Thursday, December 11, 2008


What would Annie Camden do?

Nat has become an incredibly picky eater. He rarely eats what I put in front of him. I'm not a horrible cook. Quite the opposite, actually. He just has set in his mind what he wants to eat, and it's usually not anything near what I've made for lunch or dinner. In his mind, the four basic food groups include bread/pretzels/rice, chocolate, cheese, and noodles. A kid after my own heart. Or stomach. But I can't go feeding him these foods over and over again.

Can I?

Not the chocolate, of course. Chocolate (and any other sweet) is a treat in this house. Not readily available, and not distributed even on a semi-regular basis. But the other stuff? Breads and cheese and noodles? He could eat those every day for every meal.

Perhaps I've been making a mistake in trying to get him to eat what the adults eat. My dinners consist of a protein, a veggie, and a starch. Nat has transformed from a child who would eat anything healthy to a child who takes one bite of everything on his plate and announces that he's done and would like to get down. Put a hot dog or buttered noodles in front of him, though, and he'll clean his plate and ask for more.

So what do you do with a picky toddler? I'm posing this question to the thousands of readers I have (ha), some of whom I know are veteran moms. Do I make two dinners, one for the adults consisting of "real" food and one of which I know he'll eat, or do I continue serving him the balanced choices? My dinner table rule is that he has to try everything once, and if he doesn't like it then he doesn't have to eat it - in that case I'll make him a PB & J or grilled cheese. But he often flat out refuses. So I'm at a loss. Hubs says that he'll eat when he's hungry and to not push him, but I'm the mom - it's my job to push and to make sure I give every effort to take care of him. He's such a little peanut and he needs to eat.

I wonder what Annie Camden would do?


Knick Knack Paddy Whack, Throw This Mom a Bone said...

I am not sure what Annie Camden would do, but I will share my philsophy:

We make one meal for lunch, one meal for dinner.

Lunches tend to be more kid-friendly, hotdogs, macncheese, chicken nuggets, pb&j, etc.

Dinner is always well-rounded with a meat, a starch, fruit and/or veggie.I try to always put something on the plate that everyone will love and they are required to try everything. If they do not like something, they do not have to finish it and can have more fruit or veggies if they choose.

I highly recommend that you keep serving the same dinners to Nat that you and hubs eat. All three, especially the older two went through phases of hating certain things and refusing, but have come around to each food after multiple tries. It is a proven fact that our taste buds change over time and I have seen it happen with my girls. If I had just stopped feeding the foods to them, they never would have tried them again and realized that they DO like the food items.

The reality is that if he is hungry enough, he will eat. And if he eats a small meal, the next meal isn't so far away that he is going to starve.

I have three very good eaters and I chalk to up to the rules we have set for them (and the fact that I don't let them graze all day).

Oh - and on nights that dh and I are knowingly eating something the girls are not fans of, then I will make them something else. That only happens about once a month, if that.

Hope that helps! :)

Misty said...

Hi McKenzie!

I saw this on that show The Doctors. I tried it out on Ian and amazingly it worked. But again, it may not work for you.

Sit down to breakfast, lunch, or dinner and give Nat an empty plate. Start eating and ignore him. Eventually he will want what you have and when he does, let him have that food. (I make it sound mean but but it was much better described on the show). Good luck!

Andrew and Connor's Mom said...


I agree with Heather. One meal either lunch or dinner is kid friendly. The other meal is a well rounded one. I also have the rule that everyone should taste everything, but if Connor downright refuses, then I don't force the issue. If he doesn't eat much for this meal, he will eat more at the next meal. As long as the reason he isn't is not that you are allowing him to graze all day, then that is fine.

McKenzie said...

Thanks for the suggestions gals!

H - you say you don't let them graze all day, but do you give them any kind of "scheduled" snack? I usually try to give Nat one snack in the morning and one in the afternoon. Maybe I should this?

Momma Mary said...

I do the same things H and Mandy do. Lunch is hot dogs, mac n cheese, pb&J (fave lately), etc. Dinner is the same for everyone. Some nights he'll eat stuff, some nights he won't. I want him to try everything, and ask him to, but if he's a turd, I don't force him.

I majorly majorly cut down on snacks. He gets breakfast in the AM, no snack until lunch. He eats lunch MUCH better now. I do give a small snack mid-afternoon,usually after nap, because it is a long time between lunch and dinner...

Matter Of Fact Mommy said...

who's annie camden?

i am guilty of making my five year old a separate meal every night for dinner. i figure, one day he'll just HAVE to start eating what the adults are eating... WHEN MONKEYS FLY OUT OF MY BUTT! haha, sorry. i also make a separate meal for the 2yr old, 'cept she usually eats what her big brother eats... which is something along the lines of buttery noodles and hotdogs. except, i always make sure that they have something healthy. my 5yr old has never eaten a vegetable in his life (unless it's a salty carrot in chicken noodle soup), so he eats lots of fruit.

my final advice is this-- do what you can to ensure he's getting the most nutrition possible. :)