yogurt available after you TRY IT. And I once read it takes 3 times for a child to decide he likes something.

Good luck everyone.

devalsam
09-02-2008, 10:53 AM
For your child's sake, please force them to eat variety now.

My parents never catered to my brother and I, per se.. but they didn't make us try new things. It was a very meat & potatoes type of family. I am not a big meat eater at all, so I'd usually only eat the non-meat part of the meals.

Now that I'm 22, I wish my parents ate different foods so they'd have made me eat them. It's really hard to try new things now because I ate almost the same thing every day growing up.

Example: My parents both hated fish, and I've never really ate it (other than fishsticks like once) because of that. I won't try it because I'm scared to, the smell is kind of icky, etc. but I'd really like to at least try it. Fish is so healthy for you, maybe one day I can bring myself to eat a plate of it. :scared:

I have the same problem! I try to make myself taste things but it is so hard! That's why I go out of my way to have my girls taste a variety of foods.

crisi
09-02-2008, 10:55 AM
We make our kids try things - but because low blood sugar turns my daughter into a demon - making EVERYONE miserable - we don't let her go hungry (and by extension, my son). We have the peanut butter sandwich rule - once you have tried everything you can make yourself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich - only a pb&j sandwich, no cereal, no leftover pizza, no raiding the fridge for string cheese - and you make it (from about the age of four on) and clean it up.

Kae
09-02-2008, 11:12 AM
OMG..my three kids won't eat anything I make these days. They're 6, 3 and 3. Unless it's macs and cheese, chicken nuggets or pizza. Everytime I introduce something new, I have to hear the chorus of ewwwww or yuck, which drives me absolutely insane!! :confused3

If those are your kids 3 favorites try working off of those I make a pizza cassarole that is good pasta pizza sauce peparoni, mushrooms, ham pizza toppings the kids eat top with cheese then maybe you can start adding things like lasanga. And for nuggets I take chicken breasts, tenders or thighs & bread I use shake & bake yup thats one of my quick meals the kids love Italian shake &bake serve with buttered noodles & green beans or sometime I bread them with Parm cheese & bread crumbs kinda like Chicken Parm serve with pasta. www.kraftfoods.com have some recipes with mac & cheese were you add meat & veggies. Goto the dinner tab then click on 1 bag 5 dinners.

There are a few thing the kids don't care for like fish so when we have fish on the grill then get pork or chicken but the side dishes stay the same.

Kae

Mommyto1andtwins
09-02-2008, 12:22 PM
My kids can be picky too. They end up with cereal if they really won't eat what I made.

I find that if I give them a different way of eating things they will try "strange" foods. Like using chop sticks or their disney plates makes the dinner a little more special so they won't turn their nose up so quickly.

MoniqueU
09-02-2008, 12:28 PM
My husband is gone most nights or not home when I feed the kids. The only meals my kids can agree on is take out mexican food and take out pizza. Not practical. One got turned into a vegetarian lately by a friend further limiting things. Add to that I am not a cook. We are all set in our ways and don't care to try new recipes for the most part. For most of my kids lives I just made 3 seperate easy to make things for them to eat. Now that the oldest is almost 15 and a half and the middle one is almost 12 I am down to having to make about 2 meals a night since they can make the same dishes for themselves now. The youngest is 10 and a half but she is on the youngish side for her age so I always get her meal for her.

I was forced to eat stuff I didn't like as a kid and it really left a bad impression on me. I still don't like the things I was forced to eat as a kid today so I am not sure what the point of that was? A total control issue on my parents part. I vowed not to play the food game with my kids and so I just make them what they want. Not a huge problem all are very active and growing well and none are overweight. It works for us.

Marla Hellwig
09-02-2008, 12:33 PM
Funny story

My mil cooked like 5 meals every night since everyone in her house didn't like something

First night I cooked for the husband, he turned up his nose - I said fine - if you don't like it - you can cook dinner - he ate what ever I cooked

With my daughter - we started very early - she had to try something new once a month - just a bite - but she had to try it - that worked out real well - and she eats just about everything - except for seafood - but that is due to allegries we both have to seafood

Teresa Pitman
09-02-2008, 12:34 PM
My kids are grown now (and they're all great eaters) but one thing that worked for me was to think of meals in three "courses" - appetizer, main dish, dessert - but to make sure all three courses are nutritious and healthy for them. Then if they didn't want to eat one part of the meal they could eat more of the other two parts and I was still happy. So an appetizer might be something like raw veggies and dip, a salad with dark greens and some added veggies, carrot muffins, bruschetta, etc. Then the main meal would also include vegetables (say pasta with a veggie and tomato sauce) and dessert would be fresh fruit or cooked fruit plus whole grains (apple crisp, for example, or homemade banana oatmeal muffins). If all they wanted was dessert, that would still be more nutritious than (for example) chicken nuggets so I was happy.

Teresa

Pigeon
09-02-2008, 12:54 PM
My girls are great eaters. Their friends' parents marvel at how nicely they eat, and are jealous. But these parents generally have fostered picky eating right along, and are now tired of dealing with the outcome.

I see it as my job to cook a nutritious, reasonably tasty dinner every night. It includes an entree, a starch and a salad and/or veggie and fruit.

It is their job to eat it or not eat it. If they opt for the latter, I'm not worried because they will usually eat enough of the starch, salad and fruit so that I know they aren't really going to bed hungry. There is no alternative meal, period.

I try not to cook things that I know they absolutely loathe, but other than liver, I can't think of what that might be. And I don't want liver, either, so it's not a problem.

Bibbidi
09-02-2008, 12:57 PM
We try not to have battles over food issues in our house. I always have at least 2 things at dinner that everyone likes. Thankfully we only have one picky eater. My rule is you have to eat 1 piece of the thing you dislike and if you complain about the 1 piece then you have to eat a bunch more. That tactic has served us rather well. Since it supposedly takes up to 20 times of eating a certain food for some kids to develop a taste for it, I figured eventually my dd will eat chicken and like it!

Chelley00
09-02-2008, 01:01 PM
I'm a horribly mean mom :) If they turn their noses up without even trying something, their plate does into the fridge. When they decide to come in 2 hours later starving because they didn't eat dinner, they get their dinner plate back in front of them. Usually they will at least try what's on their plate.

We have a "5 bite rule". If after 5 bites you can't stand it, you can skip it and grab something from the fruit bowl or veggie drawer, and depending on how big of dinner they are missing (like if they hate the main dish, but still eat the veggie), sometimes I'll allow them to get a sandwich or something else. Also, I'll make the kids something "kid friendly" if I know we're having something they won't like, like seafood since 2 of the 4 hate seafood.

SherylWrites
09-02-2008, 01:11 PM
One piece of advice I didn't see (and if I missed it, I apologize!) is to let them do the cooking.
I realize your kids are 6, 3 and 3 but that doesn't mean they can't contribute to the family meal. Washing potatoes or other veggies, mixing, stirring, putting ingredients in the bowl all constitute "cooking" in my book. The more they contribute, the prouder they are with what's on the table, the more they will eat.
Sit down and ask what they'd like for dinner. If they say 'mac and cheese' you can say yes to that BUT we're also going to have chicken and carrots.
The 6 year old can wash and peel the carrots (with a veggie peeler), the 3 year olds can get out the pots and pans, add the spices to the chicken, etc. etc.
Give them some input on what the meals are, a little give and take goes a long long way. Yes, it's a little extra work on your part but it's a lot better than that chorus of "eeews" and "I don't like that".
My kitchen is not a restaurant. You eat what I prepare or what my husband prepares and that's it. You don't have to eat all of it, but you do have to try whatever is on your plate. Before bed, you can have a bowl of cereal.
Since asking my kids to help prepare the meals, things are much much easier. And they've been doing it since they were about 3 or so. They are 10 and 12 now and are pretty good cooks!

tzolkin
09-02-2008, 01:35 PM
Having the kids help cook may make them more likely to try the food. My oldest has never really helped with cooking-- she would often even sneak away while we were making cookies! But my middle child has always loved to help cook and she is definitely eats more healthfully than the older DD.

Also, another person suggested cooking variations on the favorites the kids do have. I would also suggest trying to make them healthier by adding additional foods that the kids wouldn't try if they were separate. For example, I usually make my sauce with veggies minced into it. Also try some soups that you can blend completely smooth. My oldest (the picky one) absolutely loves homemade tomato soup. I will often put 10 different vegetables into it. She will make faces and gag at the table if we give her 3 green beans, but she acts like she's won the lottery if I've made soup. She tried the soup they serve at lunch, but thought it was disgusting because it didn't have the other veggies in it. I also put veggies in things like hamburgers.

To the poster who said her parents never made her try new things as a child... you sound like my SIL. We're still amazed at her "What's that? I've never had it before" comments at the table. This is a grown woman who would eat a can of corn for dinner. :confused3 She does no cooking and my mom & grandma were catering to her by making pasta with butter or a plain chicken breast for her. She's getting a little better and at least trying a few things. One of the funniest ones was recently my mom made turkey. SIL said "Well, I guess I can try it". We all looked at her in shock and said "Seriously??? What the heck did your family have for Thanksgiving?" :rotfl:

mjkacmom
09-02-2008, 01:50 PM
ITA! I cook one meal, trying to keep everyone's preferences in mind and also being mindful of serving a healthy, well-balanced meal. I don't force anyone to eat, but I also don't cook anything separate for anyone else. You're always welcome to make yourself a pb&j sandwich, though, and clean up after it yourself.

Same here - I won't force a child to eat something he doesn't like, but I'm not making special meals. If you only like the salad, eat the salad. I have a couple of very adventurous eaters (dd12 and ds5 feasted on grilled clams this weekend), and some very picky eaters. One of my picky eaters, though is now 10, and likes a lot more foods. I will not give food the opportunity to be a power struggle - either for me, or my kids. I will not make a child go hungry just because he/she doesn't like anything I've made - grab yourself a yogurt! :thumbsup2

otisandmaggie
09-02-2008, 02:32 PM
At our house, we live under the theory that it's a hungry world. If you choose not to eat the food that has been prepared for you, then you can try again at the next meal - but there will be no snacks between here and there. Just like the OP, I grew weary of the complaints and "yucks" from my kids. We sat down and had a discussion about how it would make them feel if, when they gave me a picture or card that they had worked hard to make, I said "this is yucky, I don't like it!" They agreed that it would make them very sad. I told them that the meals I make are my gift to them just like their art is a gift to me. That seemed to make an impact on them and the complaints have lessened. Now I might hear something like "this isn't my favorite dinner, but thank you for making it" which is much easier to bear!!!

We also found that meals that they helped prepare were often more palitable than things just set before them. Ownership seems to go a long way toward making them willing to try (and sometimes even like!) new things.

Finally - I subscribed to a menu service which has really been a hit with my kids. The recipes are VERY simple, but seem to satisfy all of us (probably not company fare, but it gets a meal on the table!!). I don't know if I'm allowed to post a link, but if anyone wants it, just send me a message off-board.

mygirl
09-02-2008, 02:37 PM
my kids are also pickey. it was driving me mad as they are on the thin side and i hate to see them miss a meal. i was forever slaving over meals only to serve them peanut butter and bananas/apples or cherrios. i am DONE with that!!

soooo... i have just kept cooking a variety of fresh healthy foods. i always try to have one or two sides consisting of a steamed veggie or potato. and we have the "three bites rule". there is no whining/complaining allowed and you must try three bites. if you decide after your three bites that you still are not into my dinner, then you sit quietly and enjoy family dinner time - but you are not forced to eat further. you are NOT excused from the table until the family is done, and breakfast will be served at 7am!

while i must admit that my kids are still pickey, at least they are trying new things - even if it is only three bites. many, many nights they do the three bites and that is it. however, i will say mealtimes are MUCH more relaxing with no whining/complaining and arguing over food.

make a "rule" that works for your family and stick to it - no if's and's or but's. i do not expect my kids to devour and love everything as there are foods that i do not like and do not make, but you have to try it!!

oops, forgot to add that i totally agree with the PP! get em involved and they are much more likely to eat. my kids are 2 and 4 and i try to have them help with every meal when possible. even if it is just putting the greens and veggies (that i have already cut up) into the salad bowl.

Anne34
09-02-2008, 03:12 PM
ITA! I cook one meal, trying to keep everyone's preferences in mind and also being mindful of serving a healthy, well-balanced meal. I don't force anyone to eat, but I also don't cook anything separate for anyone else. You're always welcome to make yourself a pb&j sandwich, though, and clean up after it yourself.


This is what I do too -- it seems to work well, especially with DD15 who is picky, but still needs fuel for swim team workouts.

mommy2allyandaveri
09-02-2008, 04:13 PM
[QUOTE=d1gitman;27306538]my mom used to put my plate with food on it in the fridge if i wouldn't eat. everytime i said i was hungry, she would pull that plate out. eventually i would eat what was on my plate.
QUOTE]

This is what I do as well for dinner. We put it in the fridge and when she says she is hungry before bedtime I tell her I would be happy to heat up her dinner that she didn't eat. I only do it at night though, after she goes to bed I dump it.

I ended up married to a man who's mother made him whatever it was he felt like for every meal, even if it meant she had to cook multiple meals. She has since appologized to me for that. I won't do that for my kids, or my husband for that matter.

I_Know_You2!
09-02-2008, 04:18 PM
If you don't stick out the whining, they aren't going to try other foods. It is far easier to whine and get what they want.

3 bites, and they were welcome to fix pb&j. If they didn't try the three bites, they were sent from the table. It never killed anyone to go hungry for a meal.

kkmcan
09-02-2008, 04:39 PM
My kids have come a long ways when it comes to eating. They too wouldn't eat anything but chicken nuggets and mac n cheese so they went to bed hungry many nights. It took years for them to come out of their shells a little and try new things. Now I always try to fix a meal that has something they will eat.

Over the years I have gotten them to eat and like potatoes, rice, noodles (no sauce), carrots, corn on the cob, battered fish, and quesadillas.

They basically won't eat any meat unless it is chicken or hotdogs. I can live with that. I know at least they will eat the side dishes.

Even my girl who doesn't like pizza, will eat it if it doesn't have the sauce. I know, who in their right mind doesn't like pizza?? I guess its not the pizza, it's the sauce.

Caleb's Mom
09-02-2008, 05:10 PM
Does anyone have such a fussy eater that they will literally throw up over something they dislike? At 4 years old we fed our son spaghetti one night - he didn't like the feel of the noodles in his mouth. Threw up all over the dinner table including in the salad bowl. At 5 years old we had Domino's pizza thin crust version one night (usually order the hand tossed type) and he threw up again! Note, son is now 7 and eats a very, very limited # of foods.

Hubby is a very fussy eater - for years I thought he was just being a baby. But after having our son I'd tell you it's a genetic thing he passed on. Son has always been like this, even as a very young baby before he was old enough to play food games - would literally gag up the peas and rice gerber food at 12 mo. old.

I love most any type of food so this is a never ending, exhausting and messy battle. Help!

I loveStitchnippyjon
09-02-2008, 05:16 PM
When my two DDs were little, they were NEVER allowed to "eewww" and "yuck"! That to me was as rude as a direct insult. If it looked like something they wouldn't enjoy, they were to say "No thanks. I don't care for any". Of course, they had to at least try two mouthfuls anyway, then they were excused from eating any more. Of course, they got pretty hungry before breakfast, so they wound up giving some foods a try that did not appeal at first glance.
By the time she was 3, DD#1's favorite foods were shrimp, spinach, and brussell sprouts!:lovestruc

MinnieForMe
09-02-2008, 06:58 PM
For one day, I would cut out snacks and increase their activity to see if they would be more willing to eat what's in front of them. You'd be surprised what a picky eater will eat after an afternoon at the pool or lake. Luckily, my kids eat most everything. My three year old still has her moments!

bookgirl
09-02-2008, 07:32 PM
I am a picky eater, and yes I was the kid who threw up if you made me put something I didn't like anywhere near my nose or lips (it's all about sensory) or try a new food before I was ready.

My mom did NOT make seperate dinners. She would try to make sure there was one thing that everyone would eat and then if you didn't like the whole of dinner then fine you ate the one thing you liked.

She also taught us very early to make a pb sandwich and how to pour milk on cereal.

I'm much better now but I still have big issues, however it was never a "family" issue. There were rules and comprimises that everyone could live with.

disneymom3
09-02-2008, 07:35 PM
Does anyone have such a fussy eater that they will literally throw up over something they dislike? At 4 years old we fed our son spaghetti one night - he didn't like the feel of the noodles in his mouth. Threw up all over the dinner table including in the salad bowl. At 5 years old we had Domino's pizza thin crust version one night (usually order the hand tossed type) and he threw up again! Note, son is now 7 and eats a very, very limited # of foods.

Hubby is a very fussy eater - for years I thought he was just being a baby. But after having our son I'd tell you it's a genetic thing he passed on. Son has always been like this, even as a very young baby before he was old enough to play food games - would literally gag up the peas and rice gerber food at 12 mo. old.

I love most any type of food so this is a never ending, exhausting and messy battle. Help!
Yes. DS has some trouble with sensory integration disorder adn this is something that we have learned too. He can't eat cooked vegies. He will throw up and it is not on purpose. He can eat raw vegies--same ones as the ones he can't eat cooked.

So, while I do not act as a short order cook, I have also learned NOT to make this child try even a bite. I am willing to find something comparable in the whole scheme of nutrition. For instance, tonight we had baked potatoes. Not a texture he can handle so he got a piece of wheat bread with butter instead.

If I am making something that I KNOW my kids dont like, they are also free to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There are times I just really want to make chilli but I know my middle one does not like it, for instance. As an adult I don't want to be limited by what all three of my kids like or don't like, however, I also respect that as long as they have tried something in the past and don't care for it then I offer them another choice.

However, if you whine, you leave the room and I don't care if you are hungry.

disneymom3
09-02-2008, 07:38 PM
OH I meant to add that yes, DS was like that with baby food too. He basically went from breastmilk to whole foods because he would not eat the mushed up stuff. If my pediatrician hadn't known me well I am sure she would have thought I was insane. What was weird to me was his iron etc was always good.

brymolmom
09-02-2008, 07:58 PM
Our house is similar to many of the posters here...however, I do NOT offer the 'pb&J or cereal' option or else my dd would ALWAYS take a tiny bite and claim to need her PB&J. I have met too many kids whose parents bring a pb&j EVERYWHERE because the kid won't eat anything else. If we go somewhere and they don't like what is being offered - there's usually some bread or rolls with butter or a side that they'll at least eat.

I make one meal and if they do not like the entree I usually make a veggie or have fruit out that they will eat. If they don't like the main course - they can fill up on carrots, grapes, apple sauce, etc. USUALLY I think I get a few more bites of them due to not having a 'comfort food' waiting in the wings. So that's an idea for anyone trying to shake things up. And, as an aside, I have one very picky eater and one very-not-picky eater. So, our rules haven't seemed to result in one type of eater vs. another.

Pigeon
09-02-2008, 08:06 PM
Our house is similar to many of the posters here...however, I do NOT offer the 'pb&J or cereal' option or else my dd would ALWAYS take a tiny bite and claim to need her PB&J. I have met too many kids whose parents bring a pb&j EVERYWHERE because the kid won't eat anything else. If we go somewhere and they don't like what is being offered - there's usually some bread or rolls with butter or a side that they'll at least eat.


I agree, and I've seen that the Little-Darling-Will-Only-Eat-PB&J thing is starting to become a real problem for some parents because of more widespread bans on PB due to allergy concerns.

Caleb's Mom
09-02-2008, 08:18 PM
Thanks for the feedback disneymom3 - good to know I'm not alone. Still frustrating however.

disney1990
09-02-2008, 09:06 PM
As a picky eater myself, I totally understand not liking something. HOWEVER, my rule is that the kid MUST try to food at least 2 times before deciding they don't like it. After that, I won't force them to eat something they honestly don't like. At the same time, I don't cook a different meal for them either. I don't expect people to do that for me, I just find something in the meal that I do like and eat that. So a kid can do the same thing. I also never made a point of serving things like mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, etc on a regular basis just for that reason. I make sure to make different foods so that they have no choice but to eat it or go hungry. :)

There was a study a while back that said a child needs to try a new food at least 7 times before they should be allowed to not eat it. I tried to find the study but couldn't.

While I was on vacation, I saw 2 groups of young adults (18-25) ordering at a restaurant mac & cheese and/or chicken nuggets.

If you child does not learn to eat foods as a child, they certainly are not going to wake up as an adult and decide -- hum, I should eat that.

My daughter insists that our granddaughters try everything, every single time they have it. They are 8 and 10. I am amazing at all the different foods that they ask for and eat. (guacamole, hummus, sushi, yogurt with flax seed)

santa's surpriz
09-02-2008, 10:22 PM
We have always had a 3 bite rule. I don't where my learned this trick but I use it now too. Take three bites and if you don't want anymore you don't have eat more. Just 3 bites of everything on your plate. I was well into my 30's when I watched my mom do with my nephews...3 bites pretty much cleans the plate. Never realized that growing up!!

C.Ann
09-02-2008, 10:36 PM
I was raised to eat what was placed in front of me - no whining, no substituting pb&j or cereal.. We were always reminded how lucky we were to have good, healthy, home-cooked meals on the table..

I raised my children the same way.. No one ever gagged, turned their noses up at what was placed in front of them, or went to bed hungry..

I never really thought of handling it any other way.. The parents provide the food, the children eat it.. :confused3

mjantz
09-02-2008, 11:00 PM
Does anyone have such a fussy eater that they will literally throw up over something they dislike? At 4 years old we fed our son spaghetti one night - he didn't like the feel of the noodles in his mouth. Threw up all over the dinner table including in the salad bowl. At 5 years old we had Domino's pizza thin crust version one night (usually order the hand tossed type) and he threw up again! Note, son is now 7 and eats a very, very limited # of foods.

Hubby is a very fussy eater - for years I thought he was just being a baby. But after having our son I'd tell you it's a genetic thing he passed on. Son has always been like this, even as a very young baby before he was old enough to play food games - would literally gag up the peas and rice gerber food at 12 mo. old.

I love most any type of food so this is a never ending, exhausting and messy battle. Help!

That'd be me & DS. I can tell you that, as an adult, its very annoying & not something I'm proud of. There are times we go to a restaurant & I'd love to try something new but if my body/taste buds decide they don't like it, I'd end up in a very embarassing situation IMO.
I'm getting better. I've started making myself try 1 new thing every time we go to a buffet (which with a DS who's growing like a weed look better all the time!) & so far its been OK. I've also just decided that there are certain things I will not like. Broccoli & I will probably never get along & that's OK.
My DS has unfortunately taken after me. He is an excellent fruit eater but veggies are a no go. He is getting better. He tried a bit of salad with ranch dressing twice & said it was 'not bad'.

For meals we all have the same meat & starch & then you can choose your own fruit or veggie as a side. I try & get both kids to try new stuff but I don't push them. If they decide they don't like whatever it is after a bite (we have a 'one bite, chew it up & swallow it' rule) they may have extra fruit or veggies.

BTW: If it makes any of you feel better, I have a friend who eats 6 things. That's it, just 6. I know grilled cheese is one of them but there's not a lot of variety. And she's in her late 30s. It makes me feel a bit better to know that my kids eat worlds better than her.

kacaju
09-03-2008, 05:52 AM
O

kacaju
09-03-2008, 05:52 AM
Our rule for the kids were they had to take as many bites for their age. If they were 3 years old, 3 bites, 4 years, 4 bites.

I_Know_You2!
09-03-2008, 06:51 AM
Yes. DS has some trouble with sensory integration disorder adn this is something that we have learned too. He can't eat cooked vegies. He will throw up and it is not on purpose. He can eat raw vegies--same ones as the ones he can't eat cooked.

So, while I do not act as a short order cook, I have also learned NOT to make this child try even a bite. I am willing to find something comparable in the whole scheme of nutrition. For instance, tonight we had baked potatoes. Not a texture he can handle so he got a piece of wheat bread with butter instead.

If I am making something that I KNOW my kids dont like, they are also free to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There are times I just really want to make chilli but I know my middle one does not like it, for instance. As an adult I don't want to be limited by what all three of my kids like or don't like, however, I also respect that as long as they have tried something in the past and don't care for it then I offer them another choice.

However, if you whine, you leave the room and I don't care if you are hungry.

Bummer. I bet that one a fun trial and error time. Your son is lucky he had someone who understood that he wasn't pulling a power play.

cseca
09-03-2008, 08:19 AM
While I was on vacation, I saw 2 groups of young adults (18-25) ordering at a restaurant mac & cheese and/or chicken nuggets.


:rotfl2: That's what DH would order too!
He's the same way... any variety of burgers and nuggets he would eat. Anything else is a bonus. He does have a strange allergy towards raw veggies and fruits (I had him eat some and he literally cannot talk because his toungue got so itchy and bumpy - yuck), so that's out. Because if it he NEVER tolerates any veggie cooked or raw... (bad move).

On the other hand I eat everything (my parents also made me try everything at least once), and I try to make him (in a nice way) to try some stuff I order now. Sometimes he said yes, sometimes not.

I think he's that way because his parents would let him "make" his own food since he was young. Making = anything microwavable or PB&J.
So he learned to "make" a lot of processed food instead of learning how to cook properly... :rolleyes:

I guess what I'm trying to say is, some things are genetic and some things are taught. I just wished he was taught a better way of eating. It's harder to change habits once you're an adult. I told DH that if we have any kids, he better not "eeeewww" his way through veggies and fruits during meals (bad example for kids) or I'd make him eat them too... :rotfl:

Tissa
09-03-2008, 11:02 AM
Does anyone have such a fussy eater that they will literally throw up over something they dislike? At 4 years old we fed our son spaghetti one night - he didn't like the feel of the noodles in his mouth. Threw up all over the dinner table including in the salad bowl. At 5 years old we had Domino's pizza thin crust version one night (usually order the hand tossed type) and he threw up again! Note, son is now 7 and eats a very, very limited # of foods.

Hubby is a very fussy eater - for years I thought he was just being a baby. But after having our son I'd tell you it's a genetic thing he passed on. Son has always been like this, even as a very young baby before he was old enough to play food games - would literally gag up the peas and rice gerber food at 12 mo. old.

I love most any type of food so this is a never ending, exhausting and messy battle. Help!

Yes my ds is like that and it's due to the texture not really the taste. First time he tried spaghetti he threw it up after biting into a noodle. He also hated most baby food. He eats a lot of cereal and PB&J. My other ds is a good eater and doesn't turn his nose up to much and loves greens.

crisi
09-03-2008, 11:16 AM
I have met too many kids whose parents bring a pb&j EVERYWHERE because the kid won't eat anything else.


My kids definitely don't have that problem, despite the PB&J allowance - so it isn't the PB&J allowance that is causing unreasonable levels of pickiness in the children you know. Mine eat pad thai, palak paneer, smoked salmon, kim chee, calamari, sushi and snails. (Last time we went out to a place that served "slugs" they comp'd my eight year old daughter's dessert - the entire kitchen was standing in the door to watch an eight year old eat escargot.) They eat them with varying differences - she'll eat snails and squid - he passes, he'll eat pad thai, she sticks with satay. More traditionally, he'll eat chili, she won't touch it, he passes on broiled chicken. They definitely aren't "picky" eaters in the traditional sense of "nothing but mac n cheese and PB&J" - however, there are foods they don't like (and, in case you can't tell from the above, we have presented some challenging options to our kids over the years - there are adults with more limited palates) - and PB&J allows us an option that keeps everyone content.

TheRustyScupper
09-03-2008, 11:20 AM
. . . Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am" . . .

1) It is about time parents take the initiative!
2) Good move.
3) I applaud you!
4) Children do not dictate the menu.
5) Parents dictate the menu.
6) When they reach adulthood, they can each what they want.
7) Until then, parents set the table.

NOTE: Unless there is some kind of medical problem, children should not demand the food they eat. If they elect to not eat, then breakfast becomes the next meal. It is a shame so many adults just cave in and relinquish responsibilities.

I_Know_You2!
09-03-2008, 11:26 AM
My kids definitely don't have that problem, despite the PB&J allowance - so it isn't the PB&J allowance that is causing unreasonable levels of pickiness in the children you know. Mine eat pad thai, palak paneer, smoked salmon, kim chee, calamari, sushi and snails. (Last time we went out to a place that served "slugs" they comp'd my eight year old daughter's dessert - the entire kitchen was standing in the door to watch an eight year old eat escargot.) They eat them with varying differences - she'll eat snails and squid - he passes, he'll eat pad thai, she sticks with satay. More traditionally, he'll eat chili, she won't touch it, he passes on broiled chicken. They definitely aren't "picky" eaters in the traditional sense of "nothing but mac n cheese and PB&J" - however, there are foods they don't like (and, in case you can't tell from the above, we have presented some challenging options to our kids over the years - there are adults with more limited palates) - and PB&J allows us an option that keeps everyone content.

This is our house in a nutshell. Right down to the snails.

Harvest02
09-03-2008, 02:38 PM
I used these words when serving dinner, upon hearing "EW!" or "I don't want that"


Me: "Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. Breakfast is tomorrow morning at 7am".

Seriously, if they get hungry enough they'll eat. They won't starve, and the more you cater to what they want the less they'll even consider trying other stuff. I wouldn't make them eat a lot of what is 'new' to them, but if they finally do try a spoon or two of a new food and still turn their nose up, be proud of them for trying and give them a bowl of cereal. Eventually, they'll tire of cereal as well and learn to like the 'new' stuff.

I think I am going to try that saying on my kids tonight! That's great!!!:lmao:

Todd&Copper
09-03-2008, 02:51 PM
Hee, when there was something sis and I wouldn't try, Nana used to say to "get the funnel" b/c if it wasn't going in the right way (via mouth), it was going in another way.

We did have a taste rule - we had to taste everything. And we ate a lot of meals at home, so we weren't all about the mac & cheese or french fries.