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Any tips on a picky eater? She's 4 and says everything is "yucky".

It seems like all of the sudden, my once adventurous 4 year old doesn't want to eat anything that isn't peanut butter. She used to try whatever I was eating, and tonight I made Mandwich and corn for dinner...she refused to even try it and remained convinced that it was yucky. I got so frustrated, I yelled at her, and made her go to bed. I don't like that she's talking back, and like it even less that she's become so picky about food.

Any tips on expanding her limited palette? I don't want to be making two dinners all the time!

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Nawti

Asked by Nawti at 2:47 AM on Dec. 7, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 6 (151 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • I sort of agree with her on the manwich! ;)

    First - at about this age, kids slow down their growing and really don't need to eat as much as they used to, so don't get too anxious. A child has never starved to death in front of a full plate of food.

    Get her involved with the meal preparation. She'll be far more likely to try new things if she "made it". Have her help pick what's for dinner, "Do you want peas or beans, tonight?" The more involved she is, the more likely she'll be to taste.

    Mostly, just relax. If you keep offering good choices, she'll broaden her palatte as she ages.
    Dr.Donna

    Answer by Dr.Donna at 6:22 AM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • she'll eat when she gets hungry. Don't give in to the fussiness.
    Zoeyis

    Answer by Zoeyis at 7:30 AM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • Well the good news is you have a normal child. The other good news is she is asserting her independence. And still more good news she once ate everything and will return to the foods she once enjoyed. The key is not to make a big deal out of it. Your job is to prepare the food. Her job is to eat the food. You did your job but it is her choice if she wants to do her's. Not a big deal. Tell her you are planning to eat your food and if she is wanting to eat her's then it is her choice. But also inform you that it is a LOOOONG time until breakfast. She will learn that there is nothing between dinner and breakfast. Also important not to do deserts every night or to use desert and snacks as a weapon. It really only backfires when parents do this anyways. Having her assist in cooking meals is a good idea. I have my son cook with us. Sometimes it works and sometimes he wakes up very hungry.
    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:09 AM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • I was so frustrated when I wrote that...I appreciate the feedback. I'll definitely take your advice! I guess that lately I've been doing more individual cooking/preparing. Time for family dinners again!
    Nawti

    Comment by Nawti (original poster) at 11:31 AM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • OH DONT FEEL BAD HUNNY, MY SON ONLY EATS CHICKEN NUGGETS AND FRIES, CHINESE SOUPS FROM THE BAG, BREAD AND RICE WITH TOMATO SAUCE... EVERDAY FOR A YR AND A HALF!!! I KNOW ITS NO GOOD FOR HIM BUT THE KID WILL NOT BUDGE AND WILL NOT EAT MEAT OR PASTA OR CHEESE... NOTHING! HE WILL GO HUNGRY ALL DAY IF I DENY HIM HIS NUGGETS. MAYBE U GUYS CAN HELP ME OUT TOO! LOL
    1210MG

    Answer by 1210MG at 3:57 PM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • Simply do not give in. Your child will not die if they miss a few meals. DO NOT make individual meals, feed them what there is for breakfast/lunch/supper, and do not give them anything different for a snack if they say they're hungry after not eating the meal- save their plate in the fridge, and reheat it for their snack. At the next meal, feed them what you have made for everyone, if they choose not to eat it, save their plate again... A mentally healthy child will NOT starve, they may go a couple days without eating, but will eventually cave in and eat what you prepare.

    I am not a short order cook, this is not a restaurant. You eat what I prepare, or you do not eat. simple as that.
    ObbyDobbie

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 4:02 PM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • well you cant force a child to eat new things....just show her that trying new food is good and good for her....like with my son he is a 4 year old....i get him to try new things by telling him that they make his bones grow and give him big muscles,he LOVES it.....he is a boy though.....tell your little princess that eating new food will make her hair grow longer,give her pretty nails,make her healthy....im sure you will come up with something hun....till then good luck.....keep your head up,it will be fine,like i said tell her it will make her stronger,healthier,or something....my mom did it to me and ive been eating food that my mother wouldnt dare try to eat herself lol....
    SMALLfry05

    Answer by SMALLfry05 at 11:20 PM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • my son is a picky eater too, i give him the same dinner my husband and i eat. when hes hungry he willl eat it. no kid will starve themselves.i make him what he wants for lunch and he always eats cereal for breakfast. so dinner is the only thing we an issue about.
    youngmami07

    Answer by youngmami07 at 2:39 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • Make sure that you involve her in the cooking/preparation process. I was just reading an article the other day that kids who helped to cook meals were more likely to eat them as well. Plus at that age they LOVE to help in the kitchen and feel like the bog people. Get her a little apron, teach her the basics like washing hands before starting, show her how to measure and let her dump in and stir the ingredients. Even sit and look through a good cookbook with lots of photos and have her help plan the menu. Also, require good manners at the table. Let her know that you want to have someone special visit and eat something that she made but they will only come over if she is good. Treat the meals like taste-tests for the dinner party. Invite a friend and circle the calendar. Working towards the goal of the dinner party gives her a reason to eat and use manners, not just "Because mommy said so."
    LadyKatya

    Answer by LadyKatya at 7:22 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

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