How can I get my child to eat more foods?

January 6, 2008 10:47am CST
My son is 4, he loves helping in the kitchen and making various things with me but when it comes to eating . . no chance! He won't eat meat, fish majority of veg, pies, pizza in fact he only really eats pasta, cucumber, bread, potatoes, baked beans, carrotts, cheese, rice, apples, bananas and general 'crap food' like biscuits and chocolate. I keep trying him with different foods but he takes one bite and says 'yuk!' Any suggestions do you reckon he'll grow out of it? It is a nightmare if we go out as he is so fussy.
4 people like this
17 responses
• Canada
7 Jan 08
I haven't read anyone else's reply so please excuse any repetition. It looks to me as if your son still has quite a wide range of food he will eat which is a good thing. I would still encourage your son to try new foods every day. The rule in my house is you try at least one bite. If you don't like it, that's ok, thank you for trying. I care for autistic children in my home that refuse to eat as well. At first, one would only eat hotdogs and french fries, balogna, waffles, toast and ScoobyDoo Pasta. He's been in my care for one weekend a month for the past year now and I've increased his diet to include ham, porc chops and spaghetti. Might not sound like much but it's progress one bite at a time. In some 'picky' children, it's been said that occasionally, their blood shows an increase in minerals which can alter the taste of many food which results in a 'yuck' reaction. If this continues and you become concerns, it would be wise to speak to your doctor however if your son isn't losing weight and maintains a generally healthy lifestyle, there might not be a concern at all!
• Canada
7 Jan 08
that is interesting about the minerals affecting there taste, cause my daughter says the same thing, but she does eat somewhat of a range but it is usually the same things. cool thanks
• United States
7 Jan 08
I have a 4 and 5 year old and one of them is picky and won't eat the same things as you mentioned. I do give her a multi-vitamin. She will eat veggies if they are in cheese sauce and I stick veggies in her rice and any noodles so at least she gets a few. Have you tried V-8 juice, they make it in several flavors that don't just tast like the old stuff and you get good veggies in that way - I tell her it is special juice and she can only have it if she is good so she thinks she is getting away with something. Fruits are even harder, but she will eat grapes that are frozen and I use frozen watermelon in our sno cone machine and it is a treat to them. Other than that, we do yogurt and surprisingly cottage cheese. Try not to keep the chocolate and biscuits around, then they can't beg for it because it's not there. Good luck!
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
8 Jan 08
We moms are so creative, aren't we! However, I have to mention - better be careful when doing this i fyou have more than one kid - if you do it for the older one - watch out! Once that older kid "learns" the tricks, they might squeal on you! I have to laugh as my 7 yo GD is very picky, however we have done the tricks and she has slowly but surely, learned to eat a new tthing every now and then. NOW, when she eats with her 22 month old cousin, SHE tells me the tricks to do to get the little one to eat! SO it doesn't work on her anymore and we have to watch what we say or she'll tell the little one the tricks of hte mommy trade!!!
@raidun (22)
• China
8 Jan 08
I think you shouldn't give him any snack between meals. As long as he eats eggs and milk, his body can get enough protein. Don't worry about it too much.
@enbrown (282)
• United States
8 Jan 08
I'm a teacher's assistant at a preschool. So I can understand and relate to this. Does your son drink milk? Our students love when we add food coloring to the milk. We have them finish or at least try 2 other things before they get seconds on what they will eat. It often takes 20 tries to begin liking a new food. Trick him by adding the healthy stuff to things he already eats. Make banaa bread, pumpkin bread, zuchinni bread. Make up a silly name to whatever the food is like "Spiderman Soup" etc. Also tell him his favorite cartoons eat the food you are trying to push. Once I told a boy that the bbq beef was bbq chicken because he only liked chicken, and guess what... he loved it! lol
• Canada
7 Jan 08
i had the same discussion on here a few weeks ago about my 7 year old....it is a phase everyone said the same thing to me, As long as they are getting there vitamins they are good, caus emy 7 year old does the same thing tries one bite and then says yuk...it is hilarious to know kids are so much alike, i feel better knowing that, because i thought she was supper fussy, but they get over it, my 11 year old is now eating more different things and she use to be very fussy too, so just hang in there, as long as they aren't hungry, and if they are hungry tell them..."something healthy" thats the saying here.
@garnet80 (354)
• Australia
7 Jan 08
Have you tried adding food dye to his food or even arranging some of it into figures such as faces etc. I'm having trouble with my son eating too and the latest stage for food favourites would have to be cheese slices with jam spread on it. Very unusual. Also have you tried letting him help you to prepare the food, kids get a kick out of that.
@meljessxena (2317)
• Australia
7 Jan 08
i personally think your son is at the age to "reason with" like he can have a biscuit or chocolate etc if he eats like sausage or the chopped up steak (we do that all the time with my neice, and i works like 95 % of the time) and if she says no yuck, and we say well thats ok you get no chocolate then. and just let the her sit there with the meal that we want her to eat on the table infront of her, even sometimes leave a biscuit on the kitchen bench and say ok eat your tea etc and you can have your biscuit.
@hotsatya (240)
• India
7 Jan 08
healthy food is more important to growing Children, i think you always run behind your sun for meal, you should stop run behind your sun,you tried it only for two days, you don't, display anything over him you don't ask him eat food, you play with his when feel hungry, automatically he ask for food. once my mom is also doing like you but grand mom give advice to my mother do that, result is positive, you tried it its a 99% successfully trick, if you ask the doctor for this problem doter is also give you this advice
@olaff123 (434)
• Namibia
7 Jan 08
Children often have crazy eating habits. I used to eat all my veggies raw, even pumpkin. I absolutely refused cooked veggies. He'll grow out of it - I think the easiest way is to have him with you at dinner. I found that it goes easier if they see what you eat and sooner or later they copy you. If going out is a problem, pack him a lunch box and if the restaurants are unhappy about it, tell them he's on a special diet for whatever.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
7 Jan 08
Happens to all of us moms! YOu just do the best you can with the healthy foods and go slim to none on the unhealthy stuff! My 22 mo GD has just gotten like that, and my DIL just went to nothing but chicken nuggets (not homemade but always fast food) and "dillas" - quesedillas, and poor kid wasn't getting good food. I noticed once that my son gave her a corn dog it was like, "hey, want some corn dog with your mustard?", she loves mustard. So now, I put mustard on her plate with most anything and as long as she can dip it in mustard, (or at least see the yellow on the food item) she'll eat it! A little mustard means she might spit it out, but enough to kind of "fool" her, and she eats everything. She now loves green beans plain! Find something they like and mix it with the "other" foods and see where it takes you. It can only help!
@chooochy (356)
7 Jan 08
my nephew was exactly the same, so i went and bought a childs cookery book, it tells you how to make brilliant recipes for children, appealing to their visual side that are also very healthy and nourishing, while also being very easy to make. 4 times a week i would get him to choose a recipe from there he would like to make with me and he would happily wolf down anything we made as he saw what went into it and knew it was from a book, i would also then include the story of what we made into a bedtime story, getting him to add bits too it such as... what colour was the celery? how many spoonfuls of cornflour did we use etc now he loves to help cook every thing and sulks when we have something from the freezer, lol i know its a bit long winded but we all want our children to be healthy and like me, willing to try anything for a healthy family xx
@cblackink (969)
• United States
7 Jan 08
Every small child I've ever met is like that, and yes, they usually grow out of it. They normally like "crap foods" like sweets and potatoes. Don't worry. The best thing you can do is not to keep a lot of junk like that in your home. Don't buy the HoHo's!
@4000pm (25)
• Morocco
7 Jan 08
hello try give it to him by making it like something that he likes for example he likes footbal ( example i don't have children yet !) make the meat like a ball !! yeah it's not a very good example but it helps surely ! another trick , if he like a specific hero ( like superman ), tell him that superman eats that food and that food which makes him like that , and you will be like him by eating it !
• United States
6 Jan 08
Well you can make the food fun.. ask him what he wants to eat... you can use food coloring or something some kids like that.. give him a snack afterwards or saomething.. you can always strap him down and shove it in his little mouth that seems to work.. lol.. just kidding
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
6 Jan 08
Your son is not fussy! He's isn't Hungry! Nobody eats when they are not hungry, Kids will eat anything if they are hungry enough. Its not the kids fault its yours. Cut out the between meal snacks. Get over the idea that he should never be hungry. No more cookies and soda pop! Its Great that he likes helping you in the kitchen. Let him help with the meal and then tell him," This is what we are having for dinner!" If he says "yuck" then just relax and let him wait for breakfast. I guarantee he will eat. He will never grow out of it! But you will, if you want to raise a healthy, well nurished child.
@nichole1983 (1187)
• Canada
6 Jan 08
I's sure that he will grow out of this gap. You do have to keep in mind he is getting a good intake of veggies and fruits though. Try to replace his cookies and chocolate with something else. Try to get him to try new things. Make it look appealing to him. Like for instance he doesnt like meat. Maybe get cutters like mickey mouse and make it into that shape. My nephew is the same way and a very fussy eater. To get him to try things we always used cutters on food to make it appeal to him. Thats the key with kids at this age it has to appeal and interest them. Good luck to you.
@Sissygrl (10915)
• Canada
6 Jan 08
My daughter is a lot younger then your son but she is the same way.. She will eat a few select things, and then a week later it changes. She is a total carb girl, she likes rice, pasta, fries, those kind of things, but wont eat meat besides ham and hotdogs. And doesn't really like a whole lot of veggies either. She'll eat cucumbers sometimes too. Does your son eat peanut butter ? that is a good substitute for protiens untill he starts to like meat, I am sure one day he will change his tastes, as will mine. Lets hope at least :) I have asked my doctor about the poor eating habits, and he said that you would be amazed at what kids can live off of and that one of his kids lived off of hotdogs, the only thing he'd eat was hotdogs, for like months. So i guess my suggestion is if you are really worried is to take him to your family doctor and ask lots of questions :)