View Full Version : Picky eater to the extreme! Any ideas?

09-22-2004, 04:17 PM
DS is the pickiest eater. I know that it is normal for 2yr olds to be this way, but he has not eaten a vegetable or a fruit in well over a year now. He sometimes eats a few raisins or dried bananas, but not often.
Dairy - glass of milk 1st thing in am and sometimes after nap. Maybe yogurt once/week or 2. That's it. Has recently tried grated parmesan (calls it sprinkles) but not enough to count as a dairy serving. That's it for dairy.

Protein - (other than dairy) - peanut butter or chicken nuggets. Nothing else.

Fruits/veggies - none other than a few raisins etc.

Grains - bread, waffles, some cereals, crackers, pretzels, Goldfish etc. Oh, likes dry pasta, but not cooked!

This is it! He eats a waffle or dry cereal (won't do w/ milk any more) or a granola/cereal bar for breakfast.
Lunch is pnut butter sandwich or crackers.
Dinner is chicken nuggets and a piece of bread. Occ. some rice from the Lipton packets.

Drinks water most of day other than the 1-2 cups of milk and 4-6 oz juice. He has problems with constipation and the apple juice seems to help. (no wonder he's constipated with so little fiber!)

This is every day - days, weeks, months on end. When does it end? He's been growing fine, but that is mostly on snack food since he eats little else. I feel that his energy level has dropped. I don't know if he's not sleeping well or enough, or if it's his extremely poor nutrition. Is there anything to be done? Should I just keep gong along and not worry? Everyone else says, don't worry, he'll grow out of it! But, he is the most stubborn, willful child, and I don't see it ending any time soon.

Oh, I forgot to mention - he's never even tried these foods that he won't eat! Unless you count the times he ate them before he decided to be picky! (at about 1yr old!) Does anyone enforce a 1 bite rule? Can that be done, or does it just backfire somehow? I'm sure he wouldn't try any of this stuff unless it was shoved down his throat!

Sorry for the long post - I'm just so worried about his health. He acts tired alot, and doesn't seem as energetic. I do give him a vitamin every day!

Thanks for any ideas or suggestions!

09-23-2004, 01:09 AM
It sounds to me like he eats ok, with the exception of the fruits and veggies. Have you talked to his doctor about his energy levels? Do you give him a multi-vitamin? If not maybe that would help if he is missing anything essential, since it sounds like he is getting enough calories. I would say check with the doc before doing that too just to be sure.

mom to Jacob 9/27/02

09-23-2004, 10:02 AM
I don't know if his energy has anything to do with not eating fruits and veggies...my DS has similar tastes, but he does eat fruit and limited veggies (only broccoli and cucs and only occasionally). Did you try putting the pbutter on the fruit since he likes it? Like on apple slices or slip some into his sandwich. Myabe that would get him to eat it.

I always try to get my DS to try things by putting them on his plate, but don't force the one bite...how would you do that anyway??? I try not to get to worried and let him eat what he eats because I fear it would backfire and make him more picky. I don't want meal time to be a struggle.

Good luck! I know it can be frustrating. Hopefully your ped will have some answers on his energy.

09-23-2004, 04:33 PM
The only way I get my kids to eat veggies(DS does eat broccoli) is to put jarred baby food into their pancakes, waffles, and muffins. I used to make Bisquick pancakes with 1 cup of bananas, but now I make them with 8-12 oz of sweet potato, butternut squash, or peas and carrots. You can't really taste a difference, and I know that they are at least getting a couple of spoonfuls per pancake. Zucchini bread and banana bread are also very popular around here as they taste like cake.

Does your DS eat fries? You might be able to get him to eat sweet baked potato fries.

As for fruit, both kids eat some, but not all fruit. We are very lucky that both LOVE strawberry, banana smoothies. Ours have 8oz of soymilk, one banana, and 8 frozen strawberries. This recipe makes two full sippies and one happy mom. I have also been known to give my kids frozen bananas with chocolate drizzled on them.

Picky eaters are hard and it takes a lot of experimenting before you find the right *button*! HTH!

mom 2 Katie 12/02/00
& Jack 04/16/02

09-23-2004, 11:01 PM
I'm lucky in that my daughter DOES eat almost every fruit/vegetable out there, but we had the same problem with protein/meat products. I used a suggestion I found in a book:

When we sit down to eat if she just picks at her food and says that she is 'all done' then I tell her she can eat this now or at our next meal/snack (resist the urge to say 'just one bite honey'). Wrap up the food and stick it in the fridge. Next time she requests food ('I'm hungry, I want a snack, etc.) pull out the meal, nuke it, and serve it. Sooner or later she will eat it.

Now, if it is something that she has tried and really didn't like, then I don't force it on her, but I'll try something similar. So I don't go forcing her to eat gizzards or anything. We also 'bribe' her with one food to get her to eat another. The other day she wanted more broccoli (I know, I have it good!) so we told her she had to eat her fish first - easy. A lot of times we will give her half her normal serving of carbohydrate (roll/rice/tortilla) and hold the other half until the protein gets consumed.

This has worked really well for us and gotten her to try (and like) some new tastes and textures that she otherwise would have turned her nose up at. I read somewhere that kids often have to be offered a food 10-12 times before they will try it!


Jen in Okinawa
Mom to a wonderful preschooler,
who is almost three, Noelle!

09-23-2004, 11:21 PM
Thanks everyone for your ideas and support. I have tried many of the things mentioned and not had much luck, but I am reminded that I need to keep trying.
His energy may be related to some other issues right now. We adopted our DD 2 months ago and Kaleb is still having a rough time of it. He is not used to having to share my attention! He also started a morning-out program and is having some separation anxiety from that. I think his sleep has even changed from that. He wakes and calls for me - I think he needs reassured that I'm here. So, he may be tired from not sleeping well enough. My concern is that his iron levels could be low since he doesn't eat any iron-containing foods. Need to check with ped abouth that.
Jen, I have a few questions for you, but it is getting late and I need sleep so I will ask later! I think something along the lines of what you are doing might help us, but implementing it could be rough! I may send you a PM tomorrow if that's ok. What is the time difference over there anyways?!
Thanks again, everyone!

09-24-2004, 03:40 PM
What your DS eats sounds like a dream to me. My DD has food allergies & is so limited in what she can eat, then on top of that she's picky. My pediatrician had me start her on a vitamin & said to continue to present other foods to her but not to force her. She also said she'd like her to eat some protein, but I can't get her to, so she told me to just keep trying. And when I spoke to her allergist & other mothers about it, they all said "that's toddlerhood, hang in there, it'll get better". I think you're doing a great job, so keep trying & when he's ready he'll eat it. As for the energy level, it could be those factors you mentioned, as long as the doctor checked him out & feels he's healthy, I wouldn't worry.

09-25-2004, 10:36 AM
Let's see, it is 10:19 pm on Saturday here so it is 8:19 AM on Saturday morning central Texas time. So from central time switch the am to a pm and add 2 hours (so if it is 8pm there it is 10am the next day here). Does PM stand for Personal Message? I think my account is set up for that - I'll check. If not feel free to email me...

Jen in Okinawa
Mom to a wonderful preschooler,
who is almost three, Noelle!

09-27-2004, 01:01 AM
While my DD is picky as well, just thought to offer a few things that helped us. (But I'm on the site tonight searching for answers too!!!) Anyway, our local wholesale club (SAM's or COSTCO, etc)often provide food samples when shopping. She'll try those before she'll try stuff at our house. So, a few times, we actually bought what she liked, and served it the same way (on little toothpicks). Then we sometimes make "purple" oatmeal by whirling frozen blueberries in the food processor, then adding to the cooked cereal...it's then usually topped with some Alphabets cereal. (We either play games about which letter we're eating, or sometimes we're actually finding and eating animals" That was a phase, but certainly nice while it lasted. It seems most of the things she'll eat began with some "learning" phase. (Like when learning SHAPES, she was more interested in "circle" beets, learning rhymes and songs got us to chant "Peas,..and Carrots,...and Macaroni and Cheese, Hey!" before our lunch. That coincidentally got her eating veggies mixed into the mac n cheese, or other pastas. Hope this sparks some ideas. Hang in there. I'm also starting to go nuts with her denial of meats and most new things now. Over the summer, we took her to some U-pick farms and that added interest to eating easy fruits like strawberries and blueberries, and just recently cherry tomatoes because she got to pick them from someone's garden.

10-06-2004, 07:59 PM
Both my kids are picky due to DH who is also very picky (thanks to his mom who made all kinds of different food to cater to everyone).

We've had some limited success with offering meat, fruit & veggies first -- just put some on their plate and wait awhile before offering anything else. Just keep offering things and sooner or later they will probably try it and maybe actually like it. If they are hungry, they will eat it -- well, unless it's something they really don't like. Then after they've taken some bites of the fruit or veggie, I offer food that they definately like -- bread, crackers, cheerios, etc.

Also, don't offer milk or juice until the end of the meal. My DS#1 is a 'drinker' -- he will suck down a cup of juice in a few seconds and then be 'too full' to eat anything else. I really try to limit his juice intake and instead offer milk or water, but DH doesn't enforce this when he's home (nights & weekends), so it's a real struggle for me. I can not get DH to understand that juice really doesn't have much nutritional value.

My DS#2 has some issues with not gaining weight, so the gastroenterologist we went to see told me to try PediaSure and if that didn't work (DS didn't like the taste one bit), to mix Instant Breakfast with his milk. That has worked like a charm for us.
We go to the nutritionist tomorrow, so we'll see what she says about getting more protein into a 17 month olds diet.

Sarah.......mom to Jason (5/25/00) & Devin (5/12/03)

kelly ann
10-11-2004, 01:18 PM

I feel your frustration - DS is very similar. He loved every single kind of jarred food and I thought that I was just the luckiest mom in the world to have a child that ate anything! Then it just changed overnight and he seemed to not trust any of the finger food we put in front of him.

He will eat a banana (only fruit) and fries (only veggie). But loves his protein and dried carbs...chicken, cheese, crackers, etc. I have tried zucchini panacakes and quesadillas with veggies tucked in, but he eats those only about half of the time and with ketchup. We have ketchup to be quite effective lately in getting him to eat things :) Lately he has taken to fruit bars so I am telling myself he is getting fruit there - a long stretch, I know.

We don't do the vitamin since we can't get him to eat it. The only comfort I get is that he is energetic and is on the chunky side. Our doctor doesn't seem to be too worried, but to me this isn't typical since he has been picky since about 11 months old. If you are worried about energy levels, I would bring this up to your doctor.

I hope this ends soon for both of us!!! Just this morning, DH said he was worried that we would have a four year old refusing to eat any kind of fruit or veggie :( By the way, the only reason why he eats a banana is because he saw Elmo do it on TV. We are scouting Elmo DVDs for more eating segments now!