Picky Eater Problems

Can we just talk about how much meal time sucks when you have a toddler? Because it does. A lot.

Picky Eater Problems // @ The Little Things We Do

Fern has recently decided that she pretty much hates every food on the planet unless it’s a part of the sugar, bread or dairy family…oh, or fruit…at least she eats fruit. It’s miserable though. Every mealtime has become a massive struggle despite the fact that I try not to make it one. That’s what my pediatrician said…don’t make it a struggle. Which works for a little bit…until she’s spitting food out all over the floor and flipping over her plate or picking out only the most remotely carb-like parts of the meal and shunning the rest. Then I get super frustrated.

Everyone says to keep offering her things, but she won’t even try anything so it feels pointless and like I’m just wasting food. I’ve even tried putting the foods together in fun ways a’la that Mickey Mouse almond butter and jelly sandwich above and it doesn’t really entice her all that much. Of course she ate the sandwich…it’s a carb…but I thought maybe the pretty presentation would lure her to try more of the rest around it, but it was a fail. I try making things in a variety of ways, giving her sauces to dip things in, and presenting her with a variety of options at every meal, but nothing works and I’m kind of at a loss.

Until about a month ago I would’ve classified her as a semi-picky eater…like typical toddler style. Even though she obviously preferred carbs, she would still eat certain healthy options: smoothies, eggs with cheese and spinach, black beans… But now she’s over those. I’ve tried all sorts of smoothies and it doesn’t even matter.

HELP!

I’m almost 40 weeks pregnant and I totally cannot deal with this mealtime drama right now. I hate having her go to bed hungry every night, but I don’t want to be a push over about it and let her think she can just complain until I make her something else that she wants. I am not (and refuse to become) a short-order cook. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Also, the stress of her never wanting to eat is kind of ruining meal times as well. I can’t just eat and enjoy my food because she’s being whiney the whole time and begging to get up.

Basically I’m just venting, but feel free to share suggestions in the comments below. Lord knows I need all the help I can get with this.

 

Love and persnickety toddlers,

Lauren

Comments

  1. Brandee says:

    My son is the exact same. Has been since he was a year old. From 6 months to a year he tried everything, then stopped. At one point all he would eat was frozen wild blueberries. What works for us is simple. I let go. I cook. Make it look as fun as I can. As healthy as can be. We sit down together. If he eats, awesome, if not, I let go. It’s okay. Toddlers have tiny tummies, and I just have faith that when he’s hungry he’ll eat. Good luck!

    • @Brandee – I think I need to get better at letting it go. It’s so hard, because I totally have the tendency to be a bit (OK a lot) of a control freak.

  2. That sounds like my youngest! She is the pickiest thing EVER! However, she’s older but it’s still frustrating as she’ll be like “well, I didn’t like when I tried it at school”. Well, duh, school food always sucks. It has been amazing that once she finally tries something, that she actually likes most of the things I’ve made her try. Again, though, I can actual talk/reason with her, that’s a little difficult to do with lil Fern. I cannot blame her on the carb thing, carbs are AMAZING! Ha!

    Anywho, I wish I had a little bit of advice for you. The only thing I can say is that it will get easier once she understands a lil more. Maybe in the meantime, give her the healthy things she likes & just try little by little to introduce her to other things.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks Mandie :). I have a feeling life in general will be much easier once I can reason with her a little better. She has great vocabulary, but the processing of things like consequences and delayed gratification are still beyond her for sure.

  3. Hi Lauren,
    I agree with the comment above. Children have little tummies, compare it to the size of their fist. A lot of children have this period/season in their life when they don’t want to eat anything. Sometimes my nephew won’t eat for two days besides blueberries and some milk, a banana and 1 cracker. But we’ve learned to let go. If he is hungry, oh he will ask, and I think any children will ask if they want something to eat. I babysit a picky, and I mean VERY picky eater who spits everything out and she is turning 2 next month and just KIND OF started being not so picky, but still is in a lot of ways and spits her food (I understand your frustration) and/or chews on it forever. My mom said when I was a little girl I wouldn’t eat, almost at all, and the doctor told my mom “it’s ok, she will come around and ask to eat by herself. Give her what she will eat and if she doesn’t want anything just wait till she is hungry.” Obviously don’t let the day go without giving her anything but also don’t worry that she is very picky. She will come around and ask herself : ) (at least I hope, ha ha, but she should) and also I’ll say a prayer for you this morning for strength and for your little girl. Hope you have a better day today : ) and just keep on giving her breads and fruits. IT’S OK if all she will have is a peanut butter jelly sandwich and a couple of fruits for the day, and don’t eat anything else. God bless.

  4. Sara Punpur says:

    I don’t really have much advice since I’m in the exact same boat as you! My daughter just turned 2…and loves grains and fruit and cheese, but I can barely the girl to try meat, eggs, most veggies, etc. They always say “they won’t starve themselves” but that’s hardly the point is it?! I mean, I want her to be eating a relatively balanced diet, not just not starving! There’s a few things that make me feel a bit better about it. At least my daughter loves avocado, so I tend to give her that a lot. One little thing that has helped a little for us is reading Green Eggs and Ham. She loves Dr Seuss, so telling her Sam-I-Am wants her to try it has convinced her a few times! (oddly not for eggs though…still won’t touch them!) I also refuse to cook her something different than for my husband and I. So if she doesn’t eat it, she gets a small (usually carb) snack right before bed and a cup of milk, and we try again the next day. It can get so exhausting and frustrating though! The other thing is, I really believe that it is a power struggle between my daughter and I (as are so many things these days!) They are asserting their right to eat what they want, make own decisions, etc. I find it does help to just bite my tongue and not comment on her lack of eating. It often makes the resisting even worse for me to be begging her to eat or trying to spoon feed her myself. So that’s just my two cents…at least we know that it’s a pretty common thing at this age!

    • @Sara – I think I’m going to have to try “Green Eggs and Ham”. Why did I totally forget about that book?! And yeah…I’m with you on the balance thing. Ideally it would be great if she’d at least TRY new things. Maybe one of these days. I think you’re right though. It’s definitely become a power struggle and I’m sure she can sense that. I probably just need to ease up.

  5. We’re in the same boat. My daughter is a young 2 and is on the dairy, carbs, and fruit meal plan. We have zero vegetables and her only “meat” is bacon. (Although she did eat a chicken nugget last night and I just about bought her a pony.) At any rate, we are giving her what we eat for dinner but I always include something I know she’ll eat as well. Generally that “something” doesn’t require any extra effort on my part (yogurt pouch, apple slices, etc) and isn’t enough to make a full meal. That helps with my concern that she’ll wake up hungry at night. Also, the “something” is an automatic which I’m hoping means she doesn’t think of it as a reward for refusing to eat the other stuff. (So far we’ve not had any whining at the table for foods that haven’t been offered.) I don’t give her a full portion of the things I suspect she won’t eat which makes me feel better about waste. If she asks for more of the “something”I tell her that she can have more if she eats everything else on her plate. (Disclosure: this has yet to result in her eating what she doesn’t want to eat.) We make her stay at the table until my husband and I are done although we do try to keep the dinners short. If she’s playing with her food we take her plate away. We don’t do snacks after dinner (although she has a self-selected 6:30/7pm bedtime so there isn’t much time between dinner and bed). I have no idea how all of this will impact her eating habits in the long run but it’s minimizing my frustration and that’s about the best we can do for now :o)

    Good luck!

    • @Erica – Actually this is really great advice. I’ve been making the foods she likes the reward for trying her other foods, but more often than not she won’t try them at all, so maybe I need to just include everything altogether on her plate and just let her pick and choose… hoping eventually she’ll choose some greens or protein. Anything to minimize the frustration. Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. No real tips here, since mine is suddenly refusing meat and chicken and living on beans, cheese, eggs, and fruit, but I try to remember to gauge a week at the time not a day. If I feel like she ate enough in a week, I don’t worry about how it broke down. Our Dr. suggested this to us and it has been helpful since I stress about what she eats.

  7. Ohh tell me about it, we just got home from a weeks vacation in Turkey and my son pretty much lived of 2 eggs for breakfast, a piece of bread for lunch and fries for dinner. I figured it wasn’t worth the struggle on our vacation, at least he ate something and drank a lot… Besides our appetite wasn’t too big in the heat either.
    At home I Pick my battles, if I had a rough day I let it go, otherwise I try to negotiate with him to try some of it, and if he doesn’t like it he can get a sandwich or yoghurt.
    If you find a way to get Fern to eat please svare, I can you the trick:)

    • @Connie – I’ll definitely let you know if I discover some magical trick, although so far I’ve been unsuccessful. Good luck with your little guy!

  8. I know the doctors say not to make it an issue, but when our second child arrived, I could not deal with the meal time drama. So, it turned into a discipline issue. If she didn’t eat her food, she had to be put in timeout. Time out works for us because she understood why she was sitting there (she was 2) and she doesn’t like time out because she is having to sit away from us. I don’t put a ton of things on her plate, just a few of everything and she has to eat everything before she can have more of something she really wants. It has worked out great, she likes more veggies now since she is used to eating them (and eats/asks for more veggies) and she sits at the table and eats. It took a week or so of sitting in time out, but she got it and now it just takes a warning here or there (she is almost 2 and half). I think they need to be taught how to sit at the table respectfully and eat what is healthy.

    • @Erin – I totally want Fern to learn how to sit down respectfully and eat healthy foods, but I feel like the time outs would be such a punishment for me. Time outs don’t really work for us. It becomes such a struggle and is pretty much just me chasing her back to her time out spot over and over and getting overwhelmed. Maybe soon she’ll be able to understand it more though. She’s just a really active kid and I have a difficult time getting her to sit still anywhere…much less time out.

      • Sara Punpur says:

        This makes me laugh a little. Time outs are not working for us either. Not because our daughter hates them or anything, but because she puts herself in time out! She’ll do something she knows is not ok (like kick/hit our poor cat), and then before I even react she says “go to time out” and runs over to the stairs and sits down! Like it’s a fun game! If I send her there she just sits and turns around to smile at me. I try to talk to her about what time out means and why I sent her there. But I think maybe two is a little too young to understand the point of a time out as a punishment. And I can’t bear to make it more unpleasant at this age, like send her to another far room or something. We’ve found more luck with a sticker chart type reward system. You might actually try that with the eating new foods thing! Like if she tries and eats a bit of a new/different food, she gets a really cool sticker on her chart (we made one together out of poster board and sparkly glitter paint). Might be better than using food as a reward…

  9. I have this problem with my husband!!!!!!!!!

  10. I’m sympathizing!! I’ve read your blog for awhile but never commented.. I live in Oregon City so I love that you are a Portland blogger! My son turned 2 in January and every meal I pretty much have a panic attack… watching to see what he puts in his mouth. We’ve tried bribing… asking… negotiating.. hiding healthy things in things he’ll eat (this works sometimes) but some days it’s just a total wash. I don’t have a lot of great suggestions, but just wanted you to know you aren’t alone!! I hate that eating is a “thing” for us while other Moms I know regularly talk about their kid’s eating liver pate, sushi, salad (actual salad) and everything else under the sun…
    I think it’s a phase… so just stick with the “offer what you can” and I think it will pass. Some days are better than others.
    Sorry you have to go thru this while at the end of your pregnancy though, that doesn’t make it easier.
    Hang in there, and know there are other Mom’s going thru the same thing with their toddlers! :-)

    • @Jessica – Nice to meet a local mama! I love OC. I used to go to church there and worked for OC Parks and Rec throughout college. Such a cute little town! Our little ones must be almost the exact same age. Fern turned 2 on January 15th.Thanks for the encouraging words. So nice just to have some solidarity with other mamas out there who are in the trenches too :).

  11. I’m sorry if this seems a bit harsh – but I’m giving the opposite view because I was your daughter.

    Listen to the doctor – don’t force it, don’t make her sit at the table and eat – make it a non-issue. She will NOT starve if she misses a few meals. She will eat when she is hungry. Give her multiple heathy choices as finger food and let her eat when SHE is hungry. Give her the control to decide when she’s hungry, and how much she eats.

    This is so important because I can tell you making this an issue, forcing her to eat, to sit at the table during meal times, making this a stressful time will be something that will impact her ENTIRE life.

    Take the stress from yourself, from her – shrug your shoulders when she says no, let her play a game, read a book, chatter and run around at home during meal times if she doesn’t want to eat. Point to the plate of cheese, fruit, veg, nuts, slices of meat – whatever finger foods she can handle that will keep if you leave it out for her to graze on when she’s ready to eat. And let her graze. She will learn to eat when she’s hungry, she will learn that food is not a point of control, and food will be a non-issue in her life.

    My mother didn’t listen to the pediatrician, food was a nightmare in our house. I stopped eating. It was a point of contention and control and many fights. My most vibrant memories of my childhood – my earliest memories – are of my mother angry because I wouldn’t eat what was put in front of me, being forced at 3 and 4 years of age to sit at the table until I finish my meal (I never did finish and would sit there for literally hours), being sent to bed without eating (that wasn’t a punishment for me – just a relief).

    This fight around food lasted until my mother was no longer in my life. And unfortunately this is one of my major memories of our time together – fighting over what I would nor would not eat.

    I have no idea how I didn’t end up with anorexia or bulimia and how I maintained a healthy weight my whole life. I can only guess that I picked up my Grandmother’s laid back attitude regarding food. Thank goodness she lived next door to us.

    I get that you don’t want to cater to her – but she’s a baby, they eat differently, and at different times. But if this has become such an issue in your home I believe that making it a non-issue by just not forcing it, listening to her doctor, and not making food a big deal will make everyone a lot happier and you will be a lot less stressed.

    I really hope things go better for you and Fern.

    • @Judith – I do appreciate your thoughts on this. I definitely don’t want this to be a point of contention for us or to make it a big deal, but I also don’t think I could go for just letting her graze all day and run around while we eat dinner either. I always tell her that it’s OK if she doesn’t want to eat what we’re having for dinner, but that we would like her to join us at the table, because dinner time is a time for us all to be together and spend time together. I also don’t want her to get into the habit of running around when we go to restaurants or when we’re at friend’s homes. At restaurants I always bring activities and distractions for her that she can use as an alternative or when she’s done with her food, but I also want her to understand that meals aren’t just about food. I do understand what you’re saying about making it enjoyable and not a struggle though and that’s something I want to do. I think I’m still going to require her to join us at the table just for the social aspect of it, but I’m going to offer her a variety of things to try…things she likes and things she doesn’t and then just let whatever will be, be. When she says she’s full I’m going to trust that she knows her body better than I do and be OK with that without pushing her to eat more. I know this is more my hang up than hers obviously and I’m definitely going to try to work on it. I do appreciate your perspective though, so thank you!

      • Judtih Zimmerman says:

        Lauren,

        I just want to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog and I think you are a really good mom. I usually don’t post comments – but this is so close to my heart I felt like I had to give the alternate perspective.You are clearly a thoughtful, engaged mother and Fern is very lucky. I think you have a wonderful plan.

        Enjoy your week.

      • I have a picky toddler, too (a couple weeks younger than Fern). Dinner time is usually her lightest meal of the day. Some things that we have tried and found success with are:
        1) getting rid of her booster seat, and letting her sit on the chair. We do have to remind her a lot to stay on her bum or knees, but she prefers it to being buckled in, and sometimes she likes to pop over to one of our laps. Annoying & difficult to eat w/ a squirmy toddler on our laps, but there is much less whining.
        2)Offering very small portions of non-preferred or new foods. Like a tablespoon or so. It’s really overwhelming for her to start with too much food on her plate. To get in this habit, I started just offering her half of what I thought she should eat. I make sure there are at least 4 separate things on her plate, and at least 2 of them are foods she generally loves.
        3)Popsicles: my toddler is picky with smoothies, too. But in popsicle form, she’ll eat them :) I just blend up our typical fruit/hemp seed/spinach/almond milk smoothie, then pour in popsicle molds.
        4)Giving up on the idea of family dinner time (for now!): this may not be something you want to budge on, and I didn’t want to either. I have a lovely image of our family all sitting at the table, eating & talking about our days. And I know that will happen, but maybe just not right now. Right now, she’s 2, and she just has too much to explore, she’s excited Daddy is off work, etc. She sits for about 10 minutes with us, and then she’s off. We (usually) finish our meal in peace while she plays, and after bath, before teeth brushing, I offer her a really boring, low-sugar snack. Cheerios, a scoop of pb, or a piece of buttered bread.

        I hope you guys find some strategies that reduce the stress of meal time for everyone – I know it can be rough & so frustrating!

  12. Not too much advice yet Lauren, as Kaitlyn is still younger than Fern. I will say I have read “Raising Bebe” and started on “French Kids Eat Everything” because of meal time battles and frustration. I also feel like I end up wasting a lot of food. So I just try to make things I will eat myself in case of waste, and we have started on pouches a lot for the past couple of months, because those are usually guaranteed to be eaten. Hang in there and good luck on these last few days (being pregnant!)

    xx Viv at JoieDeViv

  13. I’ve noticed that our toddler will eat a huge amount one day, then go a few days with barely taking a bite. I’m learning to go with it. I don’t believe in all day grazing, and I grew up with two set snack times when I was a kid, so that’s what we do. I think it’s okay if they get a little hungry. Sometimes my daughter will want a snack before dinner, but I will tell her that dinner is on the way and ask her to wait.

    I get a little upset when she refuses food- especially things she used to devour, but I keep offering foods to her to anyway. Familiarity will grow on her, and eventually she might try something just because she visually recognizes it.

    One thing that I strongly believe in? Getting kids to cook, garden and shop with you. My kid is more likely to eat the food on the table if she had a hand in getting it there. Not just a “here give this a stir” type of thing, but making an effort to talk about the whole process of creating a meal. I sound so crazy at the supermarket… “So we’re going to soak these beans at home and then we’re going to mash them up yada yada…” and then at home “remember these beans? Can you help me pour this water over them?…” and then at the table “hey! These beans are so good! Thanks for helping me cook them! Do you want to ask daddy if he wants to try your beans?” Etc. It doesn’t always work, but I love that it gets her interested in her food.

    • @J – Yeah…I try to do that as often as I can. I let her choose some produce at the store and talk about what we’ll make and then I let her help me prep. Most times she still won’t eat those foods though. I’ll admit she’ll often try a bite and spit it out…at least that’s something, right? Haha!

  14. I really wonder if I drive kids to be picky eaters somehow, because I’ve worked with a lot of them. Maybe I am really bad cook? I’m hoping my problem is just that I’ve yet to age out of the toddler stage. I’ve worked for a lot of families with infants into toddlers and my own son is only 18 months old right now.

    The last family I nannied for before my son was born had a pretty picky daughter. We did get her to start eating scrambled eggs by making it a big deal. She would “help” cook them- mostly just stick close while I narrated what was happening and then sprinkle cheese on them at the end. Is Fern in the kitchen with you a lot? I really haven’t started to incorporate my son into food preparation much but maybe it’s time.

    Hope you guys are holding up well aside from the mealtime drama!

    • @Laura – I should probably let her help me more in the kitchen, but I honestly don’t have a ton of patience for it. I know that’s terrible, but it’s true. I do let her help me make pancakes on the weekends, but obviously she would eat pancakes regardless, so it’s not a very accurate test :).

  15. I think this is one of those really tough parts of parenting! Fussy eating is one of my biggest bugbears when ti comes to children, but I think it’s even harder for you as the parent, because of the emotional connection to your children. I try to follow the french method, where they don’t have to eat all of it but they must try a bit of everything. If they refuse, no dessert! It is a long slog, but most people grow out of fussiness, so try not to stress! I say most because my own sister is 24 and ridiculously fussy still. But I worked with a toddler who was so fussy she would make herself retch and throw up food so she didn’t have to eat it. But we talked about different tastes, and how not every grape is sweet, sometimes they’re sour, or how different things taste when cooked differently. If she refused to try a food she got no pudding and no snack, and she had to sit and watch us eat our pudding. It did make her grumpy because she was hungry, but then she ate a lot more at the next meal. And then one day, with no warning, she suddenly decided she wanted to try foods! So don’t worry too much, they get there in the end!

    • @Beth – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I like that idea, but so far I can’t really even seem to get Fern to try anything whether or not there’s a dessert bribe at the end of the meal and having to withhold it from her just makes us both miserable. I like the idea of talking about how sometimes you might not feel like eating something or sometimes it might not taste the same cooked in a certain way. I think maybe we’re just a few months off as far as the comprehension on that goes though. I think I probably just need to be patient for a bit and keep at it :).

  16. It was the 80s when I was born but my Mum would feed me jam sandwiches because it was the only thing that I’d eat. By the time I was a toddler she was pregnant with my little brother. She ran it past the health visitor person and as much as it wasn’t ideal I wasn’t starving and okay it wasn’t an ideal diet but I’d grow out of it. I also went through the stage of not eating at all – again the health visitor commented to the affect of that I’d eat when I was hungry. Clearly it worked because when I hit my late teens I ended up overweight. This time last year I was almost 13 stone (180 pounds). I lost about 20 pounds before finding out that I was pregnant.

    Funnily enough jam sandwiches are now a comfort food

  17. Oy, we are definitely going through this with my two year old. I don’t have much advice to offer, but I did read a great book called “It’s Not About the Broccoli” which helped shift my perspective on kids eating. The basic premise is that parents should stop focusing so much on nutrition and instead focus on teaching the basic habits of healthy eating: proportion, variety and moderation. It’s an interesting read and helped me to reframe our dinnertime battles. Thanks for sharing, and best of luck!

  18. Alysson says:

    Sooooooo frustrating. We went through this exact thing when our daughter was right around Fern’s age (I was pregnant, too, but in the early stages). I swear she changed overnight from being an amazing eater, to shunning everything. And it would change day-to-day – on Monday she loved yogurt, by Wednesday yogurt was evil. It would drive me nuts, especially the wastefulness. Like the first commenter, though, we finally just let it go. She chose and ate the same thing for breakfast every morning (whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter, and fruit, now it’s Honey Nut O’s with fruit), rotated between two or three things for lunch (for us, serving it creatively did help, especially if she got to pick what shape or scene she wanted, and even if she didn’t actually eat any more food, it made meal time more fun and giggly which is always nice), and was served the family meal at dinner. Since she was eating two pretty good meals, and two healthy snacks a day, I could worry less about what was getting in her at dinner. I tried to always have something on her plate that I knew she would eat (bread or cheese or a favorite fruit), and instituted the expectation that she has to try a bite of everything on her plate to get more of anything else. I also started plating her dinner food differently than ours – separating out things as much as possible, because I have found she is more willing to try things if they aren’t mixed with other things, and offering her the raw version of veggies we are eating. I also try to be mindful of the fact that they are things she just truly doesn’t like. While shunning an entire food group seems ludicrous and like classic picky toddler behavior, I do believe her when she tells me time and again that she does not like eggs. Or soups. She has never liked soup. We eat soup a lot, and while I insist that she try a bite (because there is a big difference between a split pea soup and a tortilla soup), I don’t harass her to eat more if she really doesn’t like it.

    She is almost 4 now, and it was gotten WAY BETTER. Not perfect. She can still be picky. But she understands how dinnertime works, and understands that trying a bite is not the end of the world. So, I guess my advice is to stay consistent. It sounds like you are doing all the right things – just decide what you want your dinnertime to look like and stick with that, even if she isn’t. And keep putting the foods you want her to eat in front of her, in all different ways. She’ll start eating them, and you’ll start to figure out what her tastes and preferences really are. And she won’t starve. Self preservation kicks in at some point, right? :-)

    (PS Love reading a local blog. Another Portlander over here. :-) )

  19. I would let her eat what she wants. You can’t force kids to eat and it’s not like you are offering her poptarts and donuts every day. Kids go through food phases. Don’t stress. She could be going through a growth spurt that makes her crave carbs. Chances are she’ll get over it soon. Sometimes my daughter won’t eat any meat for a long time or refuses to eat foods she previously liked. If you try to force it they just resist more. Your child is a person and you need to respect that she has a certain tiny amount of agency. My daughter does not like cow milk and though I still offer her a tiny bit now and then I don’t try to force her to drink it.

  20. Vitamay says:

    I am having the same problem with my little man. I have learned that if my little man doesn’t want to eat any meal I make I have the pouches on hand and I like to get the ones with veggies in them or with whole grains. I also keep Gerber yogurt blends, and Gerber breakfast buddies for after dinner if he didn’t eat anything that I made for dinner just so he doesn’t go to bed starving. I let him go to bed one night without dinner and no snack before and that was a bad idea, he woke up at 4am hungry and had to eat right then and there, and I’m not ok with that.

    I have also found out that my little man will eat his dinner if I personally spoon feed it to him. I know its weird he’s 2.5 he knows how to feed himself but I don’t like dinner going to waste and neither does the mister. Now this only works every other day. It is a pain in the butt, but he eats his food doesn’t go to bed hungry and I’m just happy he is feed.

    Like everyone else is saying this will pass and wont be a big deal later on, I know it will pass not sure when but it will, we need to hang in there and just hope for the best, take it one meal at a time.

  21. Hey Lauren,
    I’m going to weigh in here. I’ve been here and I’m here again with my youngest. It’s frustrating. There are days when he’s just not interested in food. We used to beg my oldest to eat and it became a thing. I buy Nature’s Own Pedia Smart (Organic) off amazon.com, mix it with milk and give it to him on the nights when he refuses dinner. Lately I’ve tried to bring Skylar shopping with me and let him pick out foods (ie.fruits and veggies). What about pancakes for dinner (with fruit inside), will she eat them? And there are nights when we tell Sky he has to go to bed if he doesn’t eat and then he decides to (he’s older, but the speech delay impacts him as if he’s 2 1/2, he’s 3 1/2). Since you are going to deliver soon, maybe try to stress less about it this month. Skylar uses Laptop lunches at school, so sometimes I’ll serve him the laptop lunch at home with a lot of little foods in the boxes. We even cooked together the other day. Hang in there, she will change. My cooking post: http://www.themamamaven.com/2014/06/01/sunday-morning-cooking-with-my-picky-eater/

  22. Tarynkay says:

    Have you tried turning the smoothies into Popsicles? Last summer that was the only way I got vegetables into my then 18 month old son- I would make a green smoothie and freeze it in Popsicle molds. I also put puréed cauliflower into lots of stuff, like in macaroni and cheese and in mashed potatoes.

    Making the food cute has never worked for me at all. I mean, I can make the food cute, but he will still not eat the cute food if he doesn’t want it.

    We continued offering vegetables at meal times, but never forced him or bribed him to eat anything or made it a big deal. I never made any special meals though, he could eat or not eat what was available. He is now 2 1/2 and eats vegetables and most other food happily. He still won’t eat eggs and he has been steadfast about that, so if we have something egg-based for dinner, I make sure there are other options on the table. I am not saying this is going to work for everyone, with our son it was very much ordinary toddler pickiness. If there are more serious food or sensory issues, that is a whole other thing.

  23. I have two children – one is 21 and from birth he would try anything on his plate. I was soooo spoiled! I also have a 7 year old who just expanded his diet beyond peanut butter on waffles, pizza, mac & cheese and applesauce. It got so bad that when we convinced him to try new foods he would make himself gag and throw up to prove that we were wrong and the food was bad. After pulling my hair out for a couple of years I decided to actually listen to the doctor, realized he was still growing and healthy and prayed daily that he would grow out of it. I also realized that my stress about him eating was creating an unhealthy relationship he had with food. It has continued to get better as he sees his friends eating interesting foods he wants to try. I wish you the best of luck and wish I had some magic bit of advice for you. I think all it takes is time.

  24. Ohhhhhh…. We are not there yet, but I’m so dreading that phase! Ugh! And being over 40 weeks pregnant. Well that just makes everything more stressful. Thinking of you lady and hoping this phase moves on quickly!

  25. My daughter isn’t picky by any means – but she has her moments and what I learned was to basically ignore her! She whines about not liking something, it’s still put out in front of her. She pushes it away, i ignore her – then 5 minutes later, offer her a bite while she’s distracted. Suddenly she realizes she likes it afterall.

    If yesterday she said she didn’t like carrots, i ignore her comments – and offer her carrots again the next day. If not, then again the day after. I think sometimes we give our toddlers too much credit for what they think they like and don’t like, and the permanency of these feelings. A year ago, my daughter refused to eat oranges, then i offered it to her again months later, as though it was a new thing, innocently- like I had no idea she didnt like oranges. Now she loves them. I can’t explain why, but seriously I find it works to almost just treat each day as new.

    Also, texture and how visually appealing is very very important. I discovered she doesn’t like TOO much sauce – so something that is very saucy, she will turn her nose at it. The exact same thing, just a little drier, and suddenly it’s more palatable. You put too much on a plate, and its too overwhelming so she turns their nose. These toddlers are a tricky bunch!

    Of course there are always going to be something that they REALLY won’t eat and so be it!

    Also, I will give her a choice if she says she doesnt like something. But always in the same food category. So say, the same example of no to carrots, I offer her green peppers instead. Yes, I am conscious of not giving her too many options so she will only get to choose one or the other. She is not allowed to say no to both.

    Finally, I also am conscious of how I view foods in front of her. I don’t like onions but I will never admit that in front my daughter. I think it’s okay to express dislike for something but I don’t think it’s fair to expect your kid to eat whatever you put in front of them when you may not do the same yourself.

    Anyway, this may not work for everyone but just a few things that have worked for me – hope some of this helps. Good luck!

  26. Cassidy Stockton says:

    Well, thank god you posted this because I’m feeling the same way. Can a kid survive on berries and string cheese? I have so much trouble not turning into a short order cook. It’s so hard to turn off the desire to make sure he eats! Thankfully, it looks like it’s pretty darn normal for this age. Reading all the comments now.

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