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My kids have a number of friends who have very, very limited foods they will eat. One will only eat certain carbs, another will eat chicken nuggets or pizza and not much else. I am not talking young kids who I know are prone to limited diets. These are 10-12yo kids who just seem to never have outgrown the toddler diets.

 

Just wondering if anyone out there has a child like this (not talking those who "must" eat a limited diet for health reasons but those who just won't try new foods or eat anything else) who did try to get their kids to eat different foods? Is it a nature or nuture issue?

 

I understand there are some foods a certain kid just might not like. My own kids have things they don't like to eat but they eat a wide variety of foods...fruits and veggies are their favorites...and will try new foods. We've never made different meals for those who don't like a certain thing but I try to make sure there is something they like to eat in a meal. I don't force them to eat things they don't like but I do ask that they try anything new before deciding.

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I don't cater to my kids but I do cater (somewhat) to DH who has not outgrown a toddler diet. A few nights/wk I will make something I know he won't eat and I let him know before he comes home so he can eat before he comes home or plan on a bowl of cereal for dinner. The kids, on the other hand, will try almost anything I put on their plates.

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I wouldn't say I "cater" to DD, but... I do let her pick dinner pretty often. Not in a, dig through the cabinets and we'll eat whatever you pick out way (although, I'll admit I've done that too... :tongue_smilie:) but I'll give her choices and let her pick.

 

Tonight her choices were hamburger helper or tacos, and she wanted tacos, so... that's what we had. She almost always gets at least one choice each meal, whether it be which meat, or which vegetable, or what other side....

 

Then again, with just the two of us to feed, it's just as easy to cater to her preferences as it is to cater to mine. And I feel like she eats better when she's allowed some input.

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No!

 

My 6-year-old has gone through some phases where she doesn't like certain things. (Usually things like homemade cinnamon rolls or homemade cakes for some odd reason?? I don't know why!!) If it is a food we're having for dinner, she is allowed to get up and have a piece of fruit and a granola bar. She is not allowed to say anything. No "I think an animal just diiiiiieeeed in my mouth!" No "I'd rather eat my own barf than have another bite of this disgustingness."

 

If she says something rude, she has to leave the table.

 

And yes, those were both direct quotes from things she has said while eating dinner.

 

I don't know if allowing fruit and a granola bar is catering to her... but I have bad memories of literally puking up green beans over and over and over during dinner one night as a kid because I had to eat them. It was not good. What's sad is that I LOVE vegetables of all kinds (including green beans). They just tasted gross that day. I don't know why.

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Although, I will say that living in China for the last 3 1/2 years helped with all of this stuff. My girls will eat tons of stuff just because they had no choice. They learned really fast that at dinners with Chinese hosts they don't say a WORD about the food. They had to sit, eat, and smile. The end. No other options given.

 

So if all else fails- move to China!

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No, I don't at all.

 

My son had oral defensiveness at 1 from a swallowing problem. After surgery, when he was for the first time actually able to eat, he either ate what I put before him or he did not. It was my job to offer healthy food and his job to put it in his mouth and eat it. That is general the advice for dealing with children with oral defensiveness, such as with kids who've had tubes down their throat for a prolonged time or in cases like my son's.

 

Today, he will eat anything. He ate an entire plate of pickled cow tongue. His favorite food currently is either beets or spinach.

 

There was no drama, no pushing, no nothing in getting my child from a 15 month old who would not let a spoon near his mouth to where he is now at 6. I put the food in front of him and never said another word about him eating it. If he didn't eat one meal, then he could eat the next meal.

Edited by Sputterduck
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Not much!

I do try to always have something on the plate that they really like.

I offer a variety of healthy foods. And some not so healthy things too. ;)They can choose what or how much to eat. I am not going to get into battles over food.

If they don't eat, they will be hungry...

If they are hungry, they will eat...

I do try to have them help plan, shop and cook because they are more likely to eat what they are interested and invested in!

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Oh, I did make sure to point out how wonderful different foods were. If we were having carrots, I would sit there and talk about how sweet they were. If we were having salad, I would talk about how nice and crisp the lettuce was and how juicy the tomatoes were. A kid can't help but be curious when you are clearly loving your food.

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It is either eat what I fix or go hungry. My ds will usually eat what ever he is not picky. If it is something he doesn't like he will just eat around it.

 

My dd on the other hand has missed quite a few meals b/c she will not eat what is in front of her. She is funny about it though. I can tell when she doesn't like it b/c she will say it is the best meal she has ever had. Then she won't eat it. :tongue_smilie:

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It depends.

 

I only have two dc; neither had any sort of other issues (neurological, psychological, etc.) that would show up as food issues, KWIM?

 

The short answer is that I did not cater to them.

 

The long answer is that I tried to prepare food that was tasty. :-) Dc were not required to clean their plates; I didn't even require them to taste everything (although they did). I put tiny little portions on their plates and if they wanted more, they got more. They were NOT allowed to come to the table and say "OH YUCK!" If they didn't like something, they just quietly didn't eat it. And once they got down from the table, they were finished until the next meal--no getting up and down and up and down and up and down.

 

Older dd didn't like potatoes in any form. I didn't require her to eat them, but I also didn't prepare something instead, and I didn't prepare them often.

 

If they were invited to eat with a friend, they were not permitted to inquire as to the menu before accepting or rejecting the invitation. :glare: They just ate what they were served (or quietly didn't eat).

 

We had friends who were picky eaters (parents as well as children). I only invited them to dinner once. That was enough.:glare:

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I have three kids who will eat most anything. I have one child who has a lot of sensory issues and also has a lot of food pickiness. He has branched out a TREMENDOUS amount in the past several years, but it has taken a lot of work on my part and a lot of willingness on his. I have been known in the past to pay him a quarter to try one bite of a new food. I do cater to his food preferences, particularly after he obediently ate one bite of finely chopped brocolli at a restaurant and promptly threw it up. He can't help it. Some kids can. My kid can't. I told him after that incident that he never had to eat brocolli again in his entire life.;)

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Just wondering if anyone out there has a child like this (not talking those who "must" eat a limited diet for health reasons but those who just won't try new foods or eat anything else) who did try to get their kids to eat different foods? Is it a nature or nuture issue?

 

 

Nature or nurture? I don't know: that's a hard one!

 

My oldest keeps getting picker as he gets older. When he was a toddler he'd eat anything.

My second eats just about everything.

Third: can be picky.

Fourth: will eat anything. If she doesn't like something she'll make faces, but eats it anyway. :lol:

 

They've grown up in a bicultural family and have been served things they refuse to eat (gefilte fish and beef tongue) and things they love that many American kids their age won't touch (caviar and sushi). Honestly, I think they'd be *more* picky if we catered to their "favorites," but I don't think we can erase the pickiness that exists.

 

How's that for a wishy-washy answer? :D

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I won't say that I cater, but I won't choose unusual foods that I know that no one will eat. In this economy, it's not reasonable. The one thing I wish I could get everyone to buy into is eating more oatmeal for breakfast. The kids like the packets, I fix the regular on the stove. No matter how many toppings I give, they won't touch it. "It tastes funny."

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There are times when I kind of cater. For example, DS4 doesn't like anything cheesy or creamy, so I've pretty much given up on casseroles for now. Or if DH and I have an omelet, I will make plain scrambled eggs for DS. But we're all eating eggs. Otherwise, he's a pretty good eater, and if he doesn't want to eat something, fine. He can't have something different though.

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I don't really cater to DS's picky eating. If we happen to have left-overs of something he will eat, I will give him those in lieu of the meal I'm making, but in general, no -- he gets what we get. At 7 he knows how to use the toaster oven, so he also has the option of making himself toast or a bagel if he doesn't like what I'm serving. 90% of it is in his head -- he will like something and then decide he doesn't like it anymore, or he won't try something and just decide he doesn't like it. It drives me nuts!!!!!

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I cater a bit. I have one who never liked red meat and another who gagged every time I tried to put green beans or broccoli in her mouth. They both had these problems from the moment they started eating solid foods. Every now and then I have them try the foods they don't like and my younger did finally start liking broccoli as long as I let her dip it in ranch. :tongue_smilie: Older dd never did acquire a taste for red meat so I don't make her - she just eats the other things I've fixed and makes herself something else. I decided long ago I would not fight over food and we don't. I don't really think there's anything wrong with catering. There are things I don't like and won't eat --but that doesn't mean I don't cook it for those in my family that enjoy it.

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I made eggplant parmesan, pasta and salad for dinner last night. Middle dd said it was her favorite vegetable after asparagus and spinach. My kids aren't picky. I like to cook. I cook an extremely wide variety of foods. They *generally* eat it. My eldest doesn't like spinach much and my middle dd doesn't like iceberg lettuce, but I don't make them eat stuff they genuinely don't like, because they are not usually picky.

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I was that kid. I really and truly did feel nauseous just from looking at/smelling most foods. I had no idea how anybody could stand to get those foods close enough to their faces to actually taste them. Right after I went to college, it just went away. I don't know what happened. I just know that suddenly foods looked good to me (and they tasted good too).

 

My youngest is very much like me in this regard.

 

I guarantee that if it was eat or go hungry. Going hungry is what would happen. The whole week I was at Girl Scout camp the only thing I had to eat was two pieces of toast for breakfast every morning. I just couldn't stomach what they were serving for lunch or dinner or snacks.

Edited by AngieW in Texas
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Yes, because they are generally healthy. He has a queasy reaction to strong tasting food. But, he loves WW pasta, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, green beans, apples, pears, raisins, peas, rice, cheese, Kashi 7 grain cereal,WW toast and WW french toast, kidney or pinto beans, and tofu. If it was chicken mcnuggets or Spagetti-os I'd feel different. I am beginning to force "one bite", but I know some things give him the trots, like tomatoes. He has a salt craving, and likes a bit of ice cream after a day of being good and doing his work. He also eats like a horse: 4 meals a day and snacks, and is bony.

 

It gets tiring, but I do cater.

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No.

 

I don't make anything anybody absolutely detests, but the menu does include things that are not considered favorites. I do make sure those meals do have something that the offended person really likes though.

 

As a toddler my oldest son liked everything I served. Somewhere around preschool age he got really picky, with a definite dislike of most meats, especially chicken and pork chops. I attempted to work with this situation for a few years and nearly drove myself insane. I put an end to it when he was about 6 and I haven't looked back. The older he gets, the more things he likes. He now even likes some chicken dishes, more than not actually.

 

The second child doesn't give me much trouble. She used to hate eggs but seems to be over it.

 

The third child will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him.

 

The youngest, so far, seems to be taking after the third child.

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Yes and no. We strongly encourage the kids to be open to trying a wide variety of foods, and to eat foods that are good for their health and development. We also respect that they are individuals, and as such they will have their own preferences that might not match ours. So we try to strike a balance. Our home is not an a la carte restaurant where they can order what they want for every meal, but we're not into force feeding them stuff they hate just for the sake of it either.

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Yes and no. I wouldn't say my kids are picky, but they do have particular tastes. Neither like mashed potatoes--makes me wonder if they're my kids--so I'll make rice instead for them. We have a rice cooker, so it's not a big deal and then they have left over rice for lunch. We've also learned that they prefer fresh to cooked veggies. So rather than cooking theirs in whatever we're making, we'll just put some aside and they'll eat them as is. For the most part though, they have what we're having or starve. They are usually hungry enough that they'll eat.;)

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This is a hard one for me. DD is 5 and DS is 2. They both have pretty severe food allergies. DD is allergic to dairy, eggs, and sesame, and DS is allergic to dairy, eggs, and peanuts (and potentially nuts although we won't know for sure until he is older). If dd has even a tiny amount of dairy, she needs an epipen to keep her throat from swelling. My Dh is allergic to peanuts (and his grandfather had food allergies, so there is clearly a genetic component here).

 

So there is a certain amount of catering that happens naturally because I HAVE to make special food. When they eat at a party or a friend's house, I always bring their food because they really can't eat food prepared by other people. Since they do get to chose so much of their food, they are now becoming picky because they are so used to their food needs being catered to (even though the intention isn't to cater to pickiness). Although the 5 year old understands that she can't eat the food other kids have because of allergies, I think for both my kids the line between being catered to for food allergies and being catered to for taste preferences is really blurry.

 

So I guess I would really like NOT to cater to their food taste preferences, but I end up doing it anyway because I have to cater to their medical needs. I find the whole things really frustrating and exhausting. I really don't want my kids to grow up picky and think that they always get special food, but the reality is that if they don't outgrow some of the allergies, they might always have to have special food and never learn to just eat what they are given.

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I'm at the end of my rope with food issues. I have never catered, but it hasn't made an ounce of difference. The only "cater" I have done is allow my insanely picky son to make himself a sandwich. He eats A LOT of sandwiches.

 

I'm right there with you. I have run out of rope and I'm tired of fighting. I absolutely never, never catered and it did not make one bit of difference. It wasn't until my oldest was in the double digits before I started allowing him to make his own peanut butter sandwich if supper was not to his liking. I have no idea what I could have done differently.

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No!

 

My 6-year-old has gone through some phases where she doesn't like certain things. (Usually things like homemade cinnamon rolls or homemade cakes for some odd reason?? I don't know why!!) If it is a food we're having for dinner, she is allowed to get up and have a piece of fruit and a granola bar. She is not allowed to say anything. No "I think an animal just diiiiiieeeed in my mouth!" No "I'd rather eat my own barf than have another bite of this disgustingness."

 

If she says something rude, she has to leave the table.

 

And yes, those were both direct quotes from things she has said while eating dinner.

 

I don't know if allowing fruit and a granola bar is catering to her... but I have bad memories of literally puking up green beans over and over and over during dinner one night as a kid because I had to eat them. It was not good. What's sad is that I LOVE vegetables of all kinds (including green beans). They just tasted gross that day. I don't know why.

 

I have this same memory with potato salad. I still can't eat the stuff.

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Yes and no. We strongly encourage the kids to be open to trying a wide variety of foods, and to eat foods that are good for their health and development. We also respect that they are individuals, and as such they will have their own preferences that might not match ours. So we try to strike a balance. Our home is not an a la carte restaurant where they can order what they want for every meal, but we're not into force feeding them stuff they hate just for the sake of it either.

 

:iagree:

 

Honestly, I have a dh that was forced to eat whatever served to him as a child whether he liked it or not. He has grown into a very picky man and now has firmly decided to exercise his right to not eat anything that he doesn't like. It makes my cooking a challenge at times but it is what it is. I am the cook and I don't cook things that I don't like so I don't feel that I need to force everyone to conform to my likes either. I try to present good options at each meal and I work with what I have.

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Although, I will say that living in China for the last 3 1/2 years helped with all of this stuff. My girls will eat tons of stuff just because they had no choice. They learned really fast that at dinners with Chinese hosts they don't say a WORD about the food. They had to sit, eat, and smile. The end. No other options given.

 

So if all else fails- move to China!

 

:lol:

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No.

 

Allergies and sensitivity is one thing, brattiness about food is another thing. Of course, taking into account what somebody truly loves and planning it every now and then is just being nice - but allowing them to take advantage of your being nice and request such treatment, no.

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No, and my dd IS a toddler. If she doesn't like what I prepare for meals, she's not required to eat it, but she doesn't get anything else.

 

Of course, if something I cook is generally despised by all, I don't continue making it after that. I'm not a monster.

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Cater in the sense that I only serve for dinner things that he will eat? No. His list of acceptable dinner foods is so small that we have been rejoicing at the addition of chicken nuggets to the list of foods he will eat without complaint.

 

Cater in the sense that I don't take an eat-it-or-starve approach? Yes. Because experience has shown that even at 2 or 3 my son would choose starve. (Well, we haven't actually let him starve, but when he gets to the point that he is throwing up everything, even water? I cave.)

 

He is slowly getting better. (He's 5 now.) He no longer hurls himself away from the table at the smell of the food on my plate. He will now take a small bite of most foods we put on his plate. Sometimes he even reports that they are "not yucky." But for the first 4 years of his life, even getting him to try one bite of food was a major battle of wills.

 

He's the youngest of four. My older three are limited to three foods on their "Do Not Have to Eat" list. Everything else they have to eat. This one? :001_huh:

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Nope. We have a 3 bite rule. If they don't like it after 3 bites, they don't have to eat it... until the next time it's served. We've found that with this strategy they've come to actually like most everything. Some of those old hateds are now the most requested favorites!

 

We cook from scratch, and we are not a restaurant.

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My kids have a number of friends who have very, very limited foods they will eat. One will only eat certain carbs, another will eat chicken nuggets or pizza and not much else. I am not talking young kids who I know are prone to limited diets. These are 10-12yo kids who just seem to never have outgrown the toddler diets.

 

Just wondering if anyone out there has a child like this (not talking those who "must" eat a limited diet for health reasons but those who just won't try new foods or eat anything else) who did try to get their kids to eat different foods? Is it a nature or nuture issue?

 

I understand there are some foods a certain kid just might not like. My own kids have things they don't like to eat but they eat a wide variety of foods...fruits and veggies are their favorites...and will try new foods. We've never made different meals for those who don't like a certain thing but I try to make sure there is something they like to eat in a meal. I don't force them to eat things they don't like but I do ask that they try anything new before deciding.

 

No way do I cater to that. I do respect the fact that she hates peanut butter, raw onions, and boughten canned chickpeas. We have almond butter, every other fruit/vegetable, and home-canned chickpeas instead.

 

Also, we're vegetarians.

 

Maybe we just run in different circles? None of my daughter's friends go overboard on anything like that. She has one friend who is on a very restricted diet for the time being trying to identify/treat candida. We're happy to bend over backward to accommodate her but I consider this a completely different issue. If my girl had a friend who wouldn't eat anything we offered . . . well, I wouldn't continue to offer for very long. if that friend were diabetic or something, that would be completely different.

 

It does give me pause . . . we don't eat meat and it makes me wonder about how my friends feel about it. I've never really wondered about that before, believe it or not. It seems so easy to me that I never considered that it might be a challenge for them. I do always pack a lunch or snack for her unless specifically invited not to and when invited out, I always give her money to cover any special ordering.

 

hmm, something to think about.

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I was that kid. I really and truly did feel nauseous just from looking at/smelling most foods. I had no idea how anybody could stand to get those foods close enough to their faces to actually taste them. Right after I went to college, it just went away. I don't know what happened. I just know that suddenly foods looked good to me (and they tasted good too).

 

My youngest is very much like me in this regard.

 

I guarantee that if it was eat or go hungry. Going hungry is what would happen. The whole week I was at Girl Scout camp the only thing I had to eat was two pieces of toast for breakfast every morning. I just couldn't stomach what they were serving for lunch or dinner or snacks.

 

:iagree: I was that kid too. I'm still a picky eater, but have a more broad palette now. Ds is similar to me. We also make him try things. Over the years he's discovered more he likes. However, he is not forced to eat what he doesn't like. For instance he can't stand eggs. He's tried, we've cried, he just doesn't like them. So if we serve eggs he gets another item. He's also a big help in the kitchen, so if he's having something else he will usually make it.

 

I grew up hating most of the items my mom cooked. She's a great baker, not the most diverse cook, mostly traditional meat and potatoes stuff.

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I don't cater to them, but I do allow them to cater to themselves. If they don't like it, they are welcome to fix/get something else for themselves. I do not force them to eat foods they do not like. If that means that they want to make themselves spaghetti after/while I make dinner, that's fine. If they want to just have a bowl of cereal instead, no problem. They prefer a peanut butter and jelly? Make it yourself. I have one dd who very rarely eats what is served. I DO cater to my dd who is allergic to almost all foods. I forced her to eat foods for years, I wish I could turn back the clock and have a do over. I would NEVER force a child to eat something they do not like. Turns out that many times kids dislike foods because it makes them feel sick/bad. That was the case with dd18. Then again, she is also allergic to all of her favorite foods also. Still, I wouldn't ever do it again.

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So how would you handle a child who vomited after one bite? This happens every time I've tried to institute the same rule.

 

Maybe you don't know the answer, and perhaps others could chime in. I honestly wish I could get a handle on this problem.

 

Is it the same food group? Do you think it's a habit or a real reaction to the food?

 

I had a friend use this tactic on her kids. She told them their taste buds changed every 7 years and this might be the day. We used it on ds. It was kind of an out for all of us. He had permission to like something new and we wouldn't harp on him if he didn't.

 

Food the elicits a vomiting reaction would probably not get served to him again, for a while.

 

I know my ds has an emotional/memory tie to certain foods. He won't eat them because he know it made him sick once, or he didn't like the way it was served once.

 

We tend to coax him out of his dislikes, somewhat like leading a scared animal out of a cage. :lol:

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Everyone has different taste buds.

 

Maybe if a child doesn't like a food, it's because it truly tastes disgusting to that child?

 

And some people are just. bad. cooks. No one on this board, of course!

 

But maybe these kids the OP knows who eat a limited diet eat that way b/c their mom couldn't cook her way out of a paper bag.

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For the most part I don't cater. Diva is my pickiest eater. Doesn't like eggs, hates Alfredo sauce. So, I don't make eggs for everyone's supper (sometimes Wolf or I want them), and when we have Fettuccine Alfredo, Diva has just butter and garlic on her pasta, which she can do for herself if I'm not up to it.

 

Princess and Diva don't like shrimp. More for everyone else!

 

The rule here is nothing til breakfast if you don't eat supper. Except water. There are certain exceptions when they can have a pbj.

 

None of my kids have sensory issues, allergies, or anything like that. So I don't cater. I don't make separate meals for everyone. I'd collapse in a corner if I had to do that.

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I really try not to. I cater more to dh, who is a very picky eater. My middle child has started to be picky and not like things she used to eat, which I find frustrating, as they are some of my favorites.

 

My rule is, she eats what we're eating for dinner, but I won't make her eat leftovers. It's nothing that makes her gag; I wouldn't do that to her. For example, she really cannot tolerate spinach, and although I'm pretty sure it's more a mental thing, I don't force the issue. She picks it out of soup and insists she can taste it whenever the tiniest bit is present so I just don't make her eat it.

 

We had a neighbor who ate like you're describing - for years I had a bag of chicken nuggets for when she came over. I used to try to get her to eat, but finally decided it was not my problem if she didn't want to. I always had something for her, and if she didn't want to eat it, I just told her dad that she'd been offered food but wouldn't eat it. He allowed her to become an extremely picky child, and while I loved her, I was not going to deal with it beyond offering her what I knew she would sometimes eat and letting her decide if she was hungry.

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We have enough problems with food allergies to worry about picky. I will make allowances for things that they don't like - bell peppers for one, pineapple for another, meat that looks like meat (like a steak). If I'm making steaks or a roast, I'll put something else on the side for a protein for my non-meat child to eat such as a bean or a high protein pasta. Vegetables are non-negotiable; they must be eaten, but I hate artichokes and my kids love them so I'' make an extra green veggie if one of them is questionable. I set the initial, required portion size for the veggie then let the kids choose their own portion of everthing else.

 

btw - They never had a toddler diet either. They've always eaten what we eat. I grew up in a time and place where picky wasn't an option.

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Oh, and I should add...Wolf is the least picky eater I've ever known. I think its b/c his mom made him eat dandelions, thistles, and other weeds as a kid. He's grateful to not have that show up on his plate.

 

And no, I'm not kidding about the weeds.

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It is pretty much just with vegetables.

 

:D That's me. I find the taste of most vegetables revolting. I used to vomit as well. I truly can not stand the texture of most vegetables. I try to get my good vegetable intake in other ways. I do like a good salad. :D

 

I have no clue, but I wonder if there is a sensory or allergy issue involved.

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I tend to base meals around what I like (I'm fairly picky myself) and then add in the things the kids like. They'll eat vegetables at 2 & 4 that I won't touch at 25. So I usually pick the main dish on what I like, choose 1 veggie or side that DH & I will enjoy, and then throw in sliced peppers, or lima beans, or celery, because the kids LOVE these things. The only time DS doesn't have to eat what everyone else is having is when I make something with tuna in it-- he HATES tuna. He will soldier through & eat it, but I always give him the PBJ option if tuna's on the menu.

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I cater to my kids, but I'm reaching the end of my patience.

Both kids have food allergies, some are in common, others are not. On top of that, DD, my youngest, is extremely picky, will refuse to eat and throw up if forced to eat. On the other hand she's also a competitive gymnast, training 20 hours a week. I cannot let her go hungry, she might hurt herself in the gym. She needs energy on a regular basis.

 

Now what DD can eat is basically junk food. My son throws up if forced to eat a hot dog. And you know what? I don't want to force him to accept junk food. I'm quite happy with him *not* eating junk. His preferences always go towards healthy food, homemade, no salt no fat. How can I say no to that?

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