Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What She WON"T Eat Wednesday

I could title this post a number of things like...Desperate Diner or Nutty about Nutrition or maybe even Toddler Tantrums but instead I am reaching out to all of you.  A desperate mom who just wants her daughter to be healthy.

Meet Em:
Our beautiful, funny, caring, wicked smart, toddler who up until last week could be categorized as your average picky eater.  Yes she would refuse to even try most foods but she had her set of foods that she would accept on her plate and I worked my hardest to make those foods the healthiest I could.  Until last week...

A very well-meaning mom, who is also a nutritionist, came to her class to talk about nutrition.  She did activities with them about what foods were healthy and what foods were treats and why it was important to eat healthy foods.  She obviously used words like "nutritious" and "protein" since those are some of the words being fired back at me!  Her lesson I'm sure was very well planned and for the average child was a great time learning about foods...but for our picky eater it was the fuel to cut out even more foods from her VERY limited approved list. 

Which leads us to today and my real concern for her.  The foods she cut out of her diet yes were not healthy foods (grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, and waffles) but I made sure that those foods were all organic, packed with as many nutrients as I could so that I could be sure she was getting what she needed.  The past 4 nights have been a battle that has resulted in her eating a handful of carrots or apple sauce and being done.  My concern is not only in if she is getting the proper nutrition (she only gets about 10g of protein a day and very little of anything else) but also this behavior around food.  She'll even ask for foods (smoothies or peanut butter and jelly) which I gladly make for her and when it is on her plate she says it isn't nutritious enough and she can't eat it.  I am at a loss....it makes me very sad and as much as my husband says it is nothing to do with anything we did I can't help but feel responsible. 

Any advice? Has anyone dealt with a picky eater who uses nutrition facts as a justification NOT to eat?

20 comments:

  1. Oh my, what a problem! Sorry I can't help too much, but maybe it is a phase? Or explain why protein is good and necessary and maybe she will get that?

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  2. for me it was all about the consistent offering.
    I read so many flavors kids wont "like" until theyve encountered FIFTEEN TIMES!!
    So I kept proffering ;-)

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  3. Yikes, how frustrating that this all came out of a well-meaning talk, (especially since I plan to give some of these talks in the future... I'm making notes!)
    I would guess it's largely her way of being in control and showing you her independence, and hopefully the phase will be short!! For now, I'd go with whatever she will eat... maybe sit down with her and make a list of all the foods she thinks are nutritious? And then post it on the refrigerator and she can choose one of those at each meal? Good luck, and keep us posted! That would be so tough!

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    1. I love that idea Laura! Thanks so much!!

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  4. Yikes, that's tough. If it goes on too long for your comfort, maybe you can call that mom in for a personal "damage control" visit. Maybe it wasn't as much what she said to the kids that day but how she said it. And if that's the case, your daughter may have connected to this person and a follow up conversation may help? Good luck :)

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  5. Oh no. That's no fun at all. My youngest is a picky eater too. He refuses to eat any and all real fruit - purees and dehydrated fruit are fine but not the real deal. My oldest was never like this so I'm at a loss with him too. I agree with Laura that it's probably a control thing and hopefully a phase. I know that when I push harder, he digs in harder. I also try to remind myself that the kids won't starve themselves and that it's important to look at what they are eating over the course of a week versus any one day. It usually evens out. I know, easier said than done. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Christine! It's good to know I'm not alone in the trenches!

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  6. oh kids are so awful sometimes! I just keep offering it seems to help. I think Lisa has a great idea about a follow up conversation with the lady. Amazing the things kids will pick up on as a sticking point.

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  7. It order to like we have to try. She will come to a point where she will want to try. My sister was a picky eater (like super picky). She eventually grew out of it and is now willing to try many things to see if SHE likes it :)

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  8. I worry my share about my pickier child, but then I take a step back and look at her choices over a week. usually if you can frame it that way, you'll see it's not quite as bad as you think. Just keep offering new things, mixing things up, and eventually you'll get there. Don't worry yourself too much!

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  9. That's tough! You know she's not starving but in the moment you just want her to eat. Offer the usual healthy foods but also let her choose a few things. Maybe find a healthy eating book for kids? Good luck!

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  10. That is a hard situation to be in and I totally understand. My only big advice is to not make eating a battle as I agree, she is finding a way to exert some control. But you can lay a framework of saying she needs x-amount of protein a day and then let her choose between the protein options whether it be chicken, peanut butter, beans, etc. Or say we have x, y and z for dinner. You need to eat at least a bite of everything (even if it is teeny) or let her pick 2 of 3 options or 3 of 4. Involve her in the food making so she can see how nutritious things are. And I gotta say, try hiding things into what she will eat...but it is hard to hide things in carrots and applesauce. I have recipes that put carrots and applesauce into muffins but then, she would need to eat the muffin. And for her, it may work to see what healthy foods are going into the muffin???? You could sneak a tinge of peanut butter in when she isn't looking so there is some protein.

    Don't give up. Lay some foundational rules but let her choose what to eat. And keep offering!

    Good luck!

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    1. She will eat a muffin for lunch so I am going to try to do some sneaking...great idea!

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  11. Oh man. This is why we have to be SO careful with how we approach little ears... Because they accept things as fact QUICKLY. I would just keep trying. You know what's right. You're a good mama. Just keep working towards getting her to eat as well as you can. Have you tried sitting her down yourself with a food facts book and approaching it face to face?

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  12. OMG I WAS BEYOND the pickiest eater when I was little! I remember I wouldn't touch ANYTHING green. This restaurant brought me a plate of spaghetti and butter... But they put a sprig of parsley on it and I had a FIT at the restaurant and threw the plate on the ground because there was something green on it. I also remember when I was like 12, I ran away from home because my mother tried to make me eat salmon! UH, ironically enough, salmon is now my favorite food on the face of the planet and I eat it every day... How the tables have turned.

    How did this happen? Well I finally started to educate myself on foods that fuel your body healthfully! I also suffer from a lot of digestive problems so eating poorly only affects me negatively!

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  13. This post was fascinating to me as I don't have kids and will eat just about anything. Lol! I hope you find a good solution b/c I know you are a concerned mama. I'm sure you're doing a great job and she'll find some nutricious foods that she wants to eat more often then carrots and applesauce. (Now I'm hungry.)

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  14. Aw I hope things get easier with your little eater. <3

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  15. I know my kids both go through stages with their eating (ages 4.5 and 2.5). Things that were once popular have now been cast aside. I try not to stress about it and prepare foods that are healthy and try to mix it up. I tell my kids that they have to try a little of everything and if they aren't sure about it there will be something else tomorrow. Have you tried getting her involved in some meal preparation. Sometimes that can spark a new curiosity with foods. Or add in things like interesting dipping sauces which toddlers love. Try not to worry. I am sure that you are doing a great job! Some of it is just the toddlers will of trying to gain more control in their choices. Good luck!

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  16. I'm not much help. When my kids were little they pretty much ate anything including veggies. Now? I'm shocked when they eat anything that doesn't come prepackaged in a box. While trying to not make food an "issue" especially with my daughter I can't seem to figure out a way to get my 2 teens to eat a more healthy balanced diet. Ugh!

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  17. I have a ver picky eater and she is 11 - eleven years of eating hardly anything. It must be enough though because she continues to flourish! It sounds like your little girl is incredibly smart and picks up on things quite easily. Maybe someone (besides Mom :)) could talk with her about the importance of balanced nutrition - giver her a list of superfoods. Might help... Good luck with that! Those smart little girls amaze me!

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