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Ideas for a very finicky eater 6 yr old

Hi my 6 yr old has become a very finicky eater. At 3 we went from a little one that ate everything to one that ate about 5 things. She also has milk and beef allergies and detests soy anything except for one brand of soy milk and ice cream bars. Her diet currently consists of chicken nuggets, chicken/turkey hot dogs, Campbells or progresso chicken noddle soup, boiled eggs for lunch only, pasta with dairy free margarine, gingerale, iced tea, little water, chocolate, sticky rice, rice rolls. Whole wheat pasta, brown or any rice other than white, any other soup, ground turkey, burgers are all out of the question. I read somewhere that it takes 20 tries for a child to like something, well we are way past 20! She will try anything-but always dislikes it. She will even try things off our plates, but no go. She knows a little about nutrition, what's healthy etc but no interest. I've tried adding protein powder but she detects it.

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Asked by sunshinesmon at 5:36 AM on Jun. 20, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (9)
  • I have had the same problem with my now 7 1/2 year old son! I know it's hard, but what we finally did, was we stopped buying the things (snacks, drinks, treats) that we DIDN'T want him to eat, and only bought the things we DID want him to eat. Of course that meant that the rest of us had to do without some of those things.

    He protested for a couple of days, but eventually gave in, and now his diet has greatly varied! We also "change things up" when he begins to get stuck in the same eating patterns, and often I just make meals without asking for his input, and tell him "take it or leave it!" He usually takes it! :o)

    One last thing is I take him grocery shopping, and I let him help me pick foods from my pre-written list...such as I need to buy cereal...which one do you want...we can only choose from "x,y, or z" (all win-win choices for me).


    Answer by LoriKeet at 7:12 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • if your worried about her not getting enough veggies a good way to hide them is add them to muffins. like zuchinni bread is sweet, but dont call it zucchinni bread give it a name from one of her fave cartoons. or like a carrot bread. has good ideas for hiding good things in the meals she loves. good luck!

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 7:46 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • Good Morning. I like the advise of the first two. Another idea that came to mind was to make it fun for them to eat it by either 1. Adding a little naughty with the nice such as yummy dip with veggie sticks, fat free caramel dip with apples, chocolate dipped bananas, etc. Kids love to dip. and 2. At this age make it an easy science experiment with foods. Lots of websites on it, tons. They get an activity, and education and a full belly. maybe do it by a theme they like, as that age kids are still into the cartoons, etc. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Answer by CammyLStevens at 11:40 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • I like the advice of the top 3. My addition is, try having your duaghter help make the meals. Kids love helping in the kitchen and they're more likely to eat what they created. Buy some utensils she can call hers. I agree with CammyL. Kids love to dip everything.

    Having allergies to certain foods, makes it even more challenging. Here is Amazon's list of Healthy kids' cookbooks. Buy one or two for her and have her pick out or create a menu for the family for the weekend or week and then allow her to help cook it. Hope that helps.

    Answer by CoolGirlChris at 2:58 PM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • First, get all of the junk foods out of the house. No more rice dream bars (or whatever you buy), no more chicken nuggets, no more hot dogs, no more canned soup. You need to be firm and you need to know that you will both come out the other side better.
    First, everyone in the house must eat a healthy diet; if she sees everyone doing it, she will understand that it is expected of her.
    Institute the three bite rule (or what works for you). At our house, you must have 3 bites of what is on your plate. If you don't like it, you say "no thank you" and fix yourself whole grain toast with peanut butter and honey and take an apple. This is the only option and your must stay at the table with the family.
    Kids love to dip: fruit in yogurt (the coconut yogurt is beyond amazing, veggies in hummus or salad dressing, whole grain pasta and steamed veggies in peanut sauce or marinara.
    Kids love to cook! cont...

    Answer by rkoloms at 5:55 PM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • Take her to the library and look at kids cookbooks (my favorite is called Pretend Soup). There is a fun kids cooking website:
    Take her to the grocery store with you, and let her pick out a new vegetable to introduce to the family.
    You can go the sneaky route, too: make a smoothie with frozen blueberries, frozen banana chunks, kale (loaded with calcuim and iron), orange juice (the vitamin C will increase the absorption of the iron) and some plant milk or yogurt.
    Here is a fun treat you can make together Dad's Sneaky Pudding
    Makes 2 servings
    This recipe was created by Earthsave International' s Chair of the Board of Directors, Louisville Lawyer and chef, John Borders.
    • 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
    • 1 banana
    • 1-2 tsp. carob or cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp. flaxseed oil
    • 3-5 Tbsp. nut butter (cashew or almond)
    • 2-3 Tbsp. orange juice or other healthy juice such as

    Answer by rkoloms at 5:59 PM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • • 2 Tbsp. fortified soymilk
    • 1/8-1/4 avocado
    Set your little companion up on a stool beside you, ready to toss in the ingredients and push the button. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. This works best in a food processor; you might add a bit more juice or soymilk if you use a blender. Blend until smooth.
    Noodles & veggies with peanut sauce
    Veggie pot pie
    Lentil tacos
    Squashed macaroni
    Sweet potato & black bean burritos
    Sloppy jojos (made with lentils)
    Italian stew
    Mediterranean Vegetable Stew with Poached Eggs
    Veggie stew with dumplings (crockpot)
    Southwest falafel (bean patties with avocado sauce)
    Tofu "fish sticks" with sweet potato or acorn squash baked "fries"
    General Tsao’s Tofu
    Tamale Bean Pie

    Answer by rkoloms at 6:00 PM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • well my son is some what the same way...he can't have anything with high fructose corn syrup because he has an intolerance to fructose and an intolerance to milk...but can have frozen yogurt...I read up on it....make it fun for her when you go to the grocery store let her pick some stuff an idea a fruit smoothy with her fave fruit....nuts are a good source of protein too....the good thing is that at least she is trying some son won't eat fish like salmon...but will eat shrimp...he used to like mashed potatoes but won't eat them now...I have made lasgna with spinach in it and mix it well enough that he doesn't know he's eating it...another idea is getting fruit yogurt and making frozen pop with them...she can help you...get the little dixie cups and thick popsicicle sticks and freeze them; its fun for her and you....hope that helps a bit...

    Answer by thetrivetts at 2:59 AM on Jun. 21, 2009

  • it is common for kids to out grow and like something they didn't like before and not like something they used to eat all the time....if you are still concerned maybe see a nutritionist/or pediatrician for son's doctor gave me a list of fun foods/recipes to help keep him eating things that are healthy for him...

    Answer by thetrivetts at 3:03 AM on Jun. 21, 2009

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