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How do I deal with my picky eater?

I'm a military mom, so at least a couple times a year I have to leave my son with his paternal grandmother while I carry out my duties. I brought my son home from his grandmother's care the weekend after Thanksgiving. While I was there with them, I watched him eat a hotdog and baked beans, all of it. I asked her what kind of beans she bought to make sure I would get him the same. Now that he's been home awhile, he's reverted back to his old picky eating habits, except that even the things he used to eat aren't to his liking anymore. The only things he'll request are PB&J sandwiches and macaroni and cheese....except tonight after he asked for the mac n cheese he refuses to eat it. He won't even eat the exact kind of baked beans that his grandmother made him! I'm at my wits end! Part of me is aggravated, but the other part of me doesn't want him to have to eat things he sincerely doesn't like. HELP??!!

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Asked by TristensMama06 at 6:32 PM on Dec. 28, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (6)
  • Don't give him the choice, he eats what you give him or he doesn't eat. A few days of that and the pickiness will be gone. If you give them the option to be picky they will be if you don't they will eat what they are given because they need to eat.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 6:40 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • "the other part of me doesn't want him to have to eat things he sincerely doesn't like". I would say that is probably a big part of the reason he is so picky. I believe children use food preferences to manipulate their parents. I also don't believe any healthy kid is going to starve themselves, but it won't hurt them to miss a meal if their being stubborn. WHen I was growing up if I complained about the food I got an extra serving. My parents never fixed food "special" for any of us (there were four), we ate what was on the table or we didn't eat. There were things we didn't like (I hate peas!) and when those things were served, we were required to eat at least a few bites with everything else. Actually, we were great eaters, and I'm thankful to my parents for that. We were the kids in the grocery store asking mom for Broccoli! I wonder if your mother understands this, and that's why he eats better at her house?

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:41 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • Thanks for the responses so far. Actually the grandmother is his father's mother (hence the paternal comment). And I would expect her to know better than I would seeing as she raised 3 children on her own, long prior to my son coming into the world, and I am still learning as I go. I will put my foot down from now on with the food situation. Not to make excuses, but this is my first and only child, and I didn't exactly have the greatest childhood myself, not to mention his father isn't around or helping out, so I know I can be too lax on my son as a result. Again, thank you for the input.

    Answer by TristensMama06 at 6:49 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • First, make sure that he is drinking water, so he doesn't get dehydrated.
    Most important, do not create a monster who only eats nuggets, mac and cheese and hot dogs.
    Just keep offering a variety of healthy foods, and eventually he will start eating.
    Frozen foods are fun to play with, and will get eaten, like peas, blueberries and corn. Chunks of avocado and tofu are loaded with great nutrition, and are fun to squish between little fingers.
    I have never met a preschooler who wouldn't eat hummus (lots of calcium, protein, good fats and iron), you can mix it with a mashed egg.
    Offer cut fruits with yogurt dip, fresh veggies with hummus or salad dressing, cooked whole wheat pasta and veggies with marinara or peanut sauce or cheese sauce.
    Sometimes you just need to enjoy eating something to get your child to eat it, too.


    Answer by rkoloms at 8:41 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • We use the 3 bite rule. You must try 3 bites of what is on your plate; if you don't like it, you fix yourself peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast with a kiwi or apple. Even my husband is expected to follow the rule.
    If you cave now, you will forever have a picky monster on your hands. I promise that your child will not starve. Moms who cave are part of the reason why by the end of next year one half of American children will be both undernourished and overweight. One third of children born in this century will develop type 2 diabetes.
    Keep offering a variety of healthy foods; stop buying junk foods until the picky phase has passed

    Answer by rkoloms at 8:42 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • I will give you a piece of advice that my childrens PATERNAL grandmother gave me, (I'm military also so I get the absence part). NO CHILD WILL STARVE THEMSELF...someone has already touched on this, and I use it with my kids. You eat what you are given or you dont eat. They will eventually eat what you have given them and like it. If there is something on thier plate they don't like (greenbeans, corn, etc), make them take 3 bites (again already touched subject), then if they genuinely don't like it, YOU will know. I promise, your son will eat and he will eat what he is given. Good luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:19 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

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