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Okay, seriously, what do I feed my picky toddler?

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  • #16
    Oh, also, my youngest, who is 5, is a proper arguing, fighting, wailing warrior. It's a knock down, drag out death match getting decent food in him sometimes, especially because the hungrier he gets the more unreasonable he gets. I truly understand wanting to avoid the fight. But it really gets better the better the food going into them is. Well fed kids have more resources to draw upon to be more balanced and calm. I've seen it in my own children and others.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by billp View Post
      Remember children need much more carb heavy food than an adult. Sugars and starches. That's because they are growing. Also small children have a very small gut and generally cannot handle high fiber foods and find them repellent. High fiber veg is more of an adult thing.
      Lord, try convincing people of that around here. I am going around and around on another thread when the OP was asking how to help her "skeletal" kids gain weight.

      I don't believe in imposing food philosophies on kids. I always make sure my son has adequate complex carbs with his meals - he is growing.

      Also, there are biological reasons kids don't like veggies. It is developmentally normal between the ages of 2 and perhaps 10 even to eschew anything novel. Feed kids whole, healthy foods and don't push your food agendas on them.

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      • #18
        Lots of good advice here. The phrase we got from a very good parenting book was "20 yucks to 1 yum". As in, expect kids to turn their nose up to a new food 20 times in a row before they will like it.

        We feed out kids the same thing we eat (with the exception of breakfast, where they get ricies or porridge with milk, cream and yoghurt on top). We eat a wide variety of vegetables, and dish the same proportions up to everybody. We have a rule that you have to try everything at every meal, but you only have to have one bit. For example, our two girls have decided that they don't like mushrooms at the moment, so after eating one piece of mushroom, they are allowed to pick out all of the rest of the mushroom on their plate and put them on our plate. That way they get a consistent exposure to foods they claim they don't like, and you know what? In a couple of years they don't mind them.

        Some other parents that eat with us are amazed at the range of veggies our kids eat, but I think that consistently giving them small doses to them is the way to go.
        Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

        Griff's cholesterol primer
        5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
        Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
        TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
        bloodorchid is always right

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        • #19
          Originally posted by magicmerl View Post
          For example, our two girls have decided that they don't like mushrooms at the moment, so after eating one piece of mushroom, they are allowed to pick out all of the rest of the mushroom on their plate and put them on our plate.
          My son has taken mushrooms one step farther, he says he can "taste where the mushroom has been" on the plate. He profoundly dislikes them.

          We, too, put everything on his plate, and require a taste. I think we are over the 20 times rule on some things, but kids really have to be exposed a lot to even begin to like some things. I have read that neophobia is actually developmentally normal.

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          • #20
            I got that with brisket yesterday - "I don't liiiiike"

            I think things being slightly burnt is very off-putting to children. They never like the bread crust either. She even turned down a piece of fat because it was browned, like the rest of the brisket. Last time I leave it cooking in the slow cooker for 24 hours. Next time it will go on first thing in the morning for that evening, instead.

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            • #21
              We have a picky 5 yr old with huge texture issues. For us, we are doing it one food at a time. Literally. First I wanted to work on snacks so we have moved off from the animal crackers/TJ cat cookies to dried fruit and now to trail mix with nuts. I'll keep dropping the dried fruit ratio until it's more nuts than not. Next was the bowl of dried cereal he used to want at bed time. Now he's eating cheese and pepperoni or yogurt with a bit of honey. I keep lowering the amount of honey every few days. I also make primal desserts that are definitely treats but are better than cookies, etc. Date bars, sweet potato bars, and home made yogurt/fruit popsicles. I keep trying to primalize his mainstream staples - his PBJ is now raw almond butter, no sugar added jelly, "better" bread. Not perfect but...

              I try to not to get all worked up over one meal (though he does push my buttons on a regular basis!) and look at his overall nutrition. I do make him take a bite of everything, for exposure, but I try to have at least one thing I know he'll eat at each meal. I know I was picky as all get-out as a kid and now I'm eating all sorts of crazy stuff!
              Thread-killer extraordinaire
              My journal
              Primal since 3/10/12 - removed lap band 5/11/12
              207/186/160

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              • #22
                Originally posted by icz View Post
                My son has taken mushrooms one step farther, he says he can "taste where the mushroom has been" on the plate. He profoundly dislikes them.
                This is my 22 year old housemate. Some people will never accept the taste of things. I love mushroom, its in everything I cook. 3 out of 4 people in our household eat it, he picks it out or gets something else.
                Starting weight: 90kg (11/3/13) (33.1 BMI)
                Current weight: 89.5kg (12/3/13) (32.9 BMI)
                Goal weight: 75kg (27.5 BMI)
                Short term goal: BMI under 30
                Mid term goal:
                40 pushups, 100 situps, 10 pullups, 10.1 beep test, >10m 2.4km run
                Long term goal: Enlist as an ARA Combat Engineer

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by icz View Post
                  My son has taken mushrooms one step farther, he says he can "taste where the mushroom has been" on the plate. He profoundly dislikes them.

                  We, too, put everything on his plate, and require a taste. I think we are over the 20 times rule on some things, but kids really have to be exposed a lot to even begin to like some things. I have read that neophobia is actually developmentally normal.
                  Heh, that's funny.

                  Maybe he can taste it, maybe he can't. All I know is, "if you're not hungry enough to finish the first course, you'r enot hungry enough for pudding.". And miraculously they manifest the ability to wolf the rest of their food down.
                  Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                  Griff's cholesterol primer
                  5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                  Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                  TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                  bloodorchid is always right

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                  • #24
                    All great advice here! I too have a 4 yo who wont eat veges. He may eat a few if cooked in soup or if I hide them in ground meat. He loves eggs with sausage for breakfast. For a while he was wanting oatmeal often, so I would cook a small amt (like 1 -2 TB) in milk and then add an egg and make it like a custard. He likes that w/ some yogurt mixed in. He would love mac-n-cheese, hot dogs (in a bun) and gold fish crackers every day, but we simply don't have that stuff at home. When we encounter them while out, he may get them, but if it's not in your house, they can't get access to it most of the time. Just keep trying and don't compare to other parents. All kids are different - just do your best!

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Leonharte View Post
                      This is my 22 year old housemate. Some people will never accept the taste of things. I love mushroom, its in everything I cook. 3 out of 4 people in our household eat it, he picks it out or gets something else.
                      Mushrooms are a source of Umami (L-glutamate) - which stimulates the 5th type of taste receptor on the tongue. I believe that flavor can be inferred / transferred throughout a dish quite easily. Dishes cooked with mushrooms will taste like mushroom, or at least have some of that slightly funky/meaty savory effect. Removing mushrooms from a dish after cooking with them probably leaves much of that flavor.

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                      • #26
                        I was a picky eater as a kid and really didnt enjoy veggies until college!

                        I have a 6 and 7 year old. Older kid will eat anything, younger one takes after me and mealtime is often troublesome! That being said...we can do tuna, hummus (not primal), beans and rice. Other ideas are to roast a chicken---smells up the house and might stimulate that appetite! Also, maybe make your meals less spicy and stick to some basics for a bit...meat, veggie, salad or cut up raw veggies, maybe potato/rice. Kids like things plain---they do have heightened taste buds...ours diminish as we age so we gravitate to more spices, etc. Plain fish---salmon/tilapia usually goes over well, bunless burgers, I'll still do gluten free pasta on occasion too for the kids!

                        Good luck!
                        Check out my blog on nature and nurture!
                        http://thewoodsygal.com/

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                        • #27
                          Great thread! My little boy is 22 months and he loves "cooking" He is not fussy at the moment but he still has preferences and he is not primal as such. Because he loves pretend cooking he has loads of the play foods, if he is a bit hesitant especially with a new food I go and get the pretend one and show him and then he will try it. With my son it's more about texture and he is a slow teether so he still doesn't have a full mouth of teeth yet. It's really only been in the last couple of weeks that he will eat a very small bit of meat without it being cut up into a mush with other vegies and which is eaten with a spoon.

                          Thanks to everyone who has posted and offered ideas, I would love to get my son onto a primal diet before he's addicted to grains and sweet food for years to come. He does not have sugar or dairy (other then cheese), he's still breastfeeding so we are off to a good start but I still worry I may be too late. I plan to switch over to making my own almond crackers, chocolate cake and other sweet biscuts with almond flour and raw organic cocoa and honey etc and making things like coconut berry pancakes for teats for my son. I am going to try to always have almond crackers in the pantry too that I make so that he can have them instead of regular savory crackers.
                          Last edited by Ethereal; 07-25-2012, 03:02 PM.
                          "You can either spend your time & money on being sick, or you can spend your time & money on being healthy"

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                          • #28
                            The blog "The Nourished Kitchen" has a good article about "How to Transform a Picky Eater":

                            How to Transform a Picky Eater

                            I like the tone of the article, about positive self-talk and positive talk. Refer to your kid as a good eater, instead of pointing out how picky they are. This really opened my eyes. I am definitely guilty of refering to my older child, who is 5, as a picky eater. Sigh.

                            The Nourished Kitchen is a food blog devoted to traditional foods/cooking so not completely primal or paleo, but a heavy emphasis on GAPS compatible and WAPF foods. Her recipe for your own homemade, lacto-fermented ketchup is fantastic. My oldest will eat a lot of things with ketchup that he would not eat otherwise. This homemade ketchup provides some good gut flora and so I feel better about him dipping everything into it.

                            My 5-year-old has just not started eating meat again. He essentially went 2 years not eating it. I know I am partially to blame as I was a vegetarian that whole time, but I always served grassfed or pastured meat to my husband and son. Now that we are all eating meat again, including me it is easier. I make my own chicken "nuggets" and fish "sticks" for the kids. But, I'll admit, they still love their breads and cereals for breakfast. My oldest just adores anything cinnamon. We at least transitioned from any processed foods to a nice cinnamon bread made with honey from a local bakery. Baby steps.

                            My toddler who is almost 14 months old will eat anything still. He ate steak last night, eggs this morning. Right now he still stuffs himself with veggies though, again, he likes that cinnamon bread at breakfast too. He's still nursing as well, so I'm not so worried about his nourishment.

                            I put veggies on my oldest plate for years and years without him eating a bite, but now he is slowly trying them. He ate some pea shoots the other night, and some zucchini. I'm just glad he's not asking for a grilled cheese every night. A few bites of steak, a few bites of a veggie, some fruit and water, then I'm okay if he also wants to have some other foods.

                            With eating primally, my goal is to make it a lifestyle for myself first, be the example. Along the way, slowly transition the kids to more primal/paleo and also GAPS type foods (fermented), but not stress if they reject them at first.
                            http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...d61289-12.html

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                            • #29
                              There are some good suggestions here, like make it bland for them, keep crap out of the house, but just wow. Be casual and nonchalant and give your child what you eat. If they won't eat just calmly remove it when the meal is over. They cannot starve themselves, when they're hungry enough they'll eat. My youngest is 30 now so I've been there. Have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree? This is a situation that will resolve itself if you handle it right. You can't negotiate with and you shouldn't bribe a young child. You are just setting yourself up for bigger problems later. You must be in charge, if not they will be and heaven help you when they're teenagers.

                              Tercio

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                              • #30
                                I recall the Supernanny using this method with "picky eaters." She would tell the child, "You need to eat three carrots, and two bites of chicken, before you can have any more grapes. Let's count! 1 carrot! Good! Two carrots! WAY TO GO! " etc. Make it fun, set some simple guidelines (how many bites they must eat before having something else) and give them lots of praise and encouragement when they try new things. Keep it light, don't get angry, be patient. No kids of my own yet so this is secondhand experience, but it seems like a good approach. Good luck, moms and dads!

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