Monday, July 9, 2012

Toddler Eating and my Defense-HELP!

Ok, so I'm coming to the web to get some help from my peeps. The eating in my house from the children? Needs some help.

Emma is very picky. I blame this on the fact that I fed her baby food until she was 20 months old. You see, she went to an in home babysitter until I had Harrison. While at the babysitter's house, she ate real food. Pork chops, sweet potatoes, lentil soup. Most likely because the other four children there ate it. When we got home and I would try to give her a real food she had already tried (and loved at the sitters!), she wouldn't touch it. No amount of begging, fine, go hungry, etc worked. While I was having Harrison, my mom got her to eat a few real things like chicken nuggets and turkey dogs. And real fruit. So when I came home, she would eat a few things. Now at almost three, here is the list of foods she will eat. Literally. Not including junk foods like popcorn, gummies, goldfish, all the other crap kids like. She eats: chicken nuggets, hot dogs, corn dogs, french fries, cheese pizza, turkey meatballs, grilled cheese, noodle soup, pb&j, most fresh fruit, cheese, yogurt, crackers, bread, cereal. Occasionally she will eat spaghetti with sauce but no meat. Very occasionally she will eat a cheese quesadilla. I'm sooo serious. She won't touch a hamburger or any ground beef, and will not eat any vegetables. She has tried carrots, corn and green beans but will only take one bite then deem it yucky. Mealtimes are often repetitive and unhealthy.

This kills me because Harrison will eat anything. I think there are three things he doesn't care for. So when I make them dinner? I make two. Tonight, Emma had a hot dog and easy mac. Harrison ate a hot dog, carrots, and pears. He's been eating real food since he was about 6-7 months old. Thanks to my sister for telling me about baby led weaning and just making me do it. He's been feeding himself since then and tries everything on his plate at least once.

Above I spoke of my defense-because I know one question/comment I will get is, "Why don't you all eat together and offer them that food?" Well that would work if my husband didn't have to work until 7pm. But he does so I can stay home. I can't feed them at 7, they go to bed at 7:30. They eat around 5:30 each day. So my "defense" is that ain't happening with our fam right now. So I get to make two dinners.

I guess the thing I'm most concerned about is the health aspect of Emma's meals. No veggies is no bueno. And really hope no one suggests hiding her veggies in homemade things like mac and cheese-cause I really can't whip up a cauliflower mac for her to eat. She does still drink milk, and take a multivitamin. A wise woman with a picky child once told me that her doctor said meat, milk, and a vitamin was essentially what they needed at this age. I feel like I'm setting Emma up to be picky and unhealthy later in life. It's really bothering me.

Likewise, I'm OVER making the same two or three meats each day and feeding it to them. I'm out of ideas!

Here is a typical list of what I feed the zoo animals: waffle or pancake, turkey sausage, yogurt or fresh fruit. That's our breakfast special. I got nothin else. Emma doesn't like eggs-shocker. So do I want to make Harrison eggs? Not really, because then I'm a serious short order cook. I'm out of breakfast ideas. As for lunch and dinner, I rotate through sandwiches, chicken, pizza, hot dogs. Add in a fruit and starch (veggie for buddy) and there's that. So they're eating the same stuff like three times a week. I just need HELP AND SUGGESTIONS, people. Please. How should I handle this with Emma? I don't want to set her up for a lifetime if unhealthy eating habits and weight problems.

Weigh in. Please.


  1. I feel like we end up feeding B the same things over and over. We don't feed her different than what we eat at dinner but we add things to her plate that she likes. We use those plates with four or five different sections so I'll give her what we're eating and then add some fruit or cheese or yogurt.
    She loves Greek yogurt, so that helps with the dairy aspect.
    I always think if it's on her plate she usually will take a bite or two and at least she's being exposed to them. Maybe?
    Toddler eating is so crazy and one day she loves some type of food but the next day she may hate it. One day she might eat everything on her plate and one day it seems like she eats nothing all day.

  2. Sorry you're having trouble. :( Blaire is still young and eats more like Harrison so I don't have many suggestions - just support. It will get better! Keep offering new things (a bite of what Harrison has maybe so you're not making more things?) and try not to get discouraged. Like you said, she's getting her multivitamin and milk. All you can do is try.

    I have heard from lots of moms that dipping sauces are a hit with their picky kids and they're more open to trying things if there's a sauce to dip it in. Have you tried that? Also, as far as the hiding veggies in sauces or food, that might be easier to try if you made some things ahead of time and stuck them in the freezer? Maybe on a Sunday when your hubby is home you could make some spaghetti sauce with some pureed veggies hidden in it or mac n cheese with sweet potatoes or cauliflower hidden in the sauce. Then freeze that up and just pull it out during the week? You could do the same thing with muffins for breakfast. You can use whole wheat flour and hide some healthy stuff like carrots or zucchini in banana or blueberry muffins. I know hiding stuff isn't the best longterm goal as you'd like her to start eating that stuff willingly but maybe a good start?

    Good luck!

  3. So glad you aren't "MIA" anymore!!! You were always an excellent eater but your sister was picky and mostly wanted junk food! You loved all your veggies until you got about five or six. Not saying this is the correct way, but I always made you and your sister eat a small serving of whatever was being served for dinner. (yes, we all ate together back then) I tried to also fix something you really liked to go with it to help ease the pain of eating something you didn't like. Of course you had to sit there until the plate was clean. I don't think I really agree with the clean plate part anymore because I still have that mindset, hence the elephantitus I am suffering from!!
    ♥♥♥ Glad you are back blogging!!

  4. As I lay here belly full of the terrible virus and a whopping 4 saltine crackers, I feel the need to offer suggestions.

    I will begin with defending my credibility. No, I am not a mom. Yes, I'm basically a mom as I help my parents raise my 4 yr old nephew - the one who showed your adorable Em how to "dive." Yes, people have paid me big bucks to raise their kids. Said kids now eat cucumber salad, eggplant, and spinach like it's going out of style.

    1. If she has any kind of chore chart, add eat fruits/veggies to it. (reward system)
    2. My nephew will only eat his veggies if you make it fun. Someday he'll be a math nerd. He likes patterns so we talk them up. "Can you make a pattern on your fork? Mac/cheese, veggie, Mac/cheese." etc it sounds lame, but it teaches the flavor variations this can bring.
    3. Ask her to help you grocery shop. Teach her why this head of lettuce is better than that. You'll only hate me for a few weeks.
    4. Ask her to help you cook. Kids crave being in the kitchen. At first it may not seem to work ("Yes, I helped cook it, but it's still yucky."), but eventually it will.
    5. Remember this can be a looooooong process. Reward her (and yourself) for the successful baby steps.
    6. DO NOT GIVE UP! Remember: when we're adults it's a pain in the ass to be friends with picky eaters. I mean really, who likes to try a new resturant with a pal only to have said pal order from the bland kids menu?!
    7. As for hiding the nutrition, you can do it. Just bust out your teacher creativity!

  5. I think your wise friend with the brilliant pediatrician is absolutely correct about nutritional needs. I think this might boil down to you being bored with what she's eating....she is hitting all food groups except veggies....for a toddler, that ain't too bad & downright positive! Rutledge went through a no veg a whole year... & after I quit wiggin I decided my mom & the pediatrician were right & that he's completely normal. I did sneak attack my pizza & spaghetti sauce with pureed frozen spinach & make sauce base with V8. but my fave way to get veggies in is V8 Fusion....Walmart even makes a great value version. I cut it with 1/3 water & both kids get it once or twice a day. Also keeps them VERY regular. My kids live the Peach Mango kind & call it "tiger juice" bc its orange:). Juice includes fruit & berry but also green peppers, purple carrots, beets, cucumbers, etc. It's something, not perfect, but something. would she eat a tortilla pizza? Like one u make with a green spinach tortilla? Good luck! Been there!

  6. Macie is identical to this entry! Her diet is very similar to Emma's. She does love broccoli, corn, carrots, green beans and rice...well, rice from Don Pepe's. I still feed marie those pouches with the veggies and dominant fruit. She eats up to 3 of those a day. She can choose one from my bottom fridge drawer as a snack, which makes her feel in control of her consumption. But little does she know she's eating spinach, beans, peas, etc. I toss her steamed green beans in I can't believe it's not butter and garlic salt. She LOVES them. I attribute the green beans and carrots to a regularly shown episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. Show her the Party in her tummy one and put green beans & carrots on her plate & see if she will let them go to the party! Macie falls for it every time!

  7. I have two suggestions. First, try making green beans with some brown sugar (and maybe turkey bacon thrown in). I use canned green beans, and bake them (350 for about 30 minutes, or until the bacon is done). While it's not perfectly healthy, it's a step in a healthier direction, which could help pave a good path for the future. Second, there is now pasta made with vegetables!!! It doesn't taste exactly like "regular" pasta, but it is very close, if not virtually the same, and some brands have labels that claim to have a full serving of veggies per pasta serving. The pasta is colored, but hopefully that won't be a problem.

    If all else fails, just try to ride it out. I was a terribly picky eater growing up, and finally started loving vegetables by the time I was turning 18, and not in a healthy-regular-part-of-my-diet-way until I was in my early-mid 20's. I just had to find the veggies I liked and how to prepare them a way I liked. Just hang in there and celebrate you can get her to eat something. Also, not all the foods she likes are unhealthy, as long as you prepare them the healthiest way possible. Good luck!

  8. You are in great company! A friend who knows her stuff about eating said that toddlers taste buds literally change---so things taste good to them one day and not good the next day...which explains a lot but DOESN"T explain why J never gets tired of Mac and Cheese or PBJs:( We started laying down the law in our house 2 weeks ago. J eats what we eat or he doesn't eat. And so far so good. We ask him to take at least 2 "thank you bites" of everything.

    Our pediatrician said that most toddlers only eat one full meal a day! Crazy.

    J is a vegetarian kiddo (like me) and so to get extra protein and veggies in, we have a juicer and juice fruits and veggies (or you can buy the green juice at the store that has lots of yummy stuff in it) so that's another easy way to sneak it in.

    You're not alone!


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