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2 1/2 year old daughter is starving herself...

My daughter is 2 1/2. She's always been a very picky eater. Even when she was just on baby food. The only things she will eat is chicken nuggets (only from mcdonalds), pasta, macaroni and cheese, and pizza. She will not eat meat. I've always kinda just given her things I know she'll eat. But it's gotten to the point where she hardly even eats the things she DOES like. We started yesterday being more strict, and putting a meal in front of her and offering it over and over until she eats it, or goes to bed. So since yesterday, all she has eaten is a bowl of cereal, and a piece of toast with peanut butter. She complains that her belly hurts, and I assume its because she is hungry, and will not eat. Please help me, I'm at a loss, and I don't know what to do. I know they say a child will not starve themselves, but you don't understand...she really is. She WONT eat. It really hurts me that she is doing this to herself. Please help.

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:03 PM on Apr. 15, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (8)
  • I actually heard a speaker that was a child and special needs nutritionist. She suggested many things, but one of them was not hiding the flavor of foods in things, but allowing children to talk about how hey look, feel taste etc. so they won't be afriad to try new things, Also having a variety of foods for each meal and of course eating as a family. When children see that you are eating it they are more likely to want it too because they see its ok to eat. So for instance she may have some protein, whole grains, veggies, fruit or even some dessert at the table at the same time. They get to choose pick from a variety of foods on the table (giving them a portion that is age appropriate of course) and make sure there is atleast one thing on their plate that they are familiar with and like. I hope this helps :)

    Answer by Precious333 at 9:11 PM on Apr. 15, 2010

  • my son (also 2 1/2) is going through the same type of thing. I have tried being strict- but I feel too guilty after he doesn't eat for a day or so.
    To get him to eat veggies, I heat up canned beans, peas or corn and put it in front of him while I make his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (on bread with added protein and fiber). He will munch on them until his sandwich is ready.
    Also, if i ask for a bite of something he is refusing to eat he says NO and then takes a bite.

    do whatever you feel is best. 2 days is not long enough for a kid to start starving (especially an american child). all i know, is my son has had 6 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the last 4 days.

    maybe offer 2 choices for each meal "would you like chicken nuggets or lasagna for lunch?" my son will usually choose chicken nuggets- but after watching me eat lasagna he starts to ask for that sometimes)

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:52 PM on Apr. 15, 2010

  • my 20 month old is entering his anti-fruit and veggie stage... we got him some V8 fusion and watered it down, he'll drink that stuff like crazy so at least he's getting something. He's also a huge carb addict, but now his favorite snack is peanut butter on a spoon - no bread. we went to the store yesterday and he spotted the peanut butter, grabbed the jar off the shelf and ran down the store aisles screaming "poon! poon!".
    god that was embarassing.
    now we have a juicer, I make him his own veggie/fruit juice. his favorite is spinach and apple - go figure.

    Answer by plylerjones at 6:50 AM on Apr. 16, 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 8:42 AM on Apr. 16, 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 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 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • If she's not loosing any weight , don;t worry she will eat when shes hungry. little one don't usually starve themselfs. My daughter was the same way at age 2, but when I took her to her pediatrician he said her color is fine, her wieght is good , so he told me not to worry she was fine maybe some of her taste buds are changing. or maybe she is going through a phase, of not being very hungry, so as long as she was drinking her milk, or juice or water, she was fine. I was very worried as swell , because to me she looked very thin. after sometime she did go back to eating normally.

    Answer by incarnita at 9:04 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • I would talk to her doctor. I also agree with the advice to offer a variety of things each meal, whether she'll eat them or not. My second cousin just started college and up until middle school he ate NOTHING but cheese pizza from pizza hut. I'm not exaggerating. I'm not sure why he isn't dead. I think he'd be a good candidate for a trashy talk show. He still now only eats a few other things. He would go to a birthday party and bring his own slice of pizza. It's appalling and horrible, but it's true. Unfortunately, when he was a toddler, the advice his parents were given was, just give him what he wants to eat, to make sure he eats something. I guess they never made it out of that phase. Granted, this is pathological. I'm sure your daughter's falls more in the normal range, but in your place I would at least talk to your pediatrician but maybe even a nutritionist.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 9:18 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • Also, if her tummy hurts, there's a chance she could have a mild allergy or an intolerance for something she's eating. I'd start keeping a food log for her and write down everything she consumes and how she acts, feels, etc.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 9:19 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

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