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Just looking for a little feedback, and to start a conversation.. When I was a child, I remember not being picky and eating what was on my plate. When I was young, I had to clean my plate. Once I hit middle school or so, my mom slacked off on that.
I'm trying to decide what approach to take with my son, who is 4 years old. I know consistency with the rules if the most important thing.
If I am making something for dinner that I know he will dislike, or I will make him a separate meal.. like mac and cheese or a turkey and cheese wrap..
Now that he is getting older, and is easier to reason with I will occasionally give him a small portion to "try". So far, once he tries something that he was unsure of he generally decides it's good and finishes the portion. The last example was lasagna. I assumed he would enjoy it since he loves spagetti etc, but he just thought it looked "weird".
The stumbling block is what to do if he refuses to try something, or tries it and I'm 99% sure he is just saying he doesn't like it to test my limits/expectations.
Before I had kiddos, I would have taken the progressive, gentle parenting approach of saying "Just present the options and let the child choose, they will develop healthier eating habits without parental pressure." Now that I am a mom, I am struggling with this because I want him to try a wide variety of foods as well as wanting him to understand that he has to obey when given direction. If he truly doesn't like something, I understand that and I make accommodations. I hate peas, for example and avoid them at all costs. But what do you do when a child is pretending not to like something, or eating as slooowly as possible to see what they can get away with...or not finishing their meal so that they can leave the table quicker to go play?
 

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I have a picky eater. Meal times are always a chore. Have been since he was a baby. Our rules are:

~I make ONE meal and one meal only. No separate meals for those who dislike what I have made.

~You must at least TRY the food you say you don't like. Whether it's a bite or I just give them a very small portion depends on how obstinate they are being lol.

~You don't have to clean your plate, but please don't take more than you will eat. That encourages them to take smaller portions THEN if they want more they can take seconds.
 

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I have a picky eater. Meal times are always a chore. Have been since he was a baby. Our rules are:

~I make ONE meal and one meal only. No separate meals for those who dislike what I have made.

~You must at least TRY the food you say you don't like. Whether it's a bite or I just give them a very small portion depends on how obstinate they are being lol.

~You don't have to clean your plate, but please don't take more than you will eat. That encourages them to take smaller portions THEN if they want more they can take seconds.
Our approach Mirrors this almost exactly. I have a very picky eater. Ironically though he will be polite when a guest at someone home and force himself to eat without comment no matter what.
 

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W/ my kids they had to try 1 bite. No pressure after that. Not trying wasn't an option. Don't get tense,stand over him,make a big deal. Don't even "sell" it. Just say nothing if poss.
I was a horribly picky eater. My Dmom would overcook everything and it was bland. I had a phobia from mom's food anxiety. I was forced to sit for hours at a dinner table. She thought she was being a good mom.

W/ my kids I made food a celebration. Every week DD and I went to the fruit market and shopped for what I needed. She was allowed to try 1 new thing ,her choice only,per week. She was 2.
My 2nd child has a weird eating pattern I picked up early. He will eat tons 1 day and then eat light for the next few. I just went w/ it. He is 18 and still does it. He is thin and muscular w/ a great immune system. Not a picky eater either. W/ his nutrition,I had to learn to evaluate what he ate over a week not a day.
Neither of them has any issues and DD eats such a wide range of foods she rivals Andrew Zimmerman.lol
 

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We have a similar situation. The first two kids will eat almost anything. The "baby" is extremely picky, has been since the first solid food!

I don't make two dinners. One dinner and you can eat what you like out of that meal. Everyone must try everything though, and only dish what you can eat. I'd rather them get two smaller portions than one huge portion that they don't finish.

That said, we do have meals that everyone enjoys. I try to mix up meals throughout the week. No one is starving and fruit and veggies are always available for snacks. We only serve sweets once in a while :)
 

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-I make one meal, with exceptions only for spicy foods. If I make a spicy chili, I pull out chunks of plain hamburger, before adding them to the soup.

-He has to have at least 4 bites of everything I put on his plate. Once he's 5, it gets bumped up to 5 bites. This way, he at least tries the new main dish. Usually he finds out that he loves it, other times, not so much. I'm okay with that.
 

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I'm not a parent, but when I was little (maybe until about 12?), I had to eat at least a small portion whatever vegetable was served with dinner. I pretty much love all vegetables now, even ones I HATED back then (asparagus for example.) Whether or not my parents "making" me eat all sorts of veggies had an impact on that...I don't know. I do know that if they would have given me the option of eating the veggie or not, I wouldn't have. I mean really, what 4 year old is going to willingly eat asparagus? :D Heck, I know a lot of adults who won't touch it lol.
 

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I give small portions. That being said, you still don't have to clean your plate, but if you don't, there is no dessert for you. No one leaves the table until we are all done, anyway, as dinner is family time, so it eliminates rushing through to go play.

I'm wary of the forced clean plate, as my dh has some issues with weight and part of it is that he feels the need to eat everything in front of him, as he was forced to as a child. One time, he poured too much cereal in his bowl at breakfast, and when he came home for lunch (he was 6 in half day kindergarten) it was waiting for him at the table. He learned fast to eat it all.
 

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I don't make my son eat anything he doesn't want to. Yet, if he doesn't eat enough dinner to where I'm satisfied then obviosusy there is no sweet allowed afterward. AND if he is still hungry then he has to get up and get it himself. I keep all of his "snacks" in a drawer that he can reach. So its either crackers, gold fish or cheerios.

I only wait on him once.
 

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My Mom always only cooked one meal. We could eat or not eat. But she wasn't cooking anything else. We could however make ourselves a sandwich. My kids are polar opposites of each other. The oldest will try anything and likes almost everything. My younger one likes very little and is very resistant to new food. For instance she has always insisted she HATED pumpkin pie . I am not going to make her eat it. Well 7-11 has pumpkin latte's right now which the rest of us LOVE. My DH had one the other night and she took a sip not knowing what it was and LOVED it. She asked if thats what the pie was like to and my dh said only with whip cream to and she now knows she loves it. If I had forced it she would have never eaten it . She is the kid that would sleep at the table all night if I said she couldnt get up until she ate everything. We have just never made an issue out of food. If they are hungry they will eat, If they aren't they won't. I try to be mindful of what they like and dont like when I cook . For instance my oldest and I LOVE peas. We both will eat them straight from a can . My dh and my youngest would rather poke their eye out then eat a pea. If I make peas then I make another veggie as well so that we all have something we like. I know my youngest hates shepards pie but the rest of us like it. I make that on a night I know there are leftovers of something in the fridge she likes and warm that up for her to eat or I make it when I know she isnt going to be here for dinner. Interestingly enough my SIL is obsessed with her kids eating healthy food and not having soda pop. They all hate fruit and wont touch a veggie and beg for soda the instant they see it. Mine eat fruit like its candy and most all veggies and we drink about 2 2 liters a week between the 4 of us so sometimes I think making such a huge deal out of food makes things worse but thats jmho.
 

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I give small portions. That being said, you still don't have to clean your plate, but if you don't, there is no dessert for you. No one leaves the table until we are all done, anyway, as dinner is family time, so it eliminates rushing through to go play.

I'm wary of the forced clean plate, as my dh has some issues with weight and part of it is that he feels the need to eat everything in front of him, as he was forced to as a child. One time, he poured too much cereal in his bowl at breakfast, and when he came home for lunch (he was 6 in half day kindergarten) it was waiting for him at the table. He learned fast to eat it all.
I wish my InLaws waited until everyone sat down to start eating. My BIL is half way through his first plate before everyone sits down. :angry: Thats just poor manners IMO.
 

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My kids are very picky eaters (but that is another story). At our house we all eat together. I usually put a little of everything that I am serving on their plates. I try not to put enough to fill them up so that they can have seconds. They need to finish their firsts before they have seconds. They may like one part more than another, but they have to finish the firsts before then can have more of what they want.
This is the technique that they recommended at our foster care training class. It works fairly.
Our counselor suggested having a second option if they will not eat at all (a problem in our house - our kids were food deprived before they lived with us). She suggested 1/2 peanut butter sandwich or a couple of crackers with peanut butter. They can't have seconds on this. It is never enough to fill them up, but it will keep blood sugar up. We used mixed nut for this. My kids like them but they are not a favorite, so dinner is often more enticing. They can eat dinner, have a small handful of nuts, or eat nothing. I only serve food at meals.
 

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We have one picky child- the others are not. Picky one is 6. She has been picky since day one. I think it is just who she is. Prior to this child, we made one dinner and the kids were expected to eat it. We don't force our kids to eat everything on their plate- I think that leads to obesity. But it was dinner and they were to eat until full- no snacks afterward, etc. That being said, if I made something that I knew they wouldn't like I would make an alternative for the kids- maybe once a month. With picky girl we have changed the rules a bit. We used to make her try what we were having and then offered her an alternative on a daily basis. Now our evenings are very busy and 6 year old is very HUNGRY when she gets home from first grade (first year of all day school) so I actually feed her dinner right when she gets home from school. It is when she is hungriest and most likely to eat healthiest foods. It isn't necessarily what the rest of us are eating, but it is healthy. Our evenings are crazy busy these days with kids activities so this works well at this point. I will push the dinner thing again with her again at some point. I've learned that as kids get older (at least my kids) they are willing to try more things and their likes broaden. Tween daughter all of a sudden LOVES salad- hated it a year ago.
 

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my mom forced foods on me as a kid- couldnt leave until i ate them- esp veggies.

even though i abhored the taste of some i found a way to pocket them in my lower gums and spit them out flush them etc after i left table.


all that managed to do is make me not a fan of veggies till this day .
wax beens and lima beans make me ant to gag just thinking about them .'

i eat peas and i eat corn ( and potatoes which is really more of a starch that a veggie ) and a teeny bit of the onion lettuce and tomatoe that come ina haogie ( i take 75 % out ) .

when i was pregnant with my first she went on and on about how unhealthy my child was going to be even though i took my prenantals because i didnt eat enough veggies ( he is a healthy college grad of 6'4" tall )

she also insisted that by not forcing my kids to finish what was on their plates veggie wise they wouldnt eat any- opposite happened .

i encourage my kids when little to at least taste it- if they dont like that i respect it and dont force it on them .

they all eat healthy- they love veggies ) and the adults kids eat healthier than i do .

while i dont make two seperate meals unless there are a few who dont like something ( ie mac and cheese and sloppy joes on same days / sausage onion and peppers and tuna cassarole on some days so they have a choice ) i again dont force things .
if they try it and really do not like it they can have a sandwich they make themselves or maybe some leftovers etc or even a bowl of cereal .


there are often reasons people dont like things or claim they make them feel sick -one being it really does !!
IBS- celiacs- dye sensativities etc - sometimes our kids bodies know what bothers them better then we do .

i have IBS and a few of my kids show like symptoms so if sloppy joes gives one the runs and stomach pains they can have the mac and cheese.

growing up i swore vitamins made me nauseated
i was told that was just being silly too- spent years as an adult refusing to touch a multi vit until it became ncessary to do so for my fibro homepaths at what point i discovered that i seem to have some sort of an allergy to whatever it is they use to hold the powdered vitamins together to make a tablet - give me a capsule- liquid or pure powder form without that i am fine with it i am sick .

same with both my dd's and was the same with my dad . ( which i didnt realize till i traced it back memory wise long after he had died that my mom use to yell at him for not taking vitamins and he would tell her they made him feel sick )
 

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~I make ONE meal and one meal only. No separate meals for those who dislike what I have made.

~You must at least TRY the food you say you don't like. Whether it's a bite or I just give them a very small portion depends on how obstinate they are being lol.

~You don't have to clean your plate, but please don't take more than you will eat. That encourages them to take smaller portions THEN if they want more they can take seconds.
I did this and also if you take seconds of something such as the main dish lasagna, then you want thirds, you must choose something else before you can do thirds of the favored item.
Thus: yum lasagna, bleh to salad but I tried it, yum lasagna, oh I want more lasagna but to have thirds have to first have more salad.

Not an entire serving more, just another "try it" moment before the thirds of the favored food. Sometimes, the thirds wasn't worth it for them. That's fine, they've already had seconds, they had a good meal for the night. If truly hungry enough (not just flavor-seeking) the "try it" moment is worth enduring for more lasagna which then gives them another exposure to the food they aren't crazy about.

One thing I didn't do and do not suggest doing: My mom had dessert tied to meals. Ate all your dinner, got dessert. Now I'm in a really annoying programming of wanting dessert at night. I'm an adult, I fight it off some nights and have it some nights, but I wish that programming hadn't been instilled. I wish more programming of "eat well for the sake of eating well" had been instilled, instead of eating well for a dessert reward.

(although my own kids probably wished they had MY mom so they could have had dessert consistently, hahahaha)
 

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I'm wary of the forced clean plate, as my dh has some issues with weight and part of it is that he feels the need to eat everything in front of him, as he was forced to as a child.
That's the very reason why we (my husband and I) don't have a clean plate club. When our kids were little and we had a new food, they had to take a "no thank you bite". As they got older and there was a food they didn't particularly like, they had to take as many bites as they are old. If they were 6, they had to take 6 bites. Then they could be done. Sure, sometimes the bites were minuscule.

That all said, we also took the Love and Logic approach and reminded them to make sure they ate enough of dinner, because there would be nothing else offered until breakfast.
 

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When mine were growing up I cooked one meal. If they didn't like what we were having, they could have a peanut butter sandwich.
I did part of that..........cooked ONLY ONE meal.....and you ate it or left the table..........and NO SNACKS.

I was lucky and did not have a picky eater AT ALL......she pretty much ate most things. She wasn't allowed the junk food type 'after school snacks'.........but I ALWAYS(no matter the price---and sometimes I couldn't have any due to the price!!) had apples and oranges and she loved them........so it worked great.

I, on the other hand, WAS a picky eater.........I had to take AND EAT a little bit of everything that was cooked.
 

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Growing up my mother cooked one meal for all. My brother didn't like turnip or peas but that didn't stop them from ending up on his plate. Dessert was a rare occasion. If you didn't clean your plate you didn't expect a snack, you didn't expect to eat again until the next meal. Growing up we did not get snacks, kids get altogether too many snacks these days, mine included. I do try to ensure they are healthy; almonds, fruits and berries and the like.
I do not make separate meals. I do not do desserts but a few times a year tops. There is no requirement to clean your plate, I don't believe in forcing a child to eat when they are full - I think that sets up to bad behavior later in life. If my kids don't finish their meal, they better not ask for anything else for at least a few hours.
I did in home daycare for a few years, I dealt with a LOT of picky eaters. I made one meal and one meal only, I told them - You don't have to eat it, but it's going on your plate and you do have to look at it.
More often than not, the kids would end up eating that item after a few introductions. One girl thought she would puke if she ate carrots, the faces she made were something else. It's funny, but annoying, how if one kid says "Oh I hate carrots, carrots are gross", other kids will eye their carrots suspiciously and push them away. Eventually she came to eat carrots, and not puke, I guess they weren't as bad as she thought. BTW, her mother would make four different dinners EVERY night, she herself is a fussy eater.
I am not. My kids are not. Their dad is not.
 
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