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REBECCAM18's Photo REBECCAM18 SparkPoints: (12,190)
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3/13/17 4:42 P

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I have toddlers, who I am pretty sure are picky by definition. You can't really reason with a 1-year-old, so there are times that we worry more about getting calories into him than where those calories are coming from. Like when he was going through a growth spurt and waking up for 2-4 hours per night. Every. Single. Night.

My older child is 4, and I think she's more stubborn at times than picky. We make her try at least one bite of something new, and if she doesn't like it, we don't force the issue. We do thank her for trying it. If she's refusing to eat something that we know she will eat, either because she's had it before or there aren't any new ingredients, then we make her eat at least half, if not all, based on how much of her other foods she has already eaten.



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3/12/17 7:33 P

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Not really picky just lots of allergies: two kids one with celiac disease and the other with different food allergies



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DOUGDC's Photo DOUGDC SparkPoints: (45,315)
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3/12/17 6:40 P

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Quite a story, @SKEPCHICK. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you've been able to harness a lot of patience.



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SKEPCHICK Posts: 2,563
3/12/17 10:07 A

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Ex picky eater, married to a picky eater, who gave birth to a picky eater whose aversion was serious enough for Early Intervention treatment as a wee one.

Today the kid is 6 and his aversion is no better or worse than other kids his age. He eats broccoli, red pepper strips, mandarin oranges, apple slices, red grapefruit, carrots, asparagus...

First, lower the stakes. Start with just placing a portion of the food on the kid's plate.

Do NOT expect the kid to eat it. Does the kid tolerate the food sitting on the plate (not touching other foods) through the meal? That's a win.

At the second meal with the new food, just ask the kid to pick it up (in hand or by fork, depending). If that happens, that is a success.

Third time, ask the kid to place a bit of the food in contact with his/her lips.

Fourth time, ask the kid to take a bite of it. One bite.

Never ask the kid to eat more than one bite of a new food. The rule in our house is to take one bite of everything on the plate. Also, try to limit it to one new food per meal. Ideally everything else should be accepted/familiar.

Do not move the goalposts--only require one bite of a new thing. Do NOT indulge the (understandable) desire to encourage the kid to eat more. Respect that the kid did what you asked and back off.

And so we're clear--trying the food successfully once is not enough. Studies show that kids need to try a food up to 15 times before they decide they like it. 'Try' means actually eating it. Chewing must happen to count.

Point being: If the kid says 'I tried it last time and I didn't like it', it's up to you whether you want to push it. I say require one bite and move on. But keep track. How many times has the kid tried it? If you're between nine and 15 tries, maybe back off, depending on what the food is.

Note also--my picky kid did not recognize the transitive property of food. Trying spaghetti at home did NOT mean all spaghetti cooked anywhere, by anyone, was now OK. My favorite pasta place's spaghetti was a new food to my kid, even though he would eat spaghetti made at home. Be aware that your kids might behave the same way.

Also--do not assign a moral value to food. When giving kids new foods to try, treat
a new fun-size candy bar just the same as a new vegetable. The barrier is not the food itself, it's the fear of trying a new food.

And do not give the kid any reward for eating outside of saying thanks for trying it. Don't make a big honking deal out of clearing the plate or not clearing it. Acknowledge and move on.

The pickiness will abate when you are able to get the kid to understand that trying new foods can be scary, but worth it. Sometimes you will like the new food, and sometimes you won't; that's just how food works. Also, you might like a food prepared one way, or from a particular restaurant, but not like it at all otherwise. That's how it works sometimes, too, and that's OK.

FWIW, we have tried involving our picky kid in shopping for food and cooking the meal. In our case, that had NO effect on his interest in actually eating the food. Not a bit. He still flatly refused to eat the broccoli he chose, and refused the spaghetti he broke and dropped in the boiling water.

He also showed no interest in copying us, nor did watching other children at school eat something help, either. For his first year of Pre-K I sent him with a bag of apple slices to augment the breakfast. He was the only kid in the class who would not eat them. Every other kid happily did. He DID eat them in year two of Pre-K, but he went through the whole first year, Sept to June, watching his friends clamor for his apple slices and show happiness that he brought them and that wasn't enough to move him to try them.

Giving him time to acclimate, step by step, did work. It took A LOT of time. Literally years. He still has random, unpredictable episodes where he suddenly won't try to eat something new. But! We now have a reliable roster of fruits and vegetables that he will eat, which is what we needed most. And sometimes he surprises us by asking to try something we're eating.

Good luck, all. Have patience.















Edited by: SKEPCHICK at: 3/12/2017 (10:13)
DOUGDC's Photo DOUGDC SparkPoints: (45,315)
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3/10/17 5:58 P

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I see a lot of good suggestions. Copying what parents do is the main way kids learn stuff. Doesn't always work.



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YANKEEGIRL6's Photo YANKEEGIRL6 Posts: 1,183
3/10/17 12:25 P

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My child has never really been picky, but he is a much more adventurous eater when he participates in preparing a meal. I encourage him to browse at the grocery store, especially in the produce department, for something that looks interesting he might want to try. Now that he's older, he goes online and searches up ways of preparing what he chooses. He rarely turns up his nose at any vegetable mixed into a soup or stir fry.

I'll probably take some heat for this, but I don't care. I acclimated him to a lot of vegetables by preparing them with a strip of bacon and a little brown sugar. I started him on green beans like that and advanced to cabbage and brussel sprouts. He has happily accepted anything prepared like that.


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SLENDERELLA61's Photo SLENDERELLA61 Posts: 10,029
3/10/17 10:59 A

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My grandkids would rather be hungry than eat lots of healthy foods. The 10 year old is not near When I give her servings rather than allowing her to serve herself she constantly is saying she is still hungry. When I tell her her only choice is an apple or carrots, she eats whatever I say. She just seems really hungry. She is right at the top of normal weight for her height. The little one just won't try new things. She doesn't even like traditional kids foods like macaroni and cheese. She really doesn't like any meat. She wants her pasta plain and a pile of grated cheese beside it. She eats some fruits and some veggies. For her the only thing I have to limit is milk, particularly chocolate milk. Overall what she eats isn't too bad, but going out with her it is unlikely there is anything she will eat at a friend's home or a restaurant. Both kids will overeat sugar at times, although the little one sometimes doesn't want anything sweet either.

I am trying to feed them both well, although I am only feeding them 30% of their meals as I do the child care for their parents.


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DAUNTLESSDANI's Photo DAUNTLESSDANI Posts: 427
2/27/17 2:43 P

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I take a very laid back approach to meals. I plate the meal, and she can eat as much of it as she wants. I offer a variety, so she's getting good nutrition regardless of her choices. She eats what she wants and doesn't eat what she doesn't want, but I'm not making something different for her or giving her an alternate option. What's for the meal is what's for the meal, period. If you're hungry enough, you'll eat it. If not, you can eat at the next meal or snack time.

Since it is just the two of us, I do sometimes ask her what she wants to have for dinner. Also, sometimes, she'll just ask for a specific dinner. If it's reasonable and we have the stuff for it, I'm glad to make what she wants.

Plate up a variety of fruits and veggies on his plate at meals and snacks. He'll get used to seeing them and will try them eventually, but you have to be consistent. You can't just toss broccoli on his plate once a week and expect him to want to try it. It doesn't work that way. And, of course, the parents HAVE to model the veggie and fruit eating behavior.

You can also try to acclimate his palate to fruits and veggies by working them into things that he does eat. You can put pureed squash into your cheese sauce the next time you make macaroni and cheese. You can make a fresh smoothie with a variety of fruits and veggies. He won't be overwhelmed with the flavor of the veggies but he will start to adjust to having the hint of their taste on his palate, and that might ease him into liking them a little bit.

I also think it's a really good idea to involve your child in shopping for groceries as much as you can. I have ALWAYS let Maddalena choose some fresh produce items in the grocery store. She gets excited to eat them at home. She has established her favorites this way, too. The bonus is that it teaches them to shop in a healthy way as they grow up. She'll be three in May, and she already communicates that she has an idea in her head of what you do when you go to the store. She'll narrate the shopping trip, "OK, now we're going to get some yogurt. OK, let's get some eggs," as we go though the store. It will be a great feeling not to worry too much that your kid will hit adulthood and not know what they should be eating or buying, especially since we know that stores are pretty tricky about trying to get you to buy garbage.

I hope this helps. I'm fully aware that some kids are just pickier about this stuff than other kids, and that I've had it easy with my daughter. She's always been great about veggies, especially green veggies, and it's just a matter of her taste and preferences. I don't think it's anything I did, in particular.

JENN53888's Photo JENN53888 Posts: 147
2/22/17 10:16 A

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I have autistic kids, and autism is beyond picky. For a time my oldest ate nothing but Plain noodles (and only elbow) chicken nuggets and french fries from mcdonalds chocolate milk, peanut butter sandwiches and plain pizza. She ate nothing else. No fruit no veggies, and you couldn't sneak veggies into meals like you can with other kids. She could taste anything you tried to put in.. she also could tell if you changed brands. Dinner was always stressful and ended with a power struggle, unless we were serving one of the things she ate, and lets face it, no one wants to eat plain noodles and peanut butter sandwiches everynight. She went months without eating dinner. At school she ate a lunchable. same one. EVERYDAY.

We decided to do something about it one day and "New Food Fridays" was born.

Every friday I'd give her some suggestions on new foods to try. They always branched off of something she liked already if she didn't want to pick, which for sure in the beginning she was overwhelmed and freaked out I would choose the easiest thing I think had a shot... at first, it was different brands of foods she already liked, and when she tried it, I paid her. That was the reward we picked. I imagine whatever encourages your child to do something that doesn't cost a lot (at the time it was like a quarter) but she was motivated by money. She didn't have to like it, I just wanted her to TRY it. and there were foods over the period of time we did this for that she didn't like, and that was fine.

When we got her onto spaghetti noodles, we tried spaghetti. Then Lasagna. Pizza turned into pizza with toppings, Those toppings eventually turned into just eating the toppings.. (veggies with some pepperoni slices with chunks of cheese as a snack) By the time we ended it she was eating a much larger amount of foods. this was 6 years ago. She's 12 now and she eats a much better variety of stuff. She likes raw veggies now.. she doesn't like dressings of any kind (I never could get her to try them though. lol) she eats fruits, she likes different cereals and We eventually branched into hamburgers.. This whole process wasn't quick, but I'd check out this idea. And get "poppa" eating the stuff too! Maybe if he sees he likes them, he'll try them as well.. it worked with crasins. lol My suggestions would be to start pouring ranch on everything you want him to try. Try different lettuce varieties.. try different apple varieties, Try different grapes, Other dried fruits. You got some options with a kid that will eat some fruits and veggies. I started from complete ground zero. lol

Jennifer, Mom to 3, Just keep trying.


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JADIEGIRL1974's Photo JADIEGIRL1974 SparkPoints: (57,736)
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2/8/17 12:48 P

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Picky eaters are tough! Usually I do not give choices regarding what they can have for dinner/meals. I tell my picky eater at the beginning of the week what we are having over the next few days. he either eats it or doesn't. If not - nothing else for the rest of the evening or day until he has more of what he is avoiding. I also try to include him on deciding what meals we will have and grocery shopping in hopes he will try new foods. It can work, depending on his mood, lol



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OBIESMOM2's Photo OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (220,400)
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2/8/17 11:57 A

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when we lived with my aunt, her philosophy on what kids will eat was 'eat it or wear it'. We had NO choice at all. Sis is pickier than I am, but neither of us have ever been rude or disrespectful when served food.

The problem we had when living with our aunt was that she fixed liver on a regular basis (smelled great...taste and texture, BLEGH!) So we would cut it in very small pieces, coat it in Heinz 57, and swallow it without chewing.

Neither of us eat mayonnaise. Any time Aunt Alyce made sandwiches, she used mayo. We'd manage to choke it down, but it usually came right back up.

I'm sure it was just our imagination, but it seemed like she regularly fixed the things she knew we didn't like.





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EXNOLA Posts: 290
2/8/17 10:11 A

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I have one picky eater as well (one normal eater- argh! if only the same techniques worked on all kids!). My nearly 9 year old has been super picky from the start. At first, when he was underweight and eating only 1 or two items, we let him play with his food. Any exposure was good. The idea was that if he saw it, touched it, smelled, it tasted it, he may eventually actually eat it. This worked for a time. I would make sure there was something he would eat at every meal (for a while, that meant breakfast sausage at every single meal) and over time this did expand his pallet. However, it was not enough. We then instituted a few bite rule around age 5 or 6. Everything needed to be tasted but then he could choose what he wanted to eat. I stopped making sure there was something he would eat at every single meal and encouraged him to eat the least disgusting to him food. This helped a bit, but we still have issues but there were many times when he would choose to go to bed hungry because I refuse to give him pizza, hamburgers, or spaghetti every meal (I would pick one of those once a week to make sure he got at least 1-2 large dinners a week).
Over the summer, I read the book French Kids Eat Everything and have modified my approach. We limit snacks more than we did before and he eats what we eat no matter what now. I'm done with the "take 2 bites" bit. If I serve it, he has to eat it and it has to be the way it is intended to be served. I give small portions and he can have seconds of whatever he liked, but he must eat everything on his plate the first go round. Example- we made Coq au Vin with parsley potatoes and peas last week. He "doesn't eat" chicken or potatoes. So, I gave him about 1/2 a chicken thigh (about 1.5 oz of meat) and 3 one inch square potatoes and a fair amount of peas (he eats peas, but they had to be frozen. No More! I cooked them and even buttered them- he "hates" butter). He had to eat it all- again, not much food. It makes dinner take longer but in the last few months it has taken the strain off of planning meals because I'm no longer trying to bend the menu around what he "likes" or might eat. He no longer balks at having to eat a cup of salad anymore and would choose it over some other vegetables that I serve now.
Side note- I only do this at dinner. Breakfast and lunch are foods he will eat and enough of them that he doesn't need to snack much. As much as it pains me to give him roast beef plain on bread with no condiments or a sunflower seed butter sandwich every day, I'll do it because I'm not there to make sure he eats the more experimental foods.
Another side note- My son is no longer underweight. He's still very thin, but he is on the charts. I would be doing things a bit differently if he were still not growing and gaining weight. As I said- food has been an issue for him since day 1.
One way to introduce flavors would be veggie pouches. Until recently, both of my kids really liked the Peter Rabbit veggie pouches. I used to send those in lunch boxes every day for a few years. Both my kids like fruit, though. Bananas, apples, oranges, kiwi are also all lunch box staples.



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LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 23,690
2/7/17 4:26 P

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"I need suggestions on how to get my son to like or even try fruits and vegetables."

Serve them to him at the same time you are eating them, and have him try two bites.

IMHO, kids are picky when you allow them to be picky.

Edited by: LUANN_IN_PA at: 2/7/2017 (16:27)
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ANNE-IN-GTX's Photo ANNE-IN-GTX Posts: 861
2/7/17 3:07 P

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How old is your son?

If he's under the age of 18 years old, and living at home, he should be eating what he's given!!!

What is with parents being dictated to by children?!?!?

Anne
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SHERYLDS's Photo SHERYLDS Posts: 17,137
2/7/17 12:38 P

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hide them in the food.
Make meatloaf and add sauteed veggies, or black beans, or chopped spinach to the mixture.
Make mashed potatoes with cauliflower or parsnips added.
Make a smoothie shake and add just a little cooked carrot to the blend.
There are plenty of websites that talk about tricks.

www.summertomato.com/11-proven-ways-to-get
-kids-to-eat-more-vegetables


When cooking pasta:
Near the end of the pasta cooking time, add your child’s favorite vegetable to the boiling water, drain and combine it with the sauce.
'
When you’re making sloppy joes or meat-based spaghetti sauce:
Reduce the amount of ground beef and add some finely chopped mushrooms to the mix. The meaty texture of mushrooms is similar to the ground beef, and they absorb the rich flavors of the sauce.


Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 2/7/2017 (12:39)
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MANDIETERRIER1's Photo MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 16,790
2/7/17 10:06 A

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Find items that his poppa likes. Have him exclaim. I love broccoli! Or whatever.



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2/7/17 9:52 A

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have you tried growing veggies or fruit? Even if you don't have a yard, there are many 'container garden' options. Maybe if he grows some strawberries or blueberries, or banana peppers he'd be more interested in tasting what he's grown.

also, do you have any 'pick your own' places near by? There are several here, and I see families picking strawberries, muscadines, blackberries, peaches, apples, etc.

The most handicapped person in the world is a negative thinker; a person who has the skills, abilities, talents and tools, yet chooses not to use them.
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Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.
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LAURAL8522's Photo LAURAL8522 Posts: 58
2/7/17 8:57 A

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I need suggestions on how to get my son to like or even try fruits and vegetables. He will eat lettuce if it has ranch dressing or the dressing from Olive Garden and he likes corn. As far as fruits he kind of likes grapes and apples. He will eat crasins because his poppa likes them.



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