(Closed) Toddler not eating real food -scenario

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 16
9830 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

We did baby led weaning and dd is a pretty good eater (she’s 2). We try not to make a big deal about food; we don’t praise or criticize how much or what she eats. I offer a variety of things each meal, and either she eats or she doesn’t. Some days she asks for seconds, other days she eats a piece of cheese and says “all done!” Okay kid, you do you. If she asks for a snack later on, I’ll offer her some fruit or veggies.

If my child was failure to thrive or had other medical needs, I would be more lenient.


Post # 17
635 posts
Busy bee

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MeandYou :  One of my children struggles to gain weight so we do allow more leeway than what many people are suggesting.  Every child has unique needs and metabolisms. We butter both sides of my son’s toast just to maintain weight.  Milk after 24 months is a poor source of nutrition and shouldn’t be replacing meals.  

There are speciality medical clinics to help children with strong aversions to textures, etc so it’s not a matter of starving a child until they eat as many are recommending.  Aversions aren’t just a byproduct of overly permissive parents. 

TLDR: This is a subject best addressed by a child’s pediatrician not internet strangers. 

Post # 18
4792 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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MeandYou :  I’d give healthy food options in this case and not pander to the idea of giving them any food they want just because they are not eating. It seems counter intuitive to me. Kids are smart and will work out that if they hold out they will get to eat what ever unhealthy option they desire thus repeating the cycle. 

If it was more than just it being a battle of wills, then I’d approach it from a different angle. 

Post # 19
5757 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

There are worse things than a pick eater but I don’t think it sets kids up well for adulthood to be a very picky eater, so I would never get to she stage of only letting my toddler eat a small amount of foods.  If I made a meal and they didn’t eat any of it I wouldn’t immediately take it away and say ‘oh well here’s a biscuit’ just so they eat, that teaches them if they don’t eat what I for them eventually they will get sweets. Sure there are some things certain kids don’t like but overall you encourage these habits if you give into them, a child won’t starve if they barely eat their dinner one night and they will be hungry for whatever you put down in front of them next.

Post # 20
2543 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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jetsetbee :  I agree. I don’t plan on giving my kid cake or French fries for dinner anytime soon, but I do agree that some people are just plain picky, even if you raise them not to be. I was one of those kids that went to bed hungry and got spankings for crying at the table when I literally could not put something I thought was gross into my mouth. 

I’m not going to cook an entirely different meal, but I am not against offering alternatives. Sometimes my daughter doesn’t want to eat something she likes, so I give her something else. If there is a food she hates, I keep it in mind and while I will always keep offering, I’m not going to turn it into a battle of wills. I just don’t see the point in forcing them to eat something they don’t like. 

But back to the main question, yes, I would withdraw treats like cakes and biscuits if I were concerned that my toddler wasn’t eating enough to be healthy. If they only pick at fruits and veggies, I would offer different varieties and probably sit them down to eat more frequently if I were afraid they weren’t getting full at regular mealtimes.

Post # 21
2145 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Many kids are super tasters and reject certain foods not because they are jerks or defiant, but because it genuinely tastes disgusting to them — like sand or dirt. So they will go hungry if they are given no other choice.

Post # 22
9800 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

It’s really going to depend on if the kid is having trouble gaining weight or losing weight.  Let’s say the toddler is a normal, healthy weight with no growth issues.  My 3 year old can be picky and was pickier from 2-3.  I always served something I knew she would eat (fruit) and then I switched between offering what I made for dinner or something easy like chicken nuggets (but I only offered that when our dinner wasn’t actually prepared yet or I was going to eat something out of the freezer myself like a veggie burger or burrito).  If she didn’t want to eat the dinner I made I didn’t make her a separate dinner.  She either eats that or if she tries it and still doesn’t like it or won’t eat it I will only offer one other option which is pb&j or similar (turkey sandwich).  I will not serve cake or cookies for dinner to her no matter what. She likes french fries so I often serve sweet potato fries. For the most part she won’t eat veggies for me but I usually put a couple on her plate anyway.  She often eats veggies at daycare- peer pressure works.  I don’t force her.  Here is your food, eat it or don’t.  If you’re hungry later you can eat this dinner or pb&j.  Some days she doesn’t even want to eat a sandwich and other days she’ll eat practically as much as me.  

Post # 23
1641 posts
Bumble bee

Every child is different, and I think leading by example is key.

My friends child is a super picky eater….but where did she learn it from? Her mom and grandma. They always have an issue with their food. It’s too salty (not really). It’s burnt (it’s not). It’s not chicken (we said beef tacos…) the smell of eggs makes them nauseous….Blah blah. It’s exhausting to eat dinner out with them. 

Post # 24
1196 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I agree that it depends on the kid.  If they once ate healthy options but are now refusing then I’d probably keep offering healthy options and if they eat they eat and if they don’t they don’t.  Now if the kid loved every veggie but brussel sprouts, then I wouldn’t force them to eat that one. 

I’m lucky that my son loves everything but he doesn’t like raw tomatoes so I don’t force it.  He will eat onions, blue cheese, anything really just not tomato so it isn’t worth the fight.  If he has a weird picky day then he can have something simple like yogurt or cottage cheese instead but I don’t make a whole new meal. 

As for treats – I really try and limit them.  It some ways it is easy for me because my son is allergic to eggs so he cannot have a lot of “bad”/treat foods.  We do try and get him a good balance of dairy, meat, fruits, and veggies though.  Occasionally he has chocolate covered pineapples or some other snack and I try not to worry about it since it is just that, occasional.

Post # 25
939 posts
Busy bee

I have my first LO on the way, so we’ll see what I end up doing when she actually gets here…but currently my philosphy is: “This is what you’re being served and there’s no other options, so you can take it or leave it.”
And of course, no dessert if they don’t finish everything I give them. That’s how it was in my house, and if I just wanted to pick at the meat and carbs and ignore the veggies, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t get any dessert afterwards…it kinda gave me insentive to choke down some veggies. (I always sacrificed dessert to avoid brussel sprouts, though…worst veggie on the planet) 

The only exception to obligating them to eat something is if it’s an aversion to just one thing. For example, if they love peas and carrots but hate broccoli, I’ll probably avoid feeding them broccoli since there are other decent alternatives that they WILL eat. If they’re avoiding all veggies though, they’ll have to suck it up. 

Post # 26
7694 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Just to be up-front, we never had an issue with our children not gaining weight or growing properly, so that definitely plays a part.

But my philosophy has always been that I serve a balanced meal. If a child chooses to eat no part of it, then, yes, that child will go hungry. That means that the child chose not to eat the vegetable, the bread, the other starch (potato or rice or stuffing) or the meat. That’s a LOT of things to say no to. 

The funniest thing is that my DD is the picky eater (her brothers will eat anything). But when we have guests or eat out with other people, she will make conversation, be sociable, and EAT. Thing she wouldn’t ever touch with just family around, she will eat in a restaurant with others. So either her tastes aren’t so strict, or the way she appears to others matters more than her food “aversions.”

I absolutely agree that there are things I don’t like, and kids are entitled to that, too. So my kids always had the option of three entrees they would not eat. Fair enough. But if there are fewer things a child WILL eat than will not eat, then I see that as a problem. I would sometimes serve things differently for them – like serving sauce separate or noodles plain – but I would almost never make them something separate or allow them treats during what ought to be a mealtime.


Post # 27
717 posts
Busy bee

They would not have a choice in what they are. They are not the mother.

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