Food Battles with kids
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  1. #1
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    Default Food Battles with kids

    No longer a new mom to be, but a mom of a 20 month old toddler. He is extremely picky in what he eats.

    Do you fight that battle with your kids?

    He won't eat meat or meat products, but will eat a scrambled egg with a side of peas and some frozen fruit everyday. Doesn't really like fried foods except for fries.

    He is developing a sweet tooth, so we are fighting that sometimes. He basically wants these homemade fruit roll ups or sweetened applesauce or kids yogurt. And he knows where they are kept

    But I just don't find fighting a food battle worth it. He eats mostly incredibly healthy stuff (he will grab a tomato from the farmer's market and eat it, but will drop the cookie or donut on the ground after a couple of bites).

    I'm not going to make special meals for him as he gets older, but I don't find the need to fight him on eating meats or mashed potatoes when we have multiple sides with dinner.

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    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    Everyone has their own philosophy on this, I'm sure. My rule was, here's dinner. Enjoy or leave it. Next meal is breakfast. Enjoy that meal or leave it, next meal is lunch. There was no helping-themselves in between meals. They could whine about it, I just happily told them "no problem, next meal is..." I also did the dessert game. There's no dessert if you don't have some of everything on your plate. (that way my meat-lover couldn't eat her meat but skip the veggies) They were allowed to take their own size portions, but they did have to have the item on their plate. I hated this as a kid but I still do it to myself as an adult. No dessert for me unless I eat my veggies. Sounds silly but it just works for me.

    I'd say whatever you choose, be consistent. If you choose to allow, say, one alternative, that's up to you. But know they will then ask for two, so you'll have to be consistent and stick to one, and so forth.

    Now I just have my 16 y.o. at home, she can have what I fix for supper or fix herself something different. This way I am not making something else just for her, but she can choose to do so. I feel this is ok as she is getting older so I feel its good for her to learn to cook for herself and make her own choices. I make sure the choices around the house are healthy. You can't eat junk food for supper if it isn't in the house.

    If you want to give your child more freedom then I'd say just keep an eye out that they are getting variety. A child who loves fruit, that's all fine and dandy, but you need to make sure they are getting the protein they need, as well.

    You mention he knows where they are kept. There's no problem with that, my kids always knew where things were kept. They also knew they were NOT allowed to have it without permission. If your child is getting items without permission that's not a feeding issue, that's a discipline issue that will bleed into other areas.

    Good times! Best of luck, I look forward to other responses as I'm sure there are many opinions on how to handle this. My kids are grown, my ideas may be old-fashioned by now. They just worked for me.
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    This is something that I struggle with constantly. It's my own fault, I think, especially since I didn't nip the behavior in the bud when Wesley was younger.

    Between age 15 months and 2 1/2 years, my dh was in Iraq. So it was easier for me to just snack and make Wesley foods that I knew he would eat rather than cook a full meal. As a result, my son would prefer to eat pb & j, hot dogs on a stick, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, etc. over all else.

    What I have started doing now is simple--I make a meal, he has to have at least one bite of everything. I make sure that he has a side or two that he will eat, especially if we are having something new. The only time I make him something completely different is if we are having something spicy, such as a stir-fry, but even then, I keep several pieces of the uncooked veggies for him, along with the white rice.

    We have had to reason Wesley through things: You like french fries, right? Yep. French fries are made from potatoes. Mashed potatoes are made from potatoes. Oh. Okay.

    Don't be afraid to get silly! The first time Wesley ate mashed potatoes I had to roll them into balls and told him that he was absolutely not allowed to eat the 'baseballs' because 'baseballs' were for big men.

    We have also learned that if we just sit down and start eating something, without offering him a bite, then he automatically wants a bite. He feels left out.

    I hate it when mealtime is stressful. I hate trying to force him to eat. Little by little it's getting better for us , but it's been a really big struggle.

    Hope it works out for you!
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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    I'll tell you the same thing I tell everyone else:

    Kids will eat when they are hungry.

    Catering to your child's desires, instead of their needs, breeds a picky eater every single time. The sooner that you put forth a set of guidelines that the child will have to follow, the less fighting you will have to do down the road when they get to be older.

    We deal with picky eating all of the time and it was bad at first. DS11 was the worst one because of his texture issues (he has Autism). We set out one rule: you have to eat at least two bites of something. There was also no catering to them between meals or giving in to them by giving them something else. We simply made everyone eat the same thing.

    The kids cannot leave the table unless they eat two bites of everything on their plate. It's still a struggle sometimes, but we find that it's easier now than it was before.

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    Don't have the sweets in the house.

    He can't have a fit for something that isn't there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebookie View Post
    Don't have the sweets in the house.

    He can't have a fit for something that isn't there.
    Oooooh yes he can.....and he probably will......

    Won't do much good if it isn't in the house, but the kids can and will throw a fit all the same. Wesley refused to eat breakfast for 4 days until grocery day rolled around and we had oranges again. Stubborn little turd.
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    Registered User daughter of pearl's Avatar
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    Mrs. McD, that just made me laugh!

    Stubborn little turd!! Hahahah!

    I remember being the kid who sat at the dinner table for what felt like hours while everyone else went on with their evening...in truth, was probably 15 minutes...I'm glad my parents did that...I learned that mealtime is not "all about me" and that foods that I don't initially take to can be tolerated and maybe even liked over time.

    I did the same with my son, but he was a stubborn little turd too!

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    I guess it just starts earlier in life, setting a basis for junk food as a norm, will make it indirectly harder.

    Oranges aren't junk food! =D

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    I sat at the table every night until bedtime and all I learned was how to starve myself. I don't feel hunger, frequently go days without remembering to eat and have the worst nutritional habits of any adult I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeywrangler71 View Post
    I sat at the table every night until bedtime and all I learned was how to starve myself. I don't feel hunger, frequently go days without remembering to eat and have the worst nutritional habits of any adult I know.
    This would be me.
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    We served one meal. If you did not eat it, you did without. No fighting, that was the way it was. I feel it is the parent's responsibility to offer healthy choices for children. As an adult, I feel I have no excuse for poor nutrition. Sometimes, I eat foods that may not be my favorites, but they pack the nutritional punch I need.I tried to set that example and expectation until my kids were adults and then made their own choices.Then if they ate unhealthily it was not because they were not taught. It was their own stupidity.

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    Registered User KeithBC's Avatar
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    (Declared biases: 1. I am not a parent, though I had parents. 2. I am vegan.)

    Pick your battles!

    Quote Originally Posted by New-mom-to-be View Post
    He won't eat meat or meat products, but will eat a scrambled egg with a side of peas and some frozen fruit everyday. Doesn't really like fried foods except for fries.
    This is probably not the end of the world. Actually, it sounds like his preference in this case is pretty healthy. It might not be worth fighting.

    Quote Originally Posted by New-mom-to-be View Post
    He is developing a sweet tooth, so we are fighting that sometimes. He basically wants these homemade fruit roll ups or sweetened applesauce or kids yogurt. And he knows where they are kept
    This one sounds like it is worth fighting. You definitely don't want him overindulging in nutrition-free calories. If you can redirect his sweet tooth towards fresh fruit, it would be healthier for him and may cause less problems than prohibiting sweets altogether.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krbshappy71 View Post
    Enjoy or leave it. Next meal is breakfast. Enjoy that meal or leave it, next meal is lunch. There was no helping-themselves in between meals. They could whine about it, I just happily told them "no problem, next meal is..." I also did the dessert game. There's no dessert if you don't have some of everything on your plate.

    You mention he knows where they are kept. There's no problem with that, my kids always knew where things were kept. They also knew they were NOT allowed to have it without permission. If your child is getting items without permission that's not a feeding issue, that's a discipline issue that will bleed into other areas.
    I agree with most of the other posts but this one is pretty much how I did it. IF she had cleaned up her plate (she picked her own portion sizes --but had to 'try' everything) she could have something in between meals if she got hungry........IF she asked for it AND I told her what it was going to be.

    I had chips and candy around all the time........she didn't get it unless we were having it 'served'.....or a treat. BUT....she loved apples and oranges and no matter the price........I BOUGHT THEM!

    My mom said I was the picky eater and I do remember sitting at the table long after everyone else had left the kitchen.......often...including my mother from doing clean up.

    I am NOT a picky eater now and maybe because of my 'rules' about eating......neither was my DD. She was a good eater and still is a very healthy eater.

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    Registered User Liane's Avatar
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    This brings back so many memories. I was the child sitting at the dinner table for hours until my Mom gave up and sent me to bed. My little one is now 14 but when she was younger she did not like meat at all. She sometimes would not eat at all and the Mommy guilt killed me. In the back of my mind I thought she has to eat something, she will "starve" if she doesn't. I can't explain why I felt that way. Maybe I felt that the bad Mommy police would come and get me. I got over it and so did she. One thing that I do and I got this from Jessica Seinfeld, I put out fruit before breakfast and veggies before dinner. This works wonders. Another thing we try to all do is eat a fruit or veggie before our meals and as snacks. When my daughter was 9 I signed her up for really cheap cooking lessons-in this regard she listens to strangers more than me, and this was perfect. She had a ball and learned a lot. I think the thing that you have to remember is that they are young once and they change all the time. Do the best you can with what you have. Visit a farm if you can, he will learn where food comes from and you can pick your own fruit and veggies. Enjoy this time, it will be gone before you want it to be.

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    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    I can tell you the story of my "picky" eater who ended up being not picky but just couldn't eat the stuff. He wouldn't eat meat.

    When my son was around 18/20 month. He had been diagnosed as milk allergic as a baby so we were skipping that and checking labels ect.

    So he wasn't eating meat. This concerned the doc so we wanted us to try hot dogs all cut up for safety. Son was excited and picked out a package at the store, came home ate half a dog and put the rest in the fridge. Every morning he would run to the fridge look at the package frown and close the fridge.

    Next time at the store he asked for a new package of hot dogs. He picked out another brand, ate half a dog. Next day ran to the fridge looked at package and frowned and shut the door.

    My other mommy friends told me I had to stop this and make him finish the package as I was raising a picky eater.

    This went on several more times each time he picked out a new brand, half a dog eaten, frown at package in the fridge. until...

    One day he picked out another brand and ate two dogs, ran to fridge the next day smiled and ate two more dogs. Repeated until package was gone. The next time at the store he picked out the same brand even though the store had moved them.

    Found out later that hot dogs often had hidden milk under "natural ingredients" the brand he liked did not have milk.

    A very smart toddler. I was glad I had not listened to my friends and make it a battle.

    Later He got his tonsils out and the Nose Throat doc asked if my son ate much meat. I said "no". He told me "he will now. that lots of children with big tonsils don't eat meat because it is to hard to swallow unless it is mushy like hot dogs"

    He started eating all kinds of meat as soon as his tonsil removal had healed. He also has out grown his milk allergy.

    Rewind to my childhood. My mom thought I was picky eater so she made me eat some things like bananas even though I said I didn't like them. When I was older I said they made me itch. Still had to eat them. I'm now deathly allergic to bananas and doc says it is because I still ate them after my body told me not to.

    Just my experiences
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