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How do you deal with picky eaters?

I have 2 picky eaters, and they are picky in different ways. DD (3 years) doesn't like veggies, and she refuses random things. One night she will eat tacos up like they are going out of style, but 2 weeks later she will say tacos are icky and refuse to eat. DS (21 months) refuses to eat most veggies and meat at home, but eats it up at daycare (he only has 1 more day at daycare after today). I have tried hiding veggies in things, but the only success I have had so far is pumpkin muffins.


Asked by AF4life at 8:49 PM on Oct. 10, 2013 in General Parenting

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Answers (8)
  • I think the best way is to prepare whatever you want for dinner and put it on the table. The pickies either eat it or they don't, but they don't get anything else. Put the plate in the fridge and when they say they are hungry, bring out the plate. They will eat it eventually. The only exception made is if there is really something that makes one of them sick. My husband could not eat green peppers when he was a child--threw them up every time he ate them! Oh, and you make them sit at the table while the rest of the family eats. Can't get down until everyone is finished.

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:03 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • I agree with NannyB. Don't make it a battle of wills. Bring out the food, and if the kids don't eat, put it away. They'll get hungry enough eventually to eat what you offer.

    Answer by Ballad at 9:42 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • I always offered mine peanut butter sandwich and fruit AFTER they tried what we were having for supper if they really didn't like it but they have to eat a small amount. We also have dessert every night. If they eat the pb sandwich instead of supper, they don't get dessert. It's a huge incentive for my 4 yo! Might be 2 cookies, juice Popsicles, peaches with whip cream, jello, etc but it's a treat and my kids love it.

    Answer by missanc at 10:19 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • I believe hungry kids will eat. It worked with my kids but I know it doesn't always work with other kids. Some kids will just starve. I think you're supposed to keep trying. Wish I had advice, good luck!

    Answer by jeanclaudia at 10:19 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • offer ketchup, ranch dressing or a cheese sauce.
    Make sure there is at least one thing that they do like.
    If you can give some ideas of what they will eat and what you would like them most to eat (2 or 3 things to start with) maybe I can give you some ideas.
    Let them help you cook. You can play top chef. You have a tomato cut into small pieces.
    We must taste it to see what we can cook with it.
    DD It is yucky
    Well just a little taste so you can tell me what makes it yucky
    It squirts
    Make a note to seed the tomatoes before serving
    You are right they do squirt.. Is it just the squirt or something else too
    The squirt gets on my close.
    Good point.
    anything else about why you don't like tomatoes.
    The stuff on the outside
    The skin
    yeah its icky, chokey feeling.
    Seed and peel a tomato. slice some and ask her now what she tastes
    Is it good or bad.
    Is it sweet, sour.....

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:56 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • Just try to make the meal as exciting as you possibly can and involve the child as much as possible in the way it is prepared.

    Answer by MoonFox4 at 11:34 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • I don't really force it on them, they have to sit there until a certain time, and once we hit a certain time they are done, and don't get another option. I think my problem right now is that they aren't really getting the lesson, because the next morning they go to daycare, and at daycare they can eat how of much of whatever part of the meal they want. If it is tuna sandwiches, carrots, and rolls, she will eat 5 rolls and nothing else. So she still gets stuffed, and only on crabby stuff. Hoping that changes next week though, maybe once she is home full time with mommy she will realize that if she doesn't eat at this meal, she won't get to eat whatever she pleases at the next meal. Not sure what DS's issue is because they tell me that he eats whatever is served but at home he put's a piece of chicken in his mouth and spits it out yelling "EWWE" as loud as possible, then throws it on the floor.

    Comment by AF4life (original poster) at 11:35 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • First off offer only what you are making. If it is tacos and a salad, that is what there is to eat. If they refuse then put it away until they ar hungrier and offer it again.
    Many times these situations are power struggles. I insisted that my children eat three bites of any food that is served, every time it is served unless there is a medical reason. The reason it is three is because my children and my siblings as well would take the tiniest bite, about 1/3 the size of a normal bite.They must eat the obligatory amount of each before they can have more of a desired food. I do not fix special meals for anyone, including a PB&J. Obviously if home one is sick in bed, I will make appropriate food for them at that time.
    That being said tastes change throughout our whole lives. You might try making the food more fun to look at, broccoli trees, spaghetti nests with birds eggs (meatballs) etc. Don't over load the plate.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:44 PM on Oct. 10, 2013