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  1. #1
    Starting to feel at home...
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    Very picky eater

    Look afterA 4 year old boy who eats only bread, peanut bUtter, apples, cheddar cheese, sometimes certain cereals with milk, pasta and of course if treats are offered he will eat those. So frustrating! He refuses to try anything new and if his favorites aren't served at a meal or snack he won't eat a bite. Anyone else experience this? Advice

  2. #2
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    One of my favorite quotes from a nutrition workshop I attended goes like this ....

    Our job as the adult is to serve a variety of healthy food options are regular/consistent intervals throughout the day (ideally every 3-4 hours) and our other job is to set expectations for acceptable behavior at the table (aka we sit and keep others company, we do not chew with mouthful, we do not ask for more food when we have food already on our plate, etc whatever 'behavior' you value around mealtime.) ~ a child's job is to decide if and how much they are going to eat at those intervals within your rules ... you cannot force a child to eat and trying to will create food battles and manipulative issues where children use food as a weapon against your guilt/fear to only eat what they 'like' so to speak!

    I do not cater to picky eaters and I do not allow them any control or 'worry' if they are not eating ~ children in North America are picky because we LET them be picky by allowing them to fill up on CRAP verses teaching them to be appreciative that they have regular access to healthy food options in the first place ~ you eat what you are served and be grateful or you do not eat at all this meal time and learn what it feels like to get a little 'hungry'.

    Here if you do not eat your 'healthy options' first you do not get served 'treats' ...IMO that is what makes it a 'treat' cause it is something you only get once in a while to supplement a healthy diet of foods you NEED in order to thrive

    When I serve a meal I serve a small bit of ALL the food groups at the same time including fruit ~ if they only eat the fruit so be it that is there choice if they only eat the 'pasta' portion so be it. However I do not serve 'seconds' of what I feel are the 'less healthy options' aka HIGH GLYCEMIC CARBS unless you've cleaned your plate .... so small portion of pasta, potato, rice, bread with first serving of meat / veggie / fruit ... you can eat as much fruit / veggie / meat as desired but you only get one Canada's Food Guide portion of 'grains/carbs' until your plate is CLEAN of the healthy options and than you can have a second serving of your 'preferred' tastes. To be honest I do not serve a lot of pasta / potato / rice anyway unless they are in a 'stew/casserole' and well than you need to eat the stuff 'attached' to them to get more

    I only do 'treats' here on special occasions and they are served at the pm snack AFTER the healthy option has been eaten ~ so a child who is picky would not be getting the 'treat' unless they'd eaten the first portion of snack ... that is not ME depriving them of the food that is them CHOOSING not to follow the rules or expectations around meal time I have because they are obviously not HUNGRY enough to eat

    Also since I make my own 'treats' anyway even my 'chocolate fudgy birthday cupcakes' on birthdays are healthy cause I make them with Avocado and Zucchini and use coconut flour so they are high in protein and contain a serving of 'veggie' and have no refined sugar in them ... just a little bit of dark cocoa to make them chocolatey and applesauce to sweeten ... so a picky eater may think they are getting away with murder cause I let them have seconds but the jokes on them

    I hide a lot of 'fruits/veggies' inside baked goods here .... morning muffins, afternoon cupcakes, pureed into sauces served over meat or veggies at lunch time ... picky eaters do not stand a chance here.
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  3. #3
    Euphoric ! Dreamalittledream's Avatar
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    Been there, done that...in fact, there right now too. I actually discuss this in interview. My philosophy with my DCKs as well as my own...this is what is being served...if you don't eat it, tough luck. I also don't give seconds of anything until they have finished everything on their plate. I have a 13 year old step son who has been indulged by his Mom his whole life. To this day the child won't eat fruits, vegetables (including potatoes, unless it's French fries), only chicken (& only if there is no bone). This has caused many an argument between the exes as he goes home and complains he's hungry...sorry...our rules. That being said, I don't force anyone to eat food, I gently encourage to try it (& if I'm lucky, that works and they like it <happy dance>).
    Children are great imitators.
    So give them something great to imitate.

    ~Anonymous~

  4. #4
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    I think we have the same stepson Dream .... mine is now 16 and FINALLY starting to realize that the food that comes outside a box that actually tastes BETTER than the crap he use to enjoy so there is HOPE for them

    One of the things that works wonders with newbies in my program who arrive picky or try to become picky is to say 'that's ok your taste buds are just not big enough to appreciate that' and leave it at that .... kids are ITCHING to be seen as 'big enough' so are more inclined to keep trying new things even things they honestly 'do not like' to see if their taste buds have grown ... research shows you often have to try some 'flavors' many times before your palette will accept them so eventually their tastes buds ARE big enough so its not like I am lying

    There are lots of things I HATED food wise both as a child and still as an adult .... but I kept tasting them regularly until my palette learned to accept them and I can now eat them ~ still not my favorite foods but at least palatable ... in fact just had a few Brussels sprouts on Thanksgiving cause my friend loves them so she was serving them and it was actually 'ok' where as past times they literally made me gag the texture and smell was just not appealing to me... same with asparagus and a few other 'stronger' things that even at 40 my tastebuds are still 'growing to appreciate' in fact I love asparagus now that I know how to choose it and steam it to be perfect texture

    Still few things out there I cannot 'stomach' ... like liver but again that is more psychological baggage from childhood than likely the livers fault of being palatable ~ had an uncle who 'forced' me to eat it after having been made to sit at the table staring at it for hours and eventually I caved to his power and ate it cold and disgusting as it was and gagged it all the way down cause I was afraid of what he might do if I did not eat it he was so angry ~ but I ended up getting violently ill as a result of the stress on my stomach while eating it and well liver brings back those 'feelings' for me no matter how I try to get 'over' that memory ... the smell just makes me feel sick!
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  5. #5
    Hello everyone, this is my first reply on a thread. Very excited to learn from you. I had a boy that same age that was terribly picky. Ate those exact same foods and refused anything I made. Even fresh fruit would cause him to either gag or he would just sit an squish it all over his plate. I started to give him ver small portions and limited his fav. foods for a bit. Cheese, yogurt, and anything cereal or pasta. It meant I had to get creative but I knew that was all he ate at home. I never cater to picky eaters and he did try something new on a vey rare occasion. Mom and I both were in agreement that if he refused to eat hat he would have to wait until the next meal. I ended up terminating them, due to other reasons and when I interviewed my new family food was a big topic. Picky eaters make meal times hard, I hope you find a solution soon.

  6. #6
    Euphoric !
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    My tried and true tactic is this....If you don't wish to eat lunch, fair enough, but you'll see it again at snack

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  8. #7
    Euphoric !
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    I have a little girl right now who is picky with veggies: french fried potatoes - no other way, pepper strips, celery sticks, raw carrots only, and corn are the only veggies she will touch. But thankfully she eats all other food. So once in a while I give myself a break and just serve pancakes and sausages and fruit for lunch to give myself a break from trying to serve the same veggies again that week. I always make one of her veggies and one other that all the others will eat every day at lunch.

    Then I had a boy who wouldn't eat combined foods like a casserole or crockpot meal or chili. I'm soooooo glad he's gone! There were days when I served one of these foods and he sat there at the table gagging until he made himself throw up, then I called his Mom and told her that according to my vomit policy she had to come get him. Rules are rules.

    Just do your best to cope with the picky eaters and if you serve something he won't eat he's only hurting himself, not you. And hopefully when he finally figures that out he'll start eating. Just give him a tablespoon full of everything you serve all the others and if he eats it you can give him a little more. That way you aren't throwing lots of food in the garbage.

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