I'm at my wits end with my daughter who is 3.5 yrs old. She's always been a picky eater since birth. But as time goes by shes getting worse, the selection of foods she eats is lessening. Her weight/height are good but i worry about her developing poor eating habits. I've discussed this with our family MD, who wasnt very generous with offering advice. Neither myself, husband or 13 month old son are picky eaters, we eat practically everything. I am tired of being a shortcook for her and tired of the tantrums (lasting sometimes 30 minutes) she will throw if we insist she try something new. I literally am walking on eggs when presenting her with new foods.
What she does eats: most fruits, black olives (she loves!?!) cereal (only cheerios), milk, cheese (only stringable cheddar), yogurt, rice (only white plain), pizza (only cheese), pasta (only elbow or spirals with butter and plain), crackers (only saltines and ritz), granola bars, peanut butter sandwiches (only with nutella), bread (any kind), smoothed lentil soup, yogurt, barley/rice soup (turkish), icecream (any kind), cookies (only chocolate chip), candy (practically any kind), juice, pancakes (almost everyday), cucumbers/carrots (seldomly) and scrambled eggs (seldomly). What she doesnt eat that concerns me: chicken, fish or meat of any kind, vegetables, beans, eggs, other cheeses, saucy versions of pasta, beans and stews. I've tried forcing her, letting her go hungry, giving her timeouts in her room, which results in her getting cranky, fighting with her brother, cousins, crying, screaming, etc. I've tried to have her try new foods with other kids/friends/cousins, she will sit out while everbody else eats, and she feels bad about that and so do I. I really want to help her develop good eating habits without punishing her or making her upset. I feel like such a failure as a parent. Please help me. I love her sooo much.
Her weight is on the 95th percentile and her height is above the 95th percentile for her age. She maybe a picky eater but she is eating enough to have a very good weight. She is eating protein foods - milk, yogurt, pizza, peanut butter, lentil soup, and cheese; plus fruits which are all healthy. Some children do start eat to a wider range of foods when they get older. To ‘broaden her tastes’ is to engage her in the kitchen more. Children love to be a part of making food. Have her help you with preparation of food and setting the table. Hopefully this will increase her interest in other types of food. The most important thing is to RELAX. You do not want mealtimes to become the battle of the wits between your child and you. Relax at meals and let her eat what she wants. Sometimes it takes 5-9 times to introduce a food that they will accept, however, if they do not want it you have to not make a fuss and let it go. Give her the food she likes. Hoped this helped you.
Eating has become a battle between you and your child. This is not good for either of you. Believe it or not many children do go through such a phase and end up eating a wide range of foods when they are older. If possible do give her a multivitamin.
Firstly stop fighting about food, you need to stop making a bid deal about it. No more punishments, timeouts, begging her to eat, comparing her with her brother or cousins. Don't give negative feedback when she doesn't eat.
Don't do more than acknowledge she's eaten when she does. Treat her the same way you treat your husband and son at the table and with food.
Make sure there are ready snacks available. Offer her. If she says no. Then say "that's ok. Do you want something else? If she says yes, and it's reasonably available give it to her. If not, just tell her that calmly. A three year old is quite a sophisticated being. If she says, no. Just acknowledge it "I guess you're not hungry. Ask Mummy later if you want something."
At meals, give her her food (something you know she'll eat, a luckly she eats a fairly wide range), plus a little of something new / or that she doesn't normally eat to try. Then pay her absolutely no attention with regards to if she is eating or not (just the normal household meal times interactions). Be totally matter of fact about it.
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