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My toddler won't eat any variety of foods

My daughter is 2 1/2 years old. She is the pickiest child I have ever seen. She eats cereal (dry only), waffles and pancakes (with nothing on them), apples, grapes, yogurt (sometimes), chicken nuggets (McDonalds only), French fries, hot dogs. And, of course, junk such as fruit snacks, chips, things like that if they are offered to her. She was not always like this. when she started eating solid foods, she was eating everything that I gave her.

My husband and I went away for the weekend and left the kids at my moms house. When we picked them up, she told me that she would not watch her again until I got her eating more foods. She said she tried spaghetti, regular cooked chicken, and sandwiches. My daughter wouldn't eat any of it.

I have tried just letting her not eat. Figuring that if she got hungry enough, she would break down and just eat. She doesn't. I know she will not starve herself. And she is healthy. Good in both height and weight. Her iron is fine. But I need to figure this out. Any suggestions?

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Amanda0712

Asked by Amanda0712 at 11:49 PM on Apr. 28, 2013 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 12 (815 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • All you can do is put the foods in front of her. Don't make it a battle, but don't be a short order cook either. She eats what she's given.

    Toddlers tend to live on air and the occasional chicken nugget.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 11:56 PM on Apr. 28, 2013

  • How long did you let her go hungry before you offered her something different? It's torture, but you have to wait them out. I went through a spell like that with my daughter, and I cried the night I had to send her to bed with nothing in her tummy. But life has been *sooooo* much better for everyone since she figured out that she might as well eat what she's given because there won't be anything else, and I figured out to just offer the food and say nothing, not make a battle out of it. If you eventually give in and let her eat something you know she'll actually put in her mouth, she'll just wait that much longer next time for you to give in.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 12:02 AM on Apr. 29, 2013

  • I know exactly what you are talking about. My son was exactly the same. With some kids it is a phase with some like my son who is now 12 they are terminal picky eaters. Although he has graduated to a few new foods over the years....It seems he lives off of mac and cheese,anything chicken,rice and pizza and hotdogs or mini corndogs. When he was little I was concerned like you and his pediatrician said that some kids are just to "busy to eat" and just give him his VITAMINS every day cause if they are not eating then they are not getting the natural vitamins that come in food. He also said that sometimes you have to pick and choose yr battles.I let him gradually start to get curious about new foods and sometimes having them around other children who eat other foods will make them want to be a part of a group like recently my son started eating eggs and green beans all because of a friend.lol dont let yr frust. show either.
    !
    Fairymom32

    Answer by Fairymom32 at 12:15 AM on Apr. 29, 2013

  • She will eat what's put in front of her, or not at all. Eventually, she'll get hungry, and eat. These are LEARNED behaviors, so caving just enforces the behavior.
    PartyGalAnne

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 1:40 AM on Apr. 29, 2013

  • Do you make sure she sees you eating, and enjoying food? My 2 yo wants whatever I have, even if its a salad! I agree with the others - fix one meal and if she doesn't eat, she doesn't eat.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 5:59 AM on Apr. 29, 2013

  • I recommend you don't get rigid or authoritarian about it (in the sense of communicating a message that she "must" eat something, or focusing on trying to win a "battle" over this) but that you do adopt the attitude that she eats what she's given, rather than bringing out other foods. That was the meal, and if she only ate the grapes, cheese & bread but not the chicken or pasta, so be it.
    You don't have to get adversarial over it & keep offering the same plate of food for subsequent meals until she "breaks down" & eats it. It's more about offering her a variety of foods each meal & recognizing that it is up to her WHAT (of what you offer) and HOW MUCH goes into her mouth. You provide the options and she controls whether she eats it & how much she eats of it.
    Don't get punitive & don't struggle with her. Do provide a variety & do try to work with her. Offer pasta/sandwiches along with other things she DOES eat; leave it to her.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:39 AM on Apr. 29, 2013

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