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  1. #1
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    Feb. 14, 2012
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    Default Picky Toddler

    My two year old learned the word "no" and while it's super adorable, it's also frustrating when it comes to meal times. She won't eat anything that's not a fruit snack. Not exactly the most healthy, balanced diet. We put things in front of her and she usually responds with "NO!" and chucks whatever is on the plate. This results in a time out - which has proven effective for curbing all other naughty behaviors thus far. I've probably just ruined that for myself. - and she doesn't get the plate back. She will drink the Bolthouse Farms or Naked Juices (I love them) so she's getting a little bit of good stuff from those, but DH isn't too keen on the sugar content. She won't touch pedisure, which is what her pedi recommended. I think a lot of it is a control thing, honestly, she is 2.

    I've tried cooking with her and letting her choose her own meal (fruit snacks - which we don't keep in reach anymore... they are saved for special occasions now).

    The dogs are loving it.

    Any suggestions? Healthy recipes that might tempt her? Bonus points if it looks and smells like dog food, which she tries very hard to get her grubby little paws on.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  2. #2
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Default

    Have you tried giving her choices? Never more than two...say choose between carrots and peas?

    A lot of kids love salads and vegetables and dip. There are some great healthy dips now, based on yogurt or you can whip up your own. Maybe try a little reverse psychology, make a semi big deal of how they are "adult" foods.

    As she gets older, what worked for me was to allow my daughter to hate one thing a week. She didn't have to taste it, it didn't even have to go on her plate.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Dec. 18, 2006
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    Default

    As a personal fan of the Naked Juices...I will say that I find them (sadly) too high in calories for me. So, it is probably not a good idea to give her too much of them because they will fill her up and she won't be hungry, and therefore can afford to be choosy in what she will eat.

    I will admit that my kids came to us as great eaters (we adopted them at 18 mos. and 5 years)...so I can't speak from personal experience. But having watched my sister's picky todder turn into a 9 year old who only eats about 5 foods...I use tough love now -- no fruit snacks, no juice. Kids won't starve themselves, but if they get to have high calorie juices (crackers, cereal, whatever) instead of real food, they will never really be hungry.

    That said, I wouldn't go crazy and expect a toddler to eat mushrooms or raw onions, or other things that aren't generally palatable by kids...but I would put real food in front of her and offer nothing else. I wouldn't even do a time out if she throws the food. Eat or not, that's the choice....and ignore all the nonsense. (For a while, and see if it works, anyway). My sister's child uses the fight over food to get attention, good attention or bad....so I wouldn't give anything for not eating.

    Good luck.

    ETA: so...food ideas? A small plate with raisins, chick peas, cut up chicken...? Cheese cubes, steamed broccoli, apples? Depends on whether she likes meat. One of my kids did, the other was eh about it.


    9 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2004
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    Magnolia, TX
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    Default

    My youngest niece was the same way. Very, very picky, and if you tried to get her to eat something she didn't want, she's push her plate aside and refuse to eat anything. This stopped when my SIL cut her off from drinking milk all day. Now that she's not tanking up on the milk, she actually eats.

    If it were me, I'd eliminate fruit snacks for a while... as in, completely out of sight, unavailable, not an option even in the case of desperate rations in a zombie apocalypse. I think it's more food preference you have on your hands rather than pickiness, and as long as the preferred option can be had.... well... 2yos are smart. Who wants broccoli when you can enjoy the sweet yumminess of Naked Juice or fruit snacks?
    Jer 29: 11-13


    8 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2013
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    409

    Default

    A few of my suggestions from full time nannying picky toddlers.

    1). Cooking with you. Always. Let them watch you make the food and help. Recipe uses eggs, you teach them to crack um. Little kids love to mix things, put there hands in and on things. If your making burgers have kiddo do the mixing. If something is edible raw let them nibble on it. If you have a kitchen island pull up a chair and make it the prep area. Let toddler touch everything. Let her add the spices, let her touch the meat with her hands, if she's good about not sticking her hands in her mouth/ you can get the okay quick hand wash down, also Keep baby wipes on hand.


    2). Substitution. Zuchini can be substituted for pasta noodles (not all the time of course) instead of French fries make sweet potato fries, or green bean fries or any other type of French fry. There are a ton of different chip recipes that do not use potatoes.

    3) snack fridge. If your toddler picks their own snacks, only have healthy choices visible. If they can get into the fridge, make sure everything is eye level and reachable for them. Have the fruits cut into small pieces (grapes halved, strawberries cut, meats cut into pieces, veggies cut). If you can maybe invest in a snack fridge (a mini fridge and keep it loaded with the only snack choices). Fruit snacks, chips, pretzels need to be in small pre measured amounts and once they are gone for the week or day, no more appear. Popular snacks grapes, cheese sticks, cherry tomatoes, single serving yogurt, carrots, little pieces of barbeqcue & teriyaki chicken or beef, precooked bacon, hard boiled eggs, baggies of crackers. Single servings of chips, gold fish, or unpopped bag of popcorn.

    3). Try renaming food. Steaks become hamburgers without the bun, pad Thai was brown spaghetti, all fish was called fish, chicken was nuggets.

    4). Make dipping sauces available to a point. I limited ketchup to a small Dixie cup, ranch, honey mustard, salad dressing was also limited accordingly.

    5). Limiting juice and milk to after the meal. Water is primary liquid in the snacking period, prior to eating period.

    6). Won't eat it no big deal, what leftovers would you like.

    7). Let child fix their own plate. Don't just plop some food in front of them. Let them select and help them serve themselves. No child ive known will go to the table with an empty plate when they have options.


    Foods that were a hit, pad Thai with additional peanut butter, fish and rice, tacos with any and all meat/bean filling, Let them pick the fillings. Any sort of baked fries. Fruit cut out to look like a specific shape, Hard boiled eggs (that child peels to eat). Gyros,Eggplant Parmesan.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007
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    PA
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    Default

    I wouldn't worry too much. Soon the fruit snacks will lose their appeal and she'll be on to something else. All three of mine went through food phases. In fact my youngest is on a green bean casserole binge right now.

    When they were little I didn't stress too much. Just like a horse, you need to learn to pick your battles. I would just put a little of everything on the plate and let them choose what to eat. I never asked for a "clean plate" or anything like that. As someone else said it was their choice to eat or not.

    They loved it when I would make a "smorgasbord" for them at that age. Lots of choices and all cut up and looking like appetizers (remember the movie, Mermaids? - like that) - toothpicks to eat with made everything taste good. Cut up fruit was always popular along with cheese cubes, chicken nuggets, carrots and dip. Dip is a must! Ranch dressing was a favorite. Everything tasted better with it - according to them! Some of the combinations they would come up with made me shudder, but they were eating!



  7. #7
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    Mar. 10, 2007
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    I never engaged on food battles with my kids. We had the food we had for dinner and that was it, no options. Throw it at the dog, bye bye, catch ya next meal.

    I seriously did not worry a bit about it. We didn't have food in the house that I didn't want them to eat and I didn't go out of my way to cook things that I knew they hated (mushrooms, ect). I did a lot of one dish meals so the vegies were part of the deal if you're going to be a vegie cop. I never was, they had a daily vitamin and ate reasonably well, no junk food, hearty meals and lots of exercise. The end.

    The only food battle I remember of their entire childhood was when my MIL tried to get my son to eat a heaping plate of scalloped oysters. They were deadlocked for three hours by the time we got there to pick him up! DH hates it too.
    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


    16 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Apr. 14, 2007
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    Pen Argyl PA
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    Default

    No choices. she eats what is served or she gets nothing. By offering her more options, she will only get pickier.


    22 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Nov. 18, 2010
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    california
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    Default

    Agree with Nezzy and Cowboymom. I don't run a diner out of my kitchen. I will accomodate on occasion, my son likes alfredo on pasta, my daughter likes tomato sauce, I will make pasta with each but that is it and sometimes I make one or the other.

    Both of my children have individual tastes but will eat a wide variety of healthy foods.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
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    Pottstown, PA (East Coventry)
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    Default

    Look into supertasters. A percentage of the population can taste a particular chemical that is in certain foods. That chemical is very bitter to them. To non-tasters they can't taste it at all, to medium tasters it is mildly bitter. Many dark green vegetables really taste very bitter to a supertaster.
    There is a home test with dye then count or look at the size of the taste buds on the tongue.

    She may have a reason to not like certain foods. If you know she is a supertaster you may be able to tailor her menu to things she will like.

    My DH is likely a supertaster or medium taster.
    The only vegetables he will eat are green beans, broccoli, corn, potatoes, raw spinach, lettuce, onion, snow peas, non-chunky spaghetti sauce

    The only fruits are apples, non-pulpy orange juice, fig newtons, raisins. Yes I am stretching for the fig newtons and raisins.

    He is really picky about textures. No mayonnaise or anything with that texture so most white salad dressing is out. Much of the fruit dislikes are texture such as bananas and grapes.

    As a kid he refused to try lasagna as it looked too complicated.

    Does your daughter like pasta? My nieces both liked pasta but would not eat meat. Most meals for them was pasta based, frequently with cottage cheese mixed in for protein.
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


    3 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Jan. 9, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonnysMom View Post
    Look into supertasters. A percentage of the population can taste a particular chemical that is in certain foods. That chemical is very bitter to them. To non-tasters they can't taste it at all, to medium tasters it is mildly bitter. Many dark green vegetables really taste very bitter to a supertaster.
    Um no. For giggles, I googled "supertasters" and clicked on the first (Wikipedia) link. Here is the second sentence from the entry:

    Some 35% of women and 15% of men are supertasters.[1] The reference is to a Daily Mail article. I'm not going to waste my time looking for scholarly articles from reputable sources documenting this phenomenon, but if you have them, please post them. I will read them.

    I'm with all of those who don't run a restaurant out of my house. I have always given two choices at most when it comes to meals, and if nothing is acceptable, we play hunger strike. Hard stop.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Feb. 26, 2011
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    I know this is going to be super tough, but only let her have water between meals. Any milk or juice will trick her little tummy into thinking it has eaten. Then offer a couple foods that you know she has eaten and liked. Set a timer, and at the end of 10 minutes, meal time is up. Repeat for meals until she is eating of her own accord. It will be the hardest thing you do, but she will get back in the habit of eating. Also, for toddlers, you take everything they consume in a week and tally it to make sure they ate a balanced diet, because they all have those days where they live on bananas, or steak, or noodles

    DD #1 was a very picky eater starting at about age 3 or 4. But what she liked was very healthy, so I let it slide. To this day, she won't touch red meat, but I don't force that.


    8 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    Oct. 9, 2010
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    Default

    First off I would make sure none of this makes her hurt. I have always hated red meat but would still eat it at dinner. I would feel tired and my stomach would hurt after it. I cut it out in college and feel so much better.

    But if it doesn't then she doesn't get to leave the table til she is done and she doesn't get anything else to eat. Everyone else can go play and watch tv but she has to finish first. This always got me to eat dinner eventually.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Dec. 4, 2005
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    no, don't cater so much to her. She is the child, you are the parent. Baring anything actually like an allergy or actual dislike, she can eat what the rest of the family is eating.

    its like the spooky horse that shies in the corner, if you coddle, fuss, and make it a big deal suddenly the spook at ALL the corners as they get so much attention for it.

    Eat, or not, but that are the options. All these tricks and games sound like WAY too much work for me.

    Supertasters? Come on, really? she is 2 and just opinionated. If there was a real issue, sure, but this is just a learned habit. She doesn't like ANY foods. I can see if a child doesn't like a certain spice, fruit, or whatever, but this sound like a general bad habit.

    No juice, no fruit snacks. No time out... Just eat, or not.

    She is getting an awfully lot of attention over this, it might be part of the problem. Don't get caught up in this, let her realize you will remain neutral and not get worked up over her actions or non-actions. The way she likes to say NO and do it with a flurish makes me think she is playing around. She likes her new found voice!


    9 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    Oct. 2, 2004
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    I have a super picky toddler too. I blend us a green smoothie every day and she loves them. We usually do a banana, an apple, frozen berries and then either spinach or kale. It tastes similar to the naked juice, just a thicker consistency. Mine likes it, but it could bother yours? We will also do yogurt smoothies with fresh fruit and either flaxseed or chia seeds. I figure between those two things she gets most of the nutrients she needs, because she mine only wants to eat grilled cheese sandwiches lately. Oh, and she also gets a kids vitamin every day.

    I also do two choices for every meal. That makes her feel like she has some control, but I don't feel like I'm running a restaurant.



  16. #16
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    Apr. 21, 2010
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    First, eliminate the juice. They don't need it, it's bad for their teeth and it's got a ton of sugar.
    Toe, what's on the plate is what's for dinner. If she doesn't like it, she can sit quietly or can be excused from the table. If she gets hungry later, it's there if she wants it.
    Kids are much smarter than we give them credit for. She is not too young to learn this lesson.

    No substitutions. No fruit snacks. Nothing.

    She'll get hungry. Believe me.

    Unless you plan on being a short order cook for the rest of your life, believe me, set this example now before you have a 5 year old who only eats cheese puffs. This is my friends son. It's ridiculous.


    8 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Dec. 29, 1999
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    Glad to see many sensible parents not falling for the I'll-only-eat-fruit-snacks. Here's dinner. Don't want it? Too bad. Some good suggestions here about two offerings, child to choose. Sometimes. At least to get through this.

    OP, remember that the discovery of NO in your child's vocabulary is also for testing you. A totally good & normal part of development that teaches her that I can control my life and am not helpless. This is good. Unfortunately, too many parents don't recognize the other side of the coin: the child has just learned to control its environment, but also should be learning that there are limits which will always be consistently enforced - which of course sounds like what you are doing.

    But too many parents come out of this phase with their brats firmly in control of the household.


    7 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    True dat-you have to install the discipline before they're 3 for best results!
    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


    2 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GucciJumper View Post
    But if it doesn't then she doesn't get to leave the table til she is done and she doesn't get anything else to eat.
    I wouldn't make her finish what's on her plate if she doesn't want to finish. That again is just a game of control. "How about 3 bites?" "No, I'll eat 2"...."Ok, two bites and you are done"...."no, only one bite..."

    When she is done, she is done. If she's not hungry, that's fine. If she is hungry, she'll eat and ask for more. Also fine.

    I don't play food games. Hungry kids want to eat, so you don't have to play games. Skip the juice and snacks. Water is better for them anyway.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    Jun. 22, 2012
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    Oh my gosh, the number of people recommending making this an, "eat this or go to bed starving" last stand type of situation is frankly sort of surprising. The tones of some of these posts are seriously threatening.

    She's a two year old. It's not personal. She's going through a tough time as she starts to develop her unique personality/independence but isn't verbal enough to articulate it. You couldn't pay me to be a two year old!

    Full disclosure: I'm not a parent so, as such, have never had to deal with issues such as these 24/7/365. I'm sure it's very draining and explains some of the drill sergeant tones on this thread. That said, I've nannied and a bunch of my friends/close family are raising the next generation right now. So I say with some authority, why would you want to start a battle with a two year old? They'll just drag you down to their level!

    At each meal/snack time give her a choice of two foods (best if they're what you're eating but sometimes you just have to have sushi, am I right? Just make sure it's not those animal-shaped chicken nuggets...or fruit snacks!) If she picks one, great. If she picks neither, meh. She's not that hungry. Don't freak out about it, put her in time out, make her sit at the table until she eats, etc. Just let her go about her business and give her two more options at the next meal/snack time. Give her lots of variety and access to fresh, healthy foods. Model this in your own diet.

    I agree about the Naked juices; so much sugar and really not that great for her. And it's very likely they're filling her up! They're tiny people; they really don't eat (or need) a lot.

    If you're genuinely worried that she's not getting enough nutrients from whatever she is (or isn't) eating I'd do a quick trip to the pediatrician to put your mind at ease. I guarantee they've seen a lot worse!

    The trick to avoiding having a kid that solely consumes cheese puffs isn't to make mealtime wartime; it's to never give the kid cheese puffs in the first place.


    6 members found this post helpful.

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