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How do I get my 3 year old to eat?

My daughter is so picky and stubborn she wont eat anything but hot dogs, top ramen or fast food (mcdonalds/burger king). Friends, family and even WIC have told me to sit her down and "force" her to eat. If she doesnt, save it for the next meal. I made chicken pot pie the other night and picked out the chicken on her plate to avoid hearing her literally cry about not wanting to eat chicken. She ate it like that before. This time she started crying when she saw it. Fed up with being her short order cook I sent her to bed without eating. She didnt want it for breakfast lunch or dinner the next day either. So now we are on day two. It's lunch time and I put it in front of her. Tears. Bed. How long will she keep this up? They say, "dont give in, she wont starve herself." Well she is her mothers daughter, I would starve myself to avoid eating something gross.


Asked by Anonymous at 10:01 AM on Jan. 30, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

This question is closed.
Answers (4)
  • I wouldnt continue the fight with the chicken pot pie. Trash it and try something new. "They" are right, she wont starve herself. But just continue having good food in the house. If the ramen and hot dogs arent in the house she cant eat them. Eventually she will start trying new foods, especially if she sees mom eating healthy. :)

    Answer by duckigrrl at 4:26 PM on Jan. 30, 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 them.
    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 10:56 AM on Jan. 30, 2010

  • 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. Parents who cave are part of the reason why one half of American children are 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. Make sure that you are setting a great example by eating a variety of healthy foods


    Answer by rkoloms at 10:57 AM on Jan. 30, 2010

  • My son is on an peanut butter and honey sandwich kick, its seriously all he wants to eat, so I let him eat it! It could be something worse and at least he is eating something ya know.

    What I find helps my son is to have a lot of healthy options and snacks available all during the day, apples...bananas, cheese, veggies, raisins, grapes ect ect.
    and just let him snack all through the day and eat as much of those things as he least that way I know he is getting something to eat, I dont have to struggle with him to eat it and its all healthy stuff.
    I agree its a phase and eventually your child will eat more things and will sit down at the table and eat a proper dinner with the family, until then, pick your battles!

    Answer by jlizgar at 12:04 PM on Jan. 30, 2010

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