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How can I get m 3 year old to eat?

I've been having problems getting my 3 year old to eat anything. She has always been a picky eater, but it has just recently got worst. She is now at the point where she will take a bite, and just chew and chew and chew, till its all liquidfied in her mouth, and she won't swallow! Its getting to where she just does that, and not to mention getting pretty disgusting when we eat. I've tried everything I can think of and I'm so frustrated, I need some other tips and tricks.

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Asked by Sarah2116 at 4:46 AM on Jan. 3, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 2 (11 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • i too have this problem. my kid has autism and i have to chase my son around with a spoonfull of food in order to get him to eat. if i sit him in the high chair he will not remain still. He is a very picky eater. He only wants potatoes and fried foods like chicken nugets, fried fish, french fries and bread. I am trying something new. I puree the vegetables and add them to the fried foods. if your son begins to lose weight, you need to call the doctor for advice.

    Answer by alejandra559 at 5:07 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • My 4 yo ds has always been a picky eater. He never wants to eat when it is time to eat. I have found the best way to get him to eat is, not to force the issue. He has a small table that he sits at to color. I make a plate and put it on the table. He will come and get a bite as he wants one. Sometimes he finishes, sometimes he doesn't. Either way, the plate is removed at bed time. I do this at all three meals, as well as snacks. I put out his breakfast and remove it a couple of hours later. same with lunch and snacks. Dinner is left until bed time to insure that he has a chance to eat as much as he wants. I also will not make my children eat anything that they do not like. I know this may not work for you. Just wanted to give an idea of what works for us. I have found that he eats more this way than when I made him sit at the table. trying to force him to eat only caused drama.

    Answer by JEAmom3 at 7:15 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • I am old school. A kid won't starve themselves so either they eat what they are given or they don't eat at all, a week of that and they will eat whatever is given to them. This is for healthy children without disabilities though. My DD is 19 months and she knows she will eat what she has in front of her or she won't get to eat. It is a hard lesson to teach but it works.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 7:31 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • Does your little one snack a lot during the day? My 5yr old is starting this again. He does't want to eat "REAL" food but wants the snacky type foods. So I've started only allowing him regular meals, breakfast,lunch and dinner and this has cut down on the issue a little bit.....I guess my suggestion is watch any snacking at least and hour b4 each meal. Also, try softer foods to see if this helps??? mashed potato's? mac and cheese things like that?!?!

    Answer by suellenavonrep at 8:25 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • When my two year old grandson goes through periods of time that it seems like he is eating next to nothing to survive I put him back in the high chair or buckled into the toddler seat at the table. I give him an extra long amount of time to eat his food, play with it, and most times he gets more down his belly. Your daughter might have texture taste differences. Offer many types of foods in small amounts during the day.

    Answer by MSugarKane at 8:52 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • I call this the air-o-tarian phase! They all go through it. First, make sure that she is drinking water, so she 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 she 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 toddler 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.

    Answer by rkoloms at 9:16 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • The saying "a child wont starvfe themself" is totally true unless you are dealing with a special needs child (autistic kids will starve themselves, been there done that with my son).

    I'm using the cookbook Deceptively Delicious to get my 2 1/2 year old to eat better. He doesnt know his mac n cheese is covered in a mostly sweet potato sauce and he doesnt know his chicken nuggets are covered in spinach but he loves them just the same! I also make it a point to serve something he doesnt usually eat with every meal. He doesnt have to eat it but its always there in case he decides to try it on his own.

    Answer by sk_tennyson at 9:44 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • make sure you have kids protein/vitamin drinks....they are like ensure but for children. Both my boys have gone through that stage...and I've given them the drinks to substitute for any vitamins and proteins they are not getting. This "no eating" thing, as I've learned doesn't last long. I would give them no snacks and only water to suffice if they refused to eat. By the end of the day they were ready for dinner!! Just be patient, they will come around....

    Answer by LynnB1 at 11:07 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • No I dont give my children hardly any snacks at all. But she will take a bute of food and just keep chewing, and chweing, she won't swallow what she took a bite of. She just holds it and when we try to get her to swalllow she starts touching her throat like she is choking, even though she has not swallowed, or she starts to gag herself. She choked on a chicken bone about a month ao, and ever since then he has been doing it. And yes my husband did remove all the bones from that chicken leg, she was being naughty by not listening and grabbed the leg with no meat and managed to get the bone in her throat from accidentally swallowing it.

    Answer by Sarah2116 at 11:44 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • Hmmmm. My first thought was that something is making it physcially uncomforable for her to swallow. Have your ped take a look at her. I would be highly suspect that her tonsils may be enlarged to the point its difficult to get food past them.

    Answer by karamille at 12:22 PM on Jan. 3, 2010

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