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Extremely picky eater 4 year old, HELP!

I have a 4 year old daughter who is an extremely picky eater, im ok on breakfast but when it comes to lunch and esp. dinner, im so stuck! we're expecting and ive heard from friends that often thier youngest follows the older siblings even at mealtimes so on top of worrying about her eating habbits im already worrying about the new babies eating habbits! Ive always been pretty picky myself, very plain eater - but i do eat where sometimes she hardly eats in a day.

The only things she eats are chicken nuggets/tenders (we've managed to get her to eat breaded chicken cut into smaller peices, will not any other type of chicken!) pierogies (plain cheese only), grilled cheese, tacos (meat and cheese only), mac n cheese, pb&j.

i think that about covered all of it so as you can probably imagine its hard picking and chosing between those few things for lunch AND dinner. There are things i KNOW she would like but cant even bribe her to try them....anything helps, thank you!

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Asked by mln422 at 1:56 PM on Jul. 25, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 6 (115 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • it is your job to make meals, it is her job to decide if she wants to eat

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 1:59 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • Honestly, we serve the kids what we are having for dinner. They can choose whether they are eating it, but that is what is for dinner. Keep offering new foods, and your daughter will eventually start to eat. My SIL was extremely picky as a child and would only eat a few things and she still only eats cheese tortillas and pickles. That's it.

    Answer by other_mother at 2:00 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • Don't cater to her. I make one meal for the 7 members of my family, including my 9 yo who has always been picky. If any of them don't like it (after trying it), they can make themselves a peanut butter sandwich with fresh fruit. Those are the only choices. I am not a short order cook and I will not subject my whole family to eating only the things my 9 yo likes. She won't starve.

    Answer by missanc at 2:01 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • ds (4yo) is picky too..sometimes we trick him int trying new things by calling it something he likes..pork chops are called bacon in our and we also name some foods after his fav salad is Team Umizoomi Shape Salad and we get him to point out the shapes like Geo when he is eating it. we call shishkabob bacon on a is Nemo (you would think that eating Nemo would be morbid to him but he loves it.."Ieat Nemo mommy..hes in my belly now")..since his birthday this month he has started taking 1 bit of things when i tell him too. before he would refuse, but no if he says no he will say yes to 1 bit without a fight (i was so happy that he started doing this) sometimes he will come back for more and others he will spit it out...i am seeing that as he is getting older he is becoming more open to new foods as long as they are presented in a way that he is comfortable with

    Answer by MonkeyMommyNJ at 2:05 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • Fix a dinner as you would normally for DH and yourself and make her a plate with a small portion of everything. Don't force her to try it, but don't let her push the plate away either. Praise her if she so much as puts any new food on her tongue. Fix her a small portion of something she does eat and put it on the plate also (no seconds or larger helping of the preferred foods if she wants more, she can choose something else off the plate). As for nutrition and making do until she lightens up on the pickiness....hide, hide, hide! Pureed cauliflower can be hidden very well in mac n' cheese..........pureed beans are easily hidden in taco meat.....finely chop baby spinach and add to the breading on the chicken....I'd also try taking her to the store once a week and let her pick a new food to try (anything she chooses except sweets) if she picks it, then she has to taste it. If she doesn't like it, just try again next week.

    Answer by Kimedbs at 2:08 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • I think you have some great tips already, but the best I could say would to start some sort of reward program. Like a special sticker for each time she tries something new... My oldest used to be SOOO picky when she was a baby so I would create a mini calendar for each week and each day I would write down the food we would try on the day we tried it. She had a good sticker and a bad sticker and if she liked it, she would use the good sticker and if she didn't she would use the bad sticker.
    I liked this cause we would always revert back to it when I made the food she liked again. She would throw a fit, and I would say "but look, you liked it"!!

    Answer by cheapsally at 2:12 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • Thank you for all your input and help, very much appreciated and will certainly take from all of these :)
    one other question, normally if she doesnt eat dinner she doesnt get a snack obviously and we also dont let her play games on the computer which she normally likes to do after dinner time. Am i right in doing this?

    Comment by mln422 (original poster) at 3:10 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • i feel that any parents form of parenting is right long as it is not endangering or harming the if you let her play game on the comp after dinner and it works for you..then you are in the right. me personally i let ds play games when ever he wants...there is not set time to eat in my house if you are hungry..then eat. sometimes ds wont eat breakfast till 12 or 1 in the afternoon.then sometimes he wants dinner around 5 so i will cook and fees him but i wont eat till later and dh usually dosent eat till 12am. we have no table in my apartment..i keep healthy food in my house (a few snack snacks) do i usually let ds graze all day if he wants a lunchable at 4pm and i am cooking i let him have it..i will just put his dinner away till tomorrow. hes not the type to saty eating all day. he eats when he is hungry and dosent eat when he is not. me and dh could be eating and ds will refuse and go play. this works for us!

    Answer by MonkeyMommyNJ at 3:22 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • so what works for one family doesnt necessarily (spell?) work for another..and what you approve of another mother may look at as wrong and inappropriate. its all about preference. if you feel that you are doing a good job and you kids are healthy, happy, and have manners and morals then you are doing a good job as a parent and who care about by which means that they learned. just my honest opinion. we can agree to disagree on this..but this is what i believe

    Answer by MonkeyMommyNJ at 3:32 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

  • I have a super fussy eater and actually posted about it here and someone suggested acid reflux might be part of the dilemna---and it was and has opened up a few other menu options. The other thing that has helped has been interacting with food. DS would not make pizza until we made them together and then he decided he liked pizza which is a huge relief on busy nights when we need take out. We went blueberry picking--and guess what he likes now.

    Answer by hotelmom123 at 4:33 PM on Jul. 25, 2011

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