How do you feed a hard to feed child?

@yuna15 (2708)
Philippines
September 19, 2008 2:52pm CST
I have a 3-year old toddler who is so hard to feed. She is so picky. Sometimes I have to spank her to get her to eat. But after I do that I would feel guilty. I have to do all sorts of things to make her eat. I just tried to play and talk to her sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. To all parents there, do you have a child who is hard to feed? What do you do make them eat more (especially vegetables)?
6 people like this
19 responses
@vijigopi (991)
• United States
19 Sep 08
My daughter was hard to feed. I used to run behind her to get something in her stomach until she was four. Now she's six and much better although I still have to feed her sometimes because she is too slow and tires down if she's been sitting with food for a long time. It's just that some children are easier while others aren't. But try not to spank her to eat because then eating will get a negative impact on her mind. Talk to her about growing up healthy while you both are playing, not just after you keep her lunch on the table. Show other kids that eat well and look healthy and say, 'those kids like up grow up healthy'. If you keep talking to her, slowly she will change. She is not going to be like that for the rest of her life, so cheer up.
3 people like this
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
19 Sep 08
Your right I'm not supposed to spank her. It's just that I'm a working Mom and there are times that when I'm too tired and I had to feed her then I get impatient (sigh). I won't do that anymore. Thanks for the advice!
2 people like this
@phisha84 (286)
• United States
19 Sep 08
I had to take my daughter to the doctor cause she barely would eat and it scared me the doctor told me this: 1. Don't give her JUICE, MILK OR ANY SNACKS BETWEEN MEALS 2. DON'T GIVE IN! 3. ONLY WATER IS OKAY BETWEEN MEALS 4. DON'T MAKE HER SPECIAL MEALS, SHE NEEDS TO EAT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE EATS 5. IF SHE DON'T EAT JUST LEAVE THE PLATE THEIR AND SHE WILL EVENTUALLY EAT IT CAUSE SHE WILL GET HUNGRY. If you stick to it...and trust me my daughter threw a fit for three weeks crying and kicking and even sneaking trying to get the food SHE wanted but now she eats so much better... But another thing that I have noticed is that if I get up and do something she wants to not eat...so now when my two girls eat I eat with them and nothing else while eating. Good luck!
2 people like this
• United States
20 Sep 08
I totally agree! My kids love to fill up on milk & other liquids and then they have no room for their meal. You can also puree some veggies and hide it in spaghetti sauce ect. That's been an ok way to get the kids to eat more than just the couple of veggies they like.
1 person likes this
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
20 Sep 08
Yeah my daughter really loves spaghetti so I always put carrots in the sauce. So she just eats it. The problem with her is that she is a bit moody. I have to cheer her up first before I can get her to eat.
1 person likes this
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
20 Sep 08
You bet. My daughter loves to drink juice, water, milk and even soda in between meals. Believe it or not she's much easier to feed if we have these ready. Another problem with her is she is so moody. When she doesn't feel like eating, she just won't unless we play with her WHILE we're feeding her. She eats when she's hungry but not much and I'm worried that she is not gaining weight like she's supposed to.
2 people like this
@emarie (5457)
• United States
19 Sep 08
i have a 4yr old who's been picky about eating since he was 3. what i mostly do is buy things and makes this i KNOW he'll eat and then add something new as well. don't give her anything else. when trying to get her to eat vegetables, a little tough love is required. i heard to keep offering it to them. try different things to see what they'd like. fruits do more better. i told my doctor they he'll eat fruits but he won't go near anything green. they said as long as they're getting 5 servings of some kind of fruit or vegetable then its fine. so i try to stick to fruits and give him vitamins to try to make up for the rest. as long as they're eating something and depending on how often they want to eat it should be alright. my son eat a little every few hours. he loves bananas, apples, grapes, strawberries, and other fruits. i noticed to he'll eat hot dogs and at least its some kind of meat (he had anemia at one point) so i let those go and make sure he has some in the house. he also likes dinosaur chicken as well because of the shape. kids will eat when they are hungry, you shouldn't force it too much on them. if you ever become too concerned i suggest you consult your doctor. if she'll go through a whole day without eating much there may be something else wrong with her.
2 people like this
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
19 Sep 08
Well it's good to know that fruits will do. My daughter loves to eat mangoes, papaya bananas, apples and watermelon. I haven't tried strawberries and grapes though. But I will try that. She eats a lot if she likes the food she's eating she would even put it in her mouth herself, but if not, feeding would be a tough job. Thanks for the input!
2 people like this
@emarie (5457)
• United States
20 Sep 08
just make sure when she eats a lot of friuts that she doesn't eat any candy or drink any juice because the fruit will give her enough natural sugar which is the 'good' type of sugar. here, we have strawberry fields all over the place so when the season comes it easy to find. i used to have mango all over the place when i grew up but its not easy to find the sweet kind here. my kids love the dried mangos and strawberries for snacks. and if you want to give her juice i know there are juices out there which have the vitamins of vegetables with no taste, kind of like V8 fusion for kids. I don't remember which brand does it but if you look at the juice isle in the store i'm sure you can find it.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Sep 08
both of my sons are picky eaters, so i can relate! but then again, i can be pretty picky myself, so that is my payback! lol anyway, my 3 year old is the worst of the two. for instance, he loves eating york peppermint patties as a special treat. the other day i bought a bag of halloween ones- the only difference is that they are shaped as pumpkins and the mint creme in the middle is colored orange. well, i gave him one and he looked at it and said he didn't want it. mind you, he hadn't even seen the orange inside, just that it was shaped differently! i was so irritated. he does that all the time. he loves chocolate chip cookies, but i only really buy certain brands, so if someone gives him a plain chocolate chip cookie and it looks a little different he will not even try it. so frustrating! my husband and i have a rule now, though, that he at least has to try something once. if he doesn't like it then fine, we won't make him finish it. but he at least needs to try it. my one year old isn't too bad yet, but it's funny because when i give him something that he doesn't recognize he will put it on his tongue and lick it first. lol it's really cute. my advice to you would first of all to be make sure you practice what you preach. don't let your daughter see you not eating certain things or making faces at foods or anything like that. but i know what my doctor told me for my 3 year old is that when he is hungry he will eat. if they only want hot dogs all the time, then give them hot dogs. i have heard many times that it is not that big of a deal right now. toddlers are supposed to be picky, and if there is something they really love to eat, then let them eat that. try to introduce new things, but if she turns it down then give her what she likes (within reason, of course!) good luck!
2 people like this
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
19 Sep 08
Interesting advice, I will try that as well. Yes she likes Hotdogs as well as fried chicken especially if it's from Kentucky Fried Chicken lol. A friend of mine also tried with her child to put smiley faces in the hotcakes she cooks to make her kids. It was effective for her. I might do that as well in time lol.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Sep 08
well I have a 16-month old who is going through his "I wont eat meat" phase... what I do is lock him in his booster seat and we all eat together, I give him some of my food to show him that I am eating the same thing and then I end up sitting him there until he eats it. He tends to put things in his mouth and then open his mouth and drop everything out that way, so I have to sit and watch him constantly... if you get a good idea on how to keep him from doing that, let me know lol ...
2 people like this
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
19 Sep 08
Unfortunately I don't lol. My daughter used to do that during that age but she grew out of it. If she likes the food she eats she can put it in her mouth herself.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Sep 08
Kids will eat if they are hungary. My son was and is a picky eater. I would make him food and if he didnt eat it then he would have to wait until I made the next meal. If he didnt like that then he would wait more. Now he eats just fine. It took me a while to realize that I wasnt a short order cook. It only took a few days of going hungary until he would at least pick at a meal if he didnt like it. if you are worried about geting the nutrients in them give them a vitamin first thing in the morning.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Sep 08
Hi this is Cindy, I have had 7 children and some of them would make me so mad sometimes cause they didnt want to eat to. I hope this will help alot of the food they didnt like i would put something on it, like vegatables they didnt like I would put melted cheese on it which every child likes i think lol and some meats I would ketchup and it seem to work I guess it just depends on what your surving, I know this is not much but I hope it helps it did for me, good luck kids can be stubborn. Cindy
2 people like this
@barehugs (8992)
• Canada
20 Sep 08
The usual reason that kids won't eat, is they are not hungry. Cut out all between meal snacks. (this means cookies and candies too) If she is drinking milk between meals cut down on that, or dilute it with water. Never punish a child for not eating. Offer her the food (vegetables) she likes the least, at the beginning of her meal when she is hungriest. Reward her with the food she enjoys the most at the end of the meal. Children will not starve themselves. When they are hungry they will eat.
2 people like this
@mom4kids (658)
• Canada
19 Sep 08
My 6 year old is my fussy eater. She is also very slow. If I am cooking something I know she hates like spaghetti I will not give it to her, I have heard of people puree' vegetables like carrots and putting them in sauces like in spaghetti sauce and the kids don't even know they are eating vegetables. Our kids just need to eat a reasonable amount if they don't they don't get any snacks or anything between meals and will wait till the next meal. Sometimes they get hungry and go back and eat the meal they wouldn't eat before.
@carinio98 (2935)
• Philippines
19 Sep 08
why dont you make some delicious pizza with vegi or even a sandwich with vegi or something that he likes to eat when you go out to a mall... you know what he/she pointed. but i know badget is the worst enemy of all mother in our country.
1 person likes this
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
19 Sep 08
She has no problem eating pizza or sandwiches. But when it's dinner or lunch time that's where we have the problem she doesn't like a lot of rice or veggies. If it's something like Spaghetti, or Palabok from Jollibee she would gladly eat it. She also loves to eat pizza whether there is veggie on top of it or not.
2 people like this
@carinio98 (2935)
• Philippines
19 Sep 08
hhhmmmmmmmm thats one hard baby to feed you got there... maybe you should search on yahoo about food for kids. i know theres a recipe for that...
2 people like this
• United States
20 Sep 08
My 2.5 year old is the pickiest eater I've ever seen! Up until the last 3 months or so the only thing I could get her to eat was chicken nuggets, Fries, & Pizza!! Uggg!! So What I've learned is I have to make the other foods look FUN! If we're having soup, I take goldfish and float them on top and tell her to eat the goldfish. If we have sandwiches or something that can be cut with a cookie cutter I let her cut them and eat the star, or heart, or triangle etc... If we're having Pizza I sprinkle parmeasan cheese on top and tell her to eat the Snow!! YOu have to get creative!
1 person likes this
@Foxxee (3654)
• United States
20 Sep 08
That is also a very good idea! Love the cookie cutter idea!
1 person likes this
• Ireland
20 Sep 08
My eldest son who is now 5,as ways ate as a baby but when he got to two he became a very picky eater,my mother in law used to mash up veg and potatoes and rolled it up in a piece of sliced ham, he also helped make it and he has been eating everything since. i think the helping making it and that it was something that he could hold and eat helped. Hope this helps
1 person likes this
• Canada
20 Sep 08
I have found with my children that I can get them to eat better by letting them know that if they don't finish then they don't get anymore to eat for the rest of the night until they finish their dinner or supper . They will not always finish what they should eat but if they don't then they do not get anything to eat until the next day and the other chilren get ice cream or some treat for finishing their meal . I have found that rewarding for the good behavior rahther then getting mad for the bad behavior works better for me .
1 person likes this
@Jenny40 (30)
20 Sep 08
I can sympathise with you - I have a 15 year old who since the age of 5 has been a nightmare to feed. The strange thing was that when he was a toddler, he ate almost anything I put down to him including vegetables. They do then seem to develop their own wee eating fads. Firstly, I know only too well that as a Mother you try to get your kids to eat as healthy a diet as possible and it can become a battle of wills sometimes but...I think, sometimes that is EXACTLY what you have to treat it as. Around the age of 3 young children tend to learn a little bit about control. You say black - they say white. You tell them to do something - they say no! Ring any bells? I have a special needs child and have attended several behavioural programs and picked up some good tips. I think, first and foremost, you have to take the stress out of mealtimes. There are loads of "sneaky" ways to get vitamins ie., vegetables into a childs diet without them even knowing (I even do this with my husband too - LOL). Does she eat soup? If she does, a favourite of mine is put as many different veg into your soup and then blitz it all down to a puree - that way, she is eating the soup(which she enjoys) and has no knowledge of all the veg that are in it. Similarly, would she eat a homemade burger or meatball? Again, you can do this easily - put in a blender your mince, some onions, garlic, carrot, turnip etc... and blend it down to a rough paste. Form into your burgers or your balls and cook. Other than that, going back to when I was a child, I wouldn't eat veg but my Mum would put a few on my plate every meal - she didn't make a big thing about it - if I left it, I left it but gradually, I began trying one or two. I, myself, would never force a child to eat. Bodies are amazing and as long as she is active and appears healthy then I wouldn't be too worried about it at the moment. Another thing you can try is making pictures with her food eg., suppose you want to give her meat and some salad - make it look like a wee face on her plate (not too much food - again, talking from experience here, if you are faced with a huge amount of food on your plate, it can put you off). Ask her which part of the face she is going to eat first. Supposing you had some carrot strips for the hair - you could make a wee "Oh, my hair....my lovely hair - as if the face was talking" - It should make her laugh and she will then want to eat more different parts to get different responses - do you understand? Hope this helps - good luck
1 person likes this
@underdogtoo (9606)
• Philippines
20 Sep 08
My little sister was hard to feed. She would put food in her mouth and just suck on it which drove my mother wild. She just didn't eat so much. Now she's all grown up and is a doctor. Maybe your 3-yr old has a doctor hiding inside her. Cheers!!
@Foxxee (3654)
• United States
20 Sep 08
Well I have a picky eater && I could never spank him just because of it. I think its wrong to spank a child for not eating or to force a child to eat something they refuse. They refuse to eat certain foods because they don't like it or are afraid of change. It takes time to introduce children to foods, more so the picky ones. I would think of it this way, what if their is a food dish out there that you really hate, I'm sure there is something you hate && wouldn't want anyone making you eeat it... so take that food that you hate && imagine someone making you eat it. It's not right && that is how that child feels. Sometimes we need to adjust things during meal times for our children. Most 3 year olds are picky eaters these days. Have you tried finger foods? Like fish sticks? You know what I do to my fish sticks, hot dogs, && even veggies? I sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them. The swweeet taste mixed in with fishsticks, steak, veggies, potatoes, && so on really does give the food a kick && my kids love it && so does the husband! Sometimes the smallest change can make a certain dish taste 100% better. Try the cinnamon sugar on the veggies.. if she sees veggies && doesn't even want to try it, then you can always mix the veggies in another dish. I put veggies inside the pasta dish instead of on the side && my kids never pay attention to that. I even mix corn with the mashpotatoes.... lol... it does work... might seem like it wont taste good, but the kids love it && its really a better taste half the time. Good luck.
1 person likes this
@skysuccess (8884)
• Singapore
20 Sep 08
Basically, you need to understand that she is relatively young and lest you cook the veggies to be on a much softer texture and mash them up into wonderful colors of green, red and yellow - your food will not look appealing to them in the first place. The second thing would be to enhance the taste by adding seasonings and garnishes - this will be left much to your astute command of the required culinary skills. The broth from the boiling of veggies must be added to your child's dish to let her have all the nutrients in it. Also, a discipline of not snacking before meals must be observed since she is developing problems at eating times. Avoid sweets and candies before meals is also another important discipline as these will affect their taste buds before the meals and lest you forget they should be taken in a much less moderation.
@yuna15 (2708)
• Philippines
20 Sep 08
Errr..Problem is I can cook good food but I'm not very good with putting in different spices or garnishes in dishes. I'm just used to the usual thing we put in the dishes I cook, onion, garlic, salt or pepper.
1 person likes this
@shaggin (15063)
• United States
27 Feb 11
I think that spanking her because she wont eat is the wrong way to handle it. My kids are picky but not as bad as many kids I've seen. I think pizza and hot dogs are a food that pretty much any kid will eat. Giving them variety is important but if they refuse to eat anything else just give them what they will eat so they wont starve. Someday they will outgrow the pickyness. I know how tough it can be my son will just eat one thing all the time. I worry about his nutrition so I will make him other foods but he just says he doesnt want it and asks for the food he always wants... pepperoni.
• United States
4 Aug 09
I also have 16 month old baby boy and he will eat almost anything you give him but when he turned 1 year old and I went back to work that's where the problem started. I research on the web and finally got 1 solution that worked best for me. I decided to buy him his own table and chair where he will eat on his own. I give give rice and veggies (in very small pieces-good enough for him to pick by his fingers and not choke). I will give him rice(which is cooked soft), chicken/pork/beef(lean part) and steamed brocolli, squash, sayote,petsay and sometimes malunggay leaves. It will really be messy but he will enjoy using spoon to eat or his fingers to pick the food. for snacks, try giving him diced (very small not to choke) cheddar cheese, small pieces of bread(hi calcium from Gardenia) and he will love it. Make sure that you give him healthy and balance food throughout the day. Sit beside him while you watch him eat and that will also be a perfect bonding time for both of you. I am also a working mother and does everything at home but I never let my baby feel that I resent him for giving me such a hard time feeding him. When he's being difficult to feed, let him eat then do everything with a smile, he'll prefer to be seeing you with a pleasant face. I hope that this will also work for you because after just 2 weeks , my baby gained a lot of weight without the guilt of giving him unhealthy food just to make him eat. Goodluck yuna15