Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I need your help.

This is one of those "I have a picky eater" cries for help.

Now,  before you formulate an answer for me please take this into consideration:

If You have been blessed with a child who eats a big variety of foods YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHERE I'M COMING FROM! So though your input is appreciated It wont do much. You can also assume why my child is picky and you can boast about how your child is an adventurous eater because he was exposed to healthy foods since day 1. umm nope... sorry to break it to you but though congratulations on your parenting you only have about as much to do with it as you do with the color of his/her eyes.  My husband and I love a variety of fruits and are big fans of vegetables.. we can be picky ourselves but never to this extent. and yes we were picky eaters as children.

My children once ate vegetables and  fruits and grains and yogurts and they cried for more artichokes and preferred carrots over chocolate.

Now I am not saying I am not at fault here... I have slowly given up hope thus reinforcing their (especially the 5 yr old's) unusual eating habits. I am a short order cook who only makes her perennial favorites in order to just get her to eat something! 

I also say both my children because my 15 month old the one who I made sure to feed as much as a variety as possible, the one who would eat all kinds of squashes and table foods and loved everything we would eat at the table is starting to mimic her sister and refuse to eat anything unless it's what her sister is having. 

This is where I draw the line.. this is where I need to ask for help as I feel this is a parenting issue where I don't feel in control anymore.. if that is the right word for it.

OK, let me explain my 5 yr old's pickyness.

Her pickyness stems from visual/texture  she definitely eats with her eyes first, and it has to be a certain texture or she will not eat it.. for example she likes cheese however she will not eat it if it is melted, she likes chicken but it can only be in the form of  chicken dinos (she will not eat any other kind) or it has to be grilled chicken breast  heck let me just give you the least of what she will eat since it's not even that long.

Drinks:  Milk, Soy Milk, cranberry, grape, apple juice. (sometimes orange)
Meats:  Chicken (dinos or grilled breast) Bacon (If it's super cooked she hates soft parts)  She used to eat red meat but now refuses it.  Hot dogs (Hebrew nationals are the ones we give her though she would eat any well we tried soy once and she spit them out)  Eggs (sometimes hit or miss, If they have chorizo in them which is a Mexican sausage then she will almost always eat them)
Cheese:  mild cheddar or string cheese only (as a snack with mustard yeah daddy's weird snack she likes)
Pasta:  pretty much any pasta as long as it has tomato sauce.  But only tomato sauce, no tomato chunks, no cheese, no meats. She HATES mac and cheese.
Bread: She has no problem with.
Fruits: Apples.  (yup only apples)
Vegetables: corn (only grilled) and potatoes as french fries (though I don't consider that a vegetable) 
Nuts:  cashews. peanuts. sunflower.

oh and of course.... Pizza but even then it has to be a certain kind from a certain place or she will not eat it.

What happens when I sneak food, or try to make her eat something? She gets disgusted, gags, and has even thrown up and gotten ill after oh and of course the crying on the floor..

Does she know when I sneak stuff in or substitute? The majority of times yes.. though sometimes it's been successful to lets say hide squash in pasta sauce.

What if I don't give in and give what we have as the only option? She wont eat.. she will go all day without eating.. which is why often I just give in and have her eat something... ANYTHING!

So my call for help is for those who have had experience with picky eaters... PLEASE HELP!!!  What can I do? What can I cook?  I am loosing the battle with my 15 month old and that is what is killing me the most!

I'm at a loss please steer me in the right direction...


  1. Have you ever tried smoothies? Sometimes that's the only way my son will get his veggies in. I especially love adding pureed spinach or kale to a smoothie made with fruit, yogurt, and his favorite juice (which changes by the week... sometimes by the hour).

    When you do the smoothies, no one can taste the veggies (although sometimes they make the drinks turn green).

    Just a thought from another momma with a picky eater.

  2. Mine's only 2, but he who ate all sorts of international foods has in recent months become a pizza/chicken nugget/hotdog snob, and he used to eat any fruit, now he turns up his nose. And he'll eat pasta, but only with no sauce.

    I'm still experimenting, but the one success I have consistently had is stuffed tortellini. He'll eat the spinach & cheese and the cheese & garlic types. I also try to get pasta that's made with vegetables, but I don't know if the colors might throw her off... (Our fave tortellini and veggie pasta brand is Ronzoni)

    Good luck! I'll be checking back to see what everyone else says cause I could use the help too!

  3. i could u some advice too! my son just doesn't want to eat anymore, he use to LOVE eating. now he could care less about eating. he is turning 2 in october. one thing that does work is giving him smoothies, since he likes to be on the go he can take it with him anywhere. i give them to him in a cup with a cover and a straw. or i take the smoothies and freeze them in popsicle molds so he can eat the smoothies that way. i put all sorts of stuff in the smoothies. fruits are amazing at hiding the flavor of all sorts of stuff. i put spinach, peanut butter, flaxseed, juice, melon, blueberries, strawberries, bananas. anything u want really. carrots, zucchinni. its worth a try. my son loves rice, pasta, cheese, and crackers of all sorts. that's pretty much it right now. so the smoothies are a life saver as far as getting nutrients goes. hope this helps.

  4. Sooooo hard. Hang in there. I love the approaches at Hand in Hand Parenting. Here are links to 2 articles about picky eaters:



  5. my oldest has a list shorter than your daughter's. He is 9 and has recently surprised us by trying some new things. It's not really about the food as much as its a control thing. Be positive, try encouraging new foods and don't try to fight it because at 5, she can just sneak snacks and you probably won't know it. I usually try to find a food thats similar to a preferred food and describe it before he tries it.
    I was s super picky eater and I outgrow it in my late teens. Just focus on the habits so she will learn about portion sizes and junkfood and that's all you should focus on now.
    As for the baby imitating her, you have to make a deal with her to be a better role model and fake that she's loving what the baby has on her plate.

  6. I do not comment from my knowledge, but from a good friend. Her daughter is the pickiest eater I know. In fact, like yours, if she is "forced" to eat something, she won't eat. She looses weight, I'm talking (she's tall mind you and in second grade), but she's 4'9'' and 65 pounds! My Dear friend had her taken to the local Children's Hospital Eating Specialty Group, she had her adnoids removed. She tried the food sneaking thing, which for the most part didn't work. When she did have something she would eat, like cheese, or a tortilla with cheese, it would take her F-O-R-E-V-E-R to finish eating!

    Again, not all kids are the same, but it was recently discovered the she has ADD, so the meds she now takes help her in school and stay focused... BUT they decrease her appetite! Talk about driving a mother crazy! So, now my friend is taking her daughter to a psychologist. I'm hoping that she can shed some light into it, and I hope your challenges lead you down a different path. But I wanted to share my friend's journey.

    Good Luck

  7. 2 of my 3 kids are picky eaters. They both ate a wide variety of foods until they were about 3 and then it became a struggle. My son is now 11 and he has had the same thing in his lunchbox every day of school since kindergarten: yogurt, peanut butter sandwich with the crust cut off, strawberries, and cheese crackers. His dinner and breakfast meals haven't changed much in that time either. One of my daughters is even pickier, though. She is like your daughter and will gag, throw up, or violently react if we force her to try a taste of something. My husband and I decided that it is not worth the fight. Like Tracy said above, though, both of my picky eaters have been diagnosed with ADHD--which seems to cause an intense sensitivity to taste and texture (my son can tell the difference between brands of peanut butter and refuses to eat anything but creamy Jiff. Forget buying what's on sale--it will just go to waste!)

    What really really helps them to try new foods is PEER PRESSURE. Crazy, huh? Their school has a program called Pick a Better Snack where a trained dietician comes in and introduces the kids to different fruits and vegetables. When the whole class is trying it, they will try it too! Then they come home and ask, "Can you buy some carrot sticks and ranch? How about some Jicama?" Maybe if you have a playgroup where a lot of kids are eating a variety of foods, your kids will try them too!

  8. Well, my kiddo is a good bit younger than yours, she's only 2.5. But she's definitely a picky eater, her list includes NO meat, NO eggs. the only protein she eats is in dairy form or nuts. No veggies either (well, yesterday she touched a piece of asparagus to her tongue but I don't think that counts). This is a kid who used to eat EVERYTHING. Her first food was whole green beans. She ate spicy chili, lentils, kale (KALE for god's sake!!!), carrots, tomatoes, all kinds of stuff. Not so much around 18 months it went all the hell. Anyway, if I write too much more I'll start to freak myself out.

    In order for us not to freak out on a regular basis, we follow Ellen Satter's advice-- parents' responsibility is to decide what, when, where the kids can eat, and it's the kid's responsibility to decide whether and how much to eat. So we offer, offer, offer whatever it is that we are eating for dinner and then Thalia decides what she's eating. We cheat a little bit by always having something on her plate that she will eat - cheese, fruit, rice, or pasta - as well as all the other stuff. Usually she just eats that which she knows and loves and utterly rejects everything else. But, she's not starving. Your kiddo won't starve either. You may have to make some alterations for this, taking into account her issues with texture.

    Now if you've been doing the short order cook thing for awhile it may be really hard to change that habit- both for you and for her.

    I also agree with peer pressure. I know my daughter eats more & more varied things at daycare (all the kids get the same food) than she does at home. Although mostly she still just eats fruit.

  9. oh-- we also do the smoothie thing. You can also turn the smoothie into popsicles if you buy those popscicle (why is that impossible to spell. It's too hot to try and figure it out!) forms and freeze them. Nice for summer.

    Also, meant to include link for Ellen Satter,

  10. One trick I have tried (and succeeded) was to blend up vegetables and add them into the sauce. If the aren't chunky, they don't know they are there. :)

  11. My 14-month-old seems to be on the same track. She used to eat EVERYTHING now some days it feels like the only foodI can guarantee getting down her is... boob! Sigh. At least she's getting nourishment. Her super fab pediatrician (an all-out lactivist) advises the zen approach, this is from his blog, quoting Carlos González's book Mi niño no me come http://lactanciaypediatrialaplata.blogspot.com/search/label/A-COMO%20DAR%20DE%20COMER%20A%20LOS%20NI%C3%91OS%28GONZALEZ%29 THeir bottom line, give them healthy options but don't stress if they don't eat much variety or quantity, their little bodies are wiser than we think. Oh, and this song might make you feel better... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyYUm1b9gwI

  12. My daughter is very picky also. She will hardly ever eat things that look different than what she is used to. I try new foods with her every day. I bribe her with watching TV. My best tip that really works but it's hard to be consistent with is just keep trying, keep offering, and only keep healthy food in the house. For instance, if she's only ever eating mac & cheese, stop buying it. It seems like it's a desperate situation and you need to get her to eat and you can't let her go hungry etc. But trust me, she will eventually eat SOMETHING. Just offer her a bunch of things you'd like her to try and she'll eventually pick one and eat. And just because she says no to avocado 10 times, does not mean she won't try it the 11th time and like it! At least in theory. =) Good luck!



Related Posts with Thumbnails